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Monday, July 31, 2006

Establishment has The Fear

From Chris Bowers:

Whether or not this is what we intended (and I know, for my part, it kind of was), the Connecticut Senate primary has now turned into an all-out war between the establishment and the progressive movement. Within the Democratic Party, the stakes could hardly be higher, as this campaign has become a symbol of what the progressive movement can (or can't) accomplish. [...]

We could not be more outgunned in this race. The only thing we have on our side is the progressive movement, Ned Lamont's millions, and the Democratic voters of Connecticut. Every other resource in the Democratic, media, advocacy group, and business infrastructure of this country is faced off against us. And the funny thing this, despite this seemingly imbalance, the establishment is actually scared, and the movement is actually gaining. How long have we suffered through the establishment claiming that the progressive movement is irrelevant, ineffective, and crazy, but now with every tool in their box in use, they are still the ones scared of us, and they are the ones who have seen a 46-point lead in late April turn into a four-point deficit in mid-July. They lost fifty points to us in less than three months, despite using every weapon in their arsenal. If they can't even beat us, no wonder they lose to Republicans on a regular basis.

Now, whether Ned Lamont wins or loses this election, in the days immediately following August 8th, there will be a flood of negative press about the netroots and the progressive movement. If Lamont wins, we will be crucified for sending the Democratic Party to its doom, and defeating one of the greatest Democratic politicians in history: Joe Lieberman. If Ned Lamont loses, we will once again be called ineffective, irrelevant, and crazy by the establishment, even though we clearly scared the crap out the establishment and even though this campaign was supposed to be a blowout win for Lieberman. Before any of that happens, the important thing to remember now is just how ineffective we have shown the Democratic and media establishment to be, and how Ned Lamont's quick rise has shown that a huge percentage of the Democratic electorate is on the side of the movement and not the establishment.
The 2008 implications of this race have seriously upped the anty. Lieberman has a 2:1 financial advantage, is an 18 year incumbent, has every advantage and is in serious trouble.

In 2006 Democratic Primaries, the story has been that DLC candidates who are wrong on the issues can't gloss over the fact with huge cash advantages. In California, in Montana, and now Connecticut the Democrat with less money but the right message has destoyed the myth that money equals votes.

Each year, the DLC gets weaker and the movement stronger. In the 2004 presidential campaign, Howard Dean was able to give the establishment serious heartburn. In 2005, the movement took over the DNC and demonstrated in OH-02 exactly why the 50 State Strategy is needed. In 2006, DLC candidates have already lost two of the most high profile primary elections. By 2007, the movement will be fighting for a good Democrat as a nominee and the front loaded primary calendar means that there will be plenty of time in 2008 to fight in local primaries after the nomination is secure.

The establishment can either keep fighting the base and continue to grow weaker or start fighting the Republicans and be part of the change this country needs. It is the establishment's lack of leadership that is responsible for the growth of the movement, physics demand that the vacuum be filled. If the establishment decided to start leading, then they could take advantage of the new energy and have a growing army ready to follow.

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