Can progressives/liberals do for the Democrats what the Tea Party did for the Republicans?

Inherent behind every “as a progressive, I cannot in good conscience vote for Hillary; I’m playing the long game, so maybe a President Trump is necessary to get things going” is the assumption that the Democratic Party, upon a loss in the Presidential race, will react by running candidates more to the left.

It seems to me that the best way to ensure this happens (because I think there’s little chance that it will without prodding from voters) is to basically do what the Tea Party did for the Republicans: elect local and especially Congressional candidates that will force the “establishment” to pay attention to what their constituents want.

It makes sense; this is, after all, how our system of government is supposed to work, and the results when it does are plain to see in Congress today. How likely, though, do you all think it is? How will the passion for Sanders translate beyond 2016, especially if he’s not the Democratic nominee? It’s not like there are a shortage of voters who believe in what Sanders believes — that much is clear. But can they put together the kind of passion and actual coalitions the Tea Party did? Would it take an anti-Obama (like, say, Trump) in the White House? Would even that do it?

Just to be clear, you think what the Tea Party did “for” the Republicans was a good thing, even from the exclusive perspective of advancing the long term causes of the movement (whatever they actually are)?


To my read the idea of electing local and especially Congressional candidates that pay attention to what their constituents want is A Good Thing. That is how our system of government is supposed to work.

That is NOT what the Tea Party has done though.

To my read helping win and maintain majorities at local and Congressional levels that can further implement the sort of changes we want is important. The Tea Party approach is OTOH more a political terrorism approach, a tyranny of the minority approach: “we don’t have a majority, not in Congress, not in the general election population in lots of safe for our party districts … but we have just enough to blow the whole building up taking us all down unless you do it our way.”

No that should not be emulated. Translating the passion that some have for Sanders … which hopefully is not just for Sanders but for addressing the issues of income and wealth inequality, of the hollowing out of the middle class, of the drastically increasing power of the very few over the many … into changes in representation at local and Congressional levels such that actual progress can be made? YES! That should be done.

I question the numbers of actual voters who are Bernie or bust voters. There certainly are some, and my God they’re loud. But, don’t think they’re in great numbers. The tea party had Fox News, “I’ll never vote for Hillary!” has the comments section of Daily Kos.

I’ve often compared the die hard Bernie supporters with Ron Paul’s fanatical supporters. Besides Ted Cruz referring to the gold standard a couple of times (which I don’t think he seriously believes), the Ron Paul issues have been a non factor in 2016.

I don’t think the economic populism, break up big banks, Wall Street is evil issues will have much presence going forward. Barring another economic collapse bordering on a depression, the awful memories of the financial crisis will fade.

This. The problem the Tea Party has, if you look at it from their own perspective a little more rationally, is not the establishment Republicans. The reason the Tea Party people can’t get their agenda enacted is because Obama and the Democrats is congress won’t let the Republicans do it, not because the Republicans that are there aren’t conservative enough. Similarly even if a Tea Party of the left elected more liberal rather than moderate Democrats, they would face the same problem. They would be unable to get everything they want done not because of moderate Democrats, but because of the Republicans.

IMHO this is what happened during the first two years of the Obama presidency. The Senate had just a few too many Republicans, which led to Obamacare rather than a true universal healthcare. Let’s assume you have the power to replace five senators with your choice of replacement during Obama’s first two years. It would have been a lot better from the liberal perspective to have had five moderate Democrats replace five Republicans in that Senate rather than having five liberal Democrats replace five moderate Democrats. A lot more would have been accomplished under the former scenario than the latter.

I think the Democratic Party has wider guardrails and is accepting of a wider spectrum of views. There is no purity test, such as what the Republicans have. It’s not so much that the Tea Party has dragged the GOP to the right, it’s that the party has narrowed it’s list of acceptable positions so much that moderate conservatives (liberal on social issues, conservative on fiscal issues) and others have no space any more. With the Democrats, the fact that they have competitive candidates like Clinton (establishment, funded, hawkish) and Sanders (socialist, progressive, non-establishment) shows there is acceptance of a wider group of positions. Even in local races there is a wide array of viable (D) candidates who don’t always agree, so I cannot see a faction forcing the party into a narrow spot the way the Tea Party may have done.

But, there is one very important difference: The Tea Party’s issues are imaginary and the left’s issues are real – and, being real, not going away soon. Wall Street’s evil will continue to plague us periodically.

This Democratic primary hasn’t been nearly as contentious as the '08 one, in my opinion. Most Bernie supporters who say now that they won’t support Hillary if she wins will probably change their mind and vote for her in the general, nose-holding or not. That’s what conventions, among other things, are for – if/when Hillary has a majority of delegates (or before), Bernie will gracefully bow out and start to campaign with Hillary, and he’ll make a big speech at the convention endorsing her.

One big problem is that the Tea Party was in large part bankrolled by significant financial interests. Unlike presidential politics, if you pour a bunch of money into some congressional primary somewhere, you can have a substantial influence on the race.

What is the equivalent source of funds for the progressive left? Unions, I suppose. But union leadership tends to be more pragmatic than guys like Sheldon Adelson and Glenn Beck.

I’ve heard a handful of people saying that their principled progressive ethics won’t allow them to vote for Hillary. I don’t think I’ve heard a single person express the idea that the OP suggests, that throwing the election to the GOP would be the first tactical step in some brilliant master plan.