The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jareyah Bradley, 908.242.4822,

New "Autopsy" of Democratic Party Reveals Continued Missteps Since 2016 Election, Neglect of Base, Failure to Make Needed Changes to Regain Momentum

Nearly one year since the 2016 presidential election, a new 34-page report "


Nearly one year since the 2016 presidential election, a new 34-page report "Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis" concludes that the party's national leadership has continued with the same failed strategies that lost the White House. Drawing upon aggregated data and analysis, a task force of party activists and researchers--including the chair of the California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus--is recommending a series of changes including bolder policy initiatives and structural reforms inside the national party.

"This report makes clear that the Democratic Party needs to stop giving higher priority to the chase for the elusive Republican voter than to its working class base," said Norman Solomon, co-author of the report and co-founder of, a political action group with more than a million active supporters online. "In the 2016 campaign and since then, we've seen party leadership failing to advocate for policies that speak to core constituencies--especially people of color, young people and working-class voters. To make matters worse, the party has failed to allocate sufficient resources to reach those constituencies, to cultivate grassroots organizers and to directly challenge voter suppression."

Read the full report here:

Urging that the party go beyond stale debates over identity politics, the report says: "Building an intersectional coalition--one that unites the working class across racial lines while addressing issues specific to people who are targeted based on identity--is key to creating an electoral force that can not only win, but also overwhelm the small group of wealthy white men the GOP works to further enrich. If the Democratic Party is to become such a political force, it will require a much bolder economic agenda to directly challenge corporate power."

"We want a winning strategy that's built on truly progressive policy proposals and inspiring programs that give voters a compelling reason to show up and vote," said Karen Bernal, report co-author and chair of one of the California Democratic Party's largest caucuses, the Progressive Caucus. "It's urgent for the national party's leadership to put an end to its defensiveness and denial. Instead, confronting hard truths with honest self-reflection is how we move forward."

The Autopsy recommends that the Democratic National Committee drastically overhaul the party's political approach by:

  • Accelerating its very recent gear-up of staffing to fight against the multi-front assaults on voting rights that include voter ID laws, purges of voter rolls and intimidation tactics
  • Ending the superdelegate system and committing to scrupulously adhering to its Charter, which requires the DNC to be evenhanded in the presidential nominating process
  • Avidly promoting programs popular with much of the country, such as single-payer Medicare for all, free public college tuition
  • Identifying and rejecting, ideologically and financially, the corporate power that stymies reform on crucial issues such as tackling the climate crisis, health care needs and economic security

The task force that conducted the Autopsy was coordinated by longtime Democratic activist Karen Bernal, who chairs the large Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party, and by co-founder Norman Solomon, a Democratic National Convention delegate in 2008 and 2016 who was the national coordinator of the independent Bernie Delegates Network last year.

Research for the Autopsy report was funded by Action for a Progressive Future, the organization that sponsors, which currently has 1.3 million active supporters online nationwide.

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