Blue Pilled: The Left Should Take Credit for the Progress Being Made, Not Deny It

One day into Joe Biden’s presidency, Liza Featherstone published a piece in Jacobin entitled “If Joe Biden Moves Left, You Can Thank the Left.” The thrust of her argument was that the Left should take credit for any progressive actions Biden takes, pointing to years of Left organizing and activism against all odds that brought progressive economic policies into the mainstream, particularly since the 2016 Presidential primaries.

After Biden’s first 100 days, however, much of the online Left seems committed to doing just the opposite. As the Biden administration passed a $300 per month, per child UBI, and has recently proposed plans for funding guaranteed paid leave and universal pre-K, many on the Left seem determined to minimize the significance of these plans, going as far as to accuse progressive House members of “gaslighting” their supporters by acknowledging and applauding such progress.

On the one hand, this should come as little surprise. After all, a great many podcasters and YouTubers have built their brands around criticizing the Democratic Party from the Left. We’re among them. And there is undoubtedly a wealth of material for critics of Joe Biden to sink their teeth into. His failure to lead on the minimum wage, neglecting to explicitly and unequivocally endorse the Amazon workers’ union efforts in Bessemer, Alabama, deception surrounding the ongoing role that the U.S. will play in the Saudi war on Yemen, are three important and legitimate criticisms among a plethora of others.

But to deny the significance of programs like children’s UBI, paid leave, and universal pre-K, is to deny reality. Currently, the average American family spends 23% of its income on childcare, while family benefits account for an embarrassingly low 0.64% of GDP. UBI for parents combined with universal pre-K and paid leave will obviously have a tremendous positive impact on the ease of family rearing in a country that has fallen woefully behind the rest of the developed world in this respect.

By pretending otherwise, the Left not only appears bitter and delusional, but worse, they project their own powerlessness and irrelevance to the rest of the country. If Leftists disavow these programs and accuse those who tout them of being compromised “gaslighters,” “sellouts,” or “careerists,” we signal that we want nothing to do with the proposal and passage of the very policies we have been advocating for so long.

Is this really the road we want to go down? Do we want to cut off our noses to spite our faces, just because we don’t like the president or the party in power? Do we want to project our own irrelevance by denying our role in promoting these popular Left policies that are finally seeing their day in the sun?

A much better approach would be to tout these accomplishments as our own. The Hill recently published an article entitled “We must thank Sanders for Biden’s success.” That sounds a lot more like it. It’s not about giving Biden credit, it’s about giving ourselves credit for forcing these ideas into the mainstream.

We discuss this and more on episode 112 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

Podcast: Inside the Democrats’ War on Bernie Sanders – w/Branko Marcetic

Branko Marcetic, staff writer at Jacobin and author of the book Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden, joined the podcast to discuss his thorough and insightful review of the new book Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won The Presidency by Amy Parnes and Jonathan Allen.

Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below, or watch on YouTube.

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Photo: Brittany Greeson, Getty Images

After a Progressive Sweep, Did the Nevada Democratic Establishment Just DemExit?

Progressive candidates swept control of the Nevada Democratic Party on Saturday, March 6th. With the backing of the local DSA chapter, Judith Whitmer was elected chair of the state party, and four other Left candidates also prevailed in their respective races. Immediately following their victories, they received word that the entire staff of the state party was quitting, and terminating their contracts with independent consultants as well. The Intercept also reported that before Saturday’s election, the Nevada Democrats transferred $450,000 out of the party and into the DSCC, which will work to re-elect incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in 2022. Whitmer, in her appearance on the Deconstructed podcast, did not confirm or deny that, but she said that she has enlisted an attorney to try and prevent any similar shenanigans.

Ironically, prior to the vote, the Harry Reid machine‘s slate of candidates billed themselves as the “Progressive Unity Slate,” and criticized the socialist-backed roster for being too divisive to unify the party. But for all their talk of party unity, the establishment in Nevada made clear that unless the Democratic party serves the corporate interests that fund it, it’s of no real use to them. They essentially DemExited within 24 hours of realizing that the party would no longer be aligned with their agenda, and are now, according to The Intercept, setting up “an independent shop.”

Jon Ralston, the Nevada reporter who falsely claimed in 2016 that Bernie Sanders supporters erupted in a violent fit of chair-throwing rage at the state convention, lamented the fall of the party establishment, which he called “the most effective Democratic Party in the country.” Ralston also wrote that “[the] machine will still be there next year…it just won’t be called the Democratic Party.” As much as we might not want to admit it, he’s right about that. The same machine will still be there, just under a different banner.

This is the problem with progressives’ inside-the-party strategy: by the time the Left does “take over” the party, the infrastructure that makes the party so powerful will likely have been sold off, rendering the party an empty shell of its former self. The money, the personnel, the consultant relationships, will all be gone, and we’ll essentially be tasked with creating a new party anyway – because the Democrats, as they demonstrated in Nevada, will bail on the party, and immediately create a proxy party, if it comes to that, on a national level.

Are we not better off just creating a major new party right now? Why waste time wrestling over the name “Democrat,” which is toxic to so much of the country in the first place? Why ask permission from Democrats to control their institution, if they’ll gut the party so it’s of little use to us if and when we do eventually win?

We discuss all of this and more on episode 109 of the Due Dissidence podcast. Listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below:

Subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player!

Photo: Gage Skidmore