Republicans Go To War While Democrats Try To Negotiate

Thom plus logo Dems must stop the religious hustlers, racists and billionaires from picking Uncle Sam's pockets

There's a recurring pattern to American politics that began in the 1980s, right after the Supreme Court legalized billionaires owning individual politicians in 1976 with their Buckley decision.

Prior to that, Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft legislation that involved some compromise on both sides but moved, generally, in the direction of enhancing the general health and welfare of the American people.

This was how we got Medicare, Medicaid, long-term unemployment insurance, food stamps, housing support, job training programs, support for unionization, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Pell grants for college and dozens of other good policies out of Congress in the 1960s and 1970s.

But in 1976 the Supreme Court ruled that when an individual billionaire owned an individual politician that was no longer "political corruption" or "bribery," as it had been referred to since the founding of the republic.

Instead, the Supreme Court said in 1976 (and doubled-down-on with Citizens United in 2010), that money the billionaire was pouring down the throat of that politician wasn't actually money: it was "free speech" and therefore protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Thus, by 1980 the river of money from wealthy people into the Republican Party had turned into an all-out tsunami, floating Ronald Reagan into the White House.

About a third of American workers at that time were union members, and the unions heavily supported the Democratic Party, so the Democrats largely ignored this SCOTUS decision, continuing to be funded by working people through their union dues. But the GOP eagerly took everything the ultra-rich offered.

As a result, Democrats kept trying to legislate on behalf of the American people, but the Republicans went to war against anything that didn't explicitly help the very, very rich and the big businesses that made them rich.

This began the pattern we've seen repeated over and over again since 1980:
  • Republicans use billionaire money to achieve political power, then screw things up terribly while helping their rich friends steal huge piles of government money, both through corruption, no-bid contracts and massive tax cuts for the rich.
  • The American people figure this out as the middle class collapses (bringing the entire economy down with it as in 1992, 2008 and 2020), and the voters reject the Republicans and toss them out of power.
  • Democrats take over and start the slow and painful process of putting the country back together.
  • In response, Republicans go to war against the Democrats, refusing to compromise and refusing to consider anything that helps the average American while deploying lie, disinformation and distraction campaigns.
  • li>Paralysis ensues and the American people become cynical about the Democratic Party's now-failed efforts, and the Republicans, using dark money and billionaire help, come back into power. Then the cycle begins all over again.

The most disheartening part of this cycle is that the Democrats refuse to fight war on the same terms as the GOP; generally speaking, they're still trying to collaborate and compromise, working for what they think is best for the country. They want government to work for the people.

Republicans love war and Wetiko

Back in the 1990s, when I was writing The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight, I interviewed the late Jack Forbes, the brilliant professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis. He explained to me the ancient Native American concept of Wetiko, a mental illness he said was brought to this continent by Europeans and defined by a willingness to fight all-out genocidal war.

The idea of all-out genocidal war was largely unknown to Native Americans at the time: few tribes were willing to utterly destroy their competitors and seize others' land (except during famine) because that land had the ghosts and holy spaces of the other tribe on it.

Forbes explained to me that this left Native peoples with three terrible choices: run away; stand your ground and die; or fight back in the same way and using the same tactics as the invaders. This last choice was the most terrible, because you essentially became your tormentors, losing your soul in the process.

Since the Reagan Revolution of 1981, political battles in America have taken on a similar dynamic.

What Democrats have struggled with for 40 years now is that you can't work for the people and fight an all-out war at the same time, especially when Republicans have structural advantages (Senate Democrats represent 41.2 million more people then do Republicans, but power is 50–50) and Republicans are willing to let people die from lack of affordable access to healthcare or lack of government action against Covid.

So the Republicans fight their Wetiko wars, and throughout the Clinton and Obama years won their wars easily because those Democratic administrations still thought they were negotiating and bargaining in good faith.

Which brought about that pattern: whenever Republicans got back in power, they looted the nation and screwed things up again while helping their billionaire buddies steal as much as they could, until the voters got fed up and kicked them out again. And the cycle starts all over again.

By way of looting the country when they're in power, Republicans massively lower their donors' taxes, deregulate polluting industries, drill loopholes into the tax code, and further corrupt politics to the advantage of the billionaire and corporate class.

Deregulation and lowering income taxes are functionally the same thing in their impact on America; they both pull out the underpinnings of democracy itself.

Democracy requires the collection of reasonable taxes, elected leaders with a social conscience, and support from a majority of the people who know they can vote without intimidation and actually see those desires translated into legislation.

Republicans are at war against all three of these things. War is all they've known how to do since 1981.

They fight bloody political war after bloody political war, leaving behind the "social issue" of dead gay men in the 80s, dead drug addicts in the 90s, dead farmers and homeowners who committed suicide in the early 2000s, and the young men and women who sacrificed their lives in unnecessary but very profitable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention a half-million Americans who died while Trump and friends were looting the nation over the past four years.

These Americans all laid down their lives and died for the Republican Party so the religious hustlers, racists and billionaires could keep picking Uncle Sam's pockets.

The Democrat's "For The People Act," aka HR1, is an important first step toward cleaning up our politics, ensuring election rights and bringing transparency to government.

Still, though, there are those who say Democrats must become like Republicans and use lies, obstruction and underhanded tactics to defeat Republicans. This Wetiko strategy, however, would rot the soul of the Democratic Party.

Instead, Democrats must loudly call out Republican's Wetiko political wars, and inform the American people what's really going on. The GOP hasn't negotiated in good faith since 1981, and isn't today. They just want to loot the country and "own the libs."

Thus, telling Americans the truth is job one. When the people are truly informed, they almost always do the right thing.

-Thom

Originally posted on thomhartmann.medium.com.

Comments

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 22 weeks 1 day ago
#1

G O P:

Genocide's

Our

Plan

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 22 weeks 1 day ago
#2

When the Democrats are gone

And only GOP remain

The Democrats will still be blamed

For safety nets aflame

tinakuper's picture
tinakuper 22 weeks 1 day ago
#3

I would really like to have this country go back before Reagan. It would be nice to take it back to the fifties era. People earned a decent living, could live anywhere they wanted to, had money in their pockets. If you listen to the music of the fifties..it was happy. This country has gone down a very dark path..creating massive poverty, destruction of the soul and no empathy for anyone. Greed has replaced decency. It's all about the bottomline of business. It's not about humanity...no concern for the people who toil in this country to try to make a living for themselves and their families. We all live in fear of losing everything we've worked for and landing out in the streets. That new movie on Netflix called "I care a lot"...this what has become of our country..take all of our hard earned money, put us in squaled living conditions, control us and come off like this is normal. It is not normal. The wealthy and corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes. If you folks haven't watched the Panama Papers..please do. This shows how rotten these oligarchs really are. We need to bombard Biden and Harris to take us back to the 1950's tax era so America can truly be great again.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 22 weeks 1 day ago
#4

In other words, Republicans are the party of death, and Democrats are the party of life.

It's painfully obvious in the war-ravaged aftermath of the last election that Republicans are trying to form a more imperfect union while Democrats are trying to clean up the horrible mess they inherited. And then, surprise, the destroyers of democracy whine that the true patriots aren't working hard enough or fast enough to fix the damage, as if they're responsible for Republicans' malfeasance. It's like a drunk who pukes on the floor and then bitches at the swamper for missing a spot.

DrRichard 22 weeks 1 day ago
#5

I wish it was that nice Tina, but it wasn't. If you were a racial or religious minority forget about living anywhere you wanted to. If you were a woman getting a serious career was a terrible challenge. And looming over everything was the feeling that an atom bomb could drop on your head at any time (I was there, and '50s alien and moster movies and Twilight Zone episodes catch that paranoid feeling very well). Oh, and let's not forget massive pollution, minimal safety standards, and virtually no concern for what America's military, CIA or corporations did abroad.

Sure some things were much nicer, and for many it was a much more hopeful and perhaps happier country. It certainly was much friendlier and more relaxed. I miss those aspects of the time very much. But for many it certainly was not a golden age. What did work better was Congress, and according to a reporter I know who covered D.C. there were two things happening here: With no jets most people in the House and Senate stayed around on weekends, put their differences aside, and socialized. And also most of them had been throgh WW2 and understood some things about cooperation that we have forgotten. I do not see them coming back soon either.

alis volat's picture
alis volat 22 weeks 1 day ago
#6

We got Reagan in 1981, Limbaugh in 1988, and FOX in 1996 creating the toxic soup that Trump managed to stir and bring to a boil.

So even though we want to say to these particular Republicans eat shit and die, we need to come up with a new menu and better "servers" to bring it to them.

This is not going to be easy, and we most definitely are going to lose our patience with one another in the process. Thom hit the basics; tell the truth and do the right thing.

I urge everyone to "know who you are sitting in the room with". This will help you get your job done, pick great friends and the best partner. From there, you can work toward peace, love & understanding, which by the way, is not funny (old song).

If you are still feeling particularly hateful, you can always go for knowing your enemy. In my quest for understanding over the years, I have read the following books. I am convinced it is about how people are "wired", which also has to do with how one is "reared".

The Gene: An Intimate History-Siddhartha Mukherjee

Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are-Sebastian Seung

The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science-and Reality-Chris Mooney

Legend 22 weeks 1 day ago
#8

Cuz, You can do the same thing for Republican fear mongering. Start with The L word etc. Rush (Bless his cigar smoking lungs) was the master at it.

Follow the money. Boycott the Pillow Guy and Publix for starters.

SueN's picture
SueN 22 weeks 1 day ago
#9

I remember Y2K, and I didn't hear anyone say it was going to kill us all. They did predict a good deal of disruption if computers were not fixed, and I don't think that corporations would have thrown so many resources at it if they thought it was fear-mongering. Certainly I spent a lot of time and effort amending computer systems to cope, and they would definitely have failed if I had not.

cuz's picture
cuz 22 weeks 1 day ago
#10

Sue, You need to recall,

Everything and anything run by a computer were vulnerable. Planes were going to fall out of the sky, newer vehicles were going to be disabled, food supplies gone, people trapped in elevators, the sale of y2k insurance, generator sales, gasoline, guns, survival gear, packaged food, all had record sales. It was the lead topic on every late night show for over a year.

https://www.throwbacks.com/y2k-was-the-biggest-disaster-that-never-happened-2/

If that event were to have happened in today's world of fear mongering social media, you would see panic that would make covid look like a runny nose.

Twenty one years later, people forget or refuse to admit their state of mind in Dec. 1999.

Legend 22 weeks 1 day ago
#11

I remember Y2K. I wrote the letters, for the Company that I was working for at the time. That said that the several hundred (PLC's) Industrial Programmable Logic Controllers would not be affected and then charged a couple of thousand each for the letter.

CUZ, where did you get your list? You should give credit.

CPAC starts today! Should be lots of fear mongering at that. CAUTION! Tried to look at the schedule of speakers. Look at their website only if you dare. It immediately trys to take over your computer.

Here is a safer CPAC description site brought to you by NPR. Interesting that Trump is the Keynote speaker and that he boycotted it in 2016 because they wanted him to answer questions.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 22 weeks 22 hours ago
#12

Drinking jugs full of Kool-Aid...

Cuz, an unapologetic Trump apologist, has no credible sources for her list of poorly-informed denialisms, unless one considers an old, intentionally low-brow comedy skit cited ad nauseam as the wisdom of ages -- which, when you think about it, perfectly fits the typical Republican throwback mindset of simplemindedness, harkening back to the mythical good ol' days of male-dominated white nationalism.

Notice that the actors in the parody are all middle-aged white men portraying characters proud of their ignorance, obviously uneducated, easily fooled, living in poverty, relying on a dangerous criminal enterprise for income, and who should be voting Democratic to improve their miserable lives. If anything, the skit mocks the very people wealthy Republicans rely on to maintain their white privilege and power. But appreciating delicious irony is not a strong suit for Trump devotees.

But let's be brutally honest; the entire post is a lame attempt at blowing smoke to avoid the main point: Trump's deliberate criminal negligence has led directly and predictably to a major humanitarian crisis heretofore unimaginable in modern-day America, which was self-induced and totally avoidable. Erroneously listing self-perceived false-alarms of the past in absolutist language (Such and such "is going to kill us all!") is a childish and reprehensible form of whataboutism -- one of the main go-to logical fallacies that Republican influencers (think Tucker Carlson) know "the base" will gobble up as some sort of intelligent response. (Hint: It's the exact opposite.)

The sad reality is not something to laugh at, and shame on those who make light of it. They have buckets of blood on their hands for lending support to a human monster and making excuses for their own poor judgment and immoral stances. Trump's policy of whistling past the graveyard has led to over a half-million dead fellow Americans with hundreds of thousands more to die before it's over (add at least ten percent for the undercounted) and uncountable millions with serious, permanent, life-altering, COVID-related maladies. Yeah, really funny.

SueN's picture
SueN 22 weeks 21 hours ago
#13

If it happened this year there would be a lot of people in denial, and maybe companies would not have fixed their systems and there would have been a lot go wrong.

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