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Mueller Indictments Won’t Save Democrats at Election Time: New Report

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A new report out today says that the Democratic Party must change in order to win elections.

Coming a week before the anniversary of last year’s presidential election, the scathing new report blasts the Democratic Party’s national leadership.

The 34-page report — “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis” — found that “the Democratic National Committee and the party’s congressional leadership remain bent on prioritizing the chase for elusive Republican voters over the Democratic base: especially people of color, young people and working-class voters overall.” According to the report, such priorities amount to a losing strategy.

The complete 13,000-word report, just posted at DemocraticAutopsy.org, states: “Rather than addressing topics beyond the control of the Democratic Party (whether FBI Director Comey, Russia, misogyny of some voters, etc.), this Autopsy focuses on some key factors that have been significantly under the party’s control.”

Among the task force members who prepared the report available for interviews are:

PIA GALLEGOS, pia at gallegoslaw.com
Gallegos is a civil rights lawyer and progressive Democratic activist based in New Mexico.

KAREN BERNAL, [in D.C. later this week] nekochan99 at hotmail.com, @karenbernal5
Bernal chairs one of the largest caucuses in the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus.

RICHARD ESKOW, [in D.C.] rjeskow at gmail.com, @rjeskow
Eskow is senior advisor, health and economic justice, for Social Security Works and is the host of The Zero Hour on Free Speech TV and WCPT Radio in Chicago. He recently wrote the piece “Why ‘Centrists’ Will Sink the Democrats, If They Haven’t Already” at OurFuture.org.

He has read the Autopsy report and commented today: “The Democrats are mistaken if they think that revelations of Trump corruption will drive voters to their party in droves. Experience shows us that corruption charges generally breed cynicism, not citizen involvement. That’s especially so in this case, where Republicans will undoubtedly bring up Tony Podesta as well Bill Clinton’s $500,000 speaking fee from a Russian bank.

“The best way to fight cynicism is: Voters need to believe that their vote will actually change things for the better.”

The report concludes:

*  “Aggregated data and analysis show that policies, operations and campaign priorities of the national Democratic Party undermined support and turnout from its base in the 2016 general election.”

*  “After suffering from a falloff of turnout among people of color in the 2016 general election, the party appears to be losing ground with its most reliable voting bloc, African-American women.”

*  One of the large groups with a voter-turnout issue is young people, “who encounter a toxic combination of a depressed economic reality, GOP efforts at voter suppression, and anemic messaging on the part of Democrats.”

*  “Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination. Siding with the people who constitute the base isn’t truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them.”

*  “The Democratic Party’s claims of fighting for ‘working families’ have been undermined by its refusal to directly challenge corporate power, enabling Trump to masquerade as a champion of the people. Democrats will not win if they continue to bring a wonk knife to a populist gunfight. Nor can Democratic leaders and operatives be seen as real allies of the working class if they’re afraid to alienate big funders or to harm future job or consulting prospects.”

In addition to Bernal and Gallegos, the task force that conducted the Autopsy also included Norman Solomon, RootsAction.org co-founder, a Democratic National Convention delegate in 2008 and 2016 who was the national coordinator of the independent Bernie Delegates Network last year. (Solomon is the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

The Autopsy recommends some specific reforms at the Democratic National Committee and a drastic overhaul of the party’s political approach. The recommendations include:

*  “The Democratic National Committee must make up for lost time by accelerating its very recent gear-up of staffing to fight against the multi-front assaults on voting rights that include voter ID laws, purges of voter rolls and intimidation tactics.”

*  “The Democratic National Committee should commit itself to scrupulously adhering to its Charter, which requires the DNC to be evenhanded in the presidential nominating process.”

*  Because “the superdelegate system, by its very nature, undermines the vital precept of one person, one vote,” the voting power of all superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention must end.

*  “The party should avidly promote inspiring programs such as single-payer Medicare for all, free public college tuition, economic security, infrastructure and green jobs initiatives, and tackling the climate crisis.”

*  “While the Democratic Party fights for an agenda to benefit all Americans, the party must develop new policies and strategies for more substantial engagement with people of color — directly addressing realities of their lives that include disproportionately high rates of poverty and ongoing vulnerability to a racist criminal justice system.”

*  “While the short-term prospects for meaningful federal action on climate are exceedingly bleak, state-level initiatives are important and attainable. Meanwhile, it’s crucial that the Democratic Party stop confining its climate agenda to inadequate steps that are palatable to Big Oil and mega-players on Wall Street.”

*  “What must now take place includes honest self-reflection and confronting a hard truth: that many view the party as often in service to a rapacious oligarchy and increasingly out of touch with people in its own base.” The Democratic Party should disentangle itself — ideologically and financially — from Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and other corporate interests that put profits ahead of public needs.

Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors RootsAction.org, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.