By Richardt Stormsgaard
Kevin DeLeon was recently chosen as the standard bearer of the California Democratic Party over Diane Feinstein by Democratic Party activists by a two/thirds margin. Six Democratic congressional candidates, hoping to flip Republican-held districts in California, joined Diane Feinstein in urging party delegates not to endorse a candidate. Their campaigns will be substantially more difficult because they need moderate Independents and Republicans to have any chance of unseating Republican incumbents. As a person working hard on behalf of Audrey Denney, I can just imagine this welcome ammunition landing in the lap of Doug LaMalfa to divert attention from his deplorable record. He will likely be spinning tales of Democratic Socialists taking over our state and country.
During the Democratic primary Diane Feinstein just faced DeLeon, and she won every single county; 44% of the total vote while DeLeon received just 12% of the votes, enough for a second place finish and a second chance to unseat Diane Feinstein in November. But apparently our activists believe they know better than the actual Democratic voters in the recent primary, and have purposefully dragged our party away from the center toward the left where our party will have less appeal to most voters.
Do we want to win elections or do we want to erect pipe-dreams that will almost certainly lead to continued defeats? The leftist message may resonate in isolated, very few areas of this country but certainly not in the vast majority of the country. Our rigid political and electoral system is slanted greatly in favor of conservatives, and their votes simply count for more than those of progressives.
For a half century Republicans have been winning elections because they have succeeded in painting Democrats as too far to the left. In actual fact, the Democratic Party Platforms have been relatively stable through the decades and quite similar to the Republican Platforms prior to the 1980’s, so a very convincing case should be made that it is the recent Republican Party that has moved out of the traditional American main-stream, and now has become an extension of ruthless corporate interests committed to dismantle our social safety net and various programs and protections on behalf of ordinary Americans and our environment. That is the powerful, truthful, and winning message that will appeal to most voters, and this is the message we should all be working toward to rescue our democracy, rather than attacking our moderate leaders that have had to navigate voters and Republicans moving sharply to the right over the last decades, in large part due to former blue-collar Democrats from the Rust Belt and the South seduced by racist propaganda and anti-government hysteria.
“We have presented Californians with the first real alternative to the worn-out Washington playbook in a quarter-century,” DeLeón said in a statement shortly after the endorsement was announced.
DeLeon is accepting one of the biggest myths developed by the extreme right. He is peddling the lie of equivalency between the two parties just like right-wing extremists have been doing for a half century to reduce voter interests in our political process, paving the road for the radicalization of the Republican Party because after all “if everybody is crooked what does it matter who I vote for or whether I vote at all.” As a person who actually agrees in an ideal world with most of what our left is proposing, I find it very distressing to see some of our leftists jumping into the same muck as Roger Ailes, Steve Bannon and the innumerable other right-wingers that have worked so successfully to undermine the fabric of our society, and have laid the groundwork for the disastrous political situation the country is in now.
Many Socialists in Europe are still mourning the collapse of the Soviet Socialist Republics and most of them decry and have fought against the “neoliberal business models and systems” that developed in Western Europe through EU and has created opportunity and wealth for almost everybody over the last several decades. Fortunately, Socialists in Western Europe have almost always been under the thumbs of the Social Democrats who have worked very successfully with liberal and moderate parties for the good of everybody.
We need to look to Western Europe and our own country as it was during the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s for solutions to our current economic and financial problems.