During the primaries, I donated to Bernie Sanders’s campaign a handful of times, but never more than $50 a pop. It was my small way of trying to be part of the winning side; the right side.
Well, he didn’t win. But I still receive emails from Our Revolution to keep me abreast on the Progressive viewpoint. The latest campaign is to try to get Keith Ellison, a Progressive congressman from Minnesota, elected as the head of the Democratic National Committee.
Naturally, like Sanders in the primaries there has been a ton of pushback from the establishment. Ellison, a Muslim, is being linked to anti-semitism, and President Obama isn’t thrilled about the prospect of Progressives running his corporatist party.
This seems like real sound logic: after getting
defeated destroyed by Donald Trump — who ran a populist campaign — the Democratic Party establishment is opposing the one true Progressive with a winning message. And make no mistake, Ellison is running on the same platform Bernie did, the same platform that was of particular effectiveness in the Rust Belt states… the states that cost Democrats the election in 2016.
After months of trashing Donald Trump, and rightfully so given his rhetoric, President Obama met with him soon after the election and called Trump “pragmatic, not ideological.” But now that there’s a Progressive trying to run the DNC, Obama and the rest of the establishment is going to tooth and claw to oppose it.
Did the party learn nothing from what just happened?
This brings me to 2020, when I will be a 30 year-old. The Washington Post already came out with a list of Democratic candidates to watch, and it isn’t a complicated group. The party isn’t interested in the best candidate, but rather the best fundraisers. I think Corey Booker — who takes record sums from Wall Street, and is referred to as “Obama-Lite” — is The Guy. It all comes down to whether or not Elizabeth Warren wants to run. If she does, then she should be the one.
Listen, the Democrats just lost an election because they don’t have the interests of the American people high on their list of priorities. The party is bought and sold by Wall Street, which is slightly less disturbing than the fossil fuel industry and the Military-industrial complex — who run the Republican side. At either rate it’s the middle and working classes getting screwed.
Many narratives came out of Hillary Clinton’s loss in the general election, and they are each varying degrees of bullshit. First, the idea that FBI director James Comey killed her momentum in the last week by insinuating new information in her email scandal; there was, of course, the fatuous idea that Bernie Sanders hung around in the primaries too long; there was even the notion that Green Party candidate Jill Stein stole too many votes and swung the election in Trump’s favor.
Again, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. And some pretty bad excuses at that.
The real reason the Democrats lost is because they are no longer the party of the working class. There is no other rational explanation, or valid excuse, for why they lost to a neanderthal demagogue like Donald Trump. Through trade deals that outsourced jobs to other countries, a stagnant minimum wage not commensurate with inflation or the cost of living, and the coarsening of our culture through political correctness, the party has shifted away from liberal principles and closer resembles what most people used to consider the Republican Party.
The Republican Party is now the far-right.
This is what happens when your elected Democratic officials capitulate. This is what happens when Barack Obama is more interested in playing nice with the other side than doing any of the things he originally said he was going to do. The GOP should be ashamed for the obstructionism of the last six years, blocking almost everything Obama wanted to accomplish. (Race is directly responsible for that.) But we should never forget that there was a brief window, right when he was elected until 2010, when Obama had a majority in both the House and the Senate.
The real left wing, which is now referred to as Progressivism, or the grass roots, does not forget that Obama — for his many positives — was more or less the same Democratic president as all the rest. Rather than what he accomplished, he’ll best be remembered for the obvious fact that he was America’s first black president. There’s nothing wrong with that, but he could have done so much more.
So the Democratic Party is at an impasse. Should they stick to what they’ve been doing, taking huge campaign donations from the big banks and the pharmaceutical industry? Or should they listen to what the people want, from free college to expanded social security to single-payer healthcare to an increased minimum wage and so on?
Do they care about winning?
From the left — the real left, I should say — no one comes out of this election cycle looking as strong as Bernie Sanders does. And no political faction comes out of it with as much juice as the Progressives. This is soon going to be our country.
The DNC needs to come to grips with this. It seems so simple from my vantage point. And a huge step in the right direction would be to make Keith Ellison the head of the DNC, where we can move from talking platitudes to talking real policies. Because when it comes to policies, the left seems to have the best ideas. Or at least ideas that agree with a majority of Americans.
You don’t accomplish winning the next election by running out the same old thing and expecting a different result. President Obama had his time. Hillary Clinton never had hers, partly because she stood for nothing, but mostly that the people are tired of the same old thing.
The future is for the bold.