Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Is EITHER National Political Party Worth Saving?


On CNN yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that "The Republican party has got to get a grip on itself. Republican leaders and members of the Congress… are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen [to] any one of them if they speak out." Trump appears to be overseeing the disintegration of the GOP. But before you start cheering, at least understand that the other party controlled by corporate interests, the Democratic Party, has been gradually shifting right to fill the ideologically conservative void. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has been an utter failure and has allowed the Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- to increasingly take control. Mark Pocan, once a timid centrist in the Wisconsin legislature, has managed to put himself at the head of the CPC where he has offered to shelter New Dems from the activist grassroots by allowing them to pay dues and claim they are "progressives." Yes, progressives who are also New Dems, often voting with the New Dems against progressive priorities. Right now all these so-called "progressives" below are New Dems. (Their ProgressivePunch ratings are included)
Don Beyer (VA)- C
Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)- F
Brendan Boyle (PA)- F
André Carson (IN)- C
Veronica Escobar (TX)- A
Gil Cisneros (CA)- F
Angie Craig (MN)- F
Madeleine Dean (PA)- B
Brenda Lawrence (MI)- B
Katie Hill (CA)- F
Stephen Horsford (NV)- F
Debbie Mucarsell-Powell (FL)- C
Donald Norcross (NJ)- F
Darren Soto (FL)- D
Lori Trahan (MA)- A
Last cycle, Pocan actually went down to Orlando to campaign in the LGBTQ community for reactionary New Dem Darren Soto against Alan Grayson, of whom Pocan has always been jealous.

Russ Cirincione is the progressive candidate running against a former-progressive in New Jersey's Middlesex and Monmouth counties (NJ-06). "What does it mean to be Progressive?" he asked. "Progressives are loyal to the people they represent," he responded to his own question. "The first standard is simple-- progressives put the people they represent first. Progressives have an ethical standard of loyalty-- to be loyal to the people, we must reject all lobbyist money and corporate PAC money. No one can serve two masters, it’s either the money or the People. I choose to represent the People and have pledged to never take a dime of corporate PAC money, because I'm a true progressive. The standard of loyalty to the People is one that Frank Pallone cannot meet any longer. In last year’s campaign cycle he took over $1,000,000 from the health insurance and pharma lobbies. They contributed nearly 40% of all the funds for his campaign re-election, and quite literally paid for a seat in the House of Representatives. They got one of the top three Democrats on their team who now chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee. And, not surprisingly, Pallone has actively prevented the Medicare for All Act of 2019 from being called for a vote, which has stalled in his committee since February 2019."

"Pallone will never support Medicare for All, Single Payer," Cirincione continued. "He’s been paid not to. He’s even afraid of the very people who have donated to his campaigns. At a recent event this year, he said that he was worried about attack ads calling him a socialist from the very industries whom financed his campaign in 2018. It’s time for a champion in the House that will be loyal to the People, reject big money, and stand up to the powerful insurance and pharmaceutical industry by demanding Medicare for All." Yep, Frank Pallone-- another proud member of the CPC-- making sure no progressive legislation gets to the floor of Congress until he's watered it down into uselessness, if even then. Notice that the Democrats control Congress and neither Medicare-For-All nor the Green New Deal has been voted on.

Anthony Fisher reporting for Business Insider yesterday, wrote that NeverTrump Republicans are trying to decide if the GOP is worth saving. The GOP grassroots approve of Trump-- and immensely so (90% in some polls). Trump's 3 primary opponents-- former governor Bill Weld (MA), former Rep. Joe Walsh (IL) and former governor and congressman Mark Sanford (SC)-- all agree with most Americans that Trump is unfit for office. But none have gained any traction with GOP voters.
The three GOP challengers also say Trump has betrayed the party's long-held principles of free market capitalism, maintenance of a robust foreign policy through international alliances, and an openness to immigrants as a vital part of America.

But most of Trump supporters don't seem to care about those principles. For them, the Republican Party was merely a vessel to get their man in power, where he would unapologetically savage their enemies (the liberal elites, the media, immigrants) and enact a right-wing populist agenda. If Trump started his own new political party tomorrow, his base would almost surely follow suit.

That begs the question: What exactly are Weld, Walsh, and Sanford fighting for? ... Walsh and Sanford both come from the Tea Party, the previous surge of right-wing populism that had its biggest moments in the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections. But Walsh only served one term before pivoting to a career as a conservative radio talk show host, and Sanford lost his House seat in 2018-- in no small part because of his opposition to Trump.

The lesson was not lost on Sanford's Republican congressional colleagues, and for good reason. Trump is far more popular than they are.

As for old Republican tentpole issues like fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets and cutting deficits, no less a conservative authority than Rush Limbaugh admitted on his show this past June that "nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore. All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it's been around."

Trump's GOP challengers each represent a certain Republican archetype that barely exists anymore. But they find common cause in decrying Trump's rhetoric-- which now defines their party more than any economic policy.

...But the question is, do any of them truly see any remaining semblance of the party they once knew and loved? Do they believe the GOP will return to its former self once Trump leaves office?

Given the relative ease with which Trump took over the party in 2016, and the overwhelming and sturdy support of the his base, there's no reason to believe Republicans will reject Trump-- and the force of his personality is likely to be endemic to the conservative movement for years to come.

What the Never Trumpers also must reckon with is what comes next if Trump loses reelection in 2020. Because if anger is baked into the Trump brand, it's unlikely that such a visceral emotion simply dissolves from the Republican Party just because the boss has left the building.

That's why Republican anti-Trump dissidents would be better off forming their own party, one which represents the erstwhile Republican values that were so soundly rejected by the GOP electorate in 2016.

Really? Or just joining the Democratic Party-- which now supports many of those old "tentpole" Republican issues like fiscal conservatism, balanced budgets and cutting deficits, all cornerstones of the Blue Dogs' and News Dems' approach to governance. The progressive end of the Democratic Party-- not the phony Pocan end-- are actually what the Democratic Party is all about. Listen to Rebecca Parson, the progressive candidate running for Congress in a Washington seat held by the head of the New Dems. Do you think the Congressional Progressive Caucus is supporting her? Of course not.

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At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The progressive end of the Democratic Party-- not the phony Pocan end-- are actually what the Democratic Party is all about."

That's a bit of a stretch if we're discussing what the Party represents as a (mal)functioning entity today. Progressives are stuck with this choice: run as Democrats, maybe get elected and at least have the opportunity to effect SOME (probably not much, if we're being honest) good from within a party that has been corrupted by big money and the fascism-lite agenda, or run independently and face the dual risks of losing AND splitting the vote for any sort of left/center-left candidate thereby enabling Republicans to get in and (despite what a certain Republican chowderhead may insist otherwise in his posts here) do more damage than even the worst Democrat might do.

Despite my frequent needling of Mr. Chowderhead, things do look pretty bleak. The Intercept has a fascinating piece up detailing how the Murdoch family is behind an anti-Gerrymandering initiative. One of the Murdochs describes herself as a "radical centrist" (I know, just typing that out made me want to punch someone or something) - these people may not see the Republican Party as a completely viable vehicle for their miserable oligarchic designs going forward, but they're sure as fuck not going to sit back quietly and allow any internal takeover of the Democratic Party by progressive insurgents either. This leaves progressives with the "forming a new party" option, which will inevitably lead to a revival of the fortunes of the (should be dead already) Republican Party. Personally, given the intensely racist and stupid nature of many white Americans, I just don't see a new progressive party as something viable in the US. Between the electoral college and the Senate, there's no way for a party like that to be viable as a national force.

Wish I had some answers. Times like these almost make me glad I've only got 20-30 years (tops) left. Things are going to get considerably worse before they get better and that's IF they get better.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@9:40 C'mon we all know u and the Chowderhead are one and the same and just schizo-Republicans looking to trick us. : ) Addressing your infrequent substance; maybe consider expanding your diatribe into a novel titled "The Joy of Lesser Evil".

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Getting back on topic, neither party deserves to remain intact. Considering all the corruption, how either holds together at all amazes me.

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@10:38 am

I frequently go after the guy for explicitly doing exactly what you're accusing me of! I live on the East Coast and if the Democrats nominate someone like Biden, I can take a pass on voting for him. Clinton won my state handily in 2016, so I did not have to pull the lever for her. If I lived in Wisconsin or some other state where polling had the race as a little too close to call, I would indeed have held my nose and voted for Hillary Clinton. Far as Mr. Chowderhead is concerned, that makes me the enemy.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(scratches head)

Just realized that I probably missed the joke and replied to MC himself. I certainly would have thrown in a couple more gratuitous insults if I'd known who I was talking to. My bad.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, DWT, aren't you going to look really silly (or worse) when you beg us to hold down the chunks and vote for democraps in 13 months? Does that level of introspection exist?

12:23, you're not the enemy. But you're not being helpful. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. I know... more than binary... mind blown! I'm still wondering that if you agree with me... why am *I* your enemy? cuz I say so more?

anyway... why no ad-hominems for this author. he/she also agress. you sure are fickle.

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...the disintegration of the GOP. But before you start cheering, at least understand that the other party controlled by corporate interests, the Democratic Party, has been gradually shifting right to fill the ideologically conservative void."

Unless someone lies like trump, this statement, exactly what I've been pointing out since the early '80s, proves my thesis.

And, no, neither party is worthy of surviving in a western democracy.

Well, voters? you still too stupid to fix this thing that you created? ayup... they still are.


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