It’s not hard to figure out what a progressive might stand for: workers’ rights, unions, bank regulations, social programs, equality, the building and re-building of infrastructure, economic protections, antitrust laws and the abolition of corporate personhood, and the strengthening of democracy. Ask yourself: How many of those issues do you hear Democratic Party members discussing openly? What in that list is taboo to the interests and campaigns of Democratic Party politicians either because they fear Republicans will out-message them or they will alienate interests they must court in order to be re-elected?
The heart of the matter is that, most of the time, there isn’t much difference between career politicians of either party. Their interests are generally aligned with the elites and thus opposed to the rest of us. For several decades now the Democratic Party as an institution has consciously and deliberately abandoned its base of union workers, minorities, and the poor. And then wonders why it is adrift with no ideological moorings.
Progressivism has likely failed because of fears that pushing progressivism may result in debate that tarnishes “brand Obama.”
It’s not progressives who have failed but rather the Democratic Party as an institution. It no longer cares for or even thinks much about its traditional base. It has become as corporate as the Republican Party yet must maintain the fiction that it is not.
Yet much of the progressive agenda is already accepted by the mainstream, so really, it’s the Democratic Party that has the disconnect not progressives. Our time will come. Again.