After almost four decades of disregard for a decomposing cadaver, party progressives appear ready to cremate the Democratic Party’s corpse and give it a requiem mass, doubtful that their minority status will allow them to revive the party. Not the majority, however, who seem hopeful for a Lazarus’ resuscitation without a Jesus in their midst; a legion of career politicians tending to their own personal needs.
Little wonder that Democratic members in Congress quickly have declared the Revolution brought in by Bernie Sanders, and represented in the progressive platform enacted in the summer, as dead on arrival, allowing for the devolution to continue under the leadership of two old generals: Nancy Pelosi (House) and Charles Schumer (Senate).
A mummified party led first by Bill Clinton and later by Barack Obama did fool a lion’s share of the population into thinking the Democratic Ass was alive and kicking, but this 2016 tell-tale presidential election has finally unfolded to tell the truth in contemporary American politics. The myth of a diverse but united Democratic Party has held as truth up to and including Obama’s presidency; however, Hillary Clinton, lacking the manifest and cunning scoundrelism of husband Bill, just couldn’t keep the raggedy and diverse troops marching in step without a single unifying drummer.
Although the Democratic Party continued to present itself as a big tent accommodating and giving shelter to diversity, be it large racial/ethnic minorities, or myriad other single-issue contingents, it never superimposed a common goal for all, a single banner to take to battle. Unlike in another memorable time—Bill Clinton’s presidential run in1992—when James Carville’s “The economy, stupid!” was coined as a campaign battle cry to defeat Bush Senior, Hillary Clinton seemed to think she could defeat Trump without one. And Sanders’ gift to her of a modified version of that same slogan was not adopted when it could have won the day; an effective version absent of criticism for Obama’s handling of the economy.
It was the power-elite in the Democratic Party that force-exiled too many poor white Democrats into joining Trump’s bigopats. And an election that Democrats should have won by 10–15 million votes ended in an Electoral College fratricidal defeat . . . taking place in Rust Belt states where insurgent Democrats broke party ranks.
Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner’s interview with President Obama on November 9, the day after the presidential election-cataclysm, provides us with a sober reality of the how and why of the Democratic Party’s demise in American politics: the alternating in governing by Tweedledee-Democrats and Tweedledum-Republicans to be no more.
In the interview, Barack Obama stated that when he turns over the keys of the federal government to Donald Trump, he (Obama) can claim “without equivocation” that the country is a lot better off, indicating the economy is stronger, the federal government works better, and the US standing in the world is higher.
Well, Mr. President, here’s where your “equivocation” takes place. The economy is stronger, true, but the benefits have been harvested by an upper few, with inequality between haves and have-nots not just simply increasing but accelerating during his two terms in office. As for the federal government working better, that’s challengeable and could be logically refuted depending on the subjects involved in the relationship. And the claim of a better US standing in the world is just as debatable, perhaps more so than the prior claim. If anything, critics of Obama’s foreign policy could rightfully claim that improvement in global relations needs to be measured not by how the US is viewed by its allies and friends, but by its peaceful progress with adversaries and competitors. US’ deterioration in relations with Russia, originating in a profoundly neoconservative State Department, coupled with an ever-deteriorating situation in the Middle East, weigh heavily on an overall failed foreign policy. Obviously, Obama’s Nobel Peace prize in 2009 was ridiculously premature, perhaps presented to him as prepaid expectations and not for a few months in office without tangible accomplishments.
One would have to be unrealistically optimistic to believe in a possible resurgence of the Democratic Party; not unless immediately taken over by a strong, dedicated progressive wing. And that has been quickly put to rest with Pelosi and Schumer taking the reins in Congress. For Progressivism to take root in America once again, as it did within the Democratic Party of the 1930s, it will have to be seeded, and allowed to germinate and grow in a field of its own . . . and not just within the confines of a party that is nothing but a milder version of the predatory capitalism represented by the Republican Party.
Copyright © 2016 Tanosborn
Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.