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Thu Jul 28, 2016, 12:56 PM

The Democratic Convention Is Highlighting the Difference Between Electoral and Movement Politics

 Elected officials operate within the parameters of possibility. Movement politics is about redefining those parameters.
By Bruce Shapiro
The Nation Magazine

Going into the next few days, here’s a meditation for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders voters alike: Please take 10 minutes to ponder the difference between electoral politics and movement politics. On the convention floor in Philadelphia they’re being conflated, by both sides in the Democratic family argument and by too many reporters.

Begin with FDR’s famous maxim: “OK, you’ve convinced me. Now go out and put pressure on me.” What FDR understood: Elected officials, even the best and most principled, operate within the parameters of possibility that they discern in their constituency. In that sense, elected officials—and American presidents most of all—are the end of the political digestive system. Electoral politics is usually the last place change gets felt. Even a sympathetic, justice-minded president is only likely to speed reform when backed by a powerful grassroots campaign, as Lyndon Johnson did with the Civil Rights Act and Barack Obama did with marriage equality.

And a reactionary president can halt or reverse decades of progress if there’s a gutted vacuum where a vital movement used to be, as Ronald Reagan understood better than anyone.

Movement politics, on the other hand, is about reshaping and redefining those parameters. Moving the goalposts. It’s not only cynicism that has moved Hillary Rodham Clinton to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and embrace a vice-presidential candidate who is far to the left of the Bill Clinton legacy on most issues. It’s her awareness—too slow to dawn, perhaps, but awareness nonetheless—that after a generation of free-trade bills and Wall Street deregulation and prison expansion, the terms of debate have changed. Thank you, Bernie.

Full story:
https://www.thenation.com/article/the-democratic-convention-is-highlighting-the-difference-between-electoral-and-movement-politics/

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Reply The Democratic Convention Is Highlighting the Difference Between Electoral and Movement Politics (Original post)
newthinking Jul 2016 OP
guillaumeb Jul 2016 #1
newthinking Jul 2016 #3
highprincipleswork Jul 2016 #2
geek tragedy Jul 2016 #4

Response to newthinking (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2016, 12:58 PM

1. Recommended.

Last edited Thu Jul 28, 2016, 01:38 PM - Edit history (1)

As the article points out, there is a huge difference between a movement and a structured organization. I have been a union member for over 40 years, now retired. I was an officer and a Steward (representing members on issues) for over 33 years. What many members do not and did not realize is that not every wrong can be righted, and that even when the union wins, it takes time for the process to work.

If Sanders can channel that energy into working for change that would accomplish a tremendous amount. The Democrats need more committed and involved voters to counter the corporate influence that some of us do not like.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 28, 2016, 01:12 PM

3. Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed

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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2016, 01:01 PM

2. Thank you Bernie indeed.

 

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Response to newthinking (Original post)

Thu Jul 28, 2016, 02:30 PM

4. wait, the choice of Tim Kaine is now a cynical pander to the left instead of a neoliberal slap in

 

the face to the left? And Bernie gets credit for the Kaine choice?


Lulz.

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