Let's rebuild a Democratic Party that fights for a clear progressive vision.
Dear Democrats: You Are A Minority
Embrace the Populist Wave, Before It’s too late
I understand your anger about the election of our current POTUS. It should never have happened. The corruption and nepotism, is both obvious and revolting. We are fortunate that he is not very bright, or competent at statesmanship, that he is unlikely to accomplish the fascist changes he seeks. I will say again, he should never have become president, however, the reasons for his presidency are misunderstood by many.
It was not Russians, it was the complacency and tone-deafnxess of Democratic leadership. The Russians were opportunists who took advantage of Democratic corruption and arrogance, to assist a person who would give them more favorable treatment. Trump is only a convenient fool for Putin. The Russians at best, are bit players and sideline hustlers in this latest election debacle.
Democratic membership has been sinking for decades, and has crashed in the last couple years, just like the Republicans. Voters on both sides feel misrepresented by the majority of our elected government, regardless of partisan differences. A little over half of American voters share two critical traits: they are the majority in America, and they are Independents. They may lean to the left or the right, but stuck with two establishment choices, many simply won’t participate.Trump is only a convenient fool for Putin. The Russians at best, are bit players and sideline hustlers in this latest election debacle.
Being independent in our two party dominated system, is incredibly frustrating. Independent candidates don’t get invited to the debates, there are tremendous barriers to entry, installed by both Democrats and Republicans in getting on the ballot, in accessing federal campaign money. The independent voice has been consistently muffled and relegated to the sidelines by corporate media coverage. They have been ignored and marginalized for decades.
This disregard and disenfranchisement is a large part of why Democrats lost Congress and statehouses cross the country, 2010 through 2016. An astoundingly low percentage of voters (37%) participated in 2014. Bernie Sanders has it right. When voter turnout is high, Democrats almost always win. The evidence I’ve seen tells me, that voter turnout is high when the independent majority is inspired.
Hope and Change
In 2016 we have seen something very different. We saw a man appealing to the worst in people on a regular basis, pure demagoguery, with a healthy dose of pandering to populist rhetoric. Many districts that voted for Obama in 2008, voted for Trump in 2016. How is this possible?
Barack Obama campaigned fiercely, about the criminal banks and the financial industry that wrecked the world economy. He spoke boldly about the merits of a universal healthcare system used by every other industrialized nation in the world in one way or another. It was just common sense, and many people agreed.
Obama talked ceaselessly about the imperialism and militarism, the lies that brought us into Iraq, and how he would end these pointless and destructive interventions. He spoke eloquently to the corrupting influence of money in politics.
He was embodying the classic Democrat, straight out of the late 1930’s, forward thinking progressive populism. He talked about taxing the rich and increasing social services, infrastructure investment.
People responded. It was the highest voter turnout in 40 years, the most diverse turnout maybe ever. The idea of hope and change resonated with a lot of people. You saw the rally’s Obama had, and the passion of the voters that showed up to support him. (Obama’s campaign rally’s were later dwarfed by Bernie’s, but we’ll get in the next article.)
It was a progressive lovefest, Obama was bucking the centrist trend that Democrats had been tacking to for near 40 years. He was inspiring the base, along with bringing the disaffected political neophytes, such as myself in 2008, into believing politics could be used to effect real change.
Obama inspired people by showing progressives that they are not alone. He helped a large segment of American to see, that there was a majority building, a consensus, who saw obvious benefits of social services expansion, the reduction of war, of infrastructure investment, of addressing wealth inequality.
Obama campaigned as an outsider, as contrasted by beltway insider Hillary Clinton. The Democratic controlled congress had a clear mandate with the huge takeover of congress. When single payer was 'bargained' away so quickly, there was a trembling in that trust among many progressive voters.
When the bankers walked away with fines, instead of jail time, without the justice department even trying to take them to trial, that trust began to crumble. When mega banks that gambled and destroyed the economy were bailed out, while millions of voters, were left hanging out to dry, that trembling became a serious doubt.When the bankers walked away with fines, instead of jail time, without the justice department even trying to take them to trial, that trust began to crumble.
Time went on, the wars didn’t end, instead we were going new places, deposing govts, creating power vacuums for ISIS to fill, selling arms to ISIS allies in the name of ‘freeing’ Syria. Selling massive amounts of arms to known supporters of terrorists and vile human rights violators like our ‘ally’, Saudi Arabia.
Despite the constant touting of the economic recovery and the job growth, the majority of Americans are currently struggling just to pay rent and put food on the table. Over half of the jobs created during Obama's tenure were part time or minimum wage, just enough to survive, or not even that considering the jump in food and rent prices. If you weren’t lucky enough to work in a city with tech industry or finance, you didn’t see a recovery. There is a very real depression in our country happening right now, for many people. A depression veiled by $14 trillion dollars of quantitative easing, fueling another stock bubble.
Wealth Inequality grew tremendously under the Obama administration. In the name of ‘bargaining,’ tax breaks from the Bush era were extended. The progressive values he campaigned on, seemed to have been forgotten, once he took office.
The crumbling trust of the voters has steadily eroded Democratic power in congress and in state houses since their recent high water mark in 2008. The behavior of the DNC during the primaries, the colluding with the media, the active opposition of supposedly neutral leadership of the DNC, the cheating and underhanded behavior, has all but destroyed the credibility of the Democrats to represent the people fairly.
Trump was not an accident, he was an inevitability created by the Democratic leadership’s behavior and policy positions. In putting forth a centrist establishment, and widely distrusted candidate, the DNC not only lost the presidency, they destroyed any hope of winning congress. The rebuke of the Democratic party, was quite clear, and it is very disturbing that they continue to deny any responsibility, or undertake any serious reform. The consequences, are Trump, and control of congress by Republicans.
We will explore how to address this problem, in the 2nd article.