Grassroots energy defiled

The attached article is a really important one to help in understanding how it was made possible, mostly by the doings of a democratic party elite who prized their elite positions in society more than the good of the people, that we went from Obama to Trump. Throughout the Obama administration and into the election that brought Trump to the White House, I wrote about that elite and how they were using the party more for themselves, to hold onto the power they had somehow accrued, than developing policies that might help a citizenry recently brutally punished by elites during the “economic crisis” manufactured by those elites. Hilary Clinton–and I know some will continue to resent my saying so–was the star of the elite crowd of not so liberal, not at all progressive, leaders of the party and, if one does any kind of honest analysis, it was her allegiance to this elite (that was illiberal enough to pander to the very Wall Street assholes who had caused large numbers of Americans to suffer greatly) that made it possible for Trump to take over after Obama. Good numbers of people had very good reason not to trust Hillary and Nancy and Debbie and whoever else was running the democratic party. So this article helps to show that the grassroots crowd that supported Obama in two elections in record numbers didn’t stay with his party because they felt neglected by a party that, as this article tries to show, really didn’t really want grassroots participation–Hillary was going to be the candidate come hell or high water and now we are drowning in the fires of a hell the democratic party helped to make possible. Here are some of the poignant quotes from the article. Reading it in whole is suggested:

Quotes: There was plenty in Movement 2.0 to inspire heartburn in that crowd. In Silicon Valley terms, Obama 2008 had “disrupted” presidential campaigns, demonstrating how an underdog candidate could defeat a more experienced opponent by changing the terms of the game and empowering millions of people in the process. Now, it seemed, the Obamaites and their tech wizards wanted to disrupt the Democratic Party, diverting money and control from the DNC into an untried platform, while inviting “input,” and possibly even organized dissent, from Obama’s base. Earlier that summer, activists unhappy with Obama’s flip-flop on warrantless surveillance had used MyBO to build a group of more than 20,000 vocal supporters, earning national press and compelling a response from the candidate. What if Obama’s base didn’t like the health care reform he came up with, and rallied independently around a single-payer plan? Besides, grassroots movements, no matter how successful, don’t reliably yield what political consultants want most: money and victories for their candidates, with plenty of spoils for themselves. For insiders like Tewes, Movement 2.0 was a step too far.

At the time, I just didn’t realize the powerful pull that the architects of the Obama ‘movement’ would feel away from movement building and toward paranoid possession of the conventional trappings of political power. If you’re not really that committed, as a matter of principle, to a bottom-up theory of change, then you will find it nonsensical to cede some control in order to gain more power.”

“I guess they liked our name for it, but chose to pervert the idea to something quite conventional and, forgive me, trivial. To me, real movement building had to be about defining and advancing progressivism, not a communication strategy from the West Wing basement costumed as faux movement. The kind of movement we wanted would have helped

The entire campaign machine, renamed Organizing for America, would be folded into the DNC, where it would operate as a fully controlled subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

Obama unveiled OFA a week before his inauguration. “Volunteers, grassroots leaders, and ordinary citizens will continue to drive the organization,” he promised. But that’s not what happened. Shunted into the DNC, MyBO’s tools for self-organizing were dismantled within a year. Instead of calling on supporters to launch a voter registration drive or build a network of small donors or back state and local candidates, OFA deployed the campaign’s vast email list to hawk coffee mugs and generate thank-you notes to Democratic members of Congress who backed Obama’s initiatives.

Ultimately, of course, the failure to keep the grassroots movement going rests with Obama. It was his original, and most costly, political mistake—not only a sin of omission, but a sin of imagination, one that helped decimate the Democratic Party at the state and local level and turn over every branch of the federal government to the far right.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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