I was struck by the hostility of the Massachusetts Democratic Party faithful who responded to this recent jconway blog, in which he defended the United Independent Party’s name, its practices, and existence. (By the way, so far as the name and primary voting go, I think we all will figure out how that works soon enough, and we should calm down. UIP is here to stay.) It’s clear that a subtext of that hostility–indeed, a motivation behind it–was that many of you are feeling a bit defensive about your party these days.
But I ask you party activists: is the Massachusetts Democratic Party really worth defending? Certainly, it’s blessed with many energetic progressives who care deeply about our future. But it’s far past time to admit the obvious: the Democratic Party’s leadership on Beacon Hill doesn’t care about the same things that you do, and they’re ignoring you.
The power brokers in the House have transformed the Massachusetts Democratic Party into a conservative one. They are staunchly anti-tax (progressive or otherwise), hostile to public education and unions, but pro-big business. They, on the one hand, stand idly by as we face enormous challenges–whether it’s the state’s lack of affordable housing stock, our crumbling public transit infrastructure, gross income inequality, or the high cost of health care. But, on the other, they eagerly do the Governor’s bidding, no matter how scuzzy the business. And time and again, they allow good bills, like the ones that would improve solar energy development or ensure transgender civil rights in public, to simply twist in the wind.
This has been the status quo for some time, and this will surely continue to be for the foreseeable future, so long as the progressive voices in the party are marginalized.
And so, I think progressives have good reasons to leave the Massachusetts Democratic Party. But they have even better reasons for joining UIP!
Look again at the party platform. We are pro-progressive taxation. We are pro-LGBTQ rights across the board and without equivocation. We are serious about tackling criminal justice reform, developing a clean energy future, reforming our campaign finance laws, and fixing the MBTA. We also offer novel approaches to our biggest challenges. Our Thriving Communities Action Plan would foster cooperation between developers, the state government, local zoning boards, and our communities to smartly build the affordable housing stock we need. And we also have a realistic plan to cut health care costs in the near-term by neutralizing the market forces that gouge patients. This is all common sense stuff, but we need your help to make it happen.
I refuse to do that. I want to help build a movement at the ground floor. I want my voice to be heard.
What do you want?