Dem Elites Still ‘Out of Touch’ — Progressive Outrage After DNC Chief Tom Perez Endorses Cuomo Ahead Of NY Primary

“Don’t be scared of democracy—let the voters decide.”

By Jessica Corbett
Commoner Dreams (5/25/18)

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez, who said just two months ago that the national party shouldn’t be “anointing candidates” in primary races, was widely rebuked by progressives for his decision this week to endorse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose reelection bid is being challenged by longtime activist and actress Cynthia Nixon.

“Regardless of who you support in this race, can we all agree that the DNC shouldn’t pick winners in a contentious primary in a safely Dem state?” tweetedEzra Levin, co-founder and co-executive director of Indivisible. “Don’t be scared of democracy—let the voters decide.”

Speaking at the New York state Democratic Convention on Thursday, Perez had said: “I’ve not only admired Andrew Cuomo, I have admired the Cuomo family since my youth. I’ve admired what they stood for and what they fought for since I was a kid.”

“We often have debates about what wing of the Democratic Party we belong to,” Perez continued. Calling Cuomo and his running mate, lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul, “charter members of the accomplishment wing of the Democratic Party,” he had declared, “that’s why I’m proud to endorse them.”

Journalist Michael Sainato posed that Perez and the national party “are scared of progressives” like Nixon because “they know if Cuomo and Hochul go down it’ll be a game changer and the rest of the establishment will start facing even greater threats.”

Perez’s move on Thursday strongly contrasts with his refusal to weigh in on the Georgia gubernatorial Democratic primary earlier this week, in which the progressive candidate prevailed. Perez told NBC News that the DNC had been “scrupulously neutral” in Georgia “because we think the voters should decide that.”

“Cuomo represents a wing of the Democratic Party that is out of touch with what voters want right now and that people are veering away from,”  — New York Working Families Party state director Bill Lipton

DNC Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison, who is known for taking stances left of Perez, had made similar comments about the Georgia race to Democracy Now! on Wednesday. Ellison, who was reportedly not informed of Perez’s decision on Cuomo before the chairman’s public remarks, responded in a statement to Politico that said: “The Democratic Party should not intervene in the primary process. It is our role to be fair to all contestants and let the voters decide.”

Although “Cuomo easily secured the party’s nomination with over 95 percent of convention delegates supporting his bid for reelection,” BuzzFeed News reports that “Nixon still plans to petition her way onto the ballot ahead of the primary in September.”

Out of touch with voters

Nixon has been endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Working Families Party, Our Revolution, and Democracy for America.

“Cuomo represents a wing of the Democratic Party that is out of touch with what voters want right now and that people are veering away from,” New York Working Families Party state director Bill Lipton and New York Communities for Change director Jonathan Westin told BuzzFeed News. “For eight years, he’s claimed that he’s been getting things done and enacting progressive policies but for eight years he’s done nothing that he promised.”

“Perez coming in at this time only further drives a wedge in the Democratic Party,” Westin said to CNN. “What we’re seeing play out, in a microcosm here in New York, is that the party elites are out of touch with where the base of the party is at.”

Cuomo, meanwhile, has secured endorsements from former Vice President Joe Biden as well as former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a series of tweets, comedian and writer Gabe Gonzalez said, “Perez has always placed party loyalty over progress,” and concluded, “If the best Cuomo can do is muster Hillary, Biden, and Perez to endorse him, voters should seriously ask themselves whether he’s the candidate to guide NY into the future.”

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John Nichols: Time For Wisconsin Democrats To Go Bold

By John Nicols
Cap Times (5/27/18)

The Wisconsin Democratic Party was forged in the aftermath of World War II by young people who in many cases came from outside the party — as former Progressives and Socialists who sought to build something new. The Wisconsin Democrats of that first generation were, for the most part, more interested in the radical ideals of Robert M. La Follette than they were in aligning with a national Democratic Party that welcomed Southern segregationists and big-city bosses.

The first great victories for the Wisconsin Democrats came in unexpected places, like Crawford County, where 30-year-old Patrick Lucey defeated Republican Assembly Speaker Republican Donald McDowell in an 1948 upset. That same year, 32-year-old Gaylord Nelson beat a Republican state senator (Fred Risser’s dad) in Dane County, and 35-year-old Tom Fairchild was elected attorney general.

Merely electing a new governor is not a sufficient goal. The renewal of Wisconsin after eight years of corporatism and corruption will require more than one officeholder.

The progress was short-lived. By 1951, only Nelson remained in office. Democrats lost every statewide race in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1956, along with hundreds of legislative contests. Yet, instead of moving to the center, Wisconsin Democrats waged a righteous fight against a Republican Party that blended the corporate conservatism of Gov. Walter Kohler Jr. with the populist conservatism of Joe McCarthy — much as Gov. Scott Walker now keeps company with President Donald Trump in a Republican Party that has grown far cruder and more cynical than in the 1950s.

Staying true to progressive principles — absolute support for organized labor, a commitment to civil rights and civil liberties, and an FDR-inspired faith that tax policies should burden the rich not the poor — paid off. Sixty years ago, in 1958, Wisconsin Democrats roared back, winning every statewide office except that of moderate Republican Secretary of State Robert Zimmerman (whose family name was synonymous with the office). Democrats also won control of the Assembly for the first time since 1932 and took two U.S. House seats.

As Democrats gather in Oshkosh this week for a critical state party convention, the focus will be on a crowd of gubernatorial candidates who have, so far, failed to distinguish themselves. But if this convention is to matter they must expand their focus. …

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  • Stacey Abrams Shows Democrats The way Forward — In Georgia, a state long considered a GOP firewall, inspired minority voters fired the opening salvo of a Democratic resurgence on Tuesday, delivering Stacey Abrams the party’s nomination for governor. Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia General Assembly, swatted aside her primary opponent by a 3–1 margin to become the state’s first female African American gubernatorial nominee. The feat is even more impressive considering the issues she championed. While Democrats in the South typically lean centrist and skirt polarizing subjects, Abrams ran on a consistent progressive platform … Read the Rest



Necessary Reckoning: Why Democrats Simply Can’t Win 2018 Midterms Without Bernie

(Editor’s Note: Keep in mind this article is from the bowels of the establishment press and is thus predictably more oriented toward standard Democratic party corporate friendly opinion. Nonetheless, there are some interesting insights and reports from the fields. Despite the article’s cautious tone, what Bernie has accomplished is impressive and, one hopes, the leading edge of the direction the party will take. — Mark L. Taylor)

By Alexander Nazaryan
Newsweek (5/24/18)

Please do not think these are somehow radical, or unpopular, or extreme or fringe ideas,” Bernie Sanders tells me. It’s early May, and the once-and-perhaps-future presidential contender is ticking off progressive policy proposals—his policy proposals—that, in the two years since his loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, have rapidly remade the Democratic Party: universal health care, tuition-free public college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage. When he’s told that some believe his ideas may be better suited to Finland than Nebraska, Sanders bristles. “Look at the polling,” he snaps in his thick Brooklyn accent, which decades in Vermont have not diminished. “You don’t have to believe what I tell you.”

By many measures, he’s right. In the two years since his insurgent campaign for the White House succumbed to the Clinton juggernaut, Sanders has gone from cult hero to mainstream dynamo. ­Larry David can mock him on Saturday Night Live as a cranky, quixotic septuagenarian, but when Sanders endorses an idea, many of his peers in the Senate listen without laughing. The American public has become increasingly receptive to his brand of democratic socialism; once-skeptical centrists have seen the polls and have followed accordingly.

This has resulted in a high-stakes ideological war to out-Bernie Bernie. …

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