I’m going to couch my endorsement of Antonio Delgado in the form of a moderate self-critique. Before I issue it in part 2, I’ll put on the table what I told a canvasser for Delgado months ago and have repeated to anyone who’s asked since, including to Delgado himself. And that is that anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of politics should have an inherent distrust of a candidate fitting Delgado’s profile: a white collar criminal defense lawyer from a notorious union busting firm whose multimillion dollar war chest was overwhelmingly acquired from the finance sector including massive contributions from Goldman Sachs employees and other unsavory corporate entities. Based on Thomas Ferguson’s golden rule of politics, I fully expect that Delgado’s tenure in office will be largely responsive to these interests.
This will not be an issue so much in his first term. Should he be elected, Delgado can be expected to vote party line on whatever initiatives the Democrats pursue to scale back the Trump juggernaut. Where the rubber will meet the road will be in 2020 should a progressive Democrat representing the Sanders wing of the party take the presidency. The first hundred days initiatives will be key, with congressional votes on Medicare for All, banking reform, higher taxation on upper incomes, repeal of the carried interest deduction, maybe even (my own personal hope) the initiatiation of a wealth tax.
It is reasonable to assume that Delgado’s votes will reflect the views of those who financed his campaign. And that will mean a “no” on most if not all of these. In other words, he and others like him will, as the saying goes, “dance with those who brung him.” The likelihood that he will change partners is small if history is any guide. The result will be the failure of the progressive agenda in 2021.
This will, however, send a message, now stronger than ever, that the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party will need to be displaced.
Based on that, if the progressive wing has developed the kind of organizational infrastructure necessary to do so, all candidates fitting this profile will receive primary challenges in 2022. Delgado is likely to be one of these and I will be pleased to support and work for whoever his challenger is. We should be working to recruit him or her now.
At the moment, however, it should be all hands on deck for Delgado. I therefore strongly endorse not only voting for him, but working with as much enthusiasm as possible for his campaign, as I myself am doing.