Together, Can We Do Better?
A funny thing happened on
the way to the blowout.
Not many of us in the blogosphere were focused on the IL-06 primary last night. I know I wasn’t.
Chris bowers explains why:
I travel to DC often these days (in fact, I am about to leave for DC now), and from everyone I had talked to down there, I was told more or less the same thing: Duckworth will win this primary, and win it huge. I did not have access to the data they were using to make that assessment, but I also did not question it. A big Duckworth victory made sense. She had the support of every major elected Democrat in Illinois. She had the support of the DCCC. She was endorsed by every major union and progressive advocacy organization. She had more money. She had a lot more free media. In pretty much every measure I cold think of, she looked very strong. It seemed as though nearly every Democratic and progressive organization that works to elect Democrats and progressives was behind her. A few months ago, I floated the idea of the netroots getting behind Cegalis full-force to a few other bloggers, but after we had all heard pretty much the same stories on how Duckworth was going to cruise, we agreed it probably wasn’t a very good idea. Better to focus our resources elsewhere.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the blowout. It turned into a nailbiter: a win of about one thousand votes. Duckworth had the full power of the party establishment behind her, and still almost lost to a fired-up, passionate Cegelis get out the vote operation that functioned without coordinated support from the blogosphere. She didn’t get the help we collectively gave to Ciro Rodriguez, the help we are now giving Ned Lamont. What would have happened if we had gotten behind Cegelis for real?
But here’s the kicker, as Chris points out further in his post: what happens in November? Will the grassroots that supported Cegelis rally around Duckworth? Will the Cegelis activists not only vote, but do their impressive get out the vote voodoo for Duckworth? Should they? Would you?
This race presents a big red flag to Rahm Emanuel (head of the DCCC), Chuck Schumer (head of the DSCC), Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader Reid. As I pointed out yesterday, the grassroots/netroots has power, and is not happy with the establishment party agenda. Congressional leaders cannot count on the base to support their agenda in November if they don’t embrace real change. What could they do to win over the activist base? Support ethics investigations in the House. Stand as a party behind the popular Murtha redeployment plan. Support Feingold on censure. Fight like it matters! Because it matters to us.
A closing quote from Chris Bowers, from the same post (emphasis added):
We can’t win if we continue to operate like this. The netroots and grassroots can’t win by themselves, and the Democratic electoral establishment is hardly any better. At some point, there is going to have to be a way for us to work together, or we are just going to keep losing and losing and losing. We can’t go on like this. We can’t win without them, and they can’t win without us. There has to be a way for us to work together, but that doesn’t mean just treating the netroots like an ATM, not even mentioning the name of our candidates on official literature, or simplistic, authoritarian demands that we all "fall in line." There is an activist class war taking place in the Democratic Party–I can see it even happening in my own neighborhood. Those who currently hold sway over the movement better recognize that it is happening as well, and they better be willing to work with the people who make their position possible. We can’t simply continue to be told to go back and keep toiling in the volunteer activist salt mines. Something needs to be done to solve this mess. I’m sure there are thing that both sides can do, but the overwhelming onus to fix this situation and create some sort of détente rests on those people who currently control the Democratic Party and the progressive movement. You have to find a way to show us that you care, that you appreciate our efforts, and that you are willing to work together.
Indeed. We can be reasonable, but we’re far too sophisticated to accept token efforts or pats on the head. And we’re quickly becoming too powerful across America to ignore.
Rahm, Nancy, Chuck, Harry: your move.