Soul Searching

Last night’s special Senate election in Alabama was balm for weary Liberals — and possibly even held a silver lining for Conservatives. With the repudiation of a xenophobic bible-thumping bigot with multiple accusations of child molestation, Alabamians can almost look themselves in the mirror this morning. Together, Democrats and Republicans breathed a sigh of relief that a man so foul would not be taking a seat in the Senate.

Tennessee GOP Senator Bob Corker called Moore’s defeat “a great night for America.” Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio tweeted: “For their good sense people are praised, but the perverse of heart are despised. Proverbs 12:8,” But these were exceptions from a party that generally stands for everything Moore represents.

For Americans the closely-watched election had everything in it — race, sex, religion, authoritarianism. It was at once a referendum on the role of religion in government and America’s search for its soul. Although America may have dodged a bullet, the slim margin said a lot about the country’s tenuous relationship to democracy, equality and civil liberties. Ezra Klein put the narrow Democratic “win” in perspective:

“If Moore had merely been a candidate who believed Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress, that the laws of the United States of America should be superseded by his interpretation of the Bible, that homosexuality should be illegal, he would have won in a landslide. Even multiple credible reports that Moore serially preyed on teenage girls were barely enough to lose him the election. […] Like Donald Trump before him, Moore is proof that there is no depravity so unforgivable, no behavior so immoral, that it assures a candidate will lose his party’s voters.”

Mark Galli, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, in a piece yesterday, had plenty of criticism for Christian liberals but saved his harshest words for conservative Evangelicals:

“The race between Republican candidate Roy Moore and Democratic candidate Doug Jones has only put an exclamation point on a problem that has been festering for a year and a half — ever since a core of strident conservative Christians began to cheer for Donald Trump without qualification and a chorus of other believers decried that support as immoral. The Christian leaders who have excused, ignored, or justified his unscrupulous behavior and his indecent rhetoric have only given credence to their critics who accuse them of hypocrisy. Meanwhile the easy willingness of moderate and progressive Christians to cast aspersions on their conservative brothers and sisters has made many wonder about our claim that Jesus Christ can bring diverse people together as no other can.”

Aspersions aside, the facts are these: White Alabamians, in their perversity, overwhelmingly chose a racist multiply-accused of pedophilia who doesn’t really believe in the U.S. Constitution over a Democrat who successfully prosecuted the Klan. And it was black Alabamians — black women, especially — whom the nation can thank for their display of the “good sense” mentioned in Proverbs 12:8.

The Alabama election should dispel any notion that Democrats must abandon so-called “identity politics” and throw their efforts instead into chasing “angry white voters.” Angry white voters don’t vote for them. When Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and other Democratic luminaries announced their “Better Deal” in Berryville, Virginia, it was a harebrained effort to appeal to white populism. But the Democratic Party is a party of diversity, the working class is much broader than the DNC seems to understand — and that’s where the party’s power must come from. Last night black Alabamians wanted the DNC to remember that.

Before the election, when asked if black Alabama voters would turn out in sufficient numbers, Birmingham City Councillor Sheila Tyson replied, “The problem isn’t going to be with the black voters. If Jones doesn’t win, it’s not our problem.” But black voters delivered. After the votes were in, Democratic strategist Symone D. Sanders told a Newsweek reporter, “Doug Jones would not have won today without the turnout we saw from African-American voters. […] Black women have been absolutely clear in their support for Democratic policies and Democratic candidates. It’s high time for Democrats … to invest in that effort.”

Which was a polite way of telling the Democratic Party to stop focusing on big donors, and losing battles with racists, to democratize and start showing some respect for voters of color who just saved their asses.

But bringing real democracy to the Democratic Party won’t happen easily. In the Monday New York Times Julia Azari and Seth Masket penned an opinion piece, “Is the Democratic Party Becoming Too Democratic?” In it they object to the DNC Unity Commission’s moves to reduce the number of superdelegates and open up the party to [shudder] Sanders supporters. They write that “part of the problem for parties is our insistence that they be run democratically. That turns out not to be a very realistic concept […] party leaders will always have vastly more information about candidates — their strengths and flaws, their ability to govern and work with Congress, their backing among various interest groups and coalitions — than voters and caucusgoers do. That information is useful, even vital, to the task of picking a good nominee.”

Richard Eskow in his dissection, “Democrats Need More Democracy, Not Less” does a great job of refuting Azari and Masket’s argument, pointing out that — repeatedly — party insiders have either championed candidates who were doomed the moment their names appeared on the ballot — or sabotaged candidates who were objectively more “realistic” than the poor choices insiders made. The 2016 Presidential election was no exception.

If the Alabama election teaches us anything, it’s that the Republican Party has completely lost whatever soul it ever had. Democrats, on the other hand, still have theirs. It’s right underfoot, but they’re knocking around in the dark trying to figure out where the hell they left it.

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Now it’s official

A politician’s legacy is not his alone. He often builds on policies and practices of previous administrations. While Trump’s mendacity and incompetence (and dementia) are his and his alone, many of his most noxious initiatives have been bipartisan projects all along. Trump’s recklessness simply airs America’s dirty little secrets and turns already bad policies into unbearable ones. Forget the “kinder, gentler” versions. Now the worst of militarism, racism, and predatory capitalism are simply official.

If we tremble at the recklessness with which Trump toys with American nukes, we forget that Obama authorized a $1 trillion upgrade to them. If we abhor Trump’s new Mexican wall, we forget that Democrats helped build them. Twice. If we despise the racism of the GOP, we willfully forget that Democrats had a hand in drug, crime and prison policies that disproportionately harmed people of color. If we detest Trump’s shady friends in high places, we forget that these were the guys Democrats bailed out in 2008. If we mouth concern about Trump’s affinity for dictators, we forget that the Obama administration kept them in power in Honduras and Egypt and the Ukraine. If we wring our hands over Trump’s saber-rattling toward Iran, we forget that Democrats destabilized Libya and Syria.

None of this would be so offensive if Democrats had changed their ways or said their mea culpas for, say, wrecking Iraq or Vietnam or creating a carceral state. Yet for all the crocodile tears and hypocritical indignation over Trump’s policies, Democrats have some very selective memory.

This week it was Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Democrats responded immediately and harshly. Nancy LeTourneau, in her piece “Trump’s Dangerous Pandering to White Evangelicals on Jerusalem” in the Clinton-friendly Washington Monthly, wrote:

“the announcement from Trump today that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving our embassy there is a key ingredient to this president’s support among white evangelicals.” [… and ] “this is a perfect example of what happens when we tear down the wall separating church and state. Having a foreign policy that panders to people who welcome war in the Middle East as a sign that we are approaching the climax of history is as nutty as it is dangerous.”

But LeTourneau and the rest of her Pants Suit Nation “forget” the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

That was the year that Barak Obama added a plank in the party platform at the behest of the Israeli lobby group AIPAC to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It was a plank that had somehow been omitted. But a majority of delegates opposed the restoration. Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa kept calling for voice votes to affirm the adoption of the plank, and it kept failing. Finally, Villaraigosa simply ignored the “nays” and declared that it had passed — a moment that revealed how democracy really works in the DNC.

“Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” This has been the DNC position since at least 2008. LeTourneu’s complaint that Trump’s foreign policy panders to people who welcome war in the Middle East is certainly true — but it applies equally to her own party. The rest of the language in the plank — completely disregarded by Democrats — called for an open city, not for gifting the Al Aqsa mosque to Israel:

“The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain a divided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Yet for the last fifty years of Israel’s martial law over Palestinians only the United States has defended the occupation and the settlements. The U.S. has consistently shut its eyes to Israeli abuses and Israel continues to demolish Palestinian homes and businesses in East Jerusalem without a peep of protest or without the U.S. using its considerable supply of sticks and carrots. The U.S. could easily cut off military and economic aid or vetos at the Security Council. Or it could sanction Israel’s nukes.

Democrats now fume at settler donors Jared Kushner and David Friedman working so transparently in behalf of Israel, but it was former Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller who first coined the phrase “Israel’s attorney” in 2005, referring to the United States.

Whether out of gutlessness, lack of empathy for those whom Israelis displaced, craven political opportunism, or maybe just the cash, Democrats have presided over an irreversible buildout of Israeli settlements and half a century of oppression of Palestinians. By being “Israel’s attorney” Democrats have neglected the peace process so long that there is no longer any hope of a Two State solution and so-called U.S. “leadership” is a cruel sham.

Trump just made it official.

What Happened this week

While the 45th president of the United States has been busy trying to wreck the country, you probably missed what happened this week in the Democratic Party.

This week Donna Brazile published an explosive piece in POLITICO titled “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC.” In her article Brazile recounts how the DNC, sinking under $24 million of debt bequeathed by the Obama campaign, was bailed out by the Clinton machine’s financial backers. Not only that, but the party was literally turned over to Clinton to a degree that DNC officers like Brazile didn’t even know what was going on. The deal with the devil was this — the DNC would receive an “allowance” from Clinton’s Wall Street cronies and in return Clinton would control the party.

Speaking of Wall Street and Clinton, Douglas Schoen, a former Clinton advisor, penned a piece in the New York Times recently, arguing that the Democrats need Wall Street. And while it may be true that Clinton and her billionaire friends on Wall Street need each other, others would beg to differ.

Robert Borosage writes in the Nation that “the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party will always be with us. Its policies—on financial deregulation, trade, fiscal austerity, mass incarceration, and military intervention—have been ruinous. Its political aversion to populist appeals has been self-defeating. But Wall Street has the money, so it will always enjoy upholstered think tanks, perches on op-ed pages, and gaggles of politicians eager to peddle its proposals.” Borosage points to centrist Democrats’ latest project — New Democracy — as an effort designed to convince Americans that Wall Street’s interests are their own.

And if you’ve been wondering which way the Democratic Party is headed, look no further than our own state. Seth Moulton has apparently been identified as its new face. As a Slate article points out, “the Massachusetts congressman is a white, centrist, Harvard-educated war hero who wants to remake the Democratic Party. Too bad no one wants that.” The Democrats and their “Better Deal” are intended to appeal to white, monied voters. To hell with everyone else.

While Clinton — to this day — still blames everyone but herself for her 2016 loss, this week a group of progressive Democrats issued their own report discussing what happened and what needs to change: AUTOPSY: The Democratic Party in Crisis. If you want to skip to the bottom line, read the executive summary. But several important important takeaways must be mentioned:

  • The Democratic National Committee and the party’s congressional leadership remain bent on prioritizing the chase for elusive Republican voters over the Democratic base: especially people of color, young people and working-class voters overall.
  • After suffering from a falloff of turnout among people of color in the 2016 general election, the party appears to be losing ground with its most reliable voting bloc, African-American women. “The Democratic Party has experienced an 11 percent drop in support from black women according to one survey, while the percentage of black women who said neither party represents them went from 13 percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2017.”
  • One of the large groups with a voter-turnout issue is young people, “who encounter a toxic combination of a depressed economic reality, GOP efforts at voter suppression, and anemic messaging on the part of Democrats.”
  • “Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination. Siding with the people who constitute the base isn’t truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them.”

Finally, if you are a progressive and still harbor the delusional hope that the Democratic “big tent” is big and broad enough to accommodate you, think again.

Last week the DNC purged Sanders surrogates from the party leadership. Only Keith Ellison remains but he is isolated and it’s anyone’s guess how long he will maintain the pretense of party unity.

Somebody needs to be fighting for the interests of struggling and working people. But it’s obviously not going to be the Democrats.

MA Senate votes on Criminal Reform today

Today the Massachusetts state Senate considers a Criminal Justice Reform package filed by a group of senators including Will Brownsberger and Claire Cronin:

https://willbrownsberger.com/senate-criminal-justice-reform-package/

Progressive Massachusetts has done an analysis of amendments to the package. Call your state senator:

https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

and ask them to support or vote against specific amendments to the package:

http://www.progressivemass.com/2017_10cjr-senateamendments

or use the EMAIL link to email them.

Two additional bills in the Senate preserve visitation for families of prisoners, which Bristol County residents, especially, should support:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1278

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1335

Past, present, future

On August 30th Bill Keating came to the UMASS Law School for a meet and greet he didn’t want to call a Town Hall. In a previous post I suggested that Democrats like Keating are either the future of the Democratic Party or relics of its past. So on the 30th I was especially interested in how the audience responded to him.

The Democratic Representative from the Massachusetts 9th Congressional district answered a few questions, choosing instead to run out the clock on potentially tough ones and he ended by telling the crowd that he had to run: he had a dinner reservation with his mother-in law. Several people remarked that the entire performance was a waste of time and Keating was condescending and disrespectful — an opinion I shared.

But others were more generous to the congressman, a war hawk who has sided with extreme GOP positions on immigration, voted to neuter provisions in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and who supports almost none of the progressive legislation now before Congress — legislation aligned with the new Massachusetts Democratic Party platform but legislation Democrats nevertheless seem conflicted about actually passing.

After the meet and greet I contacted several people chosen to put questions to the congressman and asked them how well he had done. I received four replies:

  • “Although I wasn’t impressed with all Rep. Keating’s answers the other night, I was satisfied with what he said to mine. He even thanked me for it as I passed him by.”
  • “My question was whether the congressman supported legislation to counter religious profiling, religious litmus tests and religious profiling of immigrants. I appreciate Representative Keating’s empathy and his referral to his own family’s encounter with discrimination as immigrant Irish Catholics. He noted that an attack on the civil rights of any minority is an attack on the civil rights of all of us.”
  • “I asked Bill Keating whether he thought, given the partisan politics in Washington today, the Republicans would join Democrats in seeking articles of impeachment if the evidence was strong enough. I think he ran with the question and spoke at length about his thoughts. I was happy with his answer. I think he answered my question, and expanded on it quite a bit. What I came away with was that, at the moment, he doesn’t think that we are quite there for a bipartisan effort.”
  • “As a general comment, I felt he didn’t directly address the question. He talked for 6 or 7 minutes about how he supports bills pushing for transparency in political donations, i.e. from whom donations are received. This, I feel, is a tepid and timid position which does not address the real problem…unregulated and unlimited amounts of money being funneled into the election process. Transparency will help, but will not do the job. I was quite disappointed in his response and it explains why he isn’t a co-sponsor.”

It’s still a bit early to definitively answer the question of what kind of Democrat represents the future of the party, but we should know by the time the Democratic primaries come around. If Reagan Democrats like Keating remain unchallenged, and a slew of Baby Keatings appear on ballots, then we’ll know the party’s true character — regardless of whatever lofty language is written into the platform.

Ultimately, though, it is voters who must push candidates to better positions, expect more, demand more, probe more. Keating’s meet and greet left me feeling discouraged that, for many Democrats, the bar is all too low. And that the party’s recent past is likely to be its near future.

Questions for Bill Keating

On August 30th at 6PM at the UMASS Law School in Dartmouth voters from the 9th Congressional District will have a chance to meet Congressman Bill Keating. As I have noted previously, Keating is not much of a Liberal and his views on immigration, healthcare, consumer protection, and foreign policy are substantially at odds with many Democrats and completely at odds with the new Massachusetts Democratic Party platform. In fact, on immigration especially, Bill Keating seems to go out of his way to vote with Republicans.

Yes, our Congressman has some explaining to do — not only his own voting record, but also the positions of the New Democrat Coalition, of which he is a member. This is one more new Democratic grouping resisting progressive legislation that has some membership overlap with the openly conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

Keating is either a relic of the Democratic Party’s past, or a symbol of its unchanged, and doomed, future.

The PDF in this link might be useful for anyone in the audience on August 30th with an opportunity to jump in line and ask Mr. Keating a question.

Voters need answers on:

  • Immigration
    You have broken with Democrats to vote for several GOP anti-immigrant bills. H.R.3009 punishes Sanctuary Cities. H.R.4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, restricts absorption of Syrian refugees. Most recently you voted for H.R.3004, “Kate’s Law,” which takes a harsh but largely symbolic stand against desperate people who re-enter the United States. The candidate statement on immigration you provided “On the Issues” sounds like it was written by Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions. Can you explain why your positions are so divergent from mainstream Democrats?
     
  • Discriminatory Auto Financing
    You and a minority of House Democrats broke with your own party to vote for Republican sponsored H.R.1737, the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act. This bill prohibited consumers — particularly minorities — from suing auto lenders who violated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules against discrimination in lending. The bill takes the unusual step of preventing disclosures of violations with Freedom of Information Act requests. The NAACP, the Urban League, La Raza, the Consumers Union, and many others, were opposed. Why did you vote to preserve and protect discrimination? And why did you vote against consumers?
     
  • Medicare for All
    One hundred and sixteen Democrats, including your colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, Katherine Clark, Jim McGovern, and Michael Capuano, have co-sponsored H.R.676, John Conyers’ Medicare for All Act. Why are you not a co-sponsor of this bill? And is there another plan to expand care to Americans that you WOULD support?
     
  • College Tuition
    Twenty-seven Democrats, including your Rhode Island colleagues in the House, David Cicilline and Jim Langevin, have co-sponsored H.R.1880, Pramila Jaypal’s College for All Act. Why are you not a co-sponsor of this bill, one which puts into action what Massachusetts Democrats just voted into our platform last June?
     
  • Private Prisons
    Two members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation — McGovern and Clark — support H.R.3227, Raul Grijalva’s Justice is Not for Sale Act. At a time Republicans are trying to re-institute discredited justice and prison practices, and pushing privatization, including prisons, schools, and even the war in Afghanistan, why won’t you support this bill — one that places restrictions on private prisons?
     
  • Mortgage Lending
    You and 63 Democrats broke with your own party to vote for Republican sponsored H.R.3192, the Homebuyers Assistance Act. This bill was a hit with the American Bankers Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Home Builders lobby, but it prohibited consumers from suing mortgage lenders who violated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau disclosure requirements under the Truth in Lending Act. You don’t believe in amnesty for immigrants. Why an amnesty for mortgage lenders?
     
  • Abortion
    One hundred and twenty-one Democrats, including you, support H.R.771, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage. Thank you for that. However, DNC chair Tom Perez and DCCC chair Ray Lujan, as well as some in the New Democrat Coalition, of which you and Seth Moulton are members, argue for “flexibility” on abortion and against abortion as a litmus test. But shouldn’t abortion rights be a non-negotiable plank for Democrats? A litmus test, if you will?
     
  • Citizens United
    In light of the tremendous amount of money now being spent on elections at all levels and ballot questions from 2012 and 2014 showing over 70% of Massachusetts voters supporting a Constitutional amendment to restrict rights to natural persons and to take money out of elections — why are you not a co-sponsor of H.J.Res.48, which would do precisely that?
     
  • Automatic Voter Registration
    One hundred and sixteen Democrats, including four Massachusetts Representatives — McGovern, Tsongas, Neal, and Clark — support H.R.2840, David Cicilline’s Automatic Voter Registration Act. At a time when Republicans are making it more difficult, not easier to vote, what’s stopping you from supporting this bill?
     
  • Taxing Wall Street Speculation
    Two members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation — McGovern and Clark — already support H.R.1144, Keith Ellison’s Inclusive Prosperity Act. This Wall Street Speculation fee is a fraction of a percent tax on stocks, bonds, and financial derivatives, will be used to fund public university tuition, and is offset by tax credits. Can we get you on record tonight as supporting this bill?
     
  • NAFTA
    Two members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation — McGovern and Moulton — have co-signed Representatives Bill Pascrell and Debbie Dingell’s letter urging the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to ensure that the NAFTA renegotiation process remains open and transparent. — Why not you?
     

A Better Deal?

The newly-announced Democratic strategy for 2018 will be neither good for progressives nor for centrist Democrats. A terminally ill party has chosen to forego a direction that might save it. It has chosen a strategy that justifiably skeptical voters will reject in the midterms, one sure to alienate progressives and Republicans alike, in the earnest conviction that walking straight down the middle of the road at midnight is the safest way to move forward. The new strategy also demonstrates that a marriage between party centrists and progressives is untenable.

Yesterday Senate minority leader Charles Schumer and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi stood in the sun in rural Virginia and announced the Democratic Party’s “Better Deal” for Americans. Their message was completely economic: “First, we’re going to increase people’s pay. Second, we’re going to reduce their everyday expenses. And third, we’re going to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.”

The Democratic campaign was crafted by Madison Avenue but symbolically launched in Berryville, Virginia, population 4,185, 85% white, a Southern town where Hillary Clinton led in the 2016 election. The slogan actually reads: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” but GOP hecklers noted similarities with the Papa John’s slogan “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza” and brought their own pizza boxes ridiculing the Democrats. THEWEEK echoed skepticism of the campaign’s ham-handedness: “Congrats on getting a new slogan, Democrats. It might just be dumb enough to work.”

The Democrats’ new strategy seems to embrace the ideas of Clinton strategists Mark Penn and Andrew Stein, whose piece in the July 6th New York Times advised “Back to the Center, Democrats.” POLITICO noted that the new strategy “sidesteps” social issues, appearing to further reject so-called “identity politics,” a direction recommended to the DNC in a November 2016 op-ed in the New York Times by Mark Lilla, a Libertarian. Furthermore, the DNC now seems to be chasing rural white voters, a strategy Amanda Marcotte sees as doomed.

But the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune saw the launch as a smashing success, calming a “restive left” in the party’s ranks. David Atkins at Washington Monthly sounded a “mission accomplished” note by declaring that the party had learned its lessons and now the “healing” could begin. John Stoehr saw the party learning how to be “populists” again. McClatchy News claimed the announcement made progressives delirious with joy at the “left-leaning” agenda. Centrists, wrote the friendly pundits, had moved as far to the left as possible, and now love was in the air.

But when one parses the new economic strategy, it reads exactly like the old economic strategy: economic and wage adjustments, public-private partnerships, and training for the New Economy du jour. But, this time, with tax credits for employers doing the training. The New Republic argues that the DNC emphasis on worker retraining will resonate as poorly with those like the Carrier worker in Elkhart whom Obama lectured during a town hall last June. CUNY Political Scientist Corey Robin points out that public-private worker training schemes are rarely successes and observes that, if this is the best the DNC can come up with, it must have a death wish:

“It’s true that Schumer offers other proposals, including a $15 minimum wage, but for anyone with a memory, the devotion of one sentence, much less a paragraph, of precious column space to this synecdoche of the bipartisan political economy of the last four decades—well, it’s enough to make you think this is a party that wants to die but can’t pull the plug.”

Liberal WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson sees the new Democratic strategy as timid and uninspiring. “I’m still waiting to hear the “bold solutions” that Democrats promise. I can think of one possibility: Why not propose some version of truly universal single-payer health care?”

Writing on Bill Moyers & Company, UC Berkeley law professor Ian Haney Lopez wrote that the new Democratic strategy is everything that’s wrong with the party: Wall Street connections; an over-emphasis on marketing; a party turning its back on minorities by focusing now on whites; and a “boring party with limited ambitions.”

A list of twenty organizations including Our Revolution, Democracy for America, and Progressive Democrats of America wants Democrats to support seven pieces of progressive legislation. It’s been a remarkable litmus test for the party’s willingness to actually move in a progressive direction. Not surprisingly, Democrats have rejected the progressive agenda. Forget the Blue Dogs and Red State Democrats for a moment and look at the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.

Not one in the entire delegation supports the Massachusetts Democratic platform’s call for free college education. Only two are willing to tax investment income. Only two are willing to get rid of private prisons. Only three support healthcare as a human need and not a profit center. Only three support automatic voter registration (Democratic Secretary of State William F. Galvin is even appealing a State Judicial Court ruling that bars the state from forbidding people from voting unless they registered 20 days prior to an election).

It seems clear where all this is headed. Does anyone really expect hundreds of midnight conversions to progressive politics from Bay State Democrats? This is a party that has learned nothing from its loss in 2016. Democrats, both centrist and progressive, need to admit that efforts to reform the DNC have failed. There will be no new direction, no recalibration — only a further slide to the right as Democrats try even harder to play the Republican game.