Can Democrats Set Out a New Path?

Democrats must embrace a pro-government platform, not run away from it.

Those were the sentiments of Senator Chuck Schumer today, in a speech given at the National Press Club. Talking about the reasons for Democrats’ losses on Election Day, Schumer said that those losses were proof that the American people and middle-class want a government that will work more effectively for them.

He went on to say that, for the first time ever, the middle-class has lost faith in the American Dream, and that in 2014, Democrats lost because Americans have lost faith in the party and the government’s ability to improve the lives of the middle-class. But it wasn’t always like this. As Schumer pointed out, a pro-government mentality dominated America and the political landscape from the days of FDR until 1980 when Reagan came to Washington.

With FDR's New Deal policies and programs, Americans saw that government can strengthen the middle-class, improve the economy, and protect everyone’s ability to live the American Dream. For several generations, Americans trusted our government’s ability to improve living conditions for the working-class. As a result, Democrats stayed in power for a long time.

Then Reagan happened, and everything changed.

First, as Schumer points out, the Democratic Party veered way off course while Reagan was president, and abandoned its working-class base. Second, Schumer says that because the Democratic Party had been so successful at creating a stable economy that worked for everyone for so long, people began to think that they no longer needed government, and were fine on their own.

Reagan capitalized on those sentiments, and was able to successfully create an anti-government mentality that exists to this day, and that helped fuel the Republican landslide on Election Day. But this anti-government mentality that exists today isn’t just some random phenomenon. There are lots of reasons for it.

As Schumer said, “When government fails to prosecute those who work in financial institutions (some of which were propped up or bailed out by the government) for what seems, on its face, blatant fraud – Americans feel that government is not working for them. When CEOs and executives pay less in taxes than their secretaries – Americans feel that government is not working for them.”

So, what can be done to restore the American peoples’ trust in the Democratic Party’s and our government’s ability to protect and strengthen the middle-class? How do we go back to the pre-1980 days?

Schumer suggested Democrats should start taking more of a populist approach, saying that populism is, “necessary to open the door before we can rally people to the view that a strong government program must be implemented.”

One of the biggest takeaways from the 2014 election is that, nationally, progressive ideas and policies are very popular. All across America, progressive ballot initiatives won and progressive candidates won.

Those are the very same progressive ideas and policies that made Americans trust the Democratic Party and our government for over four decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. And, those are the ideas and polices that both built the Democratic Party and the American middle-class.

As the old saying goes, sometimes you have to look back in order to go forward. If the Democratic Party is serious about taking back Washington in 2016, then it needs to embrace its base, and restore Americans’ faith in our government.

Comments

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 7 years 5 days ago
#1

Sen. Schumer is a poor example of "progressive" change in America. Schumer's nickname is "Wall St. Chuck" for god sake.

However, I agree, if Democrats embrace Wall St. (the base) like Sen. Schumer the MONEY will come storming in from the financial sector, or they'll divide up their money strategically between pro Wall St. Democrats and Republicans.

The word "progressive" is losing its meaning like liberal, libertarian and democrat. The forces from the right have redefined those terms. Sen. Schumer, 30 years ago, would be considered a far right republican, as his views hold today. The ruling elite have effectively moved the entire political class to the right of center in the US.

No longer is US politics, if it truly every was, a right left paradigm, now it's how far to the right a politician can go without appearing to completely sell out. The political outlook for America is mighty grim in my humble judgment.

If the US is ever going to function as democracy, the people of the USA must start to construct democratic institution of their own to combat the forces that have come to dominate our political system. The Democratic Party is infested with right wing ideology that some people can't bring their selves to admit, boarding on denial.

We have two direction for this country. Corpo-Fascism or Citizen inspired Democracy . The choice is going to become much more difficult the longer we wait and allow the wealth interest of this government to dominate and control the system.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is not a progressive voice, but rather, a symbol of everything that is wrong with this country. Sorry for getting, a little off point, but as I continued to write the obvious conclusion of supporting a person like Sen. Schumer is negative sum gain for the American people. Schumer is a sink hole of ideas when it comes to democracy. He's a death loving war hawk, financial whore and dishonest player in the "liberal" halls of congress.

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 7 years 5 days ago
#2

I suggest that the Democrats embrace and adopt the platform of the Unite America Party, which is a platform open to ANY political party to advocate.

Support the Unite America Party Platform, published by The Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-reber/platform-of-the-unite-ame_b_547... as well as Nation Of Change at http://www.nationofchange.org/platform-unite-america-party-1402409962 and OpEd News at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Platform-of-the-Unite-Amer-by-Gary-Rebe....

DrRichard 7 years 5 days ago
#3

The sad fact is that the two major parties are so corrupt and pro-oligarchy that at the national level neither of them remotely represent the vast majority of Americans. Classic populism sounds good, but is unlikely to get much traction. For one thing the mainstream media is so tightly controlled by the power interests that they won't allow a reasonable national discussion. They certainly does not want any independent leader to arise; consider how John Dean was treated when he discussed breaking up the big media interests.

While a major turnaround is possible if things get bad enough (think 1932), the fragmentation of the country into distrustful groups makes this difficult. I fear we're in a late Roman Republic situation, waiting for a Caesar to"restore order." The trappings of the national government might continue, but power will be increasingly consolidated into a smaller and smaller group.

Annabee1 7 years 5 days ago
#4

As an undergrad B.S. on socio-political sciences and researcher of most U.S. socio-political issues, it's critical to UNDERSTAND not only how the paradigm of left wing/right wing political spectrum, but ALSO the FACT that 'citizens united' forced upon us by extremist right wing political operatives beholden SOLELY to the Republican Party fascist supreme court justices overturning hundreds of years of American Supreme Court history of decisions bt implementing this fallcious egregious legislation along with ALL other fascist-inspired legislation. So looking at Schumer and both the progressive nd corporate base of the Democrat Party, Schumer is more like the Republicans of yesteryear, but how can anyone be elected without the big bucks coming from the corporates. While I agree with RichardofJeffer, he is completely unrealistic about 'citizen inspired Democracy--it ain't gonna happen! The big bucks needed for campaigning, FORCES the public office contender to 'suck up' to the big buck plutocrats and corporates in a 2 party system that WILL ALWAYS BE A 2 PARTY SYSTEM. Best KNOW who you vote for by the legislation they create or by their backgrounds as runner ups for the incumbent. THEN VOTE as if your life depended upon it--VOTE for the contender best representing your interests and NOT VOTE for whom the corporates and plutocrats try to mislead you into voting for, then TAKE BACK the right to vote from the Republicanized states massively throwing good Dem voters out of voting at ALL elections.

Annabee1 7 years 5 days ago
#5

"This week, we learned that Warren will be joining the Senate Democratic leadership as strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. In this role — created specifically for her — she will help craft the party’s policies and priorities as well as serve as a liaison to progressive groups."

There IS HOPE in the Progressive Dem base!

Koolnightes's picture
Koolnightes 7 years 5 days ago
#6

As far as I can see we have 2 progressives.... Bernie Sanders, who actually is an Independent, and Elizabeth Warren. Are their others?

We need more like them!

It seem the Democrats will fold as quickly as a dollar bill any more. Our elected officials like in the state of Kentucky and Louisiana are disgusting.

What is being fed to the people in States like Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Maine, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Texas??? Are they spiking the water? They are ruining the state and got reelected.... I don't get it.... Kentucky, I get it.. she ran so fast and far away from Obama, she landed right in the middle of the Teaparty

liz banker 7 years 5 days ago
#7

Senator Chuck "Carried Interest" Schumer wants party faithfuls to believe he's on their side of Middle Class America while in the same breath, blocking and voting against anti-Wall Street regulation and Corporate Welfare (aka Crony Capitalism by the political Right).

RE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/warren-said-to-meet-with-reid-to-discuss-leadership-role.html. Seriously!? They will cancel each other's vote out.... so business as usual in 2015 - 2016: "She will be strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, led by Senator Charles Schumer of New York. This places Warren, one of the Democratic Party’s chief critics of Wall Street, under the leadership of Schumer, one of Wall Street’s biggest backers in the Senate. "

Republicans have successfully established the political ground game for 2016. They will try and make it all about Hillary, the person, delegating Senator Rand Paul to lead the charge.

Will Hillary triangulate or enlist her husband, since she is no ‘Bill Clinton’ and is certainly no ‘Barack Obama’. No doubt she can fight back, but as again, who gives a “F” about Hillary the person other than perhaps, Monica, Cuban Cigars, and a blue dress. Invoking those issues by Republican operatives will be enough for her to first bristle, then cringe, and finally, dismiss it as old news as her way of dealing with the Republicans and critics within the Democratic party.

Shouldn'r one think of policy substance over the optics of having the first woman president of the United States. I will not be getting behind her candidacy as the first woman president, nor will I be voting for her if she decides to run..... Sen Rand Paul’s FB poke-in-the-eye says it all although, losing not for the reasons Mr. Paul is suggesting, but again, it’s hard to imagine Dumbocrats admitting and agreeing to the post-election analysis of their party’s base for the true reasons:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152609510486107.1073741829.54172246106&type=1

Their first mistake was when earlier this year, the DNC says it would not share monies from their national coffers to Democratic Senate and Congressional races because they’re saving it all for Ready for Hillary. The second and probably their bigger mistake, was in their Messaging. They should now fire Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and hire the marketing likes of Joni Ernst. But, because the party as a whole leans more Republican-lite, the Dumbocrats failed again, as usual, to capture the dissatisfaction and angry sentiment of the voters.

This should have been the rallying cry of Democrats if they had any spine:

Make the Corporate - Elitist - Power Structure Squeal like Real PIGS!

If Hillary Clinton is being described by Democratic pundits as “tough as nails”, could Hillary be as equally tenacious on such policy matters as tax reform/Income Inequality, Transpacific Partnership; Keystone XL Pipeline, gun control, Immigration, Citizens United, the NSA, TBTF, rent seeking, crony capitalism, and many more – as to the kind of toughness she often likes to project in her already hawkish - standing with Israel right or wrong - foreign policy positions.

Considering Hillary’s milquetoast response when asked to comment recently about Wall Street and income inequality, Thomm, the answer would be clearly and obviously….no. She would NOT demonstrate nor act on those issues to the benefit of The Many, but rather to the benefit of A Few. Too many examples that would support my contention but one over-arching example would be: if the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) gets adopted, we can fairly say that our politicians from both sides of the aisle firstly outsourced our livelihood and now, what remains of our country’s sovereignty.

Bob Shrum along with other political observers say Hillary could change, saying she has already acknowledged her mistaken vote on the authorization to use military force in Iraq (a comment that would be buried on the last page of the New York Times); although, she had also supported in taking military action in Syria earlier this year, and would probably of all things, approve of Israel sending nuclear weapons over Iran.

So, Thomm, will Hillary be willing to change as you commented on a past radio broadcast? ...... Like most pols, she's in it mostly for herself to make history, reward her corporate donors, and make half-hearted/shallow remarks to satisfy and shut-up the Democratic base of the party.

liz banker 7 years 5 days ago
#8

Senator Chuck "Carried Interest" Schumer wants party faithfuls to believe he's on their side of Middle Class America while in the same breath, blocking and voting against anti-Wall Street regulation and Corporate Welfare (aka Crony Capitalism by the political Right).

RE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/warren-said-to-meet-with-reid-to-discuss-leadership-role.html. Seriously!? They will cancel each other's vote out.... so business as usual in 2015 - 2016: "She will be strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, led by Senator Charles Schumer of New York. This places Warren, one of the Democratic Party’s chief critics of Wall Street, under the leadership of Schumer, one of Wall Street’s biggest backers in the Senate. "

Republicans have successfully established the political ground game for 2016. They will try and make it all about Hillary, the person, delegating Senator Rand Paul to lead the charge.

Will Hillary triangulate or enlist her husband, since she is no ‘Bill Clinton’ and is certainly no ‘Barack Obama’. No doubt she can fight back, but as again, who gives a “F” about Hillary the person other than perhaps, Monica, Cuban Cigars, and a blue dress. Invoking those issues by Republican operatives will be enough for her to first bristle, then cringe, and finally, dismiss it as old news as her way of dealing with the Republicans and critics within the Democratic party.

Shouldn'r one think of policy substance over the optics of having the first woman president of the United States. I will not be getting behind her candidacy as the first woman president, nor will I be voting for her if she decides to run..... Sen Rand Paul’s FB poke-in-the-eye says it all although, losing not for the reasons Mr. Paul is suggesting, but again, it’s hard to imagine Dumbocrats admitting and agreeing to the post-election analysis of their party’s base for the true reasons:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152609510486107.1073741829.54172246106&type=1

Their first mistake was when earlier this year, the DNC says it would not share monies from their national coffers to Democratic Senate and Congressional races because they’re saving it all for Ready for Hillary. The second and probably their bigger mistake, was in their Messaging. They should now fire Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and hire the marketing likes of Joni Ernst. But, because the party as a whole leans more Republican-lite, the Dumbocrats failed again, as usual, to capture the dissatisfaction and angry sentiment of the voters.

This should have been the rallying cry of Democrats if they had any spine:

Make the Corporate - Elitist - Power Structure Squeal like Real PIGS!

If Hillary Clinton is being described by Democratic pundits as “tough as nails”, could Hillary be as equally tenacious on such policy matters as tax reform/Income Inequality, Transpacific Partnership; Keystone XL Pipeline, gun control, Immigration, Citizens United, the NSA, TBTF, rent seeking, crony capitalism, and many more – as to the kind of toughness she often likes to project in her already hawkish - standing with Israel right or wrong - foreign policy positions.

Considering Hillary’s milquetoast response when asked to comment recently about Wall Street and income inequality, Thomm, the answer would be clearly and obviously….no. She would NOT demonstrate nor act on those issues to the benefit of The Many, but rather to the benefit of A Few. Too many examples that would support my contention but one over-arching example would be: if the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) gets adopted, we can fairly say that our politicians from both sides of the aisle firstly outsourced our livelihood and now, what remains of our country’s sovereignty.

Bob Shrum along with other political observers say Hillary could change, saying she has already acknowledged her mistaken vote on the authorization to use military force in Iraq (a comment that would be buried on the last page of the New York Times); although, she had also supported in taking military action in Syria earlier this year, and would probably of all things, approve of Israel sending nuclear weapons over Iran.

So, Thomm, will Hillary be willing to change as you commented on a past radio broadcast? ...... Like most pols, she's in it mostly for herself to make history, reward her corporate donors, and make half-hearted/shallow remarks to satisfy and shut-up the Democratic base of the party.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 5 days ago
#9

The Dems need to stop letting the Corpse Media dictate ball possession. Perpetual defense never wins the game. Allowing Corp/billionaire media propaganda to constantly carry the ball and beat down the truth has lead directly to Anti-Democracy, Pro-Fascism, Tea Party extremism. This is how Teabaggers like Tom Reed get re-elected. It's all about big money paying for big lies.....knowing full well the general public won't bother to seek the truth....the truth exposed in the congressional voting record.

If the truth ever got out, the entire country would explode like Ferguson, overnight it would be the end of the Teapublican party and the Fascist Corp/billionaires they represent.

Greyeagle's picture
Greyeagle 7 years 5 days ago
#10

The democratic party will never regain its true role as a governing party until it returns to its populist peoples party from FDR to Reagan. Instead of being a wimpy opposition party sucking up to Wall Street and the elite, they must speak with a single and proud voice about what the Democratic Party has accomplished for Americas working class and main street. Capitalist greed has always been ready and have reared their greedy head many times throughout our history and it has always been the public outcry and unity that has smacked them back down in to well regulated free enterprise place. That day has arrived and again we the people must learn how to speak with a single voice and message. Cable media can no longer be trusted so we must not become organized and united around the internet and social media. That is if we can protect it from the FCC.

Greyeagle's picture
Greyeagle 7 years 5 days ago
#11

Correction: Delete the word "NOT" in the last sentence

Mistynmusic@aolcom's picture
Mistynmusic@aolcom 7 years 4 days ago
#12

I would like President Obama to explain why he added so many Republican to his staff/cabinet, etc in the beginning. Did he realize that he was letting the fox into the henhouse? I believe this was the beginning of his inability to make the changes we needed. Second, someone mentioned the corporate owned media. What about the public media. Why didn't we strengthen channels like FREE SPEECH and LINK TV to air the views of the public and show how better AMERICANS are with better health care, more employment and a stronger economy instead of the spin from the others?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 3 days ago
#13

Richard (post #1) makes a good point about how the forces of the right have redefined terms like “liberal” and “democrat”. Language matters! It matters enough to warrant serious push-back. We must never allow these bullies to define who and what we are.

I share Richard's distrust of Schumer and his ilk. Unfortunately Schumer is typical; too typical. The damage they’ve done to our lives collectively, as well as to the country, is substantial. They are continuously caving in on issues critical to health and survival, never mind living standards. Not in the billionaire club? You lose.

Righties are all about freedom, all right; freedom for them to screw us with impunity and without restraint. Freedom to poison our air, our water and our food. Freedom to roll back women's rights, workers' rights and children's rights. Freedom to use our kids and grandkids as cannon fodder in their corporate fascist wars. Freedom steal from the trust fund we all paid into, all our workig lives, to sustain us in old age when our working days are over. Freedom to thwart voting rights and rights of citizenship. Ad nauseam. Even when not directly complicit, the Democrats keep caving in time after time after time.

I will never endorse neglecting or refusing to vote as an acceptable option. Still, I can see how many people would get cynical and cop a why-bother attitude. What the Democrats fail to deliver, time and again, is a coherant message of hope, vision and viable solutions, along with the most important part: policies that match. The Democratic Party has been so corrupted that as time goes by, it gets harder to distinguish them from the Republicans. No wonder so many voters don’t bother casting their ballots.

While it’s always good to point out what worked before, and what needs to be done to get that back, we shouldn’t expect it to come from the Democrats… except maybe just enough crumbs to placate enough of us. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 3 days ago
#14

x

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 2 days ago
#15

Talking about and crafting the messaging of the current populous oppression will hopefully develop into a more democratic rule that benefits the general population.

Business people are brainwashed to build a bigger better bottom Line profit without regard for anything or anybody else
Bribery and corruption has been a crime many times during civilization because it creates uncivilization

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