Guest: Alan Minsky of Progressive Democrats of America; Also: Final federal jobs report before midterms beats expectations again...
After a few quick words about the "Goldilocks" final jobs report to be released by the federal government before Tuesday's critical midterms on today's BradCast, we get right to what might be regarded as a closing argument for progressives. Of course, we're unlikely to change the minds of many brain-poisoned MAGA rightwingers at this late date, but there may still be some on the left who are reachable and could use some encouragement. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]
Last week, The BRAD BLOG's legal contributor, Ernie Canning, who served as a Senior Advisor to Vets for Bernie during his 2016 campaign, published his latest article. It's titled "To Save American Democracy: A long time Bernie Sanders supporter on why we must vote 'blue' in '22". Please give it a read if you haven't.
Ernie updated his post the next day to note that former Green Party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader had also endorsed voting for Democrats this year on Democracy Now!, describing the GOP as a "dictatorship party" and "the most dangerous political movement since the Civil War."
As readers and listeners know, I too have broken from my nearly 20 years of remaining non-partisan when covering major elections, to specifically call on folks to vote this year for Democrats. As I have explained, that is not because I believe the Democratic Party is wonderful, but because I am really really concerned right now about the survival of American democracy itself. For reasons that I've detailed on both The BRAD BLOG and The BradCast for months (if not longer), the issue of its survival is quite literally on the line in the 2022 elections ahead of the 2024 Presidential election.
All of that, even as I've heard from too many folks on the so-called progressive left who still don't seem to fully appreciate what is at stake and believe that we still enjoy the luxury this year of voting for a third party or sitting out entirely. We don't.
Over the weekend, my guest today, ALAN MINSKY, a lifelong activist and Bernie Sanders supporter himself who now serves as the Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, published an article headlined "No Person of Conscience Can Sit Out this Midterm Election", wherein he makes the progressive case for voting for the Democratic Party this year. "Democracy and the very principle of a Society of Equals are on the ballot," the sub-title of his piece reads, adding, "and, yes, it's about the Economy too."
From the need to codify the rights and freedoms of Roe v. Wade, stolen by our corrupt Supreme Court, into federal law, to passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act and much more, Minsky makes the case that "The 2022 midterm election represents a unique and historic opportunity to protect our democracy and our right to equality before the law against an unrelenting offensive being waged by the reactionary right." That, amid a rising authoritarian movement here and around the world and "widespread Republican support for Trump's Big Lie and the embrace of Authoritarian despots like Hungary's Victor Orban by Republican elites."
Though we haven't spoken on air (or at all actually!) for a number of years, Alan is an old friend after his years of formerly serving as Program Director at Pacifica Radio's KPFK, our flagship station here in Los Angeles. Alan has always been passionately progressive and likely even farther to the left than me, so I took careful notice when I came across his new piece at the liberal Common Dreams website.
We discuss all of the above and the concerns we both share about those on the progressive left who have either been misled or simply have yet to grasp the historic nature of this moment and the need to push back against rising authoritarianism, even if it means voting for a decidedly imperfect Democratic Party right now.
"If American democracy is toppled, this whole era we've lived through, understanding that we are citizens of a democratic society, the notion of a society of equals will be in such peril," he tells me today. "The reactionary right, coming off of January 6, coming off of Donald Trump's refusal to accept the election, they are emboldened to take down American democracy in their efforts to create a permanent ruling party."
"Bernie Sanders himself is barnstorming around the country to lift up Democratic candidates," Minsky observes, "to make the economic justice components of American society real for the average person." He urges that "we can't just cede this territory. Not just to a very dangerous rightwing, but even to the neo-liberal centrist Democrats."
"What I would encourage people to do is to recognize by voting and preserving the democratic process and improving it, you are maintaining capacity for a real progressive movement to be vibrant in the United States," Minsky argues. "This midterm election opens a space --- that I really want to encourage everyone listening who is a progressive --- we can win this in the Democratic Party."
"We can change this country for the better. But we have to preserve our democracy to leave that opportunity open. And that's why this election cycle is so important."
"If young people get out and vote at the level they did in 2018, let alone 2020, Democrats will win this election," he notes. "But that doesn't look to be where it is. I think that does have a lot to do with the perception that the Democratic Party is not a welcoming institution. But again, for those folks, you have allies on the inside of the party. We will fight this fight together, we will win this together. But right now it is essential that people DO vote in this election to preserve the democratic process that will be the instrument to allow us to win those victories in the near future. So, if we can preserve democracy, there's a bright future ahead."
"We have to preserve democracy now and strengthen it," Minsky concludes near the end of our broad conversation on a whole bunch of related topics. "We can do that with a victory in this election. So I encourage everybody, yes, to vote Democratic on Tuesday, or before Tuesday if you're in a state you can do that, and let's win this thing."
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