By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Simmons will only say, "John Kerry's not a racist. His campaign is just stupid." He will acknowledge, however, that the Democratic Party is increasingly out of touch with its electorate. "They're fighting for, in theory, a lot of good things for people who are struggling. They just don't know any people who are struggling," he said. "When you go to a party for a big supporter of Democrats, there are no black people anywhere in sight," he added. "I know all of the big funders of the Democratic Party. But I'm one of their only black friends."
While the Democratic Party is devaluing Americans of color at a huge cost, the progressive movement, a nascent coalition of leftist organizations whose ideological origins can be traced to the infamous mass protests against the World Trade Organization's Seattle meetings in December of 1996, is slowly being transformed by the hip-hop generation.
Among these groups, Wimsatt's League of Pissed-Off Voters is a relatively small player. It is more grassroots and hands-on than, for example, MoveOn.org, whose political action committee spent millions of dollars organizing against the Republican Party this year. Wimsatt downplays his role as the director of the League; he clings to his status as an everyday community activist, even though he is rapidly turning into a national leader.
"The old people that voted for Bush are going to die out. People of color are going to become a majority, and we have a long-term strategy to take this country back," said Wimsatt. "We've been proving our model for winning small elections. This is what the right did -- they took on school boards and city council races, and they built up from there."
Even though Wimsatt sounded hopelessly optimistic when comparing the progressive movement to Goldwater's conservatives, it is clear that the Democratic Party will have to change its tactics dramatically if it wants to reclaim America's legislative and executive branches. As Wimsatt put it, "the 2008 election starts today."