Ben Boyce


The progressives are in the House

Posted on February 2, 2019 by Ben Boyce

Now that the electoral map comes into full resolution, the full magnitude of the political sea change is in full evidence… the progressives are now the largest caucus in the Democratic Party. We should not engage in naiveté by assuming that that means they are the most powerful caucus in the party, but they are now players at the main table, after shrewdly winning the support of the incoming House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. That said, this new Congress looks a lot more like the real America to me. We are on the board now.

The tide has turned in terms of the breadth, scope and diversity of the incoming newly elected Democratic House members who clearly identify as progressives, as measured by their concrete support for proposed policy bills, not merely by vague rhetoric and cultural atmospherics. This single-minded focus on winning specific policy agenda bills as the metric for success, rather than negotiating for power, is what really separates the political instincts of the progressives from the centrists.

The miraculous emergence of a class of smart young progressive women of color is heartening. They did not come to play around. They have been overwhelmingly endorsed by their constituency in their districts to come to Washington to work on their behalf. The most charismatic leader in this group of young progressives is AOC, Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, who has arrived at iconic one-name status almost immediately. She is smart and funny, photogenic, witty on social media, and gifted by a level of political acumen beyond her years.

AOC was one of the leaders in the progressive caucus who negotiated with leader Nancy Pelosi to earn her support for better committee assignments, and placement on ‘juice’ committees dealing with appropriations and financial services.

The rump faction of Blue Dog Dems who staged the House insurrection were caught out at high tide, when the expected additional reinforcements of their ranks by angry, newly-elected young radical progressives never showed up.

Bad luck, dudes. You just got played. You lose. Pelosi cut the legs out from under the disloyal lieutenants by giving away their committee assignments to her new BFF progressive caucus supporters. Somehow these guys didn’t get the memo that AOC and the progressive caucus had already come to an understanding with the Majority Leader. The scene in the Speaker’s office shortly after the election threw them, the mainstream media, and Fox News totally off their real game plan.  That’s when I knew that I am going to like the way this crew operates. That’s playing politics like there are real stakes. Bravo!

The simplest explanation of why Pelosi is the right person for the job is that the next two years are going to be a grueling, brutal political battle.

I have never understood why in the world the Faux News, Inc. have decided to make Pelosi a national hate object. She is like my elegant rich grandmother who has impeccable manners and excellent political instincts. Pelosi is the best Speaker in the history of Congress, which is why they hate her, because she is a woman in power who has liberal values. That is what makes her a witch, in their perverted minds.

The simplest explanation of why Pelosi is the right person for the job is that the next two years are going to be a grueling, brutal political battle. Pelosi is a legislative architect who knows how to herd cats and count votes. She is a skilled political engineer who can steer the House through the rough constitutional waters ahead. And she has zero fear of Donald Trump. Ending his presidency would be the capstone to her career. Why chew up a fresh new face? Bring in a new team in 2020 with a Democratic president and control of both houses. Pelosi will be 80 years old by then. That’s a wrap.

On the local front, after a long wait for a certified result, the “AOC of Sonoma County,” Veronica Fleming, was finally declared the winner in the newly created 4th Council District in Santa Rosa, over Republican Dorothy Beattie, in a three-way race that included SC Democratic Party Central Committee member Mary Watt. I was elated to hear that we managed to pull off this important victory, which was a high priority for my colleagues at the North Bay Labor Council, where I supervised the labor phone bank operation this fall.  Veronica is a rock star and I’m glad to see her join the ranks of elected officials in the North Bay.

One thought on “The progressives are in the House

  1. Props to the editors for taking the time to enhance the digital edition with the full quote sentence from the article, with the equally impactful inset quote fragment in the print edition. I appreciate a good editor’s eye.

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