To many who happen upon this blog (should any such intrepid reader ever materialize) this will sound like a moral failure to root, root, root for the home team, but this author is really hoping for a blowout of the Democrats in 2018. Anything less than a real drubbing, a marginal loss by just a couple of seats in the House by a few thousand votes, will just reinforce the wrong message to the wrong people that no, the Dems don’t have to change a darn thing, they just have to do that same darn thing a little bit better next time ’round.
Because a razor-thin defeat in 2018 will allow the Clintonized wing of the party and its hopeless adherents to once again pull a well, there ya go excuse and still cling desperately to the notion that Russia or Comey or bigoted yahoos or misogyny or a creaky electoral system or blah-blah-balh undermined Hillary. The plain fact is that she was an unpopular and largely terrible candidate who offered no marginal improvement over the other party’s crazy person. All of those are true, but she died a political death from a thousand cuts because the body politic was already diseased and failing. The Dems are an awful collection of over-educated snobs and opportunistic players who only mouth platitudes to their captive base of minorities and (decreasingly to the point of organ failure) the labor movement. They have no presence in almost 3/4 of the country at any level between local and state government for a reason.
This isn’t about understanding the pain of the white working class, or at least it isn’t in its entirely or even on the whole. The Dems have to get back to basics, get back to understanding what the political gap is that they can fill and ought to fill from both a moral and an electoral imperative. They will never be able to out-fascist the Republicans. Bill Clinton and the awful centrists who catapulted him to prominence didn’t come out of nowhere. In the wake of Watergate, the so-called New Democrats (like Gary Hart) were hostile to a labor movement that backed a backroom party functionary like Hubert Humphrey and sided with Nixon on questions of Vietnam and the antiwar movement. In the context of the times, it made a certain sense one could argue, but I think otherwise. The GOP was on the ropes, Nixon had blown a hole in the bottom of their boat, and a party that had a clear moral compass would have gone in for the kill and made anything connected to Nixon politically toxic for all time. They did not while at the same time they turned their back on labor as a force for economic and social good.
The Dems have treated labor like a leper ever since. They’re happy to take labor’s money and willingly accept the manpower boost at GOTV time, but the needs and interests of labor have not been at the heart of the Democratic platform since McGovern.
I hate watching the flop-sweat desperation of our so-called liberal leaders who clearly just want Russia to be true so they can get back to being the centrist sell-out shitbirds they’ve been their whole careers. It makes me sick to watch them and their faux, brittle patriotism invoke the 17 intelligence agencies mantra over and over again as though these organizations are somehow unassailable. It is embarrassing to watch.
I think Russia is a real thing, for the record. In other posts I have explained that I think it is about the money, all about the money, and any political ramifications are only to obscure the truth of the money’s effect on the Trump family ‘s personal fortune without regard for the impact on the larger world. People will die, many large numbers of them and most of them only after prolonged periods of unimaginable suffering, so that Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. can become untouchable world-spanning oligarchs. I think that is an awful, terrible outcome and any sequence of events that doesn’t result in anyone with the name Trump (or Kushner) spending decades in prison (or perhaps a punishment even more enduring) will be insufficient to reverse the world-ending trend line I see when I look at the Big Picture.
Because, make no mistake, we have president Trump because not one single banker spent so much as an afternoon inside a jail cell. When Obama and Holder and the whole gang had the opportunity to make an example of those evil, evil people, he sided with the powerful banks. His apologists will argue that to go after them would have been political suicide and I would answer that we didn’t elect him so he could get himself re-elected. The Dem’s whole strategy for decades has been to simply not be as awful as their Republican opponent because, well, this is how the world is and “realists” understand that and are happy and grateful for half a loaf. Now go do your duty and assume a mountain of student debt for a graduate degree in order to be competitive and participate in our brave new free-trade global order. Maybe our economy will find a way to remunerate you sufficient to someday settle your debt. In the meantime, well…
The only thing that will finally drive the wannabe-GOP wing of the party into the arms of the excommunicated Republicans of the David Frum/David Brooks wing of the GOP is an electoral drubbing next year. Sadly, perhaps the election after that, although I’m not sure the human race could survive such a horror.
Because, as I see it, the GOP now fully belongs to the shambling Frankensteinian golem the Nixon/Reagan operators assembled out of the scattered remnants of the Dixiecrats and assorted theocrat Christianists in the 1970’s & 1980’s. I think some elected Republicans are old enough to fondly remember the days when their pet monster was enough on the chain to just maul and attack all those awful, dirty fucking hippies who steadfastly refused to accept wealthy white, heterosexual male Christian hegemony. But now that their monster has broken free, assumed human form and bludgeoned its way into the White House, those old-timers have almost 100% capitulated to it so that they can finally take full advantage of their unitary government to pass all the draconian legislation they’ve masturbated to in fantasy for their whole political lives. They are not gonna give all of it up now, godammit, not when they’re so close to a life-changing political orgasm and certainly not for something so quaint and naive as patriotism or love-of-country or, I dunno, morality or ethics.
So, the old-timers will either retire, die-off or be absorbed into Trump’s GOP. Any who remain, if they resist, will be boiled-off electorally in the white-hot (and I do mean white) rage that has yet to crest, or they will continue to act the role of concerned grown-up in front of news cameras without actually doing anything substantive or brave or noble that might put their political hide at risk, because even autocrats will run a stooge against them at election time to better sell the appearance of democracy.
Which leaves the Dems as the only viably warm, natural home of all the “reasonable” Republicans who suddenly feel uncomfortable with what the party they helped build has become. Part of me says, OK fine, let them have it. Let the nation’s elite coalesce into a single party with a mildly leftish wing and a mildly rightish wing, but who all whole-heartedly agree on Wall Street & banking, global free trade and military interventionism, all of which are interrelated and mutually-reinforcing.
But then that leaves the problem of where does America’s True Left find a path to power? The cynical billionaires joined the GOP’s “freedom caucus” Tea Party klown kar knew it was a scam, they know it now, but the profits are just too sweet to ever be personally disciplined and not smash every barrier to untrammeled riches. Slathered with a thick coat of racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry and catalyzed with a steady flame of grievance politics, the GOP electoral formula since the days of Nixon has just grown ever more concentrated and unabashed until we can plainly see the naked authoritarianism of Trumpist politics before our very eyes. All of this means that the dyed-in-the-wool fascists own the machinery, the nuts-and-bolts electoral machinery of local political offices and mailing lists and ballot access, of one political party in a system specifically engineered to only allow the existence of two parties. And if we concede the only other available party that has any comparably viable electoral machinery at all to the discredited elites who drove both parties and the nation off the cliff just so they can cling to a self-serving “legitimacy” that will preserve and husband some of their power for future use, then our path out of the wilderness will be long and fraught.
Which is why 2018 matters. If the Dems get blown out, then BLM & Occupy & the Bernie Brigade will have a real chance in 2020. If the Dems make even a little headway, their Russia-gate narrative proves the Hillary wing correct and at that point I fear all will be lost once the GOP no longer has a use for Trump, they impeach him, and let Pence cruise to an easy nine or ten years in office.