How the Democrats Lost the Congress, Both Houses, the States (38 Republican Governors now and 1000 Republican state representatives added while Obama was President)?!, the White House, the White People, the White Hats, White Water, White rice, the Black Robed Court, the Black Ops, the Black Hole and everything else. Here follows a series of verses examining the collapse of the Democratic Party. They will appear as time passes in no particular order. The signature failures of the Democrat Party are: Abortion, Voting Rights, War and Peace, Trade Treaties which are called Trade agreements, support of regressive taxes, abandonment of Social Security, focus on Culture War issues, etc..
Since World War II the Democrats have gone from the party of FDR, Henry Wallace, Francis Perkins, the Kennedys and LBJ to the party of Obama and the Clintons. Make no mistake the Clintons have as much in common with Francis Perkins as they do with Che Guevara. There has been radical change.
This journey has left many life long Democrats as ripe fruit for the picking of Republicans. In a series of articles I will analyze and explain this rather absurd and amazing condition. Absurd that people routinely vote against their economic interests to vote for culture war issues and amazing that the Republicans have fleeced the Democrats so often and so easily.
Maybe there are few reasons for this? The key issues are the decline of Social Security via the failure of the Democrats to get rid of the cap and create a meaning COLA, the transfer of SSI assets to the Disability program, the continuing theft of Medicare, the failure to expand Medicare to Medicare for All as FDR and LBJ both intended, Immigration, Culture Wars, Voting Rights and Real Wars. The Democrats are often now on the wrong side of issues that were theirs since WWII and Vietnam, since the Twenties, Forties and Sixties. Now the Wall Street billionaires and millionaires have two parties working for them full time. How it got this way…
First Verse: Immigration
Immigration IS a Democratic issue, a union issue, a humanitarian issue, an easily won issue, and yet the Democrats somehow have been crushed by Billionaires and Millionaires on this issue to the extent that they lose not gain votes on the subject. Plus they have lost the moral high ground. How is this possible?
Well it all starts with Ronald Reagan, the master salesman who had a very simple black/white view of life. He had early onset Alzheimer's at a very, very young age, that is for another article, but the simple view of things is indicative of early Alzheimer's or of those with that tendency. That is science. Studies prove this. Reagan didn't like Unions. That is a fact. Further he was a skilled salesman who became President of the Actor’s Union only to become one of Joe McCarthy’s stool pigeons. Reagan delighted in ferreting out the dreaded communists in Hollywood who were EVIL. Again he liked the simplicity of the black/white, good/bad, view of life. Commies bad.
When he ran for President, he took money from the Air Traffic Controller's Union and immediately fired all of them instead of negotiating with them. He was from California where the last great Democrat, Cesar Chavez, had formed the Farm Worker’s Union from The Grapes of Wrath struggles as all of us remember the boycott grapes days. Anyway those of a certain age. Reagan hated him, the Union and farm workers for unknown reasons. What did Reagan do? He gave amnesty to 5 million illegal workers to break the union and called it “legalization”. That slight of hand worker wonders on the far right nut jobs that love to hate “illegal immigration”. That battle line was very clear. The Farm Workers Union was only 50,000 strong so an idiot can see how the influx of 3 million (Reagan’s number) in reality probably more like 25 million “illegal workers” makes keeping a Union together unlikely. Certainly the Farm Owners with Reagan’s blessings were very much ready to fire all Union members and replace them with scabs (to use a union term) from Mexico who had no rights, no lawyers, no state protection and no ability to challenge anything the owners did, no Workers Compensation, no lunch or bathroom breaks, no 15 minute breaks every 4 hours, etc.. The Democrats are all on the side of the Union right? Chavez did everything he could to close the borders and stop “illegal immigration” because he knew the obvious: more “illegal immigration”, lower wages. More “illegal immigration” no Union. But when the government of the United States decided to encourage illegal immigration the Farm Worker’s Union was powerless to patrol the borders themselves. Further Reagan and all since his presidency have refused to prosecute employers who bring “illegal immigrants” here for the purpose of work. Everyone knows certain industries have thousands of illegal immigrants working in them. Employers in the USA advertise in Latin American newspapers for workers. They order busboys and waiters from small cities in Mexico and send their relatives to bring them across the border illegally. My first encounter with this was in Starbucks in the desert of California. A Mexican from LA stopped to have coffee on his way to Mexico. He told me he was going to get his cousin to work in the restaurant where he worked in LA. He was given $600 to drive to a small town in Mexico, pick up his cousin and bring him to LA. The employer did this to pay low wages and he knew he would never suffer any penalties for breaking the law, if the Immigration service acted at all, it would be the immigrants who suffered not him. And the kicker was the $600 cost to bring his cousin from a town deep in the heart of Mexico was then deducted from the new employee’s salary. Now that takes chutzpa. That is what the Republicans (and the corporate Democrats) call an immigration policy. Works for the wealthy and greedy business owners all over America.
Reagan new this too. Now liberals like Bill Mayer who don't know history think Reagan was not all bad because he was nice to the “illegal immigrants”. Now you know the rest of the story, Bill.
The addition of 25 million eventually workers forced wages down across the board. It put pressure on all unions and intentionally reduced their power. The Farm Workers Union virtually evaporated. The construction industry, landscaping, etc.. all saw an influx of both skilled and unskilled willing workers. It did not matter, more workers equals lower wages, basic Keynesian economics. Funny how Keynesian economics seems to describe reality pretty well isn’t it?
So how on earth does this get us to a place where Democrats are perceived as supporting “illegal immigration”? Here's how. The pardoning of the “illegal immigrants” caused a massive pressure for more “illegal immigrants” to come here because eventually they knew they too would be pardoned. There were no recriminations to employers, no arrests, so big factories did not hesitate to hire “illegal immigrants” and it was easy for some to get a Visa and stay here after it expired. Thus getting a job legally and staying illegally or coming illegally to get a job produced the same result. More people lower wages, and the inevitable.
The Unions declined. Real Democratic influence decreased and the millionaires and billionaires and Wall Street gained influence geometrically. Republicans all.
Then came the Clintons and the corporate Democrats. As the Union's lost influence and more importantly to the corporate Democrats had less money. New streams of cash were needed and who had the money? Republicans. (An interesting FYI is that the Clintons got more in speaking fees to Wall Street than the entire DNC raised during Obama’s reign!) The Democratic Party bet on Wall Street and they lost. So add in NAFTA. This dramatically increased “illegal immigration” because the cheap corn from heavily subsidized farmers in the USA put subsistence farmers in Mexico out of their generations long life style. So what's the alternative? Move here where jobs in construction, landscaping, meat packing and other industries were waiting. So move they did.
The great sucking sound that Ross Perot talked about did in fact suck millions of jobs out of the USA but Perot failed to notice it sucked both ways as millions of displaced subsistence farmers moved here along with their families, and then virtually anyone with any skill followed as the flood gates opened. This continued until the Great Recession. Since then net immigration is not significant. Trump talk is demagoguery on that issue. But it works politically.
So now the Republicans have it both ways, they want to build a wall to stop immigration while maintaining a ready supply of “illegal immigrants” who work for cheap with no benefits.
The Democrats look bad for wanting people “who broke the law” to have amnesty to stay with their families. Compassion. But to Republicans cheap labor needs no compassion and they want exactly what they have, lots of cheap labor and a chance to keep it cheap by threatening to “enforce the law” and deport various people to keep the entire community afraid. To change this all we the people need to do is arrest, fine and jail the thousands of wealthy employers who are hiring undocumented, illegal immigrants primarily because they are cheaper than American workers. A few arrests and hefty fines would shake the tree and this would no longer be a losing issue for Democrats. Obviously no one with a heart or brain wants to see kids who are born here and hence are citizens have their parents sent back to the old country. So there is your solution. Immediate family members can stay with work visas or child support visas until the child is a reasonable age. Say 26 these days as it seems it takes longer for kids to get “on their feet”. Then the parents could go home or apply for citizenship. Problem solved.
It is only those who own the meat packing firms, the landscaping business, the construction firms, restaurants and other industries who want the system the way it is because it makes billions in aggregate for their greedy little paws. And it gives the Right a position to demagogue with impunity. Since undocumented workers don’t vote, condemning them is not that risky.
Democrats need to take that issue head on and win it with a pro labor position that is compassionate and forward looking. They need to go after, arrest, fine and jail the many employers who are exploiting “illegal immigrants”. This would be popular. It will win votes from the displaced American workers and will not suffer a loss of votes from the millionaires and billionaires who are all Republicans. That is what is needed and not doing it continues the bleeding.