Thursday, June 29, 2017
LOSING IS LOSING
Why the Democrats are Clueless
In the Ossoff campaign the Democrat was ahead by five points as late as June 11th, suggesting that the more attention the election received and the more money the Democrats poured in the more the electorate turned to the Republican .
For the fourth consecutive election in the age of Trump the Democrats tried to proclaim moral victory but few could keep a straight face. Losing is losing and when it costs $24 million to accomplish it, it is clear the Democratic message is the problem.
What is that message? In the case of Ossoff it seemed to be: We can be conservative without the Trump insanity. Ossoff stood for lower taxes, deregulation, second amendment sanctity, free trade and devotion to Israel. Even more telling is where Ossoff dared not tread: He stood neutral on single payer healthcare (Medicare for All), social security and Medicaid. He refused to criticize the escalating wars in the Middle East. He could not even bring himself to advocate a living wage. 
There is literally nothing today’s Republican Party or Donald Trump could find objectionable about Jon Ossoff except the capital D by his name.
This is what the Democrats had in mind. They want us to believe that Donald Trump and the mean party is so morally repugnant that all they have to do is show up. They have crunched the numbers and come to the conclusion that they can continue taking obscene amounts of Wall Street money and still pose as advocates of the working class. They don’t need to revise policies; they need only repackage the message.
This is the kind of delusional thinking that allowed Hillary Clinton to believe she could run out the clock while Donald Trump barnstormed Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin with a promise of good old middle class industrial wage jobs for all. He was lying but it didn’t matter. At least he cared enough to show up and say what they wanted to hear: Bring back the good old days! Kick some terrorist ass! Make America great again!
Democrats seem to believe that they lost the presidential election because of Russian hacking, James Comey and rightwing media. They are only partially correct. They made it possible to lose by having nothing to offer the working people of this nation. After Bernie Sanders all but browbeat Clinton into taking a stand in favor of Fair Trade, she never mentioned it again on the campaign trail. She never challenged Trump on trade policy though it was clear he had no clue. They allowed Trump to charade as a labor candidate despite an extensive background in abusing labor as a businessman. Did Clinton think we wouldn’t notice?
The old Democratic line isn’t working any more. They seem to be waiting for demographics to shift enough that they can win with a central platform: At least we’re not racist! If they keep this up they’ll lose minority votes as well. No one likes an empty basket. Put something, anything in there and stand up for it.
Let me make this clear. I am a registered Democrat because I wanted my vote for Bernie Sanders to count in the California primary. I am not a Democrat by philosophy or conviction. I despise the two-party system that has reduced political discourse to an all-time low. I despise a system that made the Tea Party and a Trump presidency possible by offering a choice between a rotten apple and a rusty nail. I despise a system where the only viable parties require their candidates to take a pledge of loyalty to international corporations, Wall Street and the same industrialists who sold us out for greater profits overseas.
We need a party that believes in something. We need a party that stands for something. We need a party that does not suspend principle because the candidate is running in Georgia, Kansas, Carolina or Georgia.
All working class people can agree: We need jobs that pay the bills and we need representatives at all levels of government who can deliver them.
If any candidate wants my support it begins with trade policy and the rights of labor. It begins with Fair Trade – a policy that conditions preferred trade status on mutual protection of a worker’s right to a living wage, decent working conditions, the right to form and join a union and minimal standards of health and retirement benefits. It begins with protecting the rights of labor in our own country and that means striking down anti-union laws that block unions from the workplace and proclaim the right of individuals to refuse paying union fees though they benefit from union representation.
The GOP is the party of the wealthy, the party of tax cuts, and the party that stands against environmental protection, financial regulation, social security and Medicare. It is the party of indifference to discrimination in all its forms and the party of endless military misadventures. We need a party that strikes a contrast and holds to it like a toddler to his mother’s hand.
A candidate that wants my support must stand up for alternative energy sources – solar, wind and water – and pledge to expand them at the expense of fossil fuels. We need to support research knowing that it will ultimately save money, resources and lives.
We need a party that remembers what happens when we allow Wall Street financiers and industrialists to operate without oversight and regulation. We cannot afford a repeat of the financial meltdown we experienced at the end of the George W. Bush administration and we are heading for an encore at record speed. We need representatives who will call out office holders who claim that the meltdown was caused by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae or any other government entity. It was caused by corporate greed and a license to do as they pleased. If you allow Wall Street to create cash out of toxic waste, they will do so. It is their nature to discard the public interest every time if it improves the bottom line.
We need a party that is pledged to protect and defend Social Security and universal Medicare. No more half measures. When we compromised with Obamacare we compromised with a fundamental right to healthcare. The net result is that we will soon have a healthcare system that is even crueler and more negligent than it was before Obamacare. Even if the current healthcare proposal fails, our government is plotting actions and inactions that will ensure the system collapses. What will we do then?
We need a party that upholds equal pay for equal work, that is sensitive to the needs of minority communities, and that fights against discrimination wherever it occurs. We need a party that addresses mass incarceration and the disproportionate incrimination of racial minorities. We need a party that defends a woman’s right to reproductive care, including abortion, and opposes reckless military interventions. We need a party that ends the perpetual increase in military expenditures and uses that money to improve the lives of our people.
There are many other issues that could be addressed but these I consider fundamental. If the Democrats wish to become that party so be it. If not, we desperately need a new party – one that addresses the needs of the people and one that will not back down to a billionaire pretender.
A party that gives us Jon Ossoff and channels $24 million dollars to his pandering campaign is not a party that deserves anyone’s support.
COMMENT BY WRITER-POET-ARTIST JAKE BERRY
Nothing I can add will improve your argument. You hit the (rusty) nail on the head. The Democratic party is over. It’s decline began the day Bill Clinton won the presidency as a “centrist” when he was in fact a Republican calling himself a Democrat. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Social Democrat and the mainstream call him a Socialist. Even he is conceding ground. He is in fact a Roosevelt Democrat - which is what a Democrat was between at least the late 1920s and 1992. In that period we saw an expansion of the middle class (especially after WW2), an increase in wages for almost everyone and much less income disparity than we now have. The shocks of the oil embargo in the 1970s opened the door for a new type of conservative, which is essentially a libertarianism skewed to the rich and pandering to bigotry masquerading as evangelical religion (it is in fact neither genuinely evangelical nor religious).
For now, yessir, losing is losing.
Love and peace,
1. “Georgia 6th District Run-off Election – Handel vs. Ossoff.” Real Clear Politics, June 20, 2017.
2. “Democrats in the Dead Zone” by Jeffrey St. Clair. Counterpunch, June 23, 2017.
JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF THE JAZZMAN CHRONICLES, THE GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION, WASICHU: THE KILLING SPIRIT, NUMBER NINE, A PATRIOT DIRGE, PAWNS TO PLAYERS AND OTHER WORKS.
JAKE BERRY IS THE AUTHOR OF BRAMBU DREZI, SPECIES OF ABANDONED LIGHT AND COUNTLESS OTHER WORKS OF GENIUS. HE HAS ALSO WRITTEN AND RECORDED NUMEROUS ALBUMS INCLUDING LIMINAL BLUE AND THE SAINTS ARE CRYING.