There seems to be a meme floating around many “progressive” circles, in which the Democratic Party has somehow stopped being the “Party of the People” and become… what? No one actually says, really.
This post is going to be harsh, so strap yourself in. Some of you won’t like it.
The Democratic Party is actually MORE progressive than its ever been. That’s just reality. Never before in Democratic Party history have two primary opponents fought so hard to prove which one was “more progressive.” The Democratic platform, at least as it’s being conceived (nothing is finalized yet) includes a higher minimum wage. higher taxes on the rich, a far higher investment in alternative energy and a weaning of the country from the big oil teat. There are massive plans to rebuild infrastructure, which will beef up the admittedly lagging jobs market. It also includes full support for full civil rights for everyone, including all of the initials in LGBT, and they plan to enact major criminal justice reform. There is also movement on ending the “drug war” for the first time in 40 years. They have always supported the right to unionize and they have always been staunch supporters of labor, which is why unions are pretty much always their largest supporters. You do realize that’s why the Citizens United decision came about, right? Unions have always supported Democrats and Republicans wanted to compete with that.
So, I guess I’m confused. Where is this crap coming from, whereby some “progressives” are convinced that the Democratic Party is no longer the “Party of the People”? It is, as it always has been.
Okay, this is the part where this piece gets harsh.
Have you ever noticed that about 90% of the “progressives” who say these kinds of things are white? Have you noticed that most are men? Have you noticed that most of them were raised middle class or higher and have probably never worked a menial job for minimum wage? Have you noticed that most of them have college educations and seem to place political theory ahead of political reality?
It is really hard to see that statement above, “Democrats are no longer the Party of the People” and not slip a “white” in there, just before “people.” Oh, I know, you don’t think of yourselves as racist, and I doubt if you really are overtly racist, but the condescension that comes from many of you is troubling. I’d also point out that, as those of us who actually understand how politics works know, talk is cheap; your actions say more than your words.
I am a very far left progressive, in reality. I can already feel PUBs and pro lefties scoffing at that because they want to be the ones who define what the word “progressive” means and who fits into that little box. However, I want all of the things the PUBs say they want. I want everyone in this country to have equal rights and opportunities. The difference is, I subscribe to the Founders’ penchant for reality. In the Preamble to the Constitution, do you see the words “more perfect union” in there? The word “more” is there for a reason. Even they knew, back in 1786 and 1787, that no government and no society will ever actually be perfect. Utopia in unattainable. America will never be Shangri-La. But it also doesn’t have to be “Angry Land.” All we can aspire to do is make it more perfect tomorrow than it was yesterday. In other words, we have to work toward making it perfect, but we have to temper that with the realization that we will never, ever actually get there. It’s like building a city; I you’re waiting for it to be finished, you have to realize that it’ll never happen.
Most People of Color in this country are Democrats. And I speak to and (most importantly) listen to them on a daily basis and I have found they ARE “the People.” Within 25-30 years, white people will be a minority and, if I’m being honest, it’s about damn time. People of Color and immigrants have worked their asses off and they hare more than earned it. And, continuing with my honesty, it’s distressing when a small but very loud group of WHITE people tell them that THEIR Democratic Party is no longer “the Party of the People.” How is that not insulting as hell?
The Democratic Party has always been the Party of the People, and the GOP has always been the Party of the Rich People. It’s always been that way. The poor people who align with the right wing are uniformly ignorant and they hang on to a fantasy of becoming rich someday, a prospect that, quite ironically, becomes far less likely every time they vote Republican. Do the Democrats pander to Black people and Latinos? Hell, yes they do. They need their votes. Do they pander to the poor and working classes? Hell, yes they do. Again, they want their votes. And no, Black and Latino people do not “feel betrayed” by Democrats for not doing everything they can to make sure poor people and minorities are cared for and have equal opportunity for success. Why, you ask, PUBs? It’s simple. Democrats are not the problem.
Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but Republicans have had far too much power in the last few decades, and they’ve been able to push an anti-American agenda. And the major reason for that is white far lefties banding together and working against the very people they claim to be advocating for. Seriously, you claim to give a shit about the poor and downtrodden among us, but you undermine them every chance you can. Seriously, your love affair with Ralph Nader gave us two terms of George W. Bush. People of Color didn’t vote for Nader; white PUBs (Progressive Unicorn Brigade) did and white pro lefties trashed Gore and Kerry incessantly because they weren’t “pure enough,” even though People of Color and women vote for Gore in droves. And please don’t fill up my inbox with bullshit about the Supreme Court; we all know that it shouldn’t have been that close. Gore and Kerry were a million times better than Bush, but you guys made both of them sound like flakes and sell-outs and made people think there was no difference between Democrats and Republicans.
When Obama ran in 2008, your PUB ideals of watching the United States be led by a black man overcame your natural tendency to demand purity, and you people convinced yourselves that Obama was the “revolutionary” you had always dreamed of. You imagined Huey and Bobby taking over the White House wearing a Dashiki and wielding a “Black Power” salute, when what you actually elected was more like an average black voter. He is more like Urkel than a Black Panther. He is a human being, not a messiah.
And you proceeded to screw everything he stood for during his campaign, my white “progressive” friends. For TWO YEARS, while Democrats passed 375 bills that were being blocked by a Republican minority in the Senate, you whined incessantly about Obama and the Democrats being “disappointments” and “sell outs” and targeted Blue Dogs, as if they were the reason things weren’t becoming law. In 2010, when Democrats were 2-3 Senate votes away from a supermajority and getting those 375 bills passed, you people handed Congress to the GOP. Then, in 2014, you continued to go after Blue Dogs and Democrats lost even more.
What happened to the Democrats, you ask? The Democratic Party is better now than it was in the 1960s, truth be told. I know, I know… Democrats got a lot of stuff done back then, and they’re getting less done now, right? You’re right. But it’s not because the Democrats have done anything wrong. The fault dear PUBs and professional lefties, the fault lies in YOU, you dumb assholes! The Democratic Party no longer has a Dixiecrat wing, yet you idiots pretend like the Party has “moved too far to the right.” Really? Farther to the right than when Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms ran the Dixiecrat Caucus? Farther to the right than when people like Lester Maddox and George Wallace were trying to perpetuate Jim Crow? Most John Birchers were Democrats until the late 60s/early 70s. Hell, people; JFK and LBJ were farther right than Obama. They got shit passed because Democrats had supermajorities and the people who are now Blue Dogs were moderate and liberal Republicans at the time.
In other words, when you sit there and claim that the Democratic Party has “moved to the right,” you simply don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. When you attack Obama for not being “progressive enough” in 2010 and take away his majority in Congress and then in 2014 you chastise Democrats for not supporting Obama, you show just how little principle you have. And when you claim to be “unable to vote for Hillary” in the fall, knowing that it’s likely she’ll be running against someone far worse than even Bush, you are actually demonstrating that you have zero principle.
Black people, Latinos, Asians, immigrants, women… All of them will be voting Democratic this year and they will do so proudly, not because they have been brainwashed or because they’re “too stupid to understand the truth.” The people who run “Black Lives Matter” will vote for Hillary and most Democrats because they know that, even if they don’t get everything they want, they will have someone in there who will take their concerns seriously. Union people will vote for Democrats because they know that Democrats will protect them. How do they know that? Because Democrats always have.
Do you know what moved the Democratic Party to the right in some ways? The fact that far left progressives abandoned it in the late 1960s. Seriously, do you people not realize that political parties are organic and reflect their membership? If you want to move the party to the left, join it. Shouting at it and demanding it to change doesn’t work. Never has, never will.
The Democratic Party is still “The Party of the People.” If you’d like to be one of “the people” and have it reflect your views, then join in and help it out. Otherwise, shut up. Go crawl into the corner and stop pretending you’re a fan of democracy. And while you’re at it, stop insulting women, poor people and People of Color. That’s not progressive.