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...