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Elizabeth Warren on Barack Obama

October 13th, 2014 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Democrats, safety net, Tax Policy, Wall Street

“They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over”

  • EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Warren on Barack Obama: "They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over"

"There has not been nearly enough change," she tells Salon, taking on Obama failures, lobbyists, tuition. So 2016?

By Thomas Frank

Progressive America Rising via Salon

Oct. 12, 2014 – Senator Elizabeth Warren scarcely requires an introduction. She is the single most exciting Democrat currently on the national stage.

Her differentness from the rest of the political profession is stark and obvious. It extends from her straightforward clarity on economic issues to the energetic way she talks. I met her several years ago when she was taking time out from her job teaching at Harvard to run the Congressional Oversight Panel, which was charged with supervising how the bank bailout money was spent. I discovered on that occasion not only that we agreed on many points of policy, but that she came originally from Oklahoma, the state immediately south of the one where I grew up, and also that high school debate had been as important for her as it had been for me.

In the years since then, Professor Warren helped to launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which will probably be remembered as one of the few lasting achievements of the Obama Administration); she wrote a memoir, A Fighting Chance; and she was elected to the United States Senate from Massachusetts.

This interview was condensed and lightly edited.

I want to start by talking about a line that you’re famous for, from your speech at the Democratic National Convention two years ago: “The system is rigged.” You said exactly what was on millions of people’s minds. I wonder, now that you’re in D.C. and you’re in the Senate, and you have a chance to see things close up, do you still feel that way? And: Is there a way to fix the system without getting the Supreme Court to overturn Citizens United or some huge structural change like that? How can we fix it?

That’s the question that lies at the heart of whether our democracy will survive. The system is rigged. And now that I’ve been in Washington and seen it up close and personal, I just see new ways in which that happens. But we have to stop and back up, and you have to kind of get the right diagnosis of the problem, to see how it is that—it goes well beyond campaign contributions. That’s a huge part of it. But it’s more than that. It’s the armies of lobbyists and lawyers who are always at the table, who are always there to make sure that in every decision that gets made, their clients’ tender fannies are well protected. And when that happens — not just once, not just twice, but thousands of times a week — the system just gradually tilts further and further. There is no one at the table…I shouldn’t say there’s no one. I don’t want to overstate. You don’t have to go into hyperbole. But there are very few people at the decision-making table to argue for minimum-wage workers. Very few people.

They need to get a lobbyist. Why haven’t they got on that yet?

Yeah. Why aren’t they out there spending? In the context when people talk about “get a lobbyist,” the big financial institutions spent more than a million dollars a day for more than a year during the financial reform debates. And my understanding is, their spending has ratcheted up again. My insight about that, about exactly that point, [is] in the book [A Fighting Chance], in the second chapter, which is when my eyes first get opened to the political system. Here I am, I’m studying what’s happening to the American family, and just year by year by year, I’m watching America’s middle class get hammered. They just keep sliding further down. The data get worse every year that I keep pulling this data. Bankruptcy is the last hope to right their lives for those who have been hit by serious medical problems, job losses, a divorce, a death in the family — that accounts for about 90 percent of the people who file for bankruptcy. Those four causes, or those three if you combine divorce and death. So, how could America, how could Congress adopt a bankruptcy bill that lets credit card companies squeeze those families harder?

What year was that?

When they finally adopted it was 2005. But the point was, it started back in — actually it started in 1995, the effort [to change the bankruptcy laws]. And that’s when I got involved with the Bankruptcy Commission. When, first, [commission chairman] Mike Synar came to me, and then Mike Synar died. It was just awful. And Brady Williamson [the replacement chairman] came to me. But what I saw during that process is, this was not an independent panel that could kind of sit and think through the [problem]: “Let’s take a look at what the numbers show about what’s happening to the families. Let’s take some testimony, get some people in here who have been through bankruptcy, and some creditors who have lost money in bankruptcy, and let’s figure out some places where we could make some sensible recommendations to Congress.” That wasn’t what it turned out to be at all.

It turned out that it was all about paid lobbyists . . .

And what they wanted.

And what they wanted. I tried as hard as I could, and there were almost no bankrupt families who were ever even heard from. And you stop and think about it — why would that be so? Well, first of all, to show up to something like that, you’ve got to know about it and you’ve got to take a day off from work. Who’s going to do that? These are families who are under enormous stress and deeply humiliated about what had happened to them. They had to make a public declaration that they were losers in the great American economic game.

I know exactly the kind of people you’re talking about. I wanted to ask you, not specifically about people declaring bankruptcy, but about the broader working people of this country. You’re from Oklahoma. I’m from Kansas. You’ve seen what’s happened in those places. There are lots and lots of working people in those places and a lot of other places…

Hardworking people. People who work hard. That’s what you want to remember. Not just people who kind of occasionally show up.

Yeah. The blue collar backbone of this country. And in places like I’m describing, it gets worse every year—well, I shouldn’t say worse, because it’s their choice, but a lot of them choose Republicans. I was looking at Oklahoma, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, I’m pretty sure you are, 16 percent of the vote went for Eugene Debs in 1912 and today it’s going in the other direction as fast as it can. How is this ever going to change?

I have at least two thoughts around that and we should explore both of them. One of them is that we need to do a better job of talking about issues. And I know that sounds boring and dull as dishwater, but it’s true. The differences between voting for two candidates should be really clear to every voter and it should be clear in terms of, who votes to raise the minimum wage and who doesn’t. Who votes to lower the interest rate on student loans and who doesn’t. Who votes to make sure women can’t get fired for asking how much a guy is making for doing the same job, and who doesn’t. There are these core differences that are about equality and opportunity. It can’t be that we don’t make a clear distinction. If we fail to make that distinction, then shame on us. That is my bottom line on this.

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The South’s Victim Complex: How Right-Wing Paranoia is Driving New Wave of Radicals

October 7th, 2014 by admin | No Comments | Filed in Civil Rights, elections, GOP, racism, rightwing

The South's victim complex: How right-wing paranoia is driving new wave of radicals

(Credit: AP/Dave Martin)

New wingnut neo-Confederates may be laughed at as they enter Washington, D.C. But here’s why their anger is deadly serious

By Matthew Pulver

Progressive America Rising via

Southern voters will go to the polls in November 150 years, almost to the day, after Gen. Sherman commenced his March to the Sea, breaking the back of the Confederacy and leaving a burnt scar across the South. The wound never fully healed. Humiliation and resentment would smolder for generations. A sense of persecution has always mingled with the rebellious independence and proud notions of the South’s latent power, the promise that it “will rise again!” Congressman Paul Broun Jr., whose Georgia district spans nearly half of Sherman’s calamitous path to Savannah, evoked the “Great War of Yankee Aggression” in a metaphor to decry the Affordable Care Act on the House floor in 2010. The war, in Broun’s formulation, was not a righteous rebellion so much as a foreign invasion whose force still acts upon the South and its ideological diaspora that increasingly forms the foundation of conservatism.

The persecution narrative deployed by Broun, so woven into Southern culture and politics, has gained national currency. Contemporary conservatism is a Southern politics. Ironically, the Southern persecution narrative, born of defeat, has spread nationwide to form the basis of Republican victories since Reagan and the conservative hegemony that moderated President Clinton, establishing through President George W. Bush nearly 40 years of rightward movement at the national level.

It is the South’s principal political export, now a necessary ideological substrate in Republican rhetoric. Lee Atwater, the Karl Rove of the Reagan era, explained the nationalization of Southern politics accomplished with the 1980 campaign and election of President Reagan: “The mainstream issues in [the Reagan] campaign had been, quote, ‘Southern’ issues since way back in the Sixties,” Atwater said in 1981. Likely the foremost representative of that Southern mood was Alabama’s George Wallace, who in his 1963 gubernatorial inaugural address, the infamous “Segregation Forever” speech, invoked Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis and raged that “government has become our god.” Just months later, that omnipotent force would defeat Wallace when President Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard and forced desegregation at the University of Alabama. Wallace, though, would be rewarded for his stand, and the governor carried five Deep South states in his 1968 presidential run.

A century after the Civil War and Reconstruction, the 1960s was a sort of second federal invasion, with the White House strong-arming Wallace, Supreme Court decisions finally implementing Brown’s desegregation order, and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts radically reshaping Southern politics and culture. “The South went from being behind the times to being the mainstream,” Atwater said. It is helpful to consider the inverse: The mainstream GOP adopted the ’60s-era mood of the South. Atwater does not suggest that the South caught up with a modernized conservatism — i.e., that it ceased to be “behind the times” — but that the larger movement regressed, albeit with rhetorical coding to evade charges of old-school racism.

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‘Third Way’ Faction and the Struggle for the Democratic Party’s Soul

October 6th, 2014 by admin | No Comments | Filed in 2016 Election, Democrats, elections, Wall Street

Protesters gathered outside Third Way’s offices in Washington, D.C., in December 2013, asking the group to reveal its funding sources.

Protesters gathered outside Third Way’s offices in Washington, D.C., in December 2013, asking the group to reveal its funding sources.

By Noah Bierman

Boston Globe Staff   Oct 06, 2014

WASHINGTON — On a summer afternoon amid the frenzy of the Democratic National Convention in Boston 10 years ago, a group of Washington business lobbyists, political operatives, and a smattering of senators gathered at one of the city’s downtown law firms to hear a plan.

Members of the group worried that, with the end of the Bill Clinton era, the Democratic Party’s centrist wing had lost its way. Over sodas, they pitched a new think tank named for Clinton’s political philosophy, Third Way.

Fast forward a decade: The philosophy, sketched out privately at the Boston office of Brown Rudnick,
is now at the center of an intense struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party.

Third Way, backed by Wall Street titans, corporate money, and congressional allies, is publicly warning against divisive “soak-the-rich” politics voiced by populist Democrats. Its target: Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator whose rise to power two years ago helped galvanize Democratic grass roots against Wall Street and pushed the issue of income inequality to the forefront.

This is more than a grudge match. At stake for the Democratic Party is the support of middle-class, swing voters who decide elections.

Third Way ignited a clash in December when its leaders essentially declared war on Warren in a guest column in the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, warning Democrats not to follow Warren and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio “over the populist cliff.”

Many on the left were shocked, and angered. Warren’s allies saw Third Way as a proxy — being used by her enemies on Wall Street to scare off the rest of the party.

“Wall Street is extremely good at pushing anybody that is critical of them as being populist, or know-nothings,” said Ted Kaufman, who temporarily served as an appointed US senator to replace Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., then succeeded Warren in leading a special congressional panel that oversaw the bank bailout.

For their part, Third Way representatives bristle at the idea they are doing the bidding of Wall Street power brokers.

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How Americans’ Lives Have Turned Into All Work And No Play, In 3 Charts

October 1st, 2014 by admin | No Comments | Filed in public health, safety net

Family vacation

by Bryce Covert, Dylan Petrohilos

Progressive America Rising VIA

Sept 30, 2014 = American workers are putting in more and more hours each week, as the supposedly 40-hour workweek has stretched to 47 hours. At the same time, they’re getting very little paid time off of work to recharge.

Just 12 percent of people who work in the private sector get paid family leave benefits, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even worse, low-income workers, who are least likely to be able to afford to take time off, have less access to paid leave.

American employers are more likely to give their workers paid sick days, vacation days, or holidays. Even so, it’s not universal: 23 percent of workers don’t get paid vacation time, 24 don’t get paid holidays, and nearly 40 percent don’t get paid sick leave.

Even those who get this time off are getting less of it. The average worker who gets paid vacation time gets 10 days off, compared to 15 last year. And someone who gets paid sick leave gets six days of it, compared to eight last year.


CREDIT: Dylan Petrohilos/ThinkProgress

The United States is very lonely when it comes to the fact that it doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Out of 185 countries, just the U.S., Oman, and Papua New Guinea don’t guarantee that mothers can take paid time off when a new child arrives. Seventy countries also guarantee that fathers can take paid time off. Instead, the U.S. only requires that workers be given 12 unpaid weeks. Just three states have enacted paid family leave programs and a federal bill has been introduced, but so far it hasn’t gone anywhere.

The country is also lonely in its lack of a guarantee that workers can get paid sick days or holiday and vacation time. It’s the only country out of 22 developed peers that doesn’t require paid sick leave and the only one out of 21 that doesn’t require paid vacations and holidays. The European Union requires 20 paid vacation days and France, for example, requires 30.

Fifteen paid sick leave laws have been passed in the U.S., but just one state, Connecticut, requires employers to offer paid days when someone falls ill. And only one state, Washington, has even considered enacting a minimum requirement of paid vacation days.

US Unions Are Shrinking. These 7 Charts Show What That Means.

September 9th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in economic democracy, poverty, safety net, trade unions, Unemployment

This is a group of union members. They are a dying breed. Portland Press Herald / Getty Images

By Danielle Kurtzleben

Progressive America Rising via Vox

September 1, 2014 – Labor day isn’t just an excuse for millions of workers to have a three-day weekend. It began as a union holiday, an American counterpart to the International Workers Day of May 1st. But while the holiday endures, unions are increasingly becoming a thing of the past in the US. Here’s a chart-filled rundown of how unions’ place in the US has fallen off over the years, and what that means.

1) Unions have shrunk — a lot.

Union membership

Just 30 years ago, around 1 in 5 workers was a union member. Today, it’s just over 1 in 10, around 11.3 percent as of 2013. The cause of the decline is subject to heated debate. One reason may be new right-to-work laws — five states have added right-to-work laws since 1980. Some have argued that unions simply don’t appeal to young workers like they once did.

2) The fall happened entirely in the private sector.

Pew public and private unions

Source: Pew Research Center

Today, there are more than 3 million fewer union members than there were in 1983. But public sector unions have still grown; only private sector unions have fallen off, by around 4.6 million people.

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The Ferguson Insurgency and Generational Politics

August 22nd, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in poverty, racism, Unemployment, youth and students

In Ferguson, young demonstrators are finding it’s not their grandparents’ protest

By DeNeen L. Brown

Progressive America Rising via Washington Post

Aug, 21m 2014 – FERGUSON, Mo. — It hasn’t been so easy for traditional civil-rights-era activists in this small St. Louis suburb in recent weeks, where the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer has put them on all-too-familiar turf: challenging the treatment of African American men by police.

They, like so many around the country — including President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — have been deeply concerned about the militarized police response with tanks and tear gas and scores of arrests.

But what also has affected these activists is the realization that there is a generational divide between them and young protesters, who are organizing on their own. They are fueled by rage, mobilized by social media and sometimes, or so it seems to the old guard, capable of a bit of disrespect.

“The difference is, in the ’60s, we were disciplined,” Ron Gregory, 72, told a crowd gathered at a historic church on Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis to discuss protest strategies. The city is just minutes away from Ferguson.

“We were trained when we marched. We were taught if they spit on you, just wipe it off and continue marching. But we are dealing with a new breed of youngster. They say, ‘You better not spit on me.’ ”

The killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer has pushed a St. Louis suburb past the breaking point.

Generational divides are not new. Even John Lewis and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee challenged leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because they believed they weren’t pushing hard enough, fast enough. Later, the Black Panther Party took up arms and argued that African Americans have a right to defend themselves.

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Suburban Ghettos like Ferguson are Ticking Time Bombs

August 21st, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in racism, safety net, structural reform, Unemployment

Protestors march down West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo. (Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)

The protests there might be the first in a wave of suburban riots.

By Peter Dreier and Todd Swanstrom

Progressive America Rising via Washington Post

August 21, 2014 -  The current turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., follows the trajectory of urban riots in Newark, Detroit, Cincinnati, Miami, Oakland, Los Angeles and elsewhere. They typically begin with an incident of racially tinged police abuse. Outraged members of the black community organize protests, the police overreact, and the protests become more violent and threatening.

But there’s a key difference this time — Ferguson is a suburb.

More specifically, it’s a suburban ghetto.  Today, about 40 percent of the nation’s 46 million poor live in suburbs, up from 20 percent in 1970. These communities (often inner-ring suburbs) are beset with problems once associated with big cities: unemployment (especially among young men), crime, homelessness and inadequate schools and public services. Their populations are disproportionately black and Latino.

Ferguson is a microcosm of these problems and how they can erupt. But without major reforms, the current upheaval may be the first in a wave of suburban riots.

One major problem is political representation. Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, but blacks are severely underrepresented in Ferguson’s city government and school board. The mayor is white, as are five of six City Council members. Six of seven school board members are white.

The main reason for this discrepancy is simple: Blacks vote at a remarkably low rate in local elections. In 2012, the year President Obama ran for reelection, blacks in Ferguson voted at almost the same rate as whites (54 percent versus 55 percent), but in the 2013 municipal election, they voted at less than half the rate of whites (7  percent vs. 17 percent).

Blacks’ weak representation in local politics has real consequences. The Ferguson police department, for example, has a long history of abusing its black citizens. Only three out of 53 police officers in Ferguson are black. If blacks had a real voice in Ferguson city government, they could have made hiring more black police officers a high priority.

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Clinton vs. Obama, Iraq and ‘The Long War’ Theory

August 14th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in Iran, iraq, Long War, Middle East, Syria

This photo is believed to be the ISIS forces moving into the Anbar province of Iraq in January 2014. (Photo: Associated Press, 2014)This article was republished by The Nation on August 13, 2014.

Tom Hayden on the Alternatives in Iraq

By Tom Hayden

Beaver County Peace Links via The Nation

Aug 12, 2014 – Hillary Clinton’s flapping of her hawkish wings only intensifies the pressure on President Barack Obama to escalate US military involvement in the sectarian wars of Iraq and Syria. Domestic political considerations already are a major factor in forcing Obama to "do something" to save the Yazidis, avert "another Benghazi," and double down in the undeclared Long War against Islamic fundamentalism.

Clinton certainly was correct in arguing that Obama’s statement "don’t do stupid stuff" is not an organizing principle of US foreign policy. Instead of offering a new foreign policy, based for example on democracy, economic development and renewable energy however, Clinton lapsed into the very Cold War thinking she once questioned in the Sixties.

America’s long war on jihadi terrorism should be modeled on the earlier Cold War against communism, Clinton said. We made "mistakes", supported many "nasty guys", did "some things we’re not proud of", but the Cold War ended in American triumph with, "The defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism."

Ignoring the new Cold Wars with Russia and China, Clinton’s nostalgic vision is sure to be widely accepted among Americans, including many Democrats. She ignores, or may not even be familiar with, the actual Long War doctrine quietly promulgated during the past eight years by national security gurus like David Kilcullen, the top counterinsurgency adviser to General David Petraeus in Iraq.

Put simply, the Long War theorists have projected an eighty-year military conflict with militant Islam over an "arc of crisis" spanning multiple Muslim countries. Starting with 9/11, the Long War would continue through twenty presidential terms. In Kilcullen’s thesis, Iraq is only a "small war" within a larger one. Since a war of such duration could never be declared officially, the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF] stands as its feeble underlying justification.

Obama has made cautious attempts to separate himself from the Long War doctrine and even seeks to narrow or revisit the AUMF. But Obama has never named and or criticized the doctrine, presumably for fear of being accused of going soft in the War on Terrorism. Obama’s true foreign policy leaning is revealed in his repeated desire to "do some nation building here at home", which many hawks view as a retreat from America’s imperial role. They prefer, in Clinton’s words, the posture of "aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward," rather than being, "down on yourself."

While expanding US drone attacks, intervening in Libya and Yemen, and now escalating again in Iraq, Obama has emphasized another foreign policy direction that is disturbing to hawks. Obama repeatedly argues, “There is no military solution…" to the very wars he has engaged in, or tried to disengage from. That rational observation apparently is too "radical" for a government with the largest military in the world.

Clinton thinks the better approach is a little more muscular intervention – arming the Syrian rebels, for example, combined with some "soft power" on the ground.

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How the Democrats Can Blow It in 2014

August 12th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2014 Election, Democrats

Running as a Dem, sounding like a Republican

By: Alex Isenstadt

Progressive America Rising via Politico

August 11, 2014 – It’s one thing for Democrats running in red parts of the country to sound like Republicans on the campaign trail. It’s another when Democrats running in purple or even blue territory try to do so.

Yet that’s what’s happening in race after race this season.

Faced with a treacherous political environment, many Democrats are trotting out campaign ads that call for balanced budgets, tax cuts and other more traditionally GOP positions. Some of them are running in congressional districts that just two years ago broke sharply for President Barack Obama.

The Republican-flavored ads provide an early glimpse of how Democrats will wage their 2014 campaign. Democrats, hampered by Obama’s rising unpopularity and the tendency for conservatives to turn out at higher levels than liberals in midterm years, face the reality that swing congressional districts favorable to them in 2012 will be far less so in 2014.

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Should Populists Declare Victory?

August 7th, 2014 by admin | Comments Off | Filed in 2014 Election, 2016 Election, Democrats, PDA, Voting Rights, Wall Street

By Robert Borosage

Progressive America Rising via

Aug 7, 2014 – Should populists declare victory and go home? Despite money-drenched politics, Washington gridlock, the richest few capturing virtually all the income growth in the economy and corporations deserting the country to avoid taxes, the fanciful notion that populists have captured the Democratic Party is gaining popularity in the political chatter of the idle summer months.

Politico argues that “an ascendant progressive and populist movement” is “on the verge of taking over the party.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, electric on campaign trail and in social media, is touted as “Wall Street’s nightmare” and a potential challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary’s supporters respond with a hearty embrace, arguing that there’s no notable issue difference between Hillary and Warren. Blogger Matt Yglesias trumpets that Democrats are more united than ever, with no major issues dividing them.

The Democratic Leadership Council, center of the New Democrat assault on liberals, has shut its doors. The Rubinomics of the New Dems – featuring corporate trade accords, financial deregulation, fiscal austerity, and starving public investments – was discredited in the economic collapse. And now The Democratic Strategist, a New Democrat offshoot, features a “strategy memo” by James Vega arguing that progressives should declare victory and pick up their winnings. Rather than continuing to wage “a fight for the soul of the party,” challenging conservative Democrats in primaries, they should follow the example set by Warren, lay out a popular populist agenda, rally support for it, and invite all Democrats to join.

Plaintively, Vega argues that the New Dems have seen the error of their ways, understanding that financial deregulation in the 1990s was a mistake and that Obama’s Grand Bargain strategy in 2010-2011 was an error. Centrists have learned the need for a more populist stance and policies. Progressives should claim victory and hang up their pitchforks, eschewing “accusations of personal corruption and loyalties to groups like Wall Street.”

Warren, Vega argues, is the exemplar of this. She lays out a popular populist agenda and promises to fight for it. She consolidates support and mobilizes energy. She doesn’t push off of other Democrats, name names, or act divisively, thus she can “invite moderates in.”

Vega warns the populists that they can’t combine the Warren “progressive agenda” approach with the traditional “struggle for the soul of the party” at the same time. The one tries to unify a political party around a broad agenda; the latter tries to “purify” it by defining some groups as unacceptable.

This argument is like the summer’s morning fog; it evaporates in the light. The problem for Democrats isn’t that the populists are too powerful, but that they are too weak. Groups like, Daily Kos, Democrats for America, the Working Families Party, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have only begun to build the capacity to recruit and support candidates. At the state and local level, Progressive Majority is one of the few operations that helps recruit and train populist challengers. Labor unions still tend to be less active in primaries, gearing up only to get members out in the general election. Hillary Clinton is unique in many ways, but her ability to build a campaign-in-waiting, with millions already committed, demonstrates a potency that populists cannot match.

The argument over the direction of the party has always been about vision, agenda and leaders. The brutal battles are over issues, particularly defining issues that are tied to differing directions. What Warren personifies is the reality that the most attractive leaders in the Senate (Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, Bernie Sanders, John Whitehouse and others) and House (like Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva of the Progressive Caucus), activists of the Rising American Electorate (young, people of color, single women), and the organized base of the party – labor, citizen action groups, civil rights, women’s and environmental groups – all support an agenda far bolder and more populist than that embraced by the Obama White House.

With Hillary’s strength virtually suffocating the race for the nomination, progressives have already set out to lay out that agenda, consolidate the support for it, and elevate leaders who champion it. They do so both in the hope that Hillary will move to adopt their themes and reforms, and to build an independent movement for change.

This isn’t about electoral messaging or a settling of scores out of personal pique against those who got it wrong in the past. What is driving the new populism is an economy that does not work for working families. The concern about extreme inequality isn’t because some are rich beyond all measure. It is because the wealthiest 1 percent are capturing virtually all of the income growth of the society, meaning that everyone is struggling simply to stay afloat.

And, this isn’t an accident, an act of fate, a natural phenomena. This is, as Warren states, because they rigged the rules to benefit themselves. It won’t be changed without fierce battles to dislodge powerful and entrenched interests and change the rules. Curbing the financial casino requires taking on Wall Street. Getting trade right and reviving good jobs at home requires taking on the multinationals. Making the investments we need in areas vital to our future requires forcing the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Enabling workers to capture a fair share of the profits and productivity they help generate requires empowering workers and curbing CEO excesses. Providing a fair and healthy shot for every child requires reversing the conservative retreats of the last decades. The list can go on.

These fights will be at the center of our political debates over the next years. They will be pitched battles against powerful interests. Politicians will have to decide which side they are on. And the new populism has no chance unless a powerful movement is built that is prepared to elect champions to office and take on those who stand in the way.