By Kelly Gerling
Progressives Play Hardball with the Democratic Party Before Elections
May 23, 2016
United Progressive News Network
WASHINGTON—They call themselves progressives, but their opponents on the right, and among moderate Democrats call them “the left,” the “extreme liberal wing” of the Democratic Party, and “radicals” from the Green Party. Adopting what they call progressive political unity strategy, their American Progressive Congress or APC, formed in 2011, designed a strategy of playing hardball with moderate Democrats. Bernie Sanders, who brought many delegates in the current presidential campaign, told the Democrats that they want policy concessions on electoral reform and respect for international law along with cabinet positions, and a strategy to end what they call the “illegal occupations” of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. If they make a deal, Sanders said, they will support the Democratic nominee. But in an unprecedented maneuver for Democrats, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Lee, and the entire 130 member Congressional Progressive Caucus said that absent a deal regarding their requests, they will all ask their respective delegates and constituencies to vote for Green Party candidates that are all ready to run, with their support.
There is no word yet from the DLC, but analysts suggest that with the progressive delegates and their members’ votes for the House and Senate races, the prospect of no deal will mean losses for moderates in most races, who the progressives call “corporate Democrats.”
The DNC, Howard Dean and the leading presidential candidates say they are in discussions with Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders Barbara Lee and Bernie Sanders. They are hoping for a deal on negotiating policy and cabinet positions.
Green Party candidate Martin Sheen said that the Green Party members, and progressive Democrats are all part of the same progressive Democratic/Green Party alliance group along with 50 elected independent progressive leaders. The APC represents a large voting bloc of millions of progressive US citizens, and is supported by progressive groups such as PDA, DFA, and numerious other progressive organizations.
Their group worked out a political strategy for the 2016 elections after months of discussions. Ralph Nader, an independent candidate, is also an elected representative of the APC. He says part of the progressive offer to the Democratic Party, beyond policy concessions and cabinet positions, is a commitment to two things:
1.) Have the presidential debates open to any party or candidate who can make a three percent threshold in the polls.
2.) Work for a fair multi-party democracy with exclusively public financing for elections through a process of amending the Constitution.
Nader said, “Progressives are united as never before and we will no longer support the exclusion of smaller party candidates from the debates. The American people need to hear a broad range of issues and arguments in the debates.”
Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the independent leaders elected to the APC, said that the Democrats must insist that the two-party system must diversify to a multi-party system or huge numbers of American progressive citizenry will withdraw their support from the Democratic Party in crucial races. He hoped the corporate Democrats would make a deal with the progressives this time around, or face the consequences.