Hit the Donkey
I am generally opposed to the "pox on both their houses" school of political thought. It is patently absurde to suggest that our country's future will be unchanged whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge.
But the idea that the present Democrats are going to lead the charge to progressive reform in this nation is also extremely untenable. Both parties are compromised. It's just that the Republicans are gleefully compromised while the Democrats, at least, make noises about it being a bad thing.
Which is why I find this dKos diary by TocqueDeville powerful. His analysis of the two competing strains in progressive strategy ("change the party from within" vs. "punish the party until they change") is spot on. I also think he is, unfortunately, correct that a purely "change the party from within" strategy can't work because any reformer who moves into a corrupted system will inevitably eventually become corrupted.
TD suggests that the weapon missing in the progressive political strategy is the stick that we can reasonably use against the Democrats. Simply threatening to abandon the Democrats in toto (the "punish the party until they change" strategy) is unacceptable because the threat of Republicans regaining power is unacceptable. But what if we were to us a more selective stick? What if we were to say that losing one or two house seats to the Republicans might be acceptable? What if we were to say that it might be a good thing?
What if we were to actively seek to defeat Steny Hoyer and let a Republican win his seat? The Democrats would still retain control of the house, but the leadership might think twice about pissing off the activist base (instead of the grudging acceptance it receives today).
It's a radical idea and it will certainly piss off a lot of Democrats. But maybe they need to be pissed off.
After all, donkey's need to be hit with a board every now and then.