The Angst of the Rich and Powerful

There have been a couple of recent articles that relate to money and politics that, while infuriating on many levels, have also struck me as very funny. One of them came out yesterday, a broadside no doubt planted by a Wall Street lobbyist intending to frighten Democratic party leaders into trying to shut up Elizabeth Warren (good luck with that!), Sherrod Brown, and other populists who challenge banking malfeasance. It is a classic story about today’s bizarro world of big-money-dominated politics: Big Wall Street banks are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symb

Most Important Election of 2015: Chuy Garcia’s People’s Campaign Versus Rahm Emanuel’s Big Money

Every so often, a local election comes along that has enormous implications in terms of the national political narrative. Back in the 1980s, Harold Washington’s stunning upset of the Daley machine in Chicago was one of those moments. Bill de Blasio’s surprising come from behind win in NYC a couple of years ago was the most recent example — his win created months of discussion about the rising progressive populist movement in the Democratic party. If Garcia wins, it will be an even bigger deal than either the Harold Washington or Bill de Blasio races, for the following reasons. The first is that Rahm is an outsized national political figure, beloved by the national Democratic establishment fo

Two Campaigns That Are Game Changers

I’m signing on to two exciting campaigns that would both build the diversity of the Democratic Party’s leadership and add to progressive strength in this country: Donna Edwards for U.S. Senate from my home state of Maryland, and Chuy Garcia in the upcoming Chicago mayoral election. They are very different races with completely different dynamics, but they both are incredibly important in terms of the future of the Democratic Party. The Chicago mayoral election is coming right up, only four weeks away as of Tuesday. The current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is the ultimate Democratic establishment guy: a part of Rich Daley’s campaign team, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton, a U.S. House member who was o

The D.C. Centrists’ Straw Men

One of the tiredest clichés in all of American politics — and a favorite of D.C. “centrists” — is that economic populism is all about beating up on the rich and redistributing income instead of pursuing economic growth. A note here before I get into the main point of this piece: In that sentence above I put “centrists” in quotation marks because in Washington, D.C., centrism seems to be about being in line with certain kinds of big-money special interests rather than supporting what the center of the country, in terms of voters, believes. D.C. centrists believe in cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits; not taxing Wall Street tycoons at the same levels as their secretaries;

Winning Marathons While Running Uphill

It is easy to get discouraged about the American political scene. Billionaires and big business keep spending absurd amounts on buying up politicians and making sure they win elections. Republicans keep moving more and more to the extreme edges of the right. A lot of Democrats are either bought off by Wall Street, ineffectual, or both. The Supreme Court is as conservative and pro-big-business as it has ever been. The media is cynical and all too often in bed with corporate interests. Gridlock reigns over all. And yet, somehow, some way, progressives are breaking through and winning some really important victories. It is like running a marathon while having to go the entire way steeply uphill

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