Ashley Judd, Please Reconsider!
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore is president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, a social change strategy firm in Washington, D.C., and the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a social change nonprofit dedicated to making policy work for people and their environments. She is also the co-chair of the Commission to Modernize Social Security. A regular guest on radio and television shows, Dr. Rockeymoore has appeared on NPR, CNN, Black Entertainment Television, ABC World News Tonight, Fox News, Al Jazeera and C-SPAN.
Ms. Judd, I was disheartened to read that you decided not to run against Mitch McConnell for the Kentucky senate seat. Several days prior to your announcement, I was especially disturbed by reports that the Clinton machine had thrown their support behind newly elected Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes. News accounts suggested that they favored Ms. Lundergan Grimes because of her family’s political ties and her more moderate ideological views, which they believed would go over well in the supposedly conservative state.
Before you decide to completely give up a career in public service, there are five things that you should know:
1. Not all Democrats are made of the same stuff. There is plenty of ideological diversity within the Democratic Party but the current dominant split is between New Democrats and Progressives. Founded by former President Bill Clinton, the New Democrats represent the neoliberal wing of the party and they ascribe to a policy agenda that is, like Republicans, highly responsive to the interests of Big Business, including Wall Street interests that helped tank the U.S. economy in 2008. They typically support conservative-leaning positions such as less regulation on big banks, the Keystone XL pipeline and expanded oil drilling in the U.S., and “entitlement reform” which they define as cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits needed by the disabled, seniors, surviving dependents, and the poor. In contrast, the traditional Progressive wing of the party stands for effective regulation on big banks, protecting the environment against the degradation created by expanded drilling, and the strengthening of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid so that main street Americans can have improved health and economic security. Unfortunately, the New Democrat wing of the party is currently dominant in Washington but their policies are unsustainable from a human and environmental needs perspective over the long term.
2. The New Democrats were afraid of your candidacy. You should understand that they were afraid of your progressive values and the likelihood that you would make decisions based on those values if you had run and won. Like Elizabeth Warren who successfully ran for and won a Senate seat in Massachusetts, your platform would have been based on popular public support, not on the largess of the New Democrat-controlled Democratic Party apparatus. Needless to say, Senator Warren’s strong advocacy in support of the interests of regular people has already proven to be a nightmare for New Democrats and their Wall Street backers. Adding you to the Senate mix would have reduced their grip on power. In short, they figured that they wouldn’t be able to control your politics so their best option was to try to tank your candidacy before you could officially declare. Sadly, they have been successful in their quest.
Read the full article in The Huffington Post.