Well as they say in Game of Thrones; “Winter is coming”.
Today is day one of winter which unfortunately may last for many years. Many of us, including me, may never see spring again.
Republicans reign triumphant over the nation controlling the House, Senate, the Presidency and the next Supreme Court nominee. On a state level the GOP controls 33 governorships / legislatures. No political party has been so dominant in my 74 years.
The Democrats are in total disarray. Where does this party go from here? It clearly has no clue.
Does it have a leader? Not yet. A strategy? Well no.
This week the Democratic National Committee began seeking a new Chair to lead it for the next year. The candidates gathered at George Washington University to for a “debate.” Contenders repeatedly called for “unity” and made vague calls for better “organizing” while sidestepping important issues about how the DNC should govern its future affairs, dodging key questions about party reform and pandering to the 447 insiders who will elect the next Democratic leader.
If any of the candidates on stage Wednesday were auditioning to serve as the opposition leader against President Donald Trump, s/he managed to fool everyone.
None were willing to call for an end to state caucuses ― complex presidential nominating processes that undermine a one-person-one-vote framework.
When asked what the party should do about super delegatees ― party insiders the DNC has long granted special influence over its presidential nomination ― no candidate would support simply scuttling the undemocratic system.
Candidates couldn’t even acknowledge the DNC had botched the 2016 process. When asked whether the DNC “put its thumb on the scale” in favor of Hillary Clinton, no candidate would agree. “That’s a gotcha question,” Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown said. “I’m not going to answer.”
The contentious 2016 primary between Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders exposed major fissures in the party. But the candidates studiously avoided emphasizing those divisions. calling the idea of the DNC race as a proxy battle between the Sanders and Clinton wings of the party a “false choice.” What that means is that the DNC has little use for Bernie’s rank and file “socialism.”
Labor Secretary Tom Perez, alone among the contenders, appeared to call for across-the-board obstruction to Trump’s agenda, registering the most rhetorically potent moment of the evening. “We can hit [Trump] between the eyes with a two-by-four and treat him like Mitch McConnell treated Barack Obama.”
Big talk. Last week a bill was presented to help control drug prices and send a message to Big Pharma. Thirteen Democrats voted with the GOP to defeat it. The lead Democrat was “progressive” Corey Booker of New Jersey. I understand. Big Pharma is really big in New Jersey.
There are genuine disputes within the party over how to move forward in a moment of historic political impotence. On Wednesday night, nobody was willing to light the way.
Allow me. Take back economic populism. And take it back big time.
President Trump and the GOP will take away the health care of the very people who voted for him. They will attack Medicare and Medicaid. Don’t hold your breath for a replacement. The Republicans are in charge; let them work their will. My sympathy is limited to those suffering in winter who voted against him.
Wait. Let Ryan and McConnell do their thing. When the number of uninsured begins to mount do not tinker with thoughts of “reform,” Don’t bother.
Demand health care for all as a basic human right. Medicare equivalent for everyone.
Don’t tinker with the cost of a college education. Offer tuition free college at state universities for all. It can be done and we know where the money is.
Offer paid maternity leave. Lower the price of prescription drugs; let Medicare negotiate fair prices for Part D drug coverage.
Time for a living wage for everyone who works full time.
Start thinking big and stop obsessing over bathrooms. Start thinking about working men and women.
None of these ideas are new. They exist all over northern and western Europe and Canada where strong socialist parties exist as alternatives to center-right and right wing governments. Conservatives in America have been playing that “socialist” cold war trope for years. Recall that Obama was a “socialist” on Fox news before he was a Kenyan and a Muslim.
Time for the left to return to the working man and woman and stop spouting elitist bullshit about “doing what you love” and begin respecting workers who do what needs doing.
“Do what you love.” The truth is, that is simply not an option for most people. When it’s 39 degrees and raining in February, do you think the guy who picks up your trash is staring at your acrid, bacteria-laden refuse at 6 a.m. is saying, “Thank God, I love what I do”?
Our “follow your dreams” culture doesn’t begin to appreciate coal miners or people who work in brake disc factories, even as it obsessively venerates empty celebrity and people like social media executives and hedge fund managers who are filthy rich in spite of the fact their contributions to society aren’t very tangible. Combine that with the self-loathing these guys feel from, say, being laid off and having to fake a fibromyalgia diagnosis so they can collect disability and feed their families, and you have tremendous resentment.
And so as I write Winter is upon us.
Enough of movie stars and Taylor Swift, identity and gender politics.
Time to restore dignity to working men and women.