Pipeline Activists Threaten Democrats

While having approximately 50 Keystone pipeline protesters camped out on her doorstep may almost be a positive for Democrat Mary Landrieu in her Louisiana run-off election against Republican Bill Cassidy, it can hardly be a welcome sight for national Democrats concerned with alienating a part of their own base.

The visuals of more than 50 protesters picketing on Landrieu’s front yard with “No KXL” signs could bolster Landrieu’s status as a serious threat to opponents of the pipeline and positions her as a key player in the effort to bring more than a dozen Senate Democrats on board to support the bill and send it to President Barack Obama’s desk. Activists even walked up to the front stoop of Landrieu’s D.C. home and knocked on the door — no answer.

With over a dozen Democrats who may find themselves wanting to support the pipeline, even as the national party moves left post-election, the riff highlights a key challenge for Democrats, increasingly seen as out of touch with an American middle-class that seems to value work over gee whiz environmentalist theories and wishful thinking.

But progressive activists at the protest said they weren’t concerned about Landrieu’s reelection prospects, acknowledging that both Landrieu and her opponent support Keystone XL.

“It’s one vote in the Senate, and either way it’s a yes vote on the Keystone pipeline,” said Karthik Ganapathy, an organizer with the environmental organization 350.

While Liberals have largely abandoned Landrieu, the national party has pulled back, as well. No doubt they want to downplay intra-party divides like this one as much as possible as they try to re-group after a disastrous election. They also continue to have to suffer the potential harm to the party from a now unpopular president who seems to want to act against the will of the American electorate in dealing with illegal immigration, along with other issues.

Obama may be good at getting himself elected. But his days on the ballot are over and his progressive legacy could end up doing significant damage to his party for years to come.