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The New Progressive Alliance (NPA) is a grassroots organization founded in 2010, entirely online, in response to the Democratic Party’s complete and final forsaking of its role as the leading voice for Progressive ideals and reform in America.
In the 30 years prior to 2010, though their campaign rhetoric claimed otherwise, the party’s leadership and vast majorities of its Congresspeople and Senators had increasingly shown a willingness to sell out the vital interests of America’s poor, its disadvantaged, and its working men and women – and to capitulate on basic Progressive policy issues such as non-intervention, civil and human rights, and progressive taxation.
As evidence of these transgressions against their core principles continued to mount, the Democrats survived by convincing enough voters that they represented the lesser of the two evils – the other being the Republican Party – which owned American politics.
For many Progressives, the final straw came in early 2010. Despite control of both houses of Congress and the White House, Democrats failed to enact nationalized health insurance, or even to provide a publicly funded alternative to the high-cost “coverage” offered by profiteering, benefits-denying insurance companies.
In February 2010, even before President Obama formally approved his party’s gift of 40 million more customers to Big Insurance, blogger “Masoninblue” posted this invitation to readers of The Seminal, a site at FireDogLake (FDL), to join him in forming a new Progressive party. In late March, he and five other Seminal bloggers and readers formed an online group to incubate the process. They supported strict adherence to the basic tenets of Progressivism, and even chose a name – New Progressive Alliance.
Differences in approach soon surfaced, however. One member strongly espoused a highly theoretical approach wherein the new party advocated a complete overthrow of the current system of representation. Others felt the focus should be on electoral activism which emphasized the Progressive values distinguishing the new party from the Democrats.
Fast forward to September. With the 2010 midterms approaching, calls for electoral opposition to Obama in 2012 increased at The Seminal (soon to be re-named MyFDL). Diarist jeffroby launched an effort called “Dump Obama.” Anthony Noel, one of those in the fledgling New Progressive Alliance group who supported electoral activism, pushed for a vow from midterm voters to write in “Public Option,” rather than vote for any incumbent House or Senate Democrat – 90 of whom caved on their own demand that such an option be included in any health reform bill coming up for a vote.
Then, days before the Democrats’ epic midterm defeat, jeffroby asked Seminal readers to nominate potential primary challengers to Obama. After the midterms, Noel followed suit. The resulting nominee lists were combined, and readers voted for their ten preferred challengers, with these results:
By the time the nomination and voting process was complete, it was late November. Noel next asked readers to propose platform topics, and a name for what was beginning to feel like a movement. From more than 40 proposed issues, these ranked as the readers’ top five:
1) Full Employment
2) Medicare for All
3) Civil Rights/Human Rights/Civil Liberties
4) Fair Trade
5) End the Wars Now
And from more than 25 proposed names, the group inspired 10 months before by Masoninblue had its favorite confirmed: We would be the New Progressive Alliance, or NPA.
In May 2011, the New Progressive Alliance filed as a 527 political organization.