An eager reader insists that I'm leading my Dems astray encouraging a leftward, liberal shift. I maintain that I'm just urging Democrats to be Democrats. I'm telling them to pick for party chair a real progressive populist—a bridge-builder, not a purity-tester, but an unapologetic Democrat who can make the case that our liberal values serve South Dakota better than Republican oligarchy.
If the South Dakota Democratic Party shows some guts and elects a real Wellstonian-Frankenesque progressive as chair (and whom do we have: Rick Weiland? Joe Lowe? Stephanie Herseth Sandlin cured of Blue-Doggery by motherhood and ready to fight tooth and nail for her son's right to grow up in a country kept free, just, and prosperous by true liberalism?), my fellow South Dakota liberals can draw the same inspiration for action that Salon's Elias Isquith sees in Senator Elizabeth Warren's ascent among national Dems:
After many years of kvetching about their paltry influence — and following decade after decade of enviously watching the conservative movement refashion the GOP in its own image — lefty ideologues and organizers now have the chance to turn Warren into a kind of trojan horse for a resurgent politics of economic populism (or, as it used to be called, liberalism). And if they adapt and adhere to the script used many years ago by visionary right-wingers, who famously responded to an electoral drubbing in 1964 by staying the course and propelling a true believer to the White House less than 20 years later, it just might work [Elias Isquith, "It’s Elizabeth Warren’s party now! How to remake it in the liberal heroine’s image," Salon, 2014.11.15].
Isquith recognizes that the Goldwater–Warren analogy, like all historical analogies, is not perfect. He says we shouldn't fuss with hurling Warren against Hillary Clinton in a 2016 primary. Instead, Osquith sees Warren as a rallying point for action closer to home. Isquith recommends...
... building institutional support from the bottom up by creating funding networks and community spaces outside of the Democratic Party’s reach, so lefties can feel personally invested in their cause without having D.C. grandees step in and tell them to be “serious.” That’s what right-wing activists did through churches, think tanks and mailing lists; and the often successful Internet-based organizing from people at Daily Kos and the Blue America PAC has already offered a hint of how those on the left can do it again [Isquith, 2014.11.15].
Funding networks and community spaces outside the party... gee, that sounds familiar....
Give us a leader, Dems! Give us a real Democrat, a real progressive—heck yeah, a real liberal, someone who can inspire the base, work with them, but not get in the way of their enthusiasm and problem-solving.