Gauis Publicus at Digby accurately explains the problems progressives have with Hillary Clinton and how she may need their support to win but then botches the conclusion, thinking a progressive candidate challenge will force Clinton to the left. It won’t. Many progressives simply will not vote for Clinton. They will either vote third-party or stay home. Liberals do not understand this and scream “But Republicans”, clueless that progressives don’t care about that argument, because they see both parties as essentially the same. Also, being berated by liberals will make progressives less, not more likely to vote for Hillary.
“I simply won’t participate.” Read those paragraphs again, just to be sure you absorb what it says. It says quite a bit. You don’t have to agree with the writer or her/his ferocity. Just know that this thinking — and feeling — is far more widely held on the activist and intellectual left than even the “left” understands. Why? Because progressives tend not to say this to progressives inclined to disagree … or inclined to say back to them: “But … Republicans!” They had that conversation years ago, and they’re done with it.
However, the answer, as Gaius sees it, isn’t an answer at all. Voting for a symbolic progressive candidate in the primary against Clinton solves nothing. Hillary will tack left during the primary pretending to be populist then go right in the general election. Hell, on immigration Jeb Bush is to the left of Hillary. If elected, her cabinet and appointees will be the same old same old corrupt bankers and neoliberal players as before. Hillary Clinton does not represent change and never will. More important, she doesn’t want change.
The real answer, of course, is a primary in the Democratic party, with a candidate from the real (i.e., credible) left who will give voters a place to park an anti–neo-liberal, anti–Third Way protest vote. This would replicate what Sen. Eugene McCarthy did in 1968 — he gave Lyndon Johnson a realistic “sense of the party” in a way that polling could never do.
If Hillary Clinton survives a process like that, she may not be the most progressive candidate, but she will know the degree of Democratic support she has among progressives and those less progressive.
And then she will ignore those progressives. I suspect the hard right has the same attitudes towards Jeb Bush and thus we could easily see strong third-party and independent runs from the left and the right in 2016.