What this means is that we have to make being progressive in politicians’ self-interest, and acting as a right-winger against their self-interest.
You see, politicians care about getting elected, and that’s pretty much all they can afford to care about. You can’t blame them for this, just like you can’t blame companies for seeking profitable arrangements. I’m sorry if this bursts anyone’s bubble, but Paul Wellstone was just a politician seeking power. So is Howard Dean. That Dean has popular support from an organized group that will rip people to shreds who criticize him means that he can afford to be progressive.
The key for progressives is to understand that elections matter, but how politicians get elected matters more. It’s not about sitting out elections if you don’t get your way, it’s about making sure that when a seat opens up, or an idea is under debate, or someone needs a set of numbers, your team is there with the people and the information. Politicians get elected based broadly on organization and money in a continuum. What we as progressives should be doing is trying to pull the political system away from money being the determining factor in how someone gets elected to making it one determining factor of many. And if possible, we want to make it impossible for a Republican or Democrat to be elected without taking progressive positions.
A definitive must read.