The DNC Vote

Over the weekend, the leaders of the Democratic Party missed a big opportunity.

Members of the Democratic National Committee had a chance to harness the energy of the millions of people resisting Trump — but instead, a razor-thin majority circled the wagons and denied progressive Congressman Keith Ellison the DNC chairmanship.

Isn’t it obvious that a lack of energy and enthusiasm contributed to Trump’s narrow electoral college win? What could be a higher priority than selecting the leader most capable of inspiring and mobilizing this newly activated base?

It’s a familiar story. The Democratic Party is torn between a progressive base of voters on the one hand, and corporate donors and consultants on the other.

But now, the stakes are higher than ever. A Democratic Party that coddles powerful donors and consultants will never lead the progressive, anti-corporate movement we need to defeat Trump and Trumpism.

That’s why we need the Working Families Party more than ever.

None of this is meant as a knock on new DNC chair Tom Perez, the first Latino elected to the position. He is a progressive and was an excellent Labor Secretary. But what the DNC chair’s race revealed is an unwillingness from many Democratic Party elites to allow anyone who isn’t in the club — especially anyone who backed Bernie Sanders — to control the levers of power in the party.

Since Bill Clinton and his allies in the Democratic Leadership Council seized the helm of the Democratic Party in the 90s, the party has steadily drifted to the right — seeking out corporate donors, embracing trickle-down economics and deregulation, locking people up (especially young African-Americans) in mind-boggling numbers, arguing about immigration reform while continuing to deport millions of immigrant workers, and embracing corporate “free trade” while abandoning working people and their unions.

They thought this would help them pick up both “centrist” voters and Wall Street donors. But what it really accomplished was a shift in the political center of gravity, which allowed the Republican Party to race even further to the right — from Gingrich to Bush to the Tea Party to Trump. This dangerous right-wing movement is now fully in control.

The leaders of the Democratic Party missed what’s obvious to so many of us: that the future of our nation requires trusting that working people — of all races, religions, backgrounds, and regions of our nation — actually know what they need, and want a party that will stand up for them.

That’s what the Working Families Party is: an independent progressive political organization with a track record of fighting against corporate Democrats and for progressive ones. With the wins (and the scars) to show for it.

This is not about abandoning the Democrats. But we are committed to building the independent political power that can force them to be better — a lot better. That’s how we’ll beat Trump and the right-wing Republicans. We’ll work with Democrats when we can, and push them when we must, including challenging them in primaries. Tough love, political-style.

At its core, the Working Families Party is about building power for working families, of all colors, all backgrounds, from all over America, who have been marginalized for too long. That work is part of what it will take to transform the Democratic Party: what they stand for, who they run, how they govern.

In solidarity,

Ana Maria Archila
National Co-Chair, Working Families Party

Bishop Dwayne Royster
National Co-Chair, Working Families Party

Karen Scharff
National Co-Chair, Working Families Party

Dan Cantor
National Director, Working Families Party

P.S. If you are so moved by this post, please chip in to the Working Families Party and help build a party that stands with working families, not corporate donors — every time.