Progressives, it’s our responsibility to begin a counter offensive

The 2016 election is only eight days away. It’s looking very likely that Hillary Clinton will be our next President, which is good news for all the progress that has been made under the Obama Presidency. It’s also good news since Congress is virtually incapable of doing anything big. That’s unlikely to change since the Democrat’s path to winning the U.S. Senate is very narrow and the U.S. House remains out of reach. So, at least we’ll have a Democrat in the White House who can appoint good people and make change through executive orders where possible and reasonable.

Even if we pretend the Democrats are able to take back the U.S. Senate this year by the slimmest of margins, people still shouldn’t expect much given the abuse of the filibuster and extreme partisanship. There’s also the GOP controlled U.S. House.

Here in Montana it’s looking more likely that Governor Bullock will win a second term. In Montana, things are slightly better than they are in D.C. The Governor has the coalition of the willing (moderates) to work with in order to a get important things done. Still, there will be plenty of obstructionism during the 2017 Legislative Session. Democrats have almost zero chance of gaining control of either Chamber.

The Problem

Bottom-line: we may be winning at the top of the ticket, but we’re losing at the bottom. We focus so heavily on the top of the ticket that we forget how our Democracy actually works. Many supporters of Bernie Sanders epitomize this problem. Despite Bernie’s pleas, they saw their political revolution starting and ending with Senator Sanders. This may change, but it illustrates the problem: Democrats get so focused on the big ticket races that they forgot about the rest of the political system. This point is driven home by the fact that a large group of Democrats only show up for Presidential elections.

Conservatives are doing it better

After getting crushed in 2006 and 2008, Republicans realized that they were going to keep losing big ticket races for a number of reasons, including changing demographics and old social wedges no longer serving as effective turnout tools.

So, they started focusing on more locally-focused offices like county commissions and state legislatures. And they started winning. The results have been devastating. While D.C. is stuck in constant deadlock, the burden of governing falls on the states, counties, and municipalities. That is now where the power is and conservatives got the jump on us.

In fact, Democrats now only control 11 Sate Legislatures and have total control (State Legislature and Governor) is 8 states. Unfortunately, even some people chairing the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which is charged with electing Democrats to the Montana Legislature are more preoccupied with sending resources aways from Montanan and in to Colorado to help deliver the state for the Clinton campaign. These are the same people who want to run for leadership in the Legislature in 2017. This is a problem. This is why we’re ceding ground to the GOP and their special interests.

Our country is being changed dramatically and we’re not even noticing

Our country is being changed dramatically and we’re not even noticing. Policy-making and governing is happening at the state and local levels, but we’re too focused on what is happening with national politics to notice where the real and growing power actually resides.

If progressives, liberals, and moderates really want to make change and see effective governing, they need to start winning local elections. It’ll be good to celebrate Hillary Clinton’s victory, but don’t let one victory blind you from the larger issue at hand: Democrats are losing ground everywhere and it’s our responsibility to begin a counter offensive.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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Calamity Jan


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  • Is there an article on Montana Democratic legislative campaign committee money going to Hillary campaign in Colorado?You seem to be saying that however when I go to your link it’s just about Jenny Eck. I know Eck is Co-Chair of Montana Democratic Legislative Committee as well as Montana State Director for Hillary for America campaign and on National Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. She surely has insider connection and in my opinion is what is wrong with Montana Democratic Party all focused on national level. On Montana Democratic Party web site it states “central committees are background of the Montana Democratic Party” but unfortunately there are only 27 functional county committees with 29 counties in the state having none. Most of the counties having none are rural where no democratic legislative candidate has been elected in years. If the stated goal of legislative committee is “gaining a democratic majority in state congress” why send money to Hillary. I may be wrong but I wonder if some in these leadership positions real goal is to attach themselves to campaigns that benefit themselves to higher out of state positions rather then the goal of the committee.

  • Hey Hillary, how does it feel to be aborted 10 days before delivery? hehe Her polls are dropping faster the Bill’s pants in an Arkansas trailer park.

  • Feel the Bern. Bernie sure got hosed. More emails showing Donna Brazile was leaking debate question to the Clinton Campaing

    Donna Brazile Out At CNN Amid Leaks To Clinton Campaign
    October 31, 2016 1:42 PM

    Donna Brazile, the acting chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, resigned from her role as a CNN contributor earlier this month.

    Her departure was announced Monday amid fresh revelations that she sent questions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in advance of a CNN debate and a CNN-TV One town hall.

    In a statement, CNN said it was “completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.”

    • You know Bill, I’m not happy about this. I’m done with the DNC. If the GOP had put up a credible candidate there might be a race. It didn’t and now your party is toast on so many levels. I wait to see the results in the down-ticket races — the ones I really care about.

    • Funny how Donna Brazile is getting all the heat for giving questions to Hillary before a debate. There are two parties to this cheating incident, Brasile and Clinton. Clinton deserves her share of the blame. If someone gave me exam questions in advance of a test and I used them to ace the test, we’d both be in trouble. In fact, I’d probably be in worse trouble than the guy who gave me the questions. Trump is awful, but so is Clinton. They’re both liars and cheats.

  • “We focus so heavily on the top of the ticket that we forget how our Democracy actually works. Many supporters of Bernie Sanders epitomize this problem.”

    Actually, the problem is epitomized by democrats treating their potential allies like they are ignorant sheep.

    Democracy can never work if those in control of the machinations of the party machine continually subvert the democratic process in the selection of nominees and doling out the dollars.

    Democracy can also never work when party insiders like Calamity continually denigrate those who don’t think like her/him. Who want to work with someone who treats you like an ignoramus?

    • I can see where you take issue with the line, “Many supporters of Bernie Sanders epitomize this problem.” I know a number of Berners who have actively worked on down-ticket races for other progressives since the convention. I also know some who completely withdrew from politics when their candidate didn’t receive the nomination. That, in my mind, is a mistake.

      I, too, am upset with the DNC and its shenanigans, and some other topdown moves. But as they say in the lottery business, you can’t win if you don’t play. So, progressives (particularly Bernie supporters) keep working it.

      Other than the line I refer to above, I think Calamity makes valid points.

  • How can a progressive run for office in rural Montana? Most rural voters are white, old, and uneducated. Until they die off, no progressive has a chance.

  • I couldn’t agree more with the central premise of your post – the importance of electing more progressives to county commissions and the legislature – but I think your concerns about the Montana Democratic Legislators Campaign Coordinating Committee are misplaced. MDLCC has been focusing on winning more Democratic seats in the Montana legislature for many years. All its funding goes to that effort and that effort alone. In 2015, thanks to MDLCC’s efforts, Montana was one of the few states to actually pick up D seats. We hope to do the same in 2017.

    As a candidate in 2015 and a co-chair of MDLCC since 2016, I’ve had a chance to watch Jenny Eck’s role first-hand. For the past four years, she has been tireless in her efforts to get other Democrats elected to legislative seats. That means putting her own campaign to the side to help other candidates in countless ways – trainings across the state, knocking doors, advice on mailings, fundraising, regular conference calls and much more. Although Jenny accepted the offer to be the state coordinator for the Clinton campaign a year ago, it has not eroded her efforts with MDLCC. She is always on board and fully present. In fact, I can think of no one who is doing more to advance the effort your post rightly urges than Jenny Eck.

  • OK, lost THAT round….NOW…. Indiana Progressives…. we have a head start. Eat your WHEATIES & ALMOND MILK and let’s go. Wasn’t much of phenomenon, they had a message and boots on the ground. Wait ’til they start reneging. Strategize….. watch “Anarchy USA,” on CSPAN 3. Replace communism w/ “predatory capitalism.” Exactly what’s happening today.

    Watching the first “Victory lap” on CSPAN and trying to hold my stomach down. Gotta get busy!!

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