|EDINBURG, November 17 - The current mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, won the mayoral election there on November 5, 2013 by a landslide, receiving over 73 percent of the vote.
In his remarks over the disappointing results of the 2014 midterms he stated that as a progressive the Democratic Party "didn't need a soul, but rather a backbone."
I agree. It has an historic soul and now has a new backbone. Democrats had not managed to sell the party’s considerable accomplishments over the last eight years well enough.
Democrats should speak again to the working class American. They should speak about how they introduced Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Affordable Health Care to the American people. They should have run on that. They should note these are programs Republicans want to cut.
They should brag about these programs, and about even more. Democratic Senator to the U.S. Congress from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, gets it. She is not shy about bragging. I am not shy about bragging about her. She was a Harvard Law Professor. She has been a strategic part of the Democratic leadership in the Senate. She is today one of the most popular Democrats.
Today, Senator Warren is the newly appointed Strategic Policy Advisor to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. She also has voiced opposition to the nomination of Antonio Weiss as Treasury-Under-Secretary for Domestic Finance. We will see how this position evolves and how her role changes and—it is hoped—energizes the party.
Elizabeth Warren’s political career started when Harry Reid appointed her to the Board to analyze TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), a program to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions. She did well and took initiative to start the CFPB, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to protect consumers from banks, credit unions, payday lenders, and debt collectors. Yes, she is a progressive but also a team player, supportive of President Obama’s moderate policies and her party’s history of progressivism. She is aware of the need to disseminate both those realities.
Positive results of the Obama administration have been distorted by the Republican opposition. Facts are (choose any order of priority or importance you like):
1. Under President Obama the nation has had 63 months of economic expansion;
2. A major economic depression was averted;
3. The deficit was reduced by 2/3;
4. A modest new healthcare law was passed;
5. That law is working and is actually lowering costs.
6. Two more women are now on Supreme Court;
7. America's No.1 most wanted, Osama bin Laden, is now dead;
8. The Stock Market has reached record heights; it doubled its value since 2009;
9. The unemployment rate dropped from 10.2 percent to 5.9 percent;
10. Gas prices are low nationwide.
I could (and should) go on and on. But recent a Gallup poll reveals favorability ratings of Democrats are at a 36 percent record low (this, compared to the GOP's 42 percent even during the 2013 shut down of the government).Nationally, Americans are from “moderately” to “extremely” progressive on most issues that affect us today. In Republican “red states” minimum wage increases passed with overwhelming margins. It seems, as Mayor de Blasio stated: "Bold, progressive ideas win elections." Progressive Senator Al Franken from Minnesota won his election by a larger margin than President Obama did in 2012. In red state Kentucky, Democratic Governor Beshear maintained his popular support because of his progressive implementation of Affordable Health Care, responding to the needs of citizens.
Yes, the party “out of power” (in this case, Republicans) usually wins mid-term elections. That is no secret. But there is a consensus (now, too late) that Democrats do not need to run away from the President or their traditions. Their party is correctly focused on issues that matter; the American people believe in most of their causes. According to the San Francisco Chronicle the minimum wage was increased in four of the reddest states. At the same time, in some of the same states, Democratic Senators were sent home.
Why this anomaly? Some Democrats ran campaigns in which they were advised (badly I assert) not to acknowledge President Obama. Perhaps, at one time, this would have been understandable. But most analyses now see it was based on an erroneous judgment. Senator Warren, in her own low-keyed way, runs against this timid, misguided advice. She is being recognized as a new leader for the people. Her past and present leadership in the party are refreshing. It is, at this point, actually irrelevant whether she has chances, now or later, for running for president. She seems not to care right now. But, in an interview with the Huffington Post, Elizabeth Warren warned: "Nobody's clipping my wings."
Rolf Niederstrasser is a graduate of UT-Pan American.