The Democratic Party has made a strategic decision to bypass candidates from its progressive wing and recruit former members of the military and intelligence agencies to compete with Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. The shift away from liberal politicians to center-right government agents and military personnel is part of a broader plan to rebuild the party so it better serves the interests of its core constituents, Wall Street, big business, and the foreign policy establishment. Democrat leaders want to eliminate left-leaning candidates who think the party should promote issues that are important to working people and replace them with career bureaucrats who will be more responsive to the needs of business. The ultimate objective of this organization-remake is to create a center-right superparty comprised almost entirely of trusted allies from the national security state who can be depended on to implement the regressive policies required by their wealthy contributors. Here’s more background from Patrick Martin at the World Socialist Web Site:
“An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.
If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress….
… it should be noted that there would be no comparable influx of Bernie Sanders supporters or other “left”-talking candidates in the event of a Democratic landslide. Only five of the 221 candidates reviewed in this study had links to Sanders or billed themselves as “progressive.” None is likely to win the primary, let alone the general election.” (“The CIA Democrats, Patrick Martin, The World Socialist Web Site)
Progressive candidates are being ignored to make room for center-right functionaries who will focus on reducing government spending, rolling back Trump’s trade policy, and supporting the foreign wars. This new wave of fiscally-conservative Democrats will execute their tasks in a party that serves as the political wing of the federal bureaucracy. Democrat leaders have long-abandoned the idea that a party should be a vehicle for political change. Their aim is to create a top-down pro-business collective that marginalizes activists and liberals in order to avoid disruptive political convulsions that impact corporate profitability. Here’s more on the Dems’ attack on its liberal base from an article by Patrick Martin:
“The New Jersey Democratic Party establishment successfully imposed its choice in contested congressional nominations, brushing aside several candidates backed by Bernie Sanders and his Our Revolution group. Nearly every Sanders-backed candidate in other states—for governor of Iowa and congressional seats in Iowa, Montana New Mexico and California—suffered a similar fate.” (“US primary elections in eight states confirm rightward shift by Democratic Party”, Patrick Martin, The World Socialist Web Site)
As a result “Only a handful of candidates running under the Bernie Sanders banner survived primaries held in six states on Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, only seven of 31 candidates endorsed by Our Revolution —- had been declared winners.” (USA Today)
Simply put, Democrat leaders have successfully derailed the progressive bandwagon. Even so, Sanders role vis a vis the Democratic Party has always been a bit of a ruse. Here’s how author Tom Hall sums it up:
“The major political function of Sanders’ campaign is to divert the growing social discontent and hostility toward the existing system behind the Democratic Party, in order to contain and dissipate it. His supposedly ‘socialist’ campaign is an attempt to preempt and block the emergence of an independent movement of the working class.” (“Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?”, July 16, 2015), Tom Hall, World Socialist Web Site)
Sanders task will become increasingly more difficult as progressives realize that the Dems are building a party apparatus that sees activism as a fundamental threat to their strategic objective, which is to create a secure environment where business can flourish. Sanders has helped the party by seducing leftists with his fake liberalism, but he has undermined the aims of working people who need an independent organization to advance their own political agenda. As long as Sanders continues to sell his populist snake oil from a Democratic soapbox, liberals are going to continue to hope that the party can be transformed into an instrument for progressive change. The evidence, however, suggests the party is moving in the opposite direction. Here’s more from Patrick Martin’s:
“The Democratic Party’s promotion of a large number of military-intelligence candidates for competitive districts represents an insurance policy for the US ruling elite. In the event of a major swing to the Democrats, the House of Representatives will receive an influx of new members drawn primarily from the national security apparatus, trusted servants of American imperialism……The preponderance of national security operatives in the Democratic primaries sheds additional light on the nature of the Obama administration (which) marked the further ascendancy of the military-intelligence apparatus within the Democratic Party….
The Democratic Party is running in the congressional elections not only as the party that takes a tougher line on Russia, but as the party that enlists as its candidates and representatives those who have been directly responsible for waging war, both overt and covert, on behalf of American imperialism. ….
The upper-middle-class layer that provides the “mass” base of the Democratic Party has moved drastically to the right over the past four decades, enriched by the stock market boom, consciously hostile to the working class, and enthusiastically supportive of the military-intelligence apparatus which, in the final analysis, guarantees its own social position against potential threats, both foreign and domestic. It is this social evolution that now finds expression on the surface of capitalist politics, in the rise of the military-intelligence “faction” to the leadership of the Democratic Party.” (“The CIA Democrats”, Patrick Martin, The World Socialist Web Site)
The dramatic metamorphosis of the Democratic party hasn’t taken place in a vacuum but in a fractious and politically-charged environment where elements within the intelligence community and law enforcement (FBI) are attempting to roll back the results of the 2016 presidential elections because their preferred candidate (Hillary Clinton) did not win. And while these agencies have not yet produced any hard evidence that their claims (of collusion with Russia) are true, there is mounting circumstantial evidence that senior-level officials at these agencies were actively trying to entrap members of the Trump campaign to justify more intrusive surveillance in the hopes of uncovering incriminating evidence that could be used in impeachment proceedings.
As more information surfaces, and we learn more about the “unmasking”, wiretapping, National Security Letters, FISA warrants, paid informants and other surveillance abuses that were directed at the Trump campaign, we should think back to 2005 when the New York Times first reported that the National Security Agency had been eavesdropping on Americans inside the United States “without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying.” (“Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts”, New York Times) That incident was reported just 13 years ago and already we can see that the infrastructure for a permanent Orwellian police-state –that uses its extraordinary powers of surveillance to sabotage the democratic process and maintain its stranglehold on power– has already arisen in our midst. And while Russiagate is proof-positive that these malign spying techniques are already being used against us, the Democratic party is now creating a home for deep-state alums and their military allies so they continue to prosecute their war against personal liberty and the American people.
This article was also published on The Unz Review.
Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Featured image is from the author.