The Party's Over

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18:  US Capitol Police give protesters a warning to move away from the front of the Capitol or get arr
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: US Capitol Police give protesters a warning to move away from the front of the Capitol or get arrested, April 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. Protest groups Public Citizen and People for the American Way have been protesting the influence of money in politics over the last week, with more than 900 arrests reported. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

For the past few months, I've been attacked for coming out against the corruption that I see in our party, starting with "Please-Ignore-the-Fact-That-I'm-Under-Criminal-Investigation" Sen. Harry Reid. But despite what the Lie Factory at the top may want you to believe, I love the Democratic Party. I just hate what these Mafia accountants with Napoleonic complexes have done to it. In fact, it's because I love the party that I so much hate what they have done.

I have listened to so many Democratic activists, as you have reached out to express your anger, your frustration, and your worries. You have felt ignored, belittled, and betrayed. So have I.

The disenfranchisement of Democratic voters in choosing our candidates has been largely ignored by the complicit national media. Leaders have been replaced or squelched by corporate bag men. We have been directed to sit down, shut up and do what we are told. Or, as Archie Bunker used to say to Edith, "Stifle!"

Up for grabs, right now, is the very notion that candidates matter, that programs matter, that government matters, and that democracy even exists. Any candidate who shows the slightest commitment to Democratic principles is condemned by the party overlords and their media stenographers as "unelectable," or "ideological," or "unrealistic." In fact, the one last thing that the Democratic Politburo is good at is defeating progressive Democratic candidates. Lord knows that they don't have a clue about how to beat Republicans. In Florida, a very purple state, party bosses have delivered the nomination in statewide races to right-wing Democrats virtually every time this century. And we have lost 14 of those 15 races.

I cannot with good conscience stand by and watch our party abandon the progressive principles and grassroots activists who have built the party we know and love today. I cannot stand by and watch our party recruit and promote candidates who betray the very people our party is supposed to serve, by eschewing the progressive values that working families so desperately need.

Once upon a time, our party was about so much more than the color blue. This party was about recognizing that many working families and seniors are struggling, and about making things better for them. It was about recognizing the injustice and inequality in our society, and then DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

When I was growing up, my parents were Democrats, not because it was trendy, but because they counted on the Democratic Party to improve their lives. They counted on the Democrats to fight for the healthcare benefits I needed to stay alive as a sick child. They counted on the Democrats to fight for the public housing we lived in, instead of the slum my father grew up in. They counted on the Democrats to protect their right to organize, and fair compensation to them as public employees.

What our corrupt, decrepit, and power-mad Democratic Establishment seems to have forgotten is the people like my parents today, the people who would like to vote for Democrats, feel that way because they need our help. Every time our self-appointed "leaders" ram through the nomination of a sellout corporate Democrat, another angel in heaven dies, and (perhaps more importantly) another 100,000 more Democrats flee the un-Democratic Party. Yes, the lobbyists are pleased, and they will keep those PAC checks coming, but our soul is gone. As Walt Kelly used to say in Pogo, "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

I'm trying to change that. I'm trying to remind our party that we don't have to be Republican to beat a Republican - that never works -- and that we can still be champions for the People. But there's only so much I can do alone.

Despite what our party Politburo may think, there's a lot more at stake this year than which party gets to kowtow best to the 1 percent. This election season, we will decide what kind of party we want to be from here on out. We're fighting for the soul of the Democratic Party. I hope you'll join us.


Rep. Alan Grayson