Thursday, November 10, 2016

What do we do now?

The Internet is full of shock and outrage and vocal intent to turn that shock and outrage into action today. I hope it isn't all just talk. Gotta do something besides despair. I don't know what that is. Let's figure it out.

Here's a suggestion from Jonathan Schwarz
4. We don’t need a third party, we just need a party.

When and where are the next Democratic and Republican Party meetings in your neighborhood? You don’t know, because neither the Democrats nor Republicans are political parties in the historical sense. Mostly they just demand we send them money and then yell at us about voting every few years.

While it has almost passed out of Americans’ living memory, parties used to have regular, local meetings where everyone got together, yammered about politics for a while, and then drank beer. Elections were the culmination of what parties did, not the starting point.

A healthy political party would foster community and provide people with concrete things to do between elections. Mike McCurry, one of Bill Clinton’s press secretaries, once suggested that Democrats should turn themselves into a pool of neighborhood volunteers “so that when people are trying to accomplish something, they would say: Call the Democrats, they always have people.”

Or they could get members involved in a local fight for a $15 minimum wage. Or helping women get a safe abortion. Or restoring funding cuts to local colleges. Or whatever members decide. That’s politics.

In return, political parties need to provide concrete benefits to members. If the Republicans are going to murder the Affordable Care Act, the Democrats should be figuring out if they’re a big enough risk pool to provide health insurance.

I realize this is so far out of Americans’ experience that it sounds bizarre. It’s also the case that both party hierarchies would try to block any worthwhile experiments. But if the new organization based on Bernie Sanders’s campaign succeeds, it will probably look something like this.
In the meantime, check out what's going on at Party HQ.
Donna Brazile, the interim leader of the Democratic National Committee, was giving what one attendee described as “a rip-roaring speech” to about 150 employees, about the need to have hope for wins going forward, when a staffer identified only as Zach stood up with a question.

“Why should we trust you as chair to lead us through this?” he asked, according to two people in the room. “You backed a flawed candidate, and your friend [former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz] plotted through this to support your own gain and yourself.”

Some DNC staffers started to boo and some told him to sit down. Brazile began to answer, but Zach had more to say.

“You are part of the problem,” he continued, blaming Brazile for clearing the path for Trump’s victory by siding with Clinton early on. “You and your friends will die of old age and I’m going to die from climate change. You and your friends let this happen, which is going to cut 40 years off my life expectancy.”

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