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Progressive Caucus Encourages Primary Challenge

On Saturday, 75 members of the CDP's Progressive Caucus passed a resolution in support of a Democratic Party Presidential Primary challenge to President Obama.
karen bernal

Progressive Caucus Chair Karen Bernal moderating the discussion.

Progressive Caucus of California Democratic Party Encourages Democratic Party Primary Challenge to President Obama

On Saturday, July 30th, 2011, an estimated 75 members of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party (CDP) passed a resolution in support of a Democratic Party Presidential Primary challenge to President Barack Obama. Gathering in Anaheim during an Executive Board meeting of the CDP, the group overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution following a discussion on the importance of not only challenging the far-right agenda of unmitigated corporate greed but also the current administration’s willingness to slash 650-billion dollars from Social Security and Medicare.

At the Executive Board meeting on Sunday, a challenge to re-certifying the Progressive Caucus was introduced as a consequence of the action - the only such challenge introduced - involving the 19 caucuses within the California Democratic Party. An “objection to consideration” motion was made alongside a simultaneous motion to table, in order to give tempers a chance to cool until the next Executive Board meeting in November. In the meantime, the Rules Committee is likely to study the matter and produce a report, according to Rules Committee Chair Garry Shay. [Language update 5 August 2011]

Below is the updated resolution:

Resolution in Support of a Presidential Primary Challenge

WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party recognizes the challenge presented by President Obama' s negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans, we are challenged by President Obama in the following ways:

progressive caucus
  • His unilateral closed-door budget offer to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which endangers the New Deal and War on Poverty safety nets.
  • His determination to escalate U.S. militarism through illegal secret CIA drone attacks and unauthorized wars.
  • His willingness to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and bail out big banks without ending the foreclosure crisis that displaces American working families.
  • His insistence on pushing a health insurance bill which enriches private insurance companies while ignoring growing support for single-payer health care or robust public options.
  • His continuance of President Bush's assault on civil liberties with an extension of the repressive Patriot Act.
  • His failure to restore due process, including the protection of whistleblowers and habeas corpus.
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  • His numerous failures to adhere to international law.
  • The continuing practice of nationwide FBI raids of anti-war progressive protestors.
  • His decision to increase the arrests and deportations of undocumented workers.
  • His facilitation of the privatizing of the public sphere, which includes education and housing, among others.
  • His disregard of his promises to the Labor movement.
  • His failure to adequately protect the environment and adequately address climate change.

WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party recognizes the historical significance of the Eugene McCarthy/Robert F. Kennedy anti-war challenge to President Lyndon Johnson. The challenge followed President Johnson's decision to escalate U.S. military involvement in Vietnam, betraying his campaign promise to end a war that polarized America. Similarly, we recognize the danger and betrayal that the current Grand Bargain represents to the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt s signature gift to all Americans, Social Security and the New Deal, a point of pride for all Democrats.

WHEREAS, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party is committed to the understanding that an interest in a 2012 Democratic presidential primary challenge will not interfere with President Obama's ability to govern and not limit his ability to do so in ways that include invoking Constitutional options, we recognize that this will, in fact, raise debate on important issues without risking the ability to mobilize and energize the base of the Democratic Party to elect a triumphant leader to counter the far-right agenda.


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, to make our views heard, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party will begin the process of contacting other Democratic organizations, Democratic Party members and public organizations that share our views on the issues and which seek to alter the course of history by exploring other steps to effect a necessary change, including a possible primary challenge to President Obama.


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