mfidelman's blog

A Time to Occupy & Consolidate - Not Exit

Bernie Sanders has just accomplished three key things:

  • He's shifted the agenda of the Democratic Party back toward its Progressive roots.
  • He's shifted the discussion - it seems like everyone at the Convention was talking Progressive.  He's made it safe for Democratic candidates to be Progressive.
  • He positioned himself, and us, to positions of extreme power in the Democratic Party - by assembling a huge collection of voters & dollars that are aligned behind Progressive candidates and issues - essentially the way the Tea Party became a “party within a party” that reshaped the Republicans.  

The real question is whether enough of the “Political Revolution” will remain aligned behind Bernie, and his new organizations - so that we can elect Progressives up and down the ticket, get Progressives appointed to leadership positions in a Democrat-controlled Congress, and then make sure that those legislators pursue OUR agenda when it comes to writing & passing laws and budgets.

Continuing the Power Shift

It seems like the number of fund-raising appeals, from the DNC, the DSCC, and the DCCC has escalated in the past couple of days.

Now would seem to be the time for MoveOn, DFA, Bernie's new organizations, and BrandNewCongress to start agressively raising funds for the down-ticket --- sending a very clear message that the money is coming from Progressives.

We need to be playing the party-within-a-party game that the Tea Party has played with the Republicans. None of this "unify the party" crap - this is about making it clear that Progressives are taking back the party.

Bernie has just done a very good job of setting himself up as an éminence grise within the Democratic Party. Suddenly, everyone is talking Progressive rhetoric and policy.  It's again safe (and maybe encouraged) to talk like FDR.  

Now we need to back that up with cold hard cash - on our terms - that's what will move us from rhetoric to committee chairmanships, and progressive legislation that gets signed by the President.

Hillary Clinton may be the next figurehead for the Democratic Party - let's make sure that the real power moves into Progressive hands.

Can I Interview You in Philly?

Hi Folks,

I’m planning to be in Philadelphia for the Democratic Convention.  I hope to interview many of you while I’m there – particularly those of you who’ve organized 4Bernie groups in your communities and who’ve stood for office as Progressive challengers (both those of you who’ve won your primaries, and those who’ve lost).  What have we learned about Progressive Revolution so far?  Where are we going next?  What role do you see yourself playing?

Please give me your contact information, and any comments you care to offer now - using the form HERE.  If we can't connect in Philly, perhaps we can chat by phone or video chat.  

Thank You,

Miles Fidelman

A New Chapter for the Political Revolution

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination - beginning a new chapter for the Political Revolution.  

What happens new is up in the air:

  • Many are calling for action to retake and reform the Democratic Party - #occupydemocrats - in the short term, supporting Progressive down-ticket challengers such as Tim Canova's run in Florida.
  • Others talk of a #Demexit & Third Parties - with some Bernie or Bust proponents shifting alliegence to Jill Stein and the Green Party.
  • The Republican Party is facing it's own insurgency and self-destruction, while independents are now the plurality of our electorate.

For the longer term, we are already seeing the birth of new political organizations - Tea Parties of the Left, if you will:

It's Time for the Democratic Party to Show its True Colors


As we approach the Democratic Convention, the Democratic Party exhorts us to "unite the party," and implicitly asks Bernie Sanders' army, of mostly independent voters, to join and support the party and its candidates.

But what exactly is the Democratic Party these days?  Who and what are we being asked to join & support?  

Is the Party still an association of citizens, come together to support a common agenda - the "Party of the People," of FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, of "The New Deal" and the "Great Society?"  Or has it become a collection of insiders, supporting the narrow agenda of a select few - asking us to come along for the ride, and pay the frieght?

Has the Democratic Party become a "brand" - to be marketed to sheeple -  with insider candidates, political operatives, and lobbyists being paid handsomely, by us, while exhorting us to buy their "product?"

Does the Party want "We the People," or does it just want our money and votes?  

The Revolution is Happening Around Us

A recent HuffPost headline reads "Democrats Fear Bernie Sanders Is Turning Voters Against Them" - going on to say "State Democratic parties are ticked off that Bernie Sanders is characterizing fundraising arrangements they have with Hillary Clinton’s campaign as corrupt"

But that's not the real story.  The real story is that the parties are becoming less and less relevant.  On the Republican side, a complete outsider has just locked up the Presidential nomination - despite the best efforts of the party establishment to stop him.  On the Democratic side, the "Party of the People" has long stopped representing "We the People" - instead becoming largely a "brand" and providing fund raising and get-out-the-vote efforts for establishment candidates.

#politicalrevolution = #occupydemocrats - It's Time to TAKE BACK the Party of the People!

I've about had it with emails titled "STATUS: Not Active" - asking for contributions to the Democratic Party, or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, or some other Party fund dedicated to electing Hillary Clinton President, and maintaining incumbents in office.  And I've definitely fed up with those calling for all of us to "support the party."  At the same time, I'm dismayed by Bernie supports saying "Bernie or Bust."

It seems to me that We the People have allowed the "Party of the People" to become an elite in-group, doing the bidding of moneyed interests, wrapped in a brand that's marketed like a consumer product.  

And it seems to be lost on the Party establishment that people are jumping ship.  The majority of voters are now independents.  Campaign donors are bypassing Party channels - to contribute directly to candidates, or to contribute to Progressive umbrella organizations such as MoveOn and Democracy for America.  And many of those contributions are going to candidates who challenge incumbents, and to candidates running in districts and states that the Party has given up on.

A Tyranny of Political Parties: From Tribes to Insiders & Brands

This election cycle is highlighting the collapse of both major political parties – and perhaps of the two-party system.  We need to fix this, or find a new way for We the People to maintain a Government Of the People, By the People, For the People.

When our Nation began, we didn't have any political parties.  Our Constitution makes no mention of parties, and our Founding Fathers warned against parties and “factions.1”  

Since then, however, political parties have become our vehicles for aggregating votes, electing representatives, and wielding power.  Over time the landsape has changed -  from the  Federalists & Democratic-Republicans (Anti-Federalists), to Democrats & Whigs, to emergence of the Republicans.  Today’s Republican Party is far from the "Party of Lincoln," and today’s Democrats are far from the “Party of the People” of the New Deal era. 


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