We are all outraged and upset about what's going on with politics in this country and we always feel like there's nothing we can do. What we should be doing is supporting primary challenges to the fake Democrats currently in office.
We don't have much power. In fact, we have very little.
As we've learned this year, Democrats in DC are more afraid of David Broder, Joe Klein, and Mr. 24%, than they are of their constituents. They are more concerned with Beltway opinion than they are with the national consensus. They are happier dealing with lobbyists than they are dealing with real people. They are more concerned with avoiding criticism than they are of delivering campaign promises.
So what can we do about it?
We've bitched and moan and pleaded and begged and threatened and cried -- and none of that mattered.
We really can't hold up money, since quite frankly we don't have that much, and the lobbyists will always have more.
Votes? We're an important part of the party's ground game, but the most entrenched of our ineffective Democrats have been in office 250 years and in safe districts, and have little to fear from you and me staying home, too disillusioned to participate.
And they know damn well we'd rather hold our nose and vote for them than risk an even viler Republican slip in their stead.
So what does that leave us? Well, we have one tool at our disposal, our only way to influence the behavior of our elected officials:
We can primary them.
Defeating Joe Lieberman sent a shockwave through the political world. If he could go down in a primary, none of them were safe. And after years of taking the party's base for granted, and as ill equipped as they were (and still are) to listen to us, they had to learn -- or else.
Rep. Jane Harman, having faced a spirited primary in 2006, became 100 percent better overnight. She learned her lesson, and it made her a better person and legislator. Ellen Tauscher, threatened with "facing a Lieberman", headed off a potential primary challenge by suddenly voting her Democratic district, something she had seldom deemed necessary beforehand.
Other Democrats haven't been so quick to reform, and they face spirited primaries. Key among them are, of course, the incumbents facing spirited challenges by Donna Edwards in MD-04 and Mark Pera in IL-03.
Let me say this is no uncertain terms -- our ONLY ability to influence the Democratic caucus in Washington D.C. rests in our ability to defeat them in their primaries next year. No other elections are more important for purposes of our movement (as opposed to the nation as a whole) than these two. If Dan Lipinski and Al Wynn hold on, it will tell other Democrats that they have little to fear from us. If we defeat them, it will put the entire caucus on notice that we can and will target them if they lose touch with who they serve (i.e. the people, not themselves and their lobbyist cocktail party hosts).
If you live in Maryland or Illinois near either of these districts, please join these candidates' ground armies and help them fight the establishment forces arrayed against them. If you don't or can't, please consider giving to these races.
You want better Democrats? Then get involved. You want leverage against the other Democrats? Then get involved. The alternative is more of the hell we've suffered this year -- timid but safe congressmen and senators who'd rather capitulate rather than fulfill campaign promises.
This is all we've got, guys. I know it's the holidays and everyone is looking ahead to presents and Iowa, but how about you drop at least $10 into both or at least one of them? Let's give them a numbers boost before the fourth quarter ends and better equip them to fight next year's important battles.
We can worry about electing more Democrats later. Right now, let's focus on getting better ones.
If we fail in these races, we'll have many more years like this disastrous one that is mercifully coming to an end.