As Republicans take control of Congress for the first time since 2006, the Democrats' crushing midterm defeat and the rise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have empowered the progressive wing to step up their fight for the soul of the party ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Their message: Stop catering to big business. Listen to populists like Warren on how to rebuild the tarnished brand. Champion transformative ideas that will improve the lives of middle class Americans. If not, Democrats are toast in 2016.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus is pushing its nearly 70 Democrats to oppose a sweeping funding bill on Thursday because it rolls back a key aspect of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The liberal group’s whip operation blasted out an email earlier Thursday urging its members to reject the so-called cromnibus if a provision tucked into the massive bill — which helps big banks trade derivatives in units backstopped by a government guarantee — remained in the spending measure. Democrats see it as a way to undo protections intended to prevent financial crises like the 2008 crash.
Progressives, these days, are a gloomy bunch, and it's not just because of the outcomes of last week's election. As they see it, there's much to be gloomy about: Poverty levels are stuck, they say, with little improvements made in recent decades. What's more, according to the standard progressive line, income inequality is soaring, and back to levels last seen in the roaring '20s. And, to top it all off, middle class incomes are flat, or even falling. But here's the thing: Each of these claims is a significant overstatement. In fact: Progressives have every reason to be celebrating right now. Why? Because by and large, things aren't so bad as progressives claim, and the reason things aren't so bad is because progressive policies are working.