Dems might begin again with Kamala Harris and California
© Getty Images

The prairie fire that is — or was — the Tea Party has drowned in the English Channel. The hopes of its avatars were that a “Frexit” would follow “Brexit” and like dominos in an anti-globalist chain fall all the way to the Russian frontier.

But the French election this weekend suggests otherwise. Marine La Pen’s National Front will likely yield to the young, independent and rising Emmanuel Macron in the next round, who received a call of support just before the race from Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEmanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Public officials are under physical and digital siege We must protect and support our health care safety net MORE.

And in Germany, Frauke Petry of the hard-right, anti-EU Alternative for Germany, has this week dropped out of her race.


William Butler Yeats’ dark prophecy of the rising millennium, “the centre cannot hold,” has been reversed. Today in Europe, the center begins to take hold again. 


Following the iron-clad law of unintended consequences, a new Europe, formed in peace, can now be seen pulling together with Chancellor Angela Merkel rising as its singular leader; the singular leader of what is left of “the West.”

For without Britain and America as partners there is no “West.”

This leaves America with Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE, whose chances of political success grow dimmer by the day. So it should be a very good day for the Democrats. 

But millennial favorite Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Progressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting MORE, the independent Senator from Vermont, said on CBS’s Face the Nation this week, “The model of the Democratic Party is failing.”

It is, and it has been for a long time.

As the progressive Common Dreams reported last year, Sanders told a crowd then in Springfield, Oregon that, “the Democratic Party as a whole must forge a 50-state strategy in order to restore civic vibrancy and fuel meaningful outcomes on the key issues people care about in every community nationwide.”

So exactly one year on and a historic national election in the interim, how’s that working out?

As of today there are 33 states with Republican governors and 25 with Republican “trifectas.” Five more governors and the red states of the heartland could have enough states not only to call an Article 5 constitutional convention as Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants, but with enough states to ratify anything and everything such a convention would desire.

This situation began back in 2006 when the Clinton-dominated Democratic party took on the strategy of “Whistling past Dixie.” Democratic strategists Steve Jarding and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders warned then that "Democrats cannot afford to keep writing off the South [and the heartland]. If you don't start getting a message there, if you don't start listening to people there, if you don't start spending time, energy and money there, you can say goodbye to any notion of realigning political power and instead say hello to the numbing reality that you are relegating yourself to the status of a permanent minority party."

Prescient thoughts. For Democrats, that boat has long left port.

When he first announced his run for office, the interesting new Senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, who could well be running for President in 2020, came up with an interesting “thought balloon” in which he asked voters to imagine that Washington. D.C. was not the capital of America but that the capital was somewhere in the middle of the country like Nebraska.

Sasse’s thought reveals an underlying truth about America: Washington was the perfect center for the original colonies but the true “center” of America today would be somewhere along the Mississippi River from Texas, to Iowa and Chicago. It reveals that we are no longer a North/South country but an East/West country in an East/West world, with our thinking still stuck in the North/South polarization of 1865.

I’ve a simple thought for Democrats: Look to the West. 

Take a stand. 

Begin again.

And don’t look back.

Leave New York and Boston behind. Start again from scratch and start in California. And let the other blue states and regions look to California for leadership. If Governor Jerry Brown declares California to be a “sanctuary state” New York and the New England states should do the same.

If Brown opposes the federal government on environmental legislation and provides his own the blue states should follow. Go West, for America starts again in the West or it doesn’t start at all.

“Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a Democratic star showing up on lists of potential 2020 presidential candidates, was embraced with a resounding ovation as she condemned the Trump administration at her first town hall meeting on Friday,” The Sacramento Bee reports.

Harris was born in Oakland, California in 1964, the same year that the Free Speech Movement was born on the campus of University of California at Berkeley. 

California then and in the next few years underwent the birthing pains of a new phase of American political and cultural life; an America free of Europe’s archaic traditions and even our Eastern Establishment American traditions; an America that saw across the Pacific as easily and as willingly as New York and Boston reach across the Atlantic. 

Like the Alamo to Texans and Bunker Hill to New Englanders, it was a creation moment for California.

And Harris was born with it. 

What better time, place and person to start again with; to start America again from the beginning.

Bernie Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.