This last 6 months has been a blast, huh? All I can say is that a half a year in Trump time is about 600 year in human years.
A wise person once told me the best way to approach life is to discard the win-lose dichotomy.
It’s not even that Dems lost the 2016 election. We won by about 3 million votes. But here’s the rub: Donald Trump should never have come even close to the 60 million votes he got. Whoever ran against him should have won by a significant enough margin that would’ve made the electoral college irrelevant.
So the question all democrats should be asking is this: what have we learned from the rise of neo-fascism in the form of Donald Trump and his goon squad?
Some democrats appear to be letting ‘The Lesson’ sink in. Senate Minority leader Charles Schumer (NY) has signaled that he gets it by embracing single-payer as something that should be a part of any Democratic party platform. Senator Cory Booker seems to be getting it, albeit he’s a little late to the party. He recently said he would stop taking campaign contributions for Big Pharma. He should’ve said that a few years ago, but better late than never.
So what is ‘The Lesson’? It’s simply this: the democratic party needs to wake up to the fact that things have been slipping in America—not since Trump was elected, but for the last 40 years. Yes, both Democratic administrations and GOP admins have allowed the Rust Belt to rot and middle America to swing in the breeze. Both Dems and the GOP have allowed the chasm of wealth inequality to widen. It may have slowed a bit under Clinton and Obama, but that isn’t good enough. It needs to reverse course. Now. Or we will most definitely slip into a third-world maelstrom from which we will not be able to emerge.
There’s no way we can blame Trump for the tent cities popping up all over big cities in America. There’s no way we can pin the opioid epidemic on him either.
How are we going to reverse course? It’s not going to come from being too tepid or too afraid to float ideas like single-payer and a $15 minimum wage. It’s not going to come from soft selling the idea of a progressive tax code.
It will take having the balls (or ovaries) to put forward unabashedly that the Democratic party is the party of the working-class, and to say unequivocally that when the working-class is doing well, the country as a whole benefits. Wake up, Dems: Americans are already on board with the things you’re reluctant to embrace. Read your history books: it was an injection of FDR-style democratic socialism that saved capitalism in the last century. We need a dose of that now.
Right now there seems to be a civil war within the Democratic party between the progressives and the centrists. The centrists have been floating candidates like Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris. The progressives are in the Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Bernie Sanders camp.
We are wrestling for the soul of the Democratic party right now, and it’s crucial that we sort it out before the 2018, and especially before the 2020 elections, when there will be another census and another massive gerrymandering opportunity.
The time for being tepid is over. The Democratic party must return to its roots of being the party of the people. It’s not enough to be progressive on identity politics. That’s just a bare minimum.
We must also be progressive on economics. When there is no economic justice, when the resources of a society and the power is so unevenly distributed, then everyone civil rights is at risk.
I love Sen. Harris. I voted for her. But is she the right person to be putting forward as presidential candidate material? Not if she’s in the centrist camp. ‘Centrist’ in the Democratic party is basically code for ‘Wall Street friendly.’ Why is she seen as a centrist? Maybe because when she was California’s attorney general, she opted not to prosecute Steve Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank during the housing crisis. Mr. Mnuchin is Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin earned the title ‘foreclosure king’ during that period — not exactly a working-class guy’s friend. According to the non-profit Campaign for Accountability, OneWest went out of their way to boost foreclosures — most likely illegally. But AG Harris chose not to pursue it. And she got rewarded by Mnuchin when she ran for senate. In fact, she was the only Democratic he gave money to.
So while this fight for the soul of the Democratic plays out, I pray we all keep in mind that Democrats moving to the center and embracing Wall Street over Main Street might be just as responsible for the rise of Donald Trump as anything else.