Tuesday, August 25, 2020

How Much Better Off Would The Country Be If The Two Establishment Parties Just Disappeared?


Apparently George Washington was both prescient and correct when he warned, in his "farewell address" (1796), that political parties serve "always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection."

The Founders made a big mistake, though-- still not corrected all these years later-- in not including the choice "none of the above"-- in all elections. The country's politics would likely be a lot different-- and probably not worse.

Yesterday we had Washington's prescient on full display on day one of The Trump Show, a "convention" with no platform, just a shameful and repulsive pledge of allegiance to a cult of personality presidency. In effect, this is the 2020 Republican Party platform:
WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

RESOVLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for President Trump and his Administration; and

RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order.
Although no sitting Republican members of Congress have the guts to stand up to the Nazification of the GOP, yesterday Fox News reported that that a couple dozen ex members of Congress have endorsed Biden. Three are conservative former senators: Jeff Flake (AZ), John Warner (VA) and Gordon Humphrey (NH). And former members of the House include:
Steve Bartlett (TX)
Bill Clinger (PA)
Tom Coleman (MO)
Charlie Dent (PA)
Charles Djou (HI)
Mickey Edwards (OK)
Wayne Gilchrest (MD)
Jim Greenwood (PA)
Bob Inglis (SC)
Jim Kolbe (AZ)
Steve Kuykendall (CA)
Ray LaHood (IL)
Jim Leach (IA)
Connie Morella (MD)
Mike Parker (MS)
Jack Quinn (NY)
Claudine Schneider (RI)
Chris Shays (CT)
Peter Smith (VT)
Alan Steelman (TX)
Bill Whitehurst (VA)
Dick Zimmer (NJ)
Jim Walsh (NY)
Former Staten Island Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari spoke at the Democratic Convention last week and also endorsed Biden. Lookin' good for Biden, right? Yeah, I guess. Trump is down by about 10 points in the new CBS/YouGov poll. But-- look again-- independent voters seem to have drifted back in Trump's direction-- and that should be very worrying.

What did you make of the video up top? As someone who supports clean government, abhors corruption and doesn't believe in voting for lesser evils, there's nothing on earth that would get me to ever vote for Biden (let alone Trump), but I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from following their own conscience and telling themselves that getting rid of Trump-- the existential threat-- and then "dealing with" the lesser threat once Biden is in the White House, is paramount. Best of luck with that, kids.

This was an encouraging MI-06 poll result yesterday. Hoadley is a progressive state Rep and Upton is a hereditary multimillionaire and Trump enabler:

I posted it on Twitter and one wag replied: When is Biden going to endorse Upton, something he did in 2018, helping the conservative Republican win against a progressive Democrat.

Have you read about the People's Party convention coming up next Sunday, August 30? Speakers include Cornel West, Nina Turner, Jimmy Dore, Ryan Knight, Marianne Williamson and Mike Gravel. I won't argue with this and wish them all the best and will do what I can to help support them in my own small way. I mean doesn't this sound good?
Our vision is a major new progressive populist party that will deliver what regular people take for granted in so many other countries: single-payer health care, free public college, money out of politics, an infrastructure jobs program, a $15 minimum wage, financial regulations, and more.

We need actual representation in our government. A majority of people in the US don’t feel represented by either the Democratic or Republican parties. We’ve watched these parties turn their backs on us to answer every call of the billionaires and donors. Overwhelming numbers of Americans understand these parties cannot be salvaged. Polls show that almost two out of three Americans are now calling for a major new party.  It’s time to build the party we’re looking for-- one that brings us all together.

When the pandemic hit, the Democrats and Republicans spent trillions of dollars bailing out Wall Street while leaving tens of millions of people unable to afford food and housing. Movement for a People’s Party, along with our partner organizations, led more than fifty rallies, on two different Saturdays in July, to let members of Congress know: “Do the right thing, help the people, or we will evict you from office!”

The Movement for a People’s Party continues to stand in solidarity with the communities whose pain and struggle have been deeply exacerbated these past few months.
At Too Much Information yesterday, David Sirota went after Rahm Emanuel and the corrupt Republican wing the Democratic Party he represents. "Progressives," wrote Sirota, "are told to keep quiet until after the election-- meanwhile, corporate Dems are blasting out divisive ideological messages that could demoralize Democratic voters and depress turnout... [A]t the very moment many good progressives are blunting their criticism and making clear that defeating Trump is of utmost importance, Corporate Democrats aren’t being asked to wait or hold their tongues. In fact, they are doing the opposite: Rahm Emanuel-- who has been advising Biden-- just went on television to show that the corporate wing of the party is intent on using the stretch run of the Most Important Election Of Our Lifetime™ not to doggedly focus on actually winning the election, but to instead try to predetermine post-election policy outcomes. Emanuel and his ilk depict themselves as evincing a non-ideological “just win, baby” attitude. But they are most decidedly pushing a very clear corporate ideology-- and they are doing so in dangerously divisive ways that could depress the big turnout that’s desperately needed to defeat Trump."

Emanuel was exulting in the defeat of popular progressive agenda items: "[T]here’s no new Green Deal, there’s no Medicare For All, probably the single two topics that were discussed the most. That’s not even in the platform."
Emanuel also isn’t just some random blowhard pundit spewing a corporate line. The Chicago Tribune in May reported that “Emanuel is having regular conversations with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his top advisers about economic policy."

So when Emanuel is refusing to self-censor in the name of “unity” and making these kinds of divisive declarations that stomp on progressive voters, he’s speaking from a position of real power. And he’s not just tweeting these comments, which could depress voter enthusiasm. He’s making them to a giant national television audience.

Corporate Democrats Are Not Holding Their Tongues

Now sure, you could try to write off Emanuel’s rhetoric as just the anomalous bloviations of notorious super-villain who pushed NAFTA and anti-immigration policies and who famously called progressives “f-ing retarded.” But sorry, this isn’t a one-off-- this is part of a larger pattern over the last few weeks and months.

As progressives are told to keep quiet, Democratic Party officials engineered a convention light on policy proposals, but one that gave prime convention speaking slots to the anti-climate-science, anti-union former Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and to Colin Powell, who lied America into a war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. In his CNBC interview, Emanuel said “this will be the year of the Biden Republican”-- and he noted that promoting these figures was designed to help Biden deliberately send an anti-progressive message to voters because “John Kasich and Colin Powell don’t exactly endorse (or) support big-P progressive policies.”

This is the kind of move that is potentially disillusioning for Democratic voters who were previously told that a Democratic victory isn’t just a return to status quo-- but a step forward in strengthening the movements for climate action, worker rights and a more sane foreign policy.

Similarly, as progressives are told to shut the hell up, Democratic aides on Capitol Hill leaked word that the party’s lawmakers may immediately replay the 2009 debacle and block a public health insurance option after the election-- a move that is potentially demotivating for millions of Americans currently losing their private health insurance.

As progressives are told to mute themselves, Team Biden last week publicly signaled that a new Democratic president might prioritize deficit reduction and budget austerity in the middle of an economic crisis-- a move that is potentially deflating for millions of voters who have previously been told that President Biden’s agenda makes him the next FDR.

As progressives are told to keep quiet, Biden’s campaign leaks to Politico that the transition team building Biden’s prospective administration is being advised by Wall Street pal Larry Summers and former corporate super-lobbyist Steve Richetti.

And as progressives are told to muzzle themselves, Corporate Democrats went scorched earth and spent $15 million to intervene in primaries, stymie progressive Democratic candidates and tilt intraparty contests to business-friendly candidates. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi works to unseat Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, one of the Senate’s few progressive lawmakers, and to crush a spirited primary challenge to Rep. Richard Neal, who has used his committee chairmanship to block even modest health care reforms.

‘Hold the line. Win. Lead.’

Clearly, this is a coordinated campaign by the right-wing of the Democratic Party to prioritize its policy goals above everything-- even motivating core Democratic voters to turnout in record numbers during the general election.

The best response to such an onslaught isn’t to ignore it or succumb to dishonest unity-themed demands for silence and fealty. After all, the folks making those demands don’t actually want unity-- they are aiming for corporate victory at all costs, even if waging a war for that intraparty win could depress enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket.

The smarter response is to follow the lead of Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who last week pushed back against the Corporate Democrats’ attempt to resurrect GOP-style austerity politics. Rather than just sitting there and staying silent, she declared that if the party wins in November, it must make “massive investment in our country or it will fall apart. This is not a joke. To adopt GOP deficit-hawking now, when millions of lives are at stake, is utterly irresponsible. Hold the line. Win. Lead.”

The brilliance of this kind of response is that it accomplishes two objectives: It stands up for a real change, and it reassures Democratic voters that there are at least some people who are serious about going to Washington and fighting for what the party purports to believe in.

Put another way, it fortifies the progressive agenda and it helps energize Democratic voters to turn out, because it casts the election not just as a meaningless charade that won’t matter after November because everyone will sell out anyway. It instead depicts the election as an event with high stakes beyond Trump-- a turning point that can create new policies that will actually matter in people’s lived experience.

This is how you avoid the 1988-Dukakis-collapse debacle and motivate the big turnout that can defeat Trump.

You don’t tell voters that “nothing would fundamentally change.”

You don’t blast out a story about how the Democratic presidential nominee told his Wall Street donors that he isn’t proposing new legislation to change corporate behavior.

You don’t turn your party convention into a pageant for Republican icons.

You don’t have the disgraced-mayor-turned-Wall-Street guy advise your presidential candidate-- or have him go on Corporate America’s favorite television station during a health care emergency and a climate crisis to effectively laugh at progressives who are pushing Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.

To paraphrase one of the best tweets in history, you don’t try to turn the election into a centrist rally for the idea that better things aren’t possible-- and you sure as hell don’t ask progressives to shut up.

You instead focus intently on telling your party’s voters how the election will materially improve their lives.

Of course, the Democratic Party machine and the Biden campaign aren’t really interested in doing that right now. They want to run an anti-Trump campaign, and nothing else.

In light of that, progressives shouldn’t unilaterally disarm and stay silent when Corporate Democrats are getting bolder and more brazen about using this pre-election period to push their depressing, better-things-aren’t-possible policy agenda.

Staying quiet in the face of that pablum doesn’t help. The real way to help boost turnout and energize voters is for progressives to push back against the corporate propaganda and make clear that-- whether the establishment likes it or not-- this election can and will offer the opportunity to achieve something even bigger than just getting rid of Trump.

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At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was a real leader who is NOT a member of either Party, and if that leader could inspire and motivate those who normally don't vote at all to feel they have a reason to now do so, that leader would win.

Excuse me. I have to go exercise my unicorn now.

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parties exist because voters in this shithole are either boundlessly stupid or pure evil or both. they won't disappear because they ARE America.

arguing that TALKING progressive is what the democraps should do... to cajole more idiot potted plants to show up and vote for a lifelong racist misogynist corrupt neoliberal fascist... is there any more obvious sheepdogging move?

The party is fascist and is becoming more fascist. their nom is proof even without the backroom exhortations of rahm. It is only the colossal stupidity of voters that makes the party viable.

rahm seems to be worried that if they fall face-first into a win this time, due only to the cluster fuck that is trump (naziism, correctly ID'd in this for a change, is very viable as long as the fuhrer is not trump), the party will spend its 2-year run in charge wasting time talking about progressive shit they aren't going to do instead of only doing fascist shit. Only a retarded potted plant thinks that the democraps can be "pushed" to do anything for the 99.99%.

And after 2 years of NOT doing jack shit for the 99.99%, even some of the retarded potted flora will decide it ain't worth wasting time on another vote... and the slaughter of 2010 will be repeated.
note: since it is a massive anti-blue, even someone worse than trump can easily win then.

bottom line: the country won't be better off until VOTERS get smarter. And if they ever do, the first and best thing they can do is euthanize the democrap party and create a truly progressive party. what little I've read about the people's party I like. But those are just words. Obamanation said nice words too. Biden said nice words last week.

I learned almost 60 years ago that words are just ambient noise. It's deeds that speak the loudest.

something that chlorophyll-based beings without ears do not and cannot ever understand.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Ten Bears said...

I have been alternating twixt a cast of cartoon characters - Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Felix the Cat - and None Of The Above as write-ins since Reagan.

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once upon a time there was Ralph Nader. A strong case can be made that his presence on the 2000 ballot made Bush's election by the Supreme Court possible.

As for the blasts from the past that you cite. I lived in NH and got to watch Gordon Humphrey's shenanigans first-hand. Nobody, except maybe Mrs. Humphrey and his handful of employees, should give a rodent's hindquarters what Gordon thinks / says.

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop believing lies about Nader and check up on the numbers. Al Gore lost three states he should have won. Any one of those states would have made Florida moot.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger FDChief said...

The first-past-the-post dilemma is that when you have a strong progressive and a slightly-left-of-center corporate candidate they split the left-of-center vote and the red-meat reactionary wins the plurality. The US right learned the lessons of the Bircher years; you take the party from the inside, you don't farkle around with trying to start up a third party. In a parliamentary system? Sure. In the US system? That just guarantees your 20% of the vote in a losing campaign.

Problem? That takes an insane amount of discipline, hard work, and persistence. You gotta work for DECADES, you have to have lavish funding, you have to have a media at your back hammering home your message...in short, you need to be the wingnuts, only from the Left.

Can the US Left do that?

I sure as hell hope so, because the Right has clearly gone full-on batshit crazy. The hell with the Plague...another couple of decades of "center-right" governance and we're looking at the Return of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum...

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

That & the money needs to go.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not the parties perse, and instead "none of the above" we should have "No one above" democratic representation. Get rid of the Presidency and the Senate; both are presently unrepresentative and pillars of corruption. The House is proportional and elections are every 2 years. Pretty much everything going wrong in the US can be attributed with giving Presidents and Senators life and disproportional power. If that wasn't enough. and don't ya think it should be, we also have an electoral college??

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous wjbill said...

I wish you were quoting way more people than AOC. Where are the others?

At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed it by THAT much, Chief! Sorry about that.

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FDC, it also requires that your left party makes a good-faith effort to ably represent everyone in the greenhouse. The 'lavish funding' and media preclude this.

While the right can unify around hate, the left has not unified around anything except being NOT the Nazis. And that means that the money can corrupt them (and has), absolutely, and they won't lose any voters in the greenhouse.

perhaps the problem *IS* that all your voters are in the greenhouse instead of having the ACTUAL plurality... those who never vote... determine the party and candidates who serve.

The party is perfectly happy losing fairly close elections and keeping their $pigot$ open part way... awaiting the next cheney/W or trump to run against. They don't serve the greenhouse because they never have to.


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