About a month and a half ago, I wrote a kind of “What If We Win?” post, basically asking how the blogosphere/netroots will handle it if the Democrats take the White House and consolidate their congressional majorities. Will we become complacent? Will we be willing to call the Democrats on it if they start to get as corrupt and corporate as the Republicans?
Something occurred to me recently, spurred by some e-mail conversations about how the Democratic establishment knows we have to support them because the alternative is so much worse. I know I’m not the only liberal who is absolutely horrified by the thought of another four years of Republican rule – our troops are still dying in Iraq, torture is in, habeas is out, and Justice Stevens isn’t getting any younger.
But if the Democrats take the White House and retain majorities in Congress, then I think that fear goes away. We don’t have to stick up for weak or corporate Democrats, we don’t have to volunteer for them or give them money or defend them against Republican attacks. If they lose, we can shrug it off with the knowledge that we’re still not going to start any new wars or appoint any right-wing ideologues to the Supreme Court.
And that’s what I want to remind both the Democrats and the netroots of, that if the 2008 election pulls us back from the brink of disaster, then our support for the Democratic Party does not need to be unconditional. If Congressman X isn’t supporting progressive interests or values, then progressives don’t need to support him – the free ride is over. We can focus all our money and time on making sure the Blue America type candidates get elected, and even back some primary challengers against the worst of the Blue Dog and pro-war Dems. And needless to say, we should only give to individual candidates, never to the DSCC or DCCC. The Democratic establishment and corporations can help their buddies, but we won’t. Will that be enough for them to win anyway? Maybe, but that’s not our problem – unless we’re backing their primary opponent, of course.
Of course, it’s debatable as to whether we should even be supporting faithless Democrats now (I sure as hell don’t plan to help any of them), but it will be much, much harder to scare us into donating if the 2008 elections go well. Which makes me worry that the Democrats might tank them deliberately…