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Tags: tea party | Democrats | progressives | Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Bill Scher: Liberals Long for a Tea Party of Their Own

By    |   Tuesday, 09 December 2014 08:20 AM EST

Democratic populists would like to create a progressive version of the tea party but pulling off such a feat won't be easy, according to Bill Scher writing in Politico.

Progressives want to "upend the Democratic Party" and wield the kind of leverage the "extreme right" has exerted on the GOP establishment. Left-wingers, among them the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, are keen to replicate the kind of grassroots rebellion conservatives pulled off on their end of the political spectrum and leverage power to "shape deals, or sabotage them," writes Scher, the executive editor of LiberalOasis.com.

Progressives have been stymied since Bill Clinton shifted the Democratic Party to the center in the early 1990s. Under President Barack Obama, left-leaning Democrats settled for an Affordable Care Act that didn't offer a government-run health insurance plan.

The party embraces what progressives consider mild positions on the minimum wage, birth control, women's rights, student loans and corporate tax loopholes, writes Scher.

There were no serious progressive primary challenges against establishment Democratic elected officials in 2014. Progressives have proven unwilling to pursue a "scorched-earth, tea party-style insurgency" by voting against the budget. Their base is more disposed to compromise, according to Scher.

But progressives are getting feistier.

As a "concession to the party's liberal wing," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was appointed the strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Warren opposed the nomination of Larry Summers to the Federal Reserve. She is now against Obama's nomination of Wall Street banker Antonio Weiss for a senior Treasury position, according to Politico's Ben White.

MoveOn.org is getting set to spend $1 million to prod Warren into the 2016 presidential race, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Congressional Progressive Caucus member, predicted more in-fighting between establishment and progressive Democrats, the Journal reported.

One way for progressives to pressure a more centrist Democratic establishment is to make common cause with populist Republicans where they can, writes Scher.

As examples, he says that civil libertarians on both the left and right could work together against extending sections of the Patriot Act, due to expire June 1, that permit metadata collection They could also seek common ground on tax breaks for U.S. companies overseas and, though less likely, on foreign trade.

Scher concludes that, instead of direct legislative confrontation— in tea party mold— progressives will focus on "selling the populist worldview and winning the argument in the court of public opinion."

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Democratic populists are keen to replicate the kind of grassroots rebellion conservatives pulled off and create a progressive version of the tea party — but such a feat won't be easy, Bill Scher writes in Politico.
tea party, Democrats, progressives, Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 08:20 AM
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