An Essay on Democrats
I’m what you would call a “leftist.” Not all leftists are Democrats, but most Democrats like to consider themselves leftist. I’m lefter than most Democrats, and I’m now going to try and convince why you should be too.
The linked article show how the Democratic “Resistance” is going to be coordinated by this group of incredibly wealthy establishment figures. These are the same figures who marshalled hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 12 years to ultimately lose the presidency to an obscene, immoral Reality-TV host.
People have this idea of modern-day Democrats as somewhat feckless and inept, even cowardly in the face of the ruthless, shameless GOP. I’ve run through all of those opinions myself. But I believe it is time to move beyond this rather narrow characterization. The Democrats’ actions cannot be adequately explained by sheer ineptitude or cowardice. A couple of examples:
I’m not a Bernie-worshiper, but I do think he was a better candidate (opinion) who clearly aroused more passion among voters than Clinton (not really debatable, after he almost beat a household name only about 6 months after most people had ever heard of him). He’s now the most popular politician in the country, according to Gallup. The strength, vitriol and underhandedness with which the Clinton machine and the DNC undermined his campaign goes beyond simply being misguided. They recognized a threat and moved to neutralize it at all costs.
We saw the same fight spill out in a proxy battle over the DNC chair vote from a few weeks ago. Keith Ellison, a young, popular, black, Muslim progressive, was one of the first to enter the race, and one of the most competent candidates by far. He aroused incredible excitement from an alienated base of progressives. But unfortunately he had committed the fatal mistake of betraying Clinton with his Sanders endorsement during the primary.
This obviously could not stand, and after a period of weeks the Dem establishment persuaded Tom Perez to enter the race, basically as an establishment surrogate. His supporters were sure to point out ad nauseum how progressive he was, and how he really wasn’t that different from Ellison on policy, which of course begs the question of why they were so desperate for him to run in the first place. Then they began some really shameful smears of Ellison, accusing him of anti-semitism because he criticized Israel. (For the record, criticizing Israel’s apartheid policies does not make you a Jew-hater, but that’s a topic for another day.) This culminated in the contentious vote, wherein a literal corporate lobbyist was whipping up support for Perez on the conference floor.
Finally we have the current health care debacle, which we can pray will be voted down (but which really you better bust your ass to make sure it gets defeated – don’t be a spectator on this one). There are conservative voters across the country literally begging at town halls to have Medicare For All (i.e. single-payer, i.e. Universal Health Care), yet we do not hear a peep from Democrats about it. There has never been a more opportune moment in U.S. history, from a leadership perspective, to advocate for single-payer healthcare. But what are we getting? Crickets.
And this is where we circle back to the article I linked. We have to stop thinking of these failures as chronic ineptitude and start considering it something far worse. The people who are now determining which direction the “Resistance” will take are the same ones that have been responsible for the historic failures of the last decade. They’re the same ones who thought it a great idea to run screaming from Obamacare and the economy in the 2012 and 2014 elections. Yes, they actually thought it wise to concede these positive Democratic outcomes to the shameless GOP.
These are the same people who in 2008 looked at Obama’s unprecedented grassroots support network and saw only a threat to their power, choosing to dismantle it shortly after his inauguration. These are the same people who counseled Obama to meet with insurance companies BEFORE he had even proposed any health care plan, and then advised him not to push for single-payer but instead start negotiations with a mere public option.
These are the same people who looked at the political climate a year ago and decided that they must fight the most popular progressive we’ve seen in a generation with a hugely problematic, even hated, centrist technocrat – this centrist technocrat, btw, who would condescendingly claim during the campaign that single-payer “will never, ever come to pass”!
In short, these are people who have been nothing but wrong for over a decade (they even fought Obama before they embraced him!), and who have squandered hundreds of millions of YOUR donations on worthless pursuits. And they’re now deciding how we’re going to fix all of this. And they’re doing it by continuing to silence the more progressive wing of the party who is begging them to fundamentally change, to return to their populist, working class roots.
So yes, at some point we have to forget about ineptitude. We have to forget about cowardice and fecklessness. We have to look beyond these to see what is really happening here, to see who is really benefiting from the way Democrats are operating. Who benefits? Well, clearly the people in control of the money are benefiting, no? Clearly the people donating these vast sums of money seem to be happy with how things are going, right? They continue to donate to the same people who continue to lose.
When you look at it this way, it begins to look disturbingly like the Democrats aren’t even necessarily in it for victory anymore. They’re more there to maintain their own power, and to provide an ostensible foil for the party of truly naked corporate ambition. And they’re being supported by people who are very happy with the status quo.
This is what it looks like when your politicians become beholden to corporate interests. They stop promoting truly progressive, populist actions like single-payer or anti-monopoly/corporate policies and instead start whining about why they can’t get anything done. They don’t have to necessarily come out against all of this stuff – they can just explain why it’s unrealistic and won’t work. Doesn’t that sort of come out to the same thing? I mean in the end, they’re still not fighting for economic justice, right? Does it matter that they claim to want to?
I submit that it’s time to force them to fight for these basic human rights, or to find another group that will.