There is a common stereotype that Democrats are by their nature weak and feckless. There was nothing weak about FDR. There was nothing weak about the New Deal or his audacious plan to pack the court. Ralph Nader wasn’t weak when he got Nixon to establish the EPA and OSHA. There was a time when liberals roared like lions.
So, what happened in the meanwhile that turned them into the perpetual losers they are today? Money in politics.
Now, a lot of people know that the Republican Party has been corrupted by their donors and that’s why they defend such outlandish positions as money being speech and corporations having inalienable human rights. But not a lot of people recognize what the money funded on the Democratic side—a political party meant to lose, built to lose.
There are two kinds of political losses—electoral and policy. There is the devastating and humiliating loss suffered to a loathsome Donald Trump that any competent politician should have been able to avoid. Then there are the even more important kinds of losses on policy grounds that is the trademark of the Democratic Party. President Bush couldn’t make his enormous tax cuts last past ten years while President Obama made the overwhelming majority of those permanent. There is President Clinton doing welfare reform and banking deregulation that Republicans could only dream of. And the list of capitulations stretch on in almost every category of policymaking.
There are over 300 million people in the country, so if the donor class wanted strong Democrats they would have had plenty of people to choose from. If, on the other hand, they wanted weaklings who would be the loyal opposition and not stand in the way of Republicans as they lowered taxes, gutted regulations and handed the country over to multi-national corporations, they also knew who to find and fund. “Tax holidays” don’t grow on trees, they are put together by insistent Republicans and compliant Democrats.
So, what should real progressives do now? They should tear that house down. The DNC is not misguided; it is guided exactly as it is supposed to be. We have to start all over again. The party of Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh are never going to win over the American people. Voters couldn’t have been clearer in this election—they can’t stand the establishment. But the DNC will never get that message because they are the establishment.
Let me be clear—every single person at the DNC should be fired.
The country is going in a populist direction. It will either continue to go toward the fake populism of the right, as perfectly represented by Donald Trump, or it will go toward the populism of the left. What it will not do is somehow come back to the establishment.
As long as we have private financing of our elections, the system will always pick strong Republicans and cowering Democrats so that the financial interests of the donors are served. The only answer is to break that system entirely, completely revamp the Democratic Party and for God’s sake, get the money out of politics!