Since MoveOn endorsed Hillary Clinton’s opponent, it’s hardly surprising that Clinton has not-so-nice things to say about MoveOn. But the bad dynamic between Clinton and MoveOn is a reminder of one of the fundamental problems with her candidacy. The Clintons, and many of their key supporters, come out of a school of political analysis which holds that the problem with the Democratic Party in the United States is that progressive institutions are too strong. Only by curbing the influence of these institutions, the theory goes, can Democratic Party politicians engage in the tactical repositioning necessary to win elections.
Whether or not that was true in 1988-92 or, indeed, whether or not it remains true today, this is clearly not a long-term strategy for progressive politics. This “crush the left, move to the right” theory of electoral political may or may not work for politicians in the short run, but to create big change you need to strengthen progressive institutions and move the entire spectrum to the left.