Recently Thom asked:
What does the Democratic Party have to do to get us back? Or something like that, I may have the exact phrasing wrong but …. anyway
I couldn’t respond right then though I desperately wanted to, then I got busy. The more time that went by, the longer my answer got. Finally I am sitting down to give this question the attention it deserves. I hope it is not too late, I figure the conversation has since turned to other matters. In either case, it’s still worth answering.
Firstly, I am not sure the party has lost as many as the question suggests, many Bernie supporters were never really democrats at heart, but independents. I am one of them. I have always said that I vote Democrat, I rarely, if ever, say ‘I am a Democrat’. I don’t buy into the tribal or identity politics aspect of our political culture, it’s just not how I roll.
That said, what could the party do to get me from hugging the walls of the tent, one eye on the door, to both feet in the mix, fully engaged? There’s a lot they could do, actually.
- Take on the fossil fuel industry, quit pussyfooting around about Climate Change
- Get correct on Native American issues
- Take on private prison investors, school to prison pipeline, over policing, criminal justice system, etc.
- Take on big pharma, big ag, big oil and other toxic big biz
- Get real and take on Wall St
- Disincentivize poverty, get real about tackling it
- Get out of the media, get the press back to the way it’s supposed to be
- Give up on this notion of some mythical “center” being the best answer to every question. It isn’t. There is no magical middle.
- Get money out of politics
- Revamp the electoral process, get with the times. Clean up election rigging. And for the love of all things green and beautiful, get rid of the superdelegate system.
- Start walking the talk about being on the side of the people
- Stop trying to circumvent immoral behavior by hiding behind “it’s not illegal.” Be the adults in the room.
- If we must have lobbyists, equalize their power. If the rich have lobbyists, the poor should have them as well. Everyone should be represented and have a place at the table. Figure it out, if their income depended on it, you can bet they would find a way, stat. I don’t buy that “it’s too hard”
- Start making structural changes to Washington’s political infrastructure
- Be of, for and by the people for once
- If people are disengaged from politics, it’s not because they are lazy and apathetic, it’s because the parties don’t offer anything for the people. Give us something to vote for instead of hoping and expecting us to vote against.
- Start running better candidates
- War is to be, and always be, a last resort
- Stop framing partisanship as zero-sum, win-lose and start seeing it as a spectrum of ideologies. More like tug-of-war than football or chess. This is not a game and “domination” is meaningless.
- Legalize marijuana on a federal level
- Start living up to progressive principles, defend them. Lessen the intensity of focus on policy and broaden to consider morality and ethics
- Stop the “politics is not bean bag” crap
- Restore, defend and affirm democracy. Be a democratic party instead of The Democratic Party ™, Inc.
- No more Third Way, no more neoliberalism
- Figure out how to make it so it is less expensive to run for office OR make it possible for regular people to run for office
- Embrace and affirm empathy as a leadership quality, stop being politicians and start being leaders
- Get consistent about accountability and the law, illegal behavior should have consequences regardless of wealth, status, access, etc. Fix the broken justice system, for white collar crime included
- Pretty much everything on Bernie’s platform
I guess that is enough for now. Here’s the thing, Thom, the system is rigged up, down, front, back, inside and out – it is their JOB to fix it and they haven’t done anything because there is no urgency to do so. Their lives are pretty comfortable and insulated, they don’t see the pain of the people. They keep distracting us with shiny objects of glitz and glam, Kabuki Theater and operate quietly behind the scenes. Controlling the narratives with half-truths, innuendo, distortions and oftentimes, outright lies is just a normal course of their day - that has to stop. It is insulting and disrespectful.There must be more transparency of what actually goes on rather than what they package conveniently for their friends in cable news. Bernie brings much needed sunlight to the rigged system, he brings light to the shadows where the rigging hides. I am sorry to say that his opponent, while a force to be reckoned with, does exactly the opposite. She provides cover. In fact, she is part of the rigged system as she is all too happy to take advantage of it. Rigging is great for political opportunists and lead them to being invested in keeping things exactly the way they are. She is not on the side of the people. I wish she was. I truly do. Her admirable success against the odds is not enough, nor are her positions on social issues.
I find the idea that her cutthroat ways of beating the republicans misguided. If that approach was going to work, it would have by now. It is not what is going to beat them. The only way to destroy the republicans is to allow them to destroy themselves. Getting into the mud with them will not work, it might even restore the damage they are facing now. They are digging themselves into a hole – LET THEM. When your opponents are destroying themselves, give them more rope. Get out of their way. Please proceed, GOP. Please proceed.
The codependency between the parties is wrecking the country, I am going to get off this sinking ship before long. You cannot simultaneously support and oppose the status quo, and the status quo protects conservatism while taking progressivism for granted. I am tired of it.
You’ve heard the expression, “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” right? Well, I am done. Done. My loyalty is to be earned.
Maybe a second Clinton presidency would be what it takes for people to see what I see. I pray the damage is minimal, there’s enough damage done already. In the meantime, I’m not committing myself to the Dems any longer. I got more involved when Obama was running in ’08, he brings sorely needed empathy to the White House. As would Bernie. If Bernie does not win, I will make my way to a better political home. The dems never were a good fit anyway. I was a baby when Carter was president and then it was Reagan for most of my life. I have never known a democratic party to be proud of.
I haven’t decided what I will do in November should Bernie not get the nom, just so you know. I support Bernie or Bust but I am not necessarily going to participate.