Democrats Still Don’t Get It—and there’s Not Much Time

A NYTimes Opinion piece of a couple of days ago caught my eye. “Why Did So Many Americans Vote for Trump?”

Good thing it’s an opinion, because there’s no hard evidence, only conjecture. But conjecture and I have a pretty good working relationship. A few paragraphs down, we read “Why are President-elect Joe Biden’s margins so thin in the states that clinched his victory? And why did the president’s down-ticket enablers flourish in the turbulent, plague-torn conditions they helped bring about?

Dems live in an altered-reality world of their own making

Actually, Joe and Kamala are lucky as hell they escaped with their thin majority. No way could you call it a mandate and so they’re stuck now with trying to govern in a hostile environment. As to down-ticket Republican wins, many couldn’t quite stand Trump, but still supported the party. And even if Trump’s buried in lawsuits after leaving office, we know his habits. He’ll throw his lawyers into the melee and spend the next four years at rally after rally, goosing the base.

I expect him to dominate the news as much out of, as in office, if not more so. So Joe and Kamala are going to have to deal with that.

Biden’s margins were thin because his whole campaign was based on not being Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren knew damned well that wasn’t enough and I think either of them would have cleaned Trump’s clock. But if they are anything, Dems are mouth-breathers down to their toenails. Middle-road drivers, terrified something will jump out of the bushes in the glare of their headlights. Trying to keep them in line is like herding cats. Ask Nancy Pelosi.

Not enough though for a mandate, so now what?

The opinion piece continues, “Democrats, struggling to make sense of it all, are locked in yet another round of mutual recrimination: They were either too progressive for swing voters — too socialist or aggressive with ambitious policies like the Green New Deal — or not progressive enough to inspire potential Democratic voters to show up or cross over.”

It’s not enough, guys, to be a political party whose primary call to arms is “We’re not the other guy.”

There was a time when party loyalty was pretty clear: if you were a Republican you supported the businessman and Democrats supported labor and middle class values.

Now neither party supports anything except Wall Street campaign contributions and getting elected

Sorry folks, but there’s no way to squeeze a mandate out of trying to date the same girl. And ever since Reagan, both parties have been co-conspirators in doing just that. The result is that the big money in politics doesn’t give a tinker’s damn who’s in the White House. They own both sides of all issues.

Voters, those 160 million bleary-eyed citizens out of 240 million eligible (66%) are so disinterested that an under 70% turnout is cheered as a landmark.

Can Democrats remember who they were?

They supported unions until Reagan sent them running for the Briar Patch like Brer Rabbit. They supported national health-care, but couldn’t gather themselves sufficiently to get Obama a public option. They supported a living wage that might have allowed a single-earner to support a middle-class family. The were the driving force behind extended benefits in the business community such as paid holiday time, profit-sharing, retirement plans and a minimum wage connected to  inflation.

All the national anguish that brought Trump supporters out of the woodwork are issues that Democrats once supported and then gave up on, claiming the issues were too contentious and hadn’t broad enough appeal.

Really?

Were those midnight jitters actually about lack of support by the middle and lower class—their classic base of voters—or did they just watch Republicans sucking in all that Bankster and Wall Street cash? Better dump their base—uncontrolled capitalism, new moves into something called globalism and a producer nation turned consumer supplicant was killing them anyway.

You dance with the lady you came with or go home alone

Trump voters were your base, baby and you let them own your dance-card. Either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could have whipped Trump in 2016, but you lost your nerve and the hadn’t-quite-figured-it-out arm of the party decided it was Hillary’s turn. You Dems might even have got away with it if you hadn’t fucked over your base for forty years. But voters get tired of false promises of change and either look elsewhere or stay home.

Trump didn’t bother to offer change. He promised to tear up the rotten system and trash it, telling his base they’d been lied to, deceived and marginalized (which was true). He claimed to be the only one who could change that and he dog-whistled racism, white supremacy and the Satans of Wall Street to make his point. The abandoned ate it up and begged for more. They loved him. He lied to and cheated them as well and broke every promise, but they still love him.

Why?

Democrats still argue about why, when it’s plain as noses-on-faces to anyone who’s old enough to remember how they abandoned their base and joined the enemy. It’s not about progressive, socialist, aggressive, ambitious or the Green New Deal.

It’s about abandonment. Ask any kid from a split family. It hurts.

Democrats pissed away their principles and thought no one was looking

Well, they noticed. And drifted elsewhere. Those abandoned Democrats are still out there, Joe and a huge hunk of them are now Trump Republicans. But you won’t get them back in a short (way too short) Broadway play titled ‘I’m not Trump and Ain’t It Great?,’ opening on January 20th and closing in four years if no one picks up the option. The work ahead is not a considered return to ethical government and improved international relations. Yeah, that’s important too, along with covid, business failures, problems with China, getting the world back on our side and keeping the streets safe.

But there’s too much anger for that for a priority. Those you have to bring over to your side in order for Kamala to run and win in 2024 are in a full-blown rage that Donald promoted. He convinced them and continues to claim he got cheated out of another term in the White House. You can’t talk sense into a fearful and angry crowd, particularly when they still have ample reason to be fearful and angry. They banked on Donald and you got in the way. You better throw them some red meat and quickly, because they don’t have a lot of patience.

The Green New Deal is red meat

Solar panels, windmills and a rebuilt grid beats lions and tigers and bears, oh my all to hell. There are literally tens of millions of jobs available in all of the country, including its most abandoned areas. Don’t let it all get bogged down in zoning and environmental approval delays. Put AOC to work in the House to get the laws written and Bernie in the Senate to get them passed. Make them your full-time spokespersons and back them in public every step of the way.

The manufacture of panels and turbines would kickstart the reawakening of American industry. Installing that stuff is available immediately and these are not tech jobs that need retraining—they’re damn good jobs for truckers and carpenters, backhoe operators and those who can tighten a nut on the end of a bolt. Men and women, apply now at union rates. The greening of America can afford union rates.

Reagan destroyed unions, let’s have a president who values our lost middle-class and welcomes them back at union wages. There’s no time to nibble and quibble around the edges. If you can put ten million people to work at decent wages in the next two years, Joe and have that trend expand by a million a month, Kamala will be a shoo-in. She’ll grab a third of Trump’s backers on the way to a great 2022 mid-term and a mandate in the 2024 general election.

She can’t win without them, nor should she.

But you two have got to deliver.


Photo credit: Talking Points Memo

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