What Is the Left?
First, let's get straight what it is not. It is not the array of Putinoid "anti-war" nitwits on Twitter. It is not grifters with huge Twitter followings that sidled up to Tulsi, who has now gone full Fox-MAGA, endorsing Chuck Grassley, of all people.
Rather, it is the Working Families Party, Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, Progressive Democrats of America, and a faction inside my own organization, Democratic Socialists of America. It is Bernie Sanders, campaigning on behalf of Summer Lee in Pittsburgh, Greg Casar in Texas, and others, to expand 'The Squad.' It's publications such as In These Times, The Nation, The New Republic, Jacobin, and Dissent.
When it came to the growing squad in the midterm elections, DSA was AWOL, choosing instead to focus on its own pure candidates. In the latter terms, the performance of DSA in Chicago and New York City is indeed impressive, except in comparison to what it might be with a less sectarian approach. (Jacobin has also been at loose ends in this respect.)
I note that in the wake of the idiotic attacks on DSA member Jamaal Bowman in New York, he ended up smoking his opponent by a margin of 64 to 36 percent. Some comrades thought they could 'hold him accountable,' failing to understand that he is the dog and they are the tail, if not some loose fur.
The con at the heart of DSA is its opportunistic support of Bernie Sanders, really just using Sanders to grow its membership, but then declining to follow his political lead, and rejecting other politicians with the same politics. People joined DSA because it owns the "democratic socialist" brand popularized by Sanders, while Sanders has little to do with DSA. My view is that this is not a sustainable situation.
When it comes to the 2022 election results, I'm a little less than thrilled by the "we didn't get massacred, let's celebrate!" line being circulated. The standard midterm pattern -- the president's party gets blasted -- is a figment of politics as usual. Politics as usual is precisely our problem.
When it comes to my own little corner of the world -- Loudoun County, Va. -- there is the same air of dubious triumphalism. The Democrats did sweep all but one race, but the missing one could prove to be another negative indicator. It was for the school board, the original spark over transgender policies that led to Republican victories for state elections two years ago. The winner at this point appears to be a MAGA nutcase. Moreover, the Democratic victory margins here are not as good as Biden's in 2020.
You can color me the perpetual malcontent. It's one way to never be disappointed. I'm undecided on running for statehouse next year. Until then, the few pennies of donations I've received will go to the Georgia runoff.