Wednesday, January 20, 2010

National Organizer of Independents Speaks to the Lessons of Massachusetts

 Statement received via email today:
"The Obama team needs to learn a lesson from Massachusetts,” said Jackie Salit, president of , a national association of independent voters.  “If you don't attend to the political dynamics in the independent movement, you'll pay the price. That movement is in the early stages of its development and is subject to many pushes and pulls. While the progressive leadership of the movement played the key role in swinging independents to Obama in 2008, the Obama team has turned a blind eye since then, choosing instead to focus only on the Democratic Party base.  But if you do that, instead of finding ways to cultivate the progressive voices in independent politics, you're going to lose elections like the one yesterday. And, you might even lose the White House if you don't wake up to the fact that there is an emerging political universe - the independent movement - that you know nothing about.”
Apparently at least ONE Dem agrees. From today's CNN Analysis by Marc Preston: Brown's win changes political narrative for 2010: One of the biggest challenges for Democrats is wooing back independent voters, who broke Brown's way Tuesday to help him beat Coakley. "If we don't figure out a way to talk to independent voters, we are done," lamented another high-level Democratic staffer, speaking freely on the condition of anonymity. (Marc Preston, CNN Political Editor)


Jack Jodell said...

You know, the country, and especially Massachusetts, was rightfully fed up with 6 years of conservative Republican, for the wealthy only rule, so in 2006 they voted Republicans out of office. Two years later, they again rejected the conservatives by voting out even more Republicans and electing Barack Obama, who had a boatload of progressive, new ideas to offer.

Then Obama got elected. He pushed hard for a stimulus bill, which was good. He signed an executive order to close Gitmo. That, too, was good. He initially pushed hard for a progressive health care bill including a public option, and that was good. But little by little he started moving away from his progressive platform. He allowed corporatist Democrats and conservative Republicans into accepting a pitiful, watered down Senate health care bill. He abandoned labor by accepting a tax on their health care plans in that bill. Gitmo remains open without a concrete closing date. Cap and Trade is stalled and will remain that way. The end result? Voter anger and progressive apathy.

The Democrats achieved independent support and won two crucial elections by promising change, not collusion or soft-pedaling. Every single time they moderate and go Republican Lite it hurts them and kills the progressive agenda. THAT IS BAD FOR AMERICA.

I fully understand independents' rejection of a corporatist Coakley. What I DON'T understand is their willingness to elect a reactionary friend of Wall Street and the status quo who is masquerading as a populist! It makes absolutely no sense at all. If this trend continues, any hope of any kind of progressive legislation being enacted over the next four to five years will be all but impossible.

Electing Scott Brown in Massachusetts will prove to be a HUGE mistake, and, in my estimation, amounts to suicidally misdirected anger.

Jack Jodell said...

An additional thought: Democrats need to stop nominating corporate, conservative Democrats. People don't want Republicans anymore, nor do they want Republican Lite Democrats. I hope independents nationwide will begin clearly demanding more progressive candidates instead of venting anger by electing more conservatives!

Nancy Hanks said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this Jack -- let's hope the Dems are listening! As for independents, we need to be much better organized to make a real difference. After all, the parties will put up their candidates through their corrupt process. Indies need to get smarter.

Jack Jodell said...

I agree, Nancy: smarter, better organized, and better funded, ESPECIALLY now that SCOTUS has given big corporations carte blanche regarding campaign donations. This could kill all political parties completely and boil down to a battle only between the best-funded special interests---what a horrible ruling!