There's this wonderful children's book called "If..." by Sarah Perry, which has all sorts of zany pictures in it -- if mice were hair, if worms had wheels, if frogs ate rainbows and so on, all around this theme of "if." It's now got a YouTube video of course. The book is a great way of teaching the subjunctive tense and a real resource for anyone who works as a substitute teacher in the elementary grades of the public schools. "If..." is, then, an essential resource for teachers.

The illustrations of "If..." are both enticing and amusing. Enticing because the style of illustration is so realistic (though of course there is a touch of the surreal to each); amusing because you know that toes cannot be teeth and cats cannot fly. Which brings me to a political point, as elaborated below.

At any rate, this book "If..." is the first thing which comes to mind when reading Ted Rall's column of Wednesday, "The Splitting Up of the Democratic Party -- Why It's Probably Coming Sooner Than You Think." Rall's arguments are both enticing and amusing; enticing because I want it to be true, amusing because I can think of easy objections.

OK so Rall's thesis is as follows:

What next? Led by Sanders/Warren or not (probably not), prepare to see a major new “third” party close to or equal in size to a rump Democratic one.

After forty years of voting neoliberal, the Democrats are all of a sudden going to object to the neoliberal conformism of their party. It's enticing because it's hopeful, but amusing because there aren't really any signs of it actually being set up just yet.

In the short run, a Democratic-Progressive schism would benefit the GOP. In a three-way national contest I guesstimate that Republicans could count on the roughly 45% of the electorate who still approve of Trump after two months of hard-right rule. That leaves the new Progressives and the old Democrats with roughly 27.5% each — hardly a positive outlook for the left in the first few post-schism elections.

This one is mostly amusing. The current Democratic Party benefits the GOP, and so a "New Progressive Party" could hardly do worse. Moreover, Trump is busy pissing people off with budget-cutting proposals -- well, everyone except the Democrat establishment and its media mouthpieces at MSDNC. Though it would be enticing if... IF... a political party in the US were to withstand the violent response that can be expected from the major parties were it to hold on to a 27.5% segment of the American electorate. One needs to remember that the Democratic and Republican Parties are basically Mafia-like arrangements.

Let's move on to Rall's next cute idea:

First, some “Republicans” in the Trump coalition — those Obama and Sanders voters who switched to Trump — will migrate left, attracted to a Progressive left-nationalist economic message that puts working-class Americans first minus the racism and nativism of the anti-NAFTA Trump right. Doesn’t feel like it this second, but bigotry is finding fewer adherents.

One recalls, once again, that what Obama and Sanders voters really did in November was to cast their vote for neither Trump nor Clinton, thus precipitating Trump's victory. It's all very fine to discuss coalitions, but with so little at stake in any particular choice between (D) and (R) neoliberals, the fate of the world often depends upon who shows up for elections amidst the many who do not.

Second, demographic trends favor any left-of-the-Democrats party.

Demographic trends favor the Greens. So?

Third, the Progressives would attract sustained media attention. Excitement generates enthusiasm.

There will be a total blackout. But enough of this amusement, and I think you all get the pattern. Let's go to the end of Ted Rall's post over at Counterpunch, where it says:

I can’t predict how the great split-up of the former Democratic Party will play out. But given the escalating rage of the party’s progressive base in the Age of Trump and the absolute refusal of the DNC leadership to grant them concessions, it’s hard to imagine this restive crowd staying calm and keeping Democratic.

Here one recalls the general pattern over at Daily Kos: rage during the election offseason, quiet conformity in the election runups. Mass Demexit followed by a new party is something we'll have to see to believe, though it's something well worth one's investment in desire. If...

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detroitmechworks's picture

Is that he's consistently an optimistic Cynic.

He criticized Saint Obama, and as a result, was a RACIST.

I like him, but he consistently fails to see the forest for the trees. He complains about his firing by the LA Times, and the media blackout/collaboration with government, and then thinks that the media writ large won't do the same damn thing to anybody who challenges them.

Essentilly, Rall can be funny, and insightful on certain things, and he was DEAD right about Trump winning, but he's too optimistic about the political monopoly/inertia.

The DNC won't break up until it's blown up.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

earthling1's picture

and you tied the book in nicely.
I know there are some people folks posting here who understand a third party challenge is futile. But many here simply have no other suggestions.
TPTB already have a game plan in the event of a third party challenge. And any kind of armed revolt has already been mitigated with the militization of our police, coupled with Trump's promise to " protect our brave police officers" by expanding their numbers.
Debbie @ Sane Progressive is on the same page I am.
We have to work outside the system. We have to fight them using tactics they are not prepared for.
I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but, IMHO, it is all we have left.
We, as a people, have to stop borrowing from them.
We, as a people, have to cut up our cards.
We have to stop consuming frivolous widgets, just to keep up with the Joneses.
Stop buying foreign products and buy local made, or simply do without.
Repair, repurpose, or recycle.
These are things we can all do RIGHT NOW.
I know not everybody can do these things, but everybody can do One of these.
It is sheer numbers that they fear the most.
I welcome anyone to point out flaws in this wisdom. We can discuss it, build upon it, or scratch it altogether. But everyone must admit, it's a plan. It's something we can all do TODAY. And TPTB have no defense prepared to stop us.
Nice post Cassiodorus.

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Neither Russia nor China is our enemy.
Neither Iran nor Venezuela are threatening America.
Cuba is a dead horse, stop beating it.

I agree that the streets is not the place for the fight. Suicide. We are smarter. We just need to outsmart them. Credexit is a great idea for a weapon.

I think Bernie voters went everywhere for all kinds of different reasons. Look at the Fox News poll. They love Bernie - at least his policies. In Michigan, we had 100K people who voted and left the vote for President on the table. Then there were the Stein/Johnson voters because at least it was a vote. I believe there were tons of "fuck you" voters who hated Trump but voted for him anyway because they at least got to vent their anger at the system. He was the anti-establishment candidate - ask the media.

I personally think we're doomed for at least 4, maybe 8 years. Bernie won't grow balls. Warren destroyed herself by doing nothing until she endorsed Hillary. If they drag another neoliberal, Obama kissing, Clinton hugging neoliberal out of the pile, Independents will not return - which is what Pelosi and Schumer are banking on.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

I'm not gonna say how I know about him, might be related to someone who worked on his staff or something like that. Wink lol Back then practically every one was a Republican. Thanks a lot for 'If...' love the illustrations, and the speculation from Ted R. What if California had a Progressive Governor? Imagine that.

In his first case as a prosecutor he secured a conviction in a prominent graft and bribery case, which established him as an anti-corruption champion. He was soon the leader of California’s progressive movement.

Less than two years later, he was elected governor of California in 1910, campaigning on a promise to tear the state’s politics and economy out the grasp of powerful corporations and place it squarely back into the hands of its citizens. His progressive reforms led to a major revision of the state’s constitution in 1911.

Reforms developed under Johnson’s leadership included the initiative, referendum and recall processes, forever changing the size and scope of California’s political system. These rights, created by Johnson, have played a major role in California’s current legacy as a national leader in direct democracy.


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% of polled alone. If that doesn't put the fear of wrath into them, they need to encounter an assemblage of their angry constituents. Any hard response will need to be on camera (PDS) Political Death Sentence.

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Fighting for democratic principles,... well, since forever