… and you would be forgiven for wondering when this primary will ever end.
Most of the attention has fallen to Keith Ellison, an early endorser of Bernie Sanders and therefore the favorite of that wing. Tom Perez is seen as the stalking horse of the “Obama/Clinton wing”, which still seems like a strange hybrid. And then there’s the exceptionally well-spoken young mayor of South Bend IN, Pete Buttigieg.
They’re all saying the right things. They all plan to build up the party from the very local levels, to compete everywhere across the country. This is good and necessary and everyone professes to agree on that.
The party — progressivism generally — needs to establish and burrow in at the cultural level, more widely than it has heretofore. This ought to be possible away from big, multi-cultural population centers. Anyplace where people want to come together to build better schools for themselves; be able to see doctors when they need to; breathe easy and drink water without fear; and get paid a decent wage — these are places that a progressive message ought to be at home. Anytime we blame intractable geographic/cultural differences for electoral defeats, we know that actually we just stopped trying. People aren’t all that different. The amazing display of Indivisible protests around the country shows that.
The party still suffers from a cruft of lobbyists, consultants, and big-money grabbers. In practice it may well end up that the consultant class sucks the money out of those efforts on behalf of TV buys for “high-profile” races. The big-money/quick fix mentality needs to be resisted. You’ve got to start with people.
As a tactical matter I’m pulling for Ellison. I have little insight into the actual organizing/strategic merits of him vs. Perez. But there’s nothing obviously disqualifying about him, he says the right things, his background is relevant, and many Sanders supporters would view it as a good will offering. The Bernie faction has the energy and organizing juice. I’m more than happy to let Ellison channel some of that. And structurally it works as a marriage-of-state — a way to seal the end of hostilities.
Enough. Let’s let the future happen already.