Digby responds to a long, interesting piece on the differences between how Republicans and Democrats maintain their political coalitions across time and legislative battles by Robert Cruickshank. Digby writes:
Cruikshank is making an appeal to progressives to apply the GOP coalition rules to themselves and stick together, even if the centrists continue to play their games.. And that’s certainly necessary advice. Warring amongst ourselves is about as destructive as it gets. But there needs to be an understanding of how progressives are being manipulated in the Party — and a plan to thwart it — or there is going to be some kind of crack-up eventually. You simply can’t have a working coalition in which a very large faction is constantly used as political cannon fodder. If the anger doesn’t kill you the disillusionment will. The old bipartisan way is dead for now and Democrats had better adjust to dealing fairly and equitably within its own coalition or they’re going to find that they don’t have one.
I think Digby is largely right, but I guess I would just question the extent to which there actually is a Democratic coalition any more. No doubt there is a party, run by neo-liberals and conservatives, and quite a large number of progressives and progressive groups associate with this party. But it’s hard to see the various non-establishment elements of the Democratic Party as anything other than cannon fodder and as a result, not really a part of the coalition in any sense than they are sometimes used as pawns by neo-liberals and conservatives in their quest to be Serious Adults. The question then becomes, does it make sense for the Democratic coalition to learn how to operate by taking turns or should the cannon fodder recognize that they don’t want to continue to be treated like political cannon fodder?
One thought on “Cannon Fodder”
“The question then becomes, does it make sense for the Democratic coalition to learn how to operate by taking turns or should the cannon fodder recognize that they don’t want to continue to be treated like political cannon fodder?”
The Dem “coalition” is pretty much as you describe it — it’s divided into corporate-funded, corporate friendly two-steps-behind-the-Republicans users and the rest of us, who are used. The users bully and threaten the used, mock them for their idealism and naivete, and ultimately discard the used shortly after their time, money and votes are obtained.
The used don’t have the concentrated corporate money that is necessary to get the attention of the users, and the used continue to support the users, because the used believe (probably correctly) that the palliative care provided by the Dem leadership is better than being abandoned on a mountainside as the Republicans would do. Either way is fatal, but at least one comes with a morphine drip.
Until the used can actually *hurt* the users, this is the way it will be. The Dem leadership will be just a couple steps behind the whatever-is-then-current insanity of the Republicans, because that’s what the corporate money incentives demand. And we will all suffer.
I suspect that even if the used did lash out and hurt the users, the stories about that are pre-written in such a way as to show what idiot assholes the used are, how they weaken the Dem party, how they can’t pick electable candidates, how they were petulant purists who don’t understand politics and wouldn’t accept half a loaf, how very few people “identify” as “liberal” so why don’t these wacko Berkeley hippie freaks shut up?, etc. etc.