washingtonmonthly.com — As was widely noted on Election Night, the Senate Democratic Caucus is far less likely than its most recent predecessors to be dominated by a moderate-to-conservative “rump” faction ready to offer cooperation with Republicans for the right price. In the House, the fractious Blue Dog Coalition, despite several upset wins, will see its membership, decimated in 2010, decline further from 18 to 15. But underneath all these indicators of unity and ideological coherence, and the defensive crouch in which all Democrats found themselves during and after the 2010 midterms, there are unmistakably intraparty tensions on a significant range of issues domestic and international. Many of them go back to the more visible fissures of the Clinton presidency. And several could very rapidly emerge quite soon, depending on how the administration and Democratic congressional leaders handle the negotiations with Republicans over tax and spending issues during and perhaps immediately after the current lame-duck session.
thenation.com — With re-election safely behind him, we hope President Obama will be bolder in his second term. Americans would respond positively. In fact, a majority actually have liberal or progressive views. But however skilled Obama is as a politician—and despite the many principled progressives in Congress—we cannot expect to enact more than modest reforms until we tame the power of the corporate plutocrats. Ultimately, we need to change the system that ensnares even the most progressive politicians in its web. Specifically, we need three kinds of structural “mobilizing” reforms that will dramatically level the political playing field, weakening the power of the corporate plutocracy and strengthening the voices of ordinary Americans.
prospect.org — We’re about to find out, in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, whether President Obama plans to govern the way he ran for re-election—and whether, as a result, he just might become the kind of president liberals hoped he’d be in the first place. The single most surprising thing about the 2012 campaign was that the “man from Kumbaya” completely rejected the Bill Clinton re-election model. It was the polar opposite of triangulation: This time, the Democratic incumbent won with a resonant message of liberal populism. And damned if it didn’t work—not just because Obama won, but because the central arguments he made to raise taxes on the wealthy and preserve government as a force for fairness and opportunity changed Americans’ minds in fundamental ways. When the man asserts, as he has been doing, that “voters agreed with me” on issues like tax increases for rich folks, he’s not blowing smoke.
huffingtonpost.com — News reports from a variety of places, and my own personal report-backs from participants at yesterday's progressive organization leaders meeting at the White House, indicate that the president is signaling loudly that he will stand strong on at least some of the very highest priority things that progressives care the most about in the fiscal showdown talks. He continues to demand that the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 go up. He said yesterday in the progressives meeting that Social Security was "off the table", and he said that while he believes there can be Medicare and Medicaid savings from a variety of administrative methods, that he had no intention of cutting benefits. We don't know how all of this is going to end up, but right now at least, the president has decided that in unity there is strength.
salon.com — Fears that liberal disaffection would hurt Obama at the polls proved groundless last week when the Democratic base came out in force. But Obama’s honeymoon with the left may not last long. The top priority for Congress as it reconvenes this week is to deal with the so-called fiscal cliff, and progressives are worried that Obama and congressional Democrats may agree to a “grand bargain” that includes cuts to social safety net programs, especially Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or gives a tax break to the wealthy. Progressive activists are now preparing to turn the firepower they marshaled to reelect the president against him if he looks like he’s backing down on his mandate, as they see it, to preserve the social safety net and raise taxes on the wealthy.
nextnewdeal.net — Last week’s election results weren’t just a win for the president. Across the board, voters went to the polls and registered their support for progressive values, supporting needed tax increases, passing marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans, and giving a candidate who ran on a platform of proactive government and a strong safety net a second term. The message was clear: despite an economy that continues to recover too slowly, the direction that progressives are taking the country in is the right one. So our job has just begun. Now is when we really have to roll up our sleeves and work to achieve an ambitious agenda. The politics won’t necessarily be much easier than they were over the last four years. But with a Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the Senate, and an electorate strongly behind us, progressives have an opportunity to seize over the next four years.
alternet.org — The 2012 elections may prove to have been a watershed in several different respects. Despite the efforts by the political Right to suppress the Democratic electorate, something very strange happened: voters, angered by the attacks on their rights, turned out in even greater force in favor of Democratic candidates. The deeper phenomenon is that the changing demographics of the USA also became more evident—45% of Obama voters were people of color, and young voters turned out in large numbers in key counties. Unfortunately for the political Left, these events unfolded with the Left having limited visibility and a limited impact—except indirectly through certain mass organizations—on the outcome.
huffingtonpost.com — Election night chatter was all about race. Pundits and commentators on all the major networks, from ABC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox were marveling that President Obama had once again lost the majority of the white vote and still won the election. Can you see it now? America has changed. Everyone got a glimpse of the future. By 2042, people of color are expected to make up a majority of America. By the end of this decade, the majority of young people will be of color. One thing is certain: No party that wants to be successful will ever again focus its appeals on a narrow slice of the white electorate.
prospect.org — Liberals had a lot to celebrate on election night, from the outcome of the presidential race to a number of major Senate wins. But less noticed on the whole was the stunning display of progressive power in ballot measures across the country. From gay marriage to marijuana legalization, from teachers unions to school funding, voters on the whole supported a progressive agenda in the 2012 election. State policy not only carries major implications for the lives of state residents, it also helps set the stage for national debates on issues. In a number of states, voters were deciding the direction of public education; in others, the fate of union power. Election night brought some big victories for liberals, albeit with a few defeats. Here are the most notable winners and losers.
tikkun.org — Many Americans sighed with relief the day after the 2012 election that they had beaten back a powerful right-wing assault. There was little enthusiasm about what we had achieved in retaining Obama, but much joy that for the moment the most reactionary forces in American life were held at bay. Liberals and progressives are happy, but not elated, at the outcome. Obama voters are now trying to get themselves ready for the variety of ways that Obama will once again disappoint us. Our re-elected president is poised to embrace some variant of an austerity program (sometimes called Simpson/Bowles) with large-scale cutbacks to social programs for the poor and middle classes and a narrowing of who can receive Social Security benefits and at what age, all done in the name of an invented fiscal emergency or debt crisis which are only real to the extent that one’s highest priority is paying off the bankers and large investors.