Democrats in Washington State have a problem.

NW Progressive reports on former Democratic Washington State representative Mark Miloscia:

Desperate to solidify their tenuous hold on the Washington State Senate, top Republicans have once again recruited into their ranks a candidate repeatedly elected to the Legislature as a Democrat with Democratic volunteers and donations.

Mark Miloscia, who previously served several terms in the state House as one of two of the 30th Legislative District’s representatives, has decided to run against his former colleague Tracey Eide for Senate. He filed his paperwork today with the Public Disclosure Commission and also launched a campaign website.

When Senators Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon, also elected as Democrats, decided to caucus with Republicans in 2012, they formed a so-called Majority Coalition Caucus that effectively gave the GOP a narrow majority in that chamber. That majority also built a dam that holds back progressive bills and kills them on the senate floor. If Miloscia wins, more bills and budgets will probably die, and, of course, Dems will be swimming against a whitewater current trying to reclaim a majority this fall.

But this is a problem bigger than just a few senators. The state Democratic party has a big-picture problem. We're not electing Democrats liberal enough to resist switching parties. The Democratic party and its candidates need a fierce groundswell of support from progressive voters, progressive funders, to get those candidate into office. And they don't have that support from their liberal base.

Of course they don't.

The state's Democrats, including the Seattle delegation, have proven themselves to be new-freeway-cheering, transit-fearing, medical-marijuana-attacking moderates. They haven't saved basic education funding; they've eviscerated it. They've stood idly by while state universities were drained of cash and tuition skyrocketed. They've thrown up their hands about a tax structure that leans more on the poor—and gives the rich bigger breaks—than any other state. The Democratic politicians in Washington State don't give Democratic voters anything to be excited about. Lacking a vision that fires up their base, the party is coming apart at the seams.

So the question isn't just how Dems reclaim the senate; it's how they motivate their Democratic base. Do they need to be more moderate—an appeal to the purple burbs, which has been their tack—or do they need to rally around a more electrifyingly progressive platform? I think they need to have an identifiably energizing platform that they don't shut up about: raise the minimum wage, fund pre-K statewide, ban dirty coal trains, ban explosive oil trains, preserve wilderness areas, mandate paid sick leave, etc. Maybe those planks would turn off some folks, but right now Dems don't stand much for anything, and that's turning off folks, too.