I was just asking for a friend. In a piece about the post-election state of "the left" for Jacobin this week, Lichi D'Amelio wrote that the calamity was-- a dozen lost seats and one measly pickup of another Republican-lite candidate-- was clearly the doing of the incapable Democratic Party establishment. "Party centrists ran the campaign they wanted, and this was the result." As always, the same party establishment blames progressives. "But win or lose, centrist Dems see the Left-- on the streets and in their own House-- as enemy number one. So the party’s leaders, rather than taking the opportunity to do some much-needed soul-searching, are focusing their crosshairs on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and the party’s left wing." But in the face of a non-stop propaganda war against progressives and progressive ideas, Blue Dogs and establishment leaders like Hakeem "the next Speaker" Jeffries and majority whip Jim Clyburn, AOC "has, wrote D'Amelio, "proven herself a tireless and astute spokesperson for the Left. Instead of slinking into the background, hoping the attacks might subside, she’s hit back at centrist attempts to muddy the waters and squelch the Left."
AOC has been setting the record straight politically: not one candidate ran on "defund the police" or "socialism!!!!" and not one progressive candidate lost their seat-- including ones in tough seats where Trump won. Blue Dogs and idiots like Clyburn and Jeffries validate GOP talking points by allowing them to frame the issues with their own terms. Medicare-for-all sponsors were all reelected; every single one of them. The losers were uninspiring Republican-lite legislators who have terrible records and nothing to offer and didn't deserve to be reelected. None of them understand that-- or why the nearly half billion dollars the DCCC spent was a big waste.
AOC has also been arguing that "the electoral organization and campaign infrastructure of the Democratic Party is outmoded and that she knows how to do it better. Calling out her fellow party members for 'still campaigning largely as though it’s 2005,' she recently quipped: 'I’ve been unseating Democrats for two years. I have been defeating Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee–run campaigns for two years. That’s how I got to Congress... And that their base is not the enemy. That the Movement for Black Lives is not the enemy, that Medicare for all is not the enemy.'"
In an interview with WCAX, the Vermont CBS-affiliate, Bernie showed exactly how to push back on right-wing and corporate framing used against progressives:
Reporter Darren Perron: Opponents would argue-- and a lot of Republicans have said-- these are radical, far-left ideas, and even some Democrats have said that progressive ideas hurt some Democrats who ran this past time. Some House seats were lost.
Senator Bernie Sanders: I categorically disagree. For a start, in terms of a radical idea, Darren, if you and I drove 50 miles north to our neighbors in Canada, somehow or another, for decades they’ve had a system where anybody can go to any hospital you want, any doctor you want, you don’t take out your wallet, you don’t take out your credit card-- universal health care-- they are spending one half as much per capita as we are. Sound like a radical idea? I don’t think so. In terms of the criticism made against me and others, let’s be clear. Over 100 candidates running for Congress on a Medicare for All proposal. Not one of them lost. One candidate lost who was running on a Green New Deal.
Unfortunately, though, we just elected a president who is-- better than Trump-- but one of the conservative, progressive-hating Democrats. Biden has been hating progressives since before he even ran for office and for his entire decades-long career in the Senate.
If you expected Biden to be anything more than "at least he's not Trump," you are in for a horrible surprise. Today, for example, the candidate who campaigned on confronting climate change as one of his top priorities, appointed as his liaison to the climate movement Cedric Richmond (New Dem-LA), who has raked in big money from the fossil fuel industry while voting to help oil and gas companies.
David Sirota, Julia Rock and Andrew Perez reported this morning that "During his ten years in Congress, Richmond has received roughly $341,000 from donors in the oil and gas industry-- the fifth-highest total among House Democrats... Richmond has raked in that money while representing a congressional district that is home to seven of the ten most air-polluted census tracts in the country. Richmond has repeatedly broken with his party on major climate and environmental votes. During the climate crisis that has battered his home state of Louisiana, Richmond has joined with Republicans to vote to increase fossil fuel exports and promote pipeline development. He also voted against Democratic legislation to place pollution limits on fracking-- and he voted for GOP legislation to limit the Obama administration’s authority to more stringently regulate the practice. Overall, Richmond has received a lifetime rating of 76 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, and he scored 46 percent in 2018-- one of the lowest ratings of any Democrat in Congress."
“Cedric Richmond has taken big money from the fossil fuel industry, cozied up w/oil and gas, & stayed silent while polluters poisoned his own community,” the Sunrise Movement, a grassroots group pushing for a Green New Deal, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “How will young people & frontline communities trust our voices will be heard louder than Big Oil in a @JoeBiden administration?”
Varshini Prakash, the Sunrise Movement’s executive director who served on Biden’s policy task force, said in a statement: “Today feels like a betrayal, because one of President-Elect Biden’s very first hires for his new administration has taken more donations from the fossil fuel industry during his Congressional career than nearly any other Democrat.”
Prakash called Richmond’s selection “an affront to young people who made President-Elect Biden’s victory possible.”
How about the very walking-talking definition of neoliberalism itself-- Rahm Emanuel-- for a cabinet job? Yesterday, Ryan Grim explained the many reasons Biden has to not want to work with Emanuel. "Among Obama’s aides, including Emanuel," he wrote, "Biden was known as the guy whose suggestions in the meeting would send it sideways unless humored and then respectfully ignored. Biden, though, valued his private time with Obama. Just as he had to go through Emanuel to get his crime bill over the line, he now found Emanuel between him and the president."
AOC told the New York Times that "an Emanuel appointment would be 'divisive' at a time the party needs to come together. 'It would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grassroots and the progressive wing of the party,' Ocasio-Cortez said. Emanuel has largely directed his most aggressive political assaults not at Republicans, but at the progressive wing of the party. Emanuel was first elected to Congress in 2002 as a backer of the Iraq War and ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, a wave year for Democrats that saw fierce primaries between progressives and Emanuel-backed centrists. 'We took on the communists in the party,' Emanuel celebrated after one primary victory. During his stint in the Obama administration, Emanuel was frequently at war privately with progressive groups to get them to keep their skepticism of the administration quiet-- at one point telling a meeting of progressives that they were 'fucking retarded' for pressuring Blue Dog Democrats, and at other times threatening the outside funding of organizations that didn’t get in line... As Chicago mayor, Emanuel continued to antagonize the left on everything from housing to policing to education. His tenure was effectively ended when it emerged that his office played a role in covering up the murder by Chicago police of Laquan McDonald." If Biden is looking to appoint someone to his cabinet who progressives hate even more than Republican John Kasich, he's got the right man.
As far as appointing Bernie Labor Secretary or Elizabeth Warren Treasury Secretary, that's about as likely as Biden inviting Trump and his son Hunter over to the White House for a cozy dinner and asking them to work on a national security project together.