Progressives missing the boat

Matt Stoller at Open Left is not happy with the Democratic candidates — in part because the mainstream candidates are not addressing the real issues.

The issues we are dealing with today – health care, jobs, even a war in Iraq – are literally the same issues we dealt with in 1992. How can that possibly be considered progress? A real progressive candidate would take an apolitical problem and turn it into a mainstream political subject. None of our candidates have done that. Here are five easily mainstreamable problems ripe for the picking. […]
Subject: End the War on Drugs
Factoid: There are 1 million people put in jail for doing what Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George Bush have done.
Marijuana is America’s largest cash crop, and it is responsible for around 225,000 arrests a year. Overall, the war on drugs incarcerates around 1 million people a year. Direct spending on the war on drugs this year is $50 billion dollars, about $600 a second. Around half of high school seniors have consumed marijuana (pdf). Simply put, why do some people go to jail for marijuana and cocaine, and others run for President?
Subject: End the cradle-to-prison superhighway
Factoid: 2 million people are in prison in America, by far the highest total of any other country in the world.
Think slavery has ended? Think torture is ‘new’? Think again. With two million people in prison, and tens of thousands of sexual assaults every year, prison is a huge industry and a horrendous abridgment of the idea that is America. […]
The cancerous symptoms are all around us, and leading Democratic Presidential candidates are too corrupt and morally crippled to even begin talking about them. But we’ll get there.

Note: the comments section shows that Matt’s got some strong disagreement within his readers regarding the “end the drug war” item, and that we’ve still got some major work to do.

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