“Robert Reich dusts off his “Democratic Party is dead” thesis once again: “The Republicans have a network of conservative think-tanks, which produce ideas that are marketed and sold by a boatload of money and spokespeople… Contrast this with the Democrats’ mixed message leading up to the recent elections, where they were unclear on whether to support Bush on Iraq; they fulminated over social security privatisation and health care policy. Although they managed to agree that last year’s giant 1.3 trillion Bush tax cut was wrong, they failed to offer a coherent, alternative suggestion. If the emerging presidential candidates do not produce clear policies they can kiss goodbye to victory in 2004.” [Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire]”
Reich is only partly correct. There’s plenty of opposition, however it’s not coming from the Democratic Party “leadership”, (and I use that word advisedly, as the absence of genuine leadership is one of the Dems major problems). The peace movement is growing daily. Many people with mainstream political views are deeply disaffected, both by Bush and by what passes for Democratic opposition.
Fertile ground for third parties indeed. Especially for the Green Party. And if you think about it, much of the Green platform now is what Democratic platform used to be. Pro-union and working class, populist, critical of concentrated financial and business power, wanting to help the disadvantaged and minorities, plus prison reform, civil rights, and – oh yeah, strongly pro-environment! Not unlike liberal Democrats in the 60’s, and quite similar to New Deal Democrats. As a friend, Denise Robb says, “If Eleanor Roosevelt was alive today, she’s be a Green”.
Al Gore, who was actually making populist noises of late, has decided not to run in 2004, thus leaving the race open to uninspiring corporate-centric candidates like Joe Lieberman. What the Dems need is someone with fire, not a Lieberman who runs to the right of Bush on some issues. Someone who will get the Black, Latino, union, working class voting for them again as many of whom have stopped voting as the Dems give them no reason to vote. The Dems have blown off and ignored their traditional constituency, and are now paying the price.
However, nature abhors a vacuum, so the void will be filled. The Green Party will certainly fill some of it.