The inspiration to write this came from Ohio Barbarian’s excellent Post-Election Progressive Scorecard Update: Kasich 3, Obama 0

Based on my reading of DDay and Jon Walker, it sounds as though the odds are improving that at least 25 GOP House members in the lame duck Congress will vote for a Boehner/Obama/oligarch compromise. The most immediate problem is that the new Congress is sworn in on January 3. That House of Representatives will have fewer wingnuts than the current one. That’s a huge red flag signaling that the oligarchs are worried that they will not get as sweet a deal after January 3. Tammy Baldwin is not yet a U.S. Senator. Currently, she serves in the House and will vote on whatever “Grand Bargain, whatever works best for the elites” comes up for a vote.

I do not want to get anyone’s hopes up. I do not see Congresswoman/Senator Baldwin, or any of the other “safe” Dems in the really heavy D+ Congressional districts standing up to the elites. I also do not mean to be picking on the only openly GLBT member of the U.S. Senate. Please feel free to substitute whatever Dem you want that serves in a district that’s overwhelmingly Democratic. Rep. Baldwin is right at the start of a SIX-YEAR Senate term. That’s SIX-YEARS before she has to face a primary. Even more than most House Dems in heavy D+ districts, she is really, really safe. I do not see the House Progressive Regressive Caucus raising the fact that the top MARGINAL tax rates on the 1% were north of 90% from 1951 – 1964. Marginal Tax Rates On The 1% Were North of 90% During Eisenhower’s Administrations. If the “cliff” is as steep as the oligarchs claim, why not return to the MARGINAL rates the 1% had to pay from 1951 – 1964?

I do not see House Dems in ultra-safe districts exhibiting the same commitment to advancing liberal/progressive policies as Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) demonstrated in the Obamacare vote to advancing wingnut policies. As far as I know, Rep. Stupak only had about five allies, but in the vote on the Affordable Care Act, those five votes decided whether the legislation passed. Rep. Stupak used his leverage to advance anti-choice legislation The Stupak Amendment Is Back: What’s an Enrollment Corrections Bill?.

As Jane asked at the time, why did the House Progressive Caucus not fight as diligently as Stupak for the public option?

If Senator/Congresswoman Baldwin and four other House progressives (Gwen Moore from Milwaukee would be an obvious choice) made it known they would NOT support the lame duck legislation, Boehner/Obama/elites would have to find 30 Republicans to vote for their “Grand Bargain.” That might creat problems which is another reason those five progressives would likely be pilloried in the MSM. It would be extremely tough to get traction in the MSM on spending cuts/revenue enhancements upon which progressives and wingnuts agree: ending foreign occupations, restricting all Defense contracting to U.S. workers, cutting welfare to Wall Street, legalizing marijuana……. It’s a consequence of the elites owning all the MSM. If Big Labor would buy a big-city daily like the Detroit Free Press or the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it might tilt the balance of power.

All these House progressives in heavy D+ districts are up for re-election in the 2014. Because it’s a midterm, ad rates and turnout are lower. That’s when liberals and progressives can have the largest impact on the progressive caucus. Green candidates, especially, may be able to mount strong primary campaigns based in part on a lame duck vote in December 2012. In heavy D+ districts, Occupy may have evolved into a robust GOTV force. One election cycle may not accomplish much. It may take two or three cycles of mid-term primaries for Democrats to figure out who their base is. IMHO, that’s why Green protests and Occupy are so critical. IMHO liberals and progressives need to be supporting a long-term electoral strategy with non-violent direct action. It’s very possible imho, that the Heavy D+ Congressional Districts will evolve into a national Green party, while retaining their Democratic character at state and local levels.

Another benefit of primaries in heavy D+ districts, it’s tougher for the wingnuts to sneak in one of their candidates.