The message to the progressive wing of the Democratic party could hardly be clearer: Get lost.
Bernie Sanders was the only genuine progressive allowed significant Democratic National Convention speaking time – and that only because a Biden victory in November requires a big slice of former Bernie supporters to hold their noses and swallow the “lesser of the evils” logic one more time. Ocasio-Cortez got what, 90 seconds?, to put forward Sanders name in nomination, but not, notably, time to rile up the audience around progressive policy issues. Other members of “the squad” – Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley – were nowhere to be found. Likewise absent were any of the grassroots activists working their tails off trying to address America’s cascading social and economic crises.
Biden himself, of course, is no progressive. Neither is his running mate, Kamala Harris. Both are long-term corporate Dems, “centrists” less concerned to correct systemic ills than to assure the donor class that they have no plans to make radical moves, and, they dearly hope, to entice a good chunk of Republicans revolted by Trump to turn out for the two non-threatening Democratic headliners. Yes, there were references to the need for better health access, help for unemployed workers, more investment in education, and the imperative to challenge racial injustice. But progressives hoping for more than lip service to such critical issues were sorely disappointed; what they heard instead of policy proposals were symbolic “solutions” to systemic problems.
Of course, the principal message of the convention was never intended to be that America needs progressive leadership or bold progressive policy initiatives like Medicare for All or the Green New Deal. Rather it was, simply, that Trump is horrible, Trump only cares about Trump and those unquestionably loyal to Trump, Trump is indecent. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Trump’s mirror opposite – decent, caring, and deeply committed to making room for all under the Democratic big tent.
What else, progressives, do you need to know? Please, please, please, stop your squawking and just get lost – but don’t forget to vote Biden/Harris on November 3! (By the way, where else you gonna go in a two-party duopoly, huh?)