Disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of a mainstream US political party.
I have, however, voted in almost every election since I became eligible to fully participate in the electoral system. That means every year and the special elections that pop up every now and then. I treat my votes with respect and I try to use them in ways that maximize their value. All of them. It riles me when the value and meaning of my votes are diminished and negated by larger systems of political and social control. Yeah, I’m talking about the 2 party mechanism, voter (and candidate) suppression, political machines, and the Electoral College. But all of that is background and context meant to give you a glimpse of where I stand when I talk about electoral politics in the USA.
This post is a follow-up to Crash the Parties, published on November 6, 2016. In the previous post I misjudged the result of Presidential election. I still stand by my analysis of the Democratic and Republican parties, and reiterate the conclusion that the current political situation is ripe for significant realignment that could result in the dissolution of one or both of the mainstream parties. That is what the headline of this article means. “Reform” implies realignment within and between the current major party brands. “Bust” implies realignment that includes the emergence of new parties from the rubble of the old parties. Essentially, reform the parties or bust the parties. The election of Trump set the stage for bust because it disrupted the status quo and pumped up the chaos.
My argument has not been lost on the Progressive/Populist wing of the Democratic Party. The nomination of Rep. Keith Ellison to lead the Democratic National Committee is a step toward a reforming realignment. The Neo- Liberal centrists that have dominated the DNC since the end of WW2 understand this and have launched a negative, reactionary campaign to tear Ellison down and defend their power. Any similarity to how the DNC and the Clinton campaign attacked Bernie Sanders during the primaries and caucuses is intentional, mostly because both were implemented by the same Neo-Liberal cohort. When the Neo-Liberal centrists take a break from slinging mud and excrement at the Left-leaning Progressives to lecture us about giving Trump a chance to reveal a less hateful administration and implore me to work with the Authoritarian White Right, it casts serious doubt on the idea of reforming the DNC brand. It underscores my conclusion that the time has come to bust.
I’ll say it plain. When the Neo-Liberal Centrists swat down the Progressives and block reform the DNC, I suggest they split from the party, and create a new brand. Progressive Peoples Party, perhaps? Force the Centrists to decide to join with the Progressives or make their alliance with Moderate Republicans into an actual party brand. The New Republican Party, perhaps? This kind of realignment would ultimately leave the Authoritarian White Right back on the fringe as the bulk of the US electorate shifts to the Left and corrects the incremental crawl towards the Right that has been going on for over 60 years. It is one way to prevent the normalization of authoritarianism in the USA. I’m not saying this would be an easy, safe, or quick way forward. I’m pointing out that the time is ripe and the chances for success can be tipped further in our direction.