A week has gone by since the Republican surge, sweeping the Dems out of the majority in the Senate and continuing their strangle hold on the House.
Tsk tsk. It’s what happens in a two party system when the country is unhappy.
Now the Dems can play obstructionist in the Senate, filibustering even routine business and our Nobel President can exercise his veto pen. The House can pass 50 more bills overturning Obamacare. Nothing will get done unless corporatist Democrats sell out, “reaching across the aisle to get things done for America”. I can smell the sell out from here.
Turnout for this election was at historic lows; the percentage of eligible voters actually bothering to vote sank to levels not seen since the 1940s. Millions of Americans don’t give a shit. Millions were unstirred by a Democratic Party which is simply not listening. Why make the effort to vote if it’s a choice between tweedle dum and tweedle dee?
Voter turnout for people under 30 was abysmal. In this election, young people only made up 12 percent of those who voted, while people aged 60 and older made up almost 40 percent of total voters. The turnout of the young was much greater in the last Presidential elections but not this time. Young folks stayed home in droves and let their Aunts and Uncles addicted to Fox make the choice for everyone.
Why? Because there is no left in America and lefties are totally disillusioned.
The profound silence from Democrats on addressing the trillion-dollar student debt crisis, rampant inequality and underemployment, and the collective fear of openly embracing economic populism, cooked up what we saw last Tuesday night. Older people showed up, highly motivated to elect war hawks. Younger people mostly stayed home, disillusioned with the alternatives on the ballot.
The few young people who did show up to vote largely did it to support state ballot initiatives that actually mattered in daily lives. America voted to raise the minimum wage in 4 states to a slightly more respectable amount, and to $15 an hour in San Francisco. The electorate voted for a week of paid sick days in Massachusetts, and for marijuana legalization in three more states (Yes I know D.C. isn’t a state yet) . Even here in Florida, medical marijuana got 58% of the vote; it didn’t pass because a constitutional amendment needed 60%. But it was close. Californians voted to turn nonviolent drug offenses from felonies into misdemeanors.
The young however didn’t vote for Democrats who haven’t done anything for them since 2012, and who brazenly took their votes for granted this year.
The populist economic message resounded even in red states but Dems weren’t listening.
Democrats looked pitiful in the year leading up to the midterms. They didn’t seem to stand for anything in particular, just pointed the finger at the other guy, told us they were bad, and that Dems weren’t like them. But they never articulated exactly what they were for; that’s not enough. Take a risk, be bold. Get behind Elizabeth Warren’s 0.75 percent interest rate for student loans. Allow student debt to be abolished with bankruptcy. Push for single-payer healthcare, or at the very least a public health insurance option. Need some catchy buzzwords? Try “affordable education,” “good jobs,” and “healthy families.”
“No one will show up to vote for you if you are not offering anything real – if you’re not addressing their concerns. The Republican platform comes in easy-to-remember, tweet-sized sentences. We all know their buzzwords – “national security,” “family values,” “free markets.” That may translate to endless war, homophobia, and corporate feudalism for the better-informed, but for lots of people, those are catch phrases they can get behind.”
Which brings us to Hillary and her suffocating presence in Democratic politics.
Where the hell is she on issues?
Let’s face it; our foreign policy is in shambles. Hillary ran the show for four years with little to show for it. Oh yes. “Hard choices”. Does she shoulder any of the blame for our current mess or is John Kerry the patsy?
Is she for war and empire? Usually she is. Does she take money from banks? Damn right. Does she support repeal of NAFTA? Reinstating Glass -Stegall? Who knows. I doubt it. She can’t run on those planks – her husband Bill’s “signature” achievements.
Is she for universal health care and a single payer system? Reversing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? Raising the minimum wage? Where does she stand on income inequality and what does she think should be done about it? How about internet neutrality or the Trans Pacific Partnership?
Legalizing marijuana? Closing Gitmo? Reining in the NSA? Cutting defense spending? Bringing troops home? Negotiating with “terrorists”? Does she support reversing Citizens United and Hobby Lobby with anything but lip service? Where is she on immigration?
Who the hell knows where she stands on anything?
Like it or not, she and Bill control the levers of money and power in the Democratic Party; so much so that most others are afraid to oppose or run against her.
What ever happened to Democrats? Where the hell is the Democratic left? Besides being against hate speech and for gay marriage and women’s health, what are they doing for working men and women?
Not a damn thing. Especially “blue dog” Democrats and centrists who are simply Republican lite. Many who voted for “change we can believe in” no longer believe that Democrats will fight for change.
That’s why they lost.