You know what was great about last night? The Democrats restored the progressive movement to what it should be, and that is a positive, hopeful movement in which we promote hopeful policies.
What ever happened to that? When did the progressive movement turn into the lefty version of the right wing, wherein everything about this country is shitty and only one savior at a time can possibly save us? That’s not what liberalism is supposed to be, and yet PUBs and the professional left keep telling me I’m not a “real progressive” because I don’t see the United States as a hellscape in which no decent human being can live a good life.
Eight years ago, I was hopeful because, for the first time in years, the far left was getting behind a candidate who really wanted to try to change things. They got behind a meme of “Hope and change,” and I actually felt hope and change was coming to this country.
I should have known better.
Beware of so-called progressives who act like right wingers. Hell, don’t just beware them, treat them as much like the enemy as the right wing, because they’re just as destructive. That said, I don’t want to talk about them right now. I want to talk about universal issues and why we have only one clear choice for president. But more than that, we have only one clear choice in every race, all up and down the line, at every level, federal, state and local.
The ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, was a phenomenal start. But everyone knew it was a start, not an end point. It needed changing then, and it still needs changes. I predicted years ago that by 2018, insurance companies themselves would be clamoring for a “public option,” and that is happening. However, while Hillary Clinton, who was a pioneer in health insurance reform, is really eager to expand its reach, Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party are still clamoring to kill it. To date, 19 states have not expanded Medicare, all of them red states except Virginia, North Carolina and Maine. The last two are being run by right wing morons, while Virginia still has a troublesome Republican legislature. If you want universal healthcare, which is the ultimate goal, you have no choice but to vote for Hillary Clinton and every Democrat you can. Yes, that includes state officials, especially in red states, but we also need to turn blue states with GOP governors completely blue, as well. If we can’t get red states to expand Medicaid, then Medicare expansion will also be dead in the water, and you can forget about a public option.
This should be a no-brainer. With Republicans in charge, we can’t even pass a bill to prevent people on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun. Now, to be honest, the ACLU part of me doesn’t trust that list, anyway, but it’s the principle sometimes. We need universal background checks, we need greater restrictions on civilians owning military-style weapons, we need to allow police to have the information to track purchases of guns and ammo and we need to limit the availablity of accessories designed to turn guns like the AR-15 into a mass murdering machine. With Hillary Clinton and a Democratic majority everywhere, we can take steps to limit private ownership of weapons of war. On the other hand, Donald Trump and his GOP are beholden to the NRA and he has sons who think they’re better “men” because they participate in canned hunts for beautiful endangered species and then tale selfies with them.
Wages and Jobs
Barack Obama has had to fight the GOP tooth and nail to create jobs. Two massive jobs bills that would have created millions of jobs languished in Congress and were never even debated. Highway bills to fix our crumbling roads were damn near impossible to get through the Republican wall. They took over Congress in 2010 promising to create jobs, and they have not only failed to do so, but their austerity as led to a net negative jobs in many areas. We need new roads and bridges, we need new rail and public transportation systems we need a new electric grid to support all of the new electric vehicles that are coming, and Republicans are reticent to even talk about any of that. Hillary Clinton will create jobs, whereas Trump hasn’t the slightest idea how to create anything more than debt. Trump and the GOP don’t even understand how jobs are created; first, the government builds infrastructure and entrepreneurs fill out that infrastructure and give the people who build out that infrastructure ways to spend their money. Republicans and Trump only believe in debt. They believe that putting spending on the credit card is how you build jobs and wealth. Also, the first thing Republicans do when they take over a state is to pass “right to work” laws, which only serve to kill unions, which means depressed wages in that state.
Speaking of wealth, the Republican Party is perfectly happy with only the very rich doing better. They don’t care about the middle class and they think wages are higher than they should be, even though ours are actually lower than wages in most other developed countries. They not only think the current minimum wage is too high, they and Trump talk openly about leaving it up to states or killing the minimum wage altogether. Hillary Clinton will increase the minimum wage to at least $111-12 an hour nationwide, with $15 an hour in some locations where that number is practical and even necessary. Democrats thrive in a strong labor environment and they try to strengthen that where they can. Contrary to the beliefs of some, Democrats financial support comes from labor, NOT Wall Street.
Another no-brainer. The poor are overwhelmingly Democratic and Hillary Clinton has always had a soft spot for them. If I’m being honest, one of the most distressing things about the Sanders campaign was it’s inattention to the problems faced by the poor. But Hillary talked about it a lot. She talked about the mistake her husband made in signing and embracing welfare reform and she has vowed to begin a reversal of its effects. Democrats always try to help, but they haven’t had a majority in a while, so it’s been difficult. Meanwhile, every time the Republican Party runs government – any government – they take on the costs of taking care of the poor. Who do you think the refusal to expand Medicaid affects? When they passed the highway bill last year, they demanded offsets in spending, but they wouldn’t take money out of the Pentagon budget, they went after SNAP. Listen to the rhetoric coming from the right at all levels; they always cut taxes on the rich and spending on those who can least afford it. Democrats and Hillary Clinton will always fight poverty and Republicans and Donald Trump denigrate the poor and simply wish they would go away.
This isn’t as big an issue and many “progressives” think. A lot of working people have accounts with big banks because those are the only ones around. Not many credit unions in the inner cities, sad to say. Democrats always reform the financial sector. Always. Republicans, especially Donald Trump, always want to undo those reforms and regulations. Hillary Clinton won’t get to decide on the TPP because it will be passed before she’s inaugurated, but that’s not that big a problem, anyway. Democrats want to move forward because that’s the only way time moves. Progress means moving forward, which means “progressive” should be about moving forward. Democrats will continue bringing us back from the Great Recession and they will not engage in “trickle-down” economics. Meanwhile, 35 years after it was discredited, the Republican Party and one Donald J. Trump still preach the gospel of supply-side. They still promise to cut taxes for the rich and promise that, this time, no, really, the wealth will trickle down. Hillary Clinton wants to place reasonable restrictions on the financial markets and she wants to create a rich economy that lifts all boats. She has also promised to use her husband, who was a master of that, help to bring the economy back. Given that every segment of the economy improved under Bill Clinton, that cannot possibly be a bad thing.
It’s time, folks. It’s time we re-embraced the hope and change that marked 2008’s watershed election. But it’s also important that we keep that spirit after the election, too. It’s time all progressives embraced progress. Actual progress, not some deep dark fantasy in which the country turns into an apocalyptic night mare and some magical figure on a unicorn saves everyone with a wave of his magic wand.
If you can’t embrace Hillary Clinton and every Democrat out there after nearly 40 years of Republican obstructionist nonsense, something is wrong with you.