Despite the absurdly premature speculating from liberal mouthpieces about how the Republican Party is destined for political ruin in 2020 for enabling Trump’s misrule and corruption, in reality, it’s the Democrats who should be worried.
The handwringing among Democratic leaders over whether to impeach the Orange Menace, from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and others who claim to have the interests of the party at heart, has been stuck in Hamlet mode for far too long: “To Impeach, Or Not To Impeach.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic base grows angrier each day over their leaders’ lack of urgency and their halfhearted attempts at saving our republic from a corrupt tyrant who each day rolls out a new atrocious policy and flaunts his belief that he’s above the law.
We hear Democratic “strategists” (whatever that means) and liberal opinion makers citing meaningless opinion polls that they claim show “the American people” don’t want impeachment. Or they repeat what has become an old canard about the Republican-controlled Senate’s unwillingness to remove the president from office. Or they hem and haw and stupidly throw a wet blanket over their energized base, the same base that gave them control of the House in 2018 in a “wave” election (in large part because they wanted a check on a lawless president).
We hear a lot of wishful thinking about “suburban white moderate” voters magically coming to the rescue in 2020 to save the country from creeping fascism even though most of these same people in 2016 voted for Mr. Grab ‘Em By The Pussy.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: The Democratic Party leadership is tied at the hip to the same corporate and Wall Street banking interests as are the Republicans.
This fact goes a long way in explaining why the Republican base always gets everything it fucking wants, while the Democratic base never gets what it wants. This state of affairs cannot go on indefinitely and must end soon or we’re going to be in big trouble.
The abuses of power coming daily from this White House are bringing this central contradiction to a head. Establishment Democrats want something that doesn’t exist: A clean break from Trump without radically altering the trajectory of the nation away from Republican economic orthodoxy.
The national Democratic leaders apparently would rather have four more years of incremental dictatorship than risk severing their ties to corporate America by backing a real progressive standard-bearer, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
Pundits at MSNBC, the Daily Kos, and other liberal media outlets say they fear that if the Democrats nominate a true progressive in 2020 they will lose.
But what really concerns them is that a true progressive might win.
The two Democratic presidential candidates whose ideas have clearly caught fire nationally are the two most progressive candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
This is not a coincidence.
Forty Years of “Reaganomics”
Political scientists used to like to talk about the “pendulum” in American politics swinging right for a period followed by a more or less equivalent swing to the left for a period.
That’s total bullshit.
Since 1980 and the beginning of “Reaganomics” all we’ve had is “Reaganomics.”
Millions of working-class Americans have lived through a pair of two-term “moderate” Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, hoping throughout that sixteen-year-period that the federal government would use some of their hard-earned tax dollars to improve their lives a little bit.
Instead, they’ve become less economically secure, and that condition was despite the Democrats controlling the whole federal government from 1993-1995 and from 2009 to 2011.
No social programs remotely bold or substantial enough to ameliorate their economic condition have gotten through in decades. No paid leave. No subsidized daycare. No raising the minimum wage. No reduction in prescription drug costs. Hardly any relief to those victimized by predatory lenders or thrown out of their homes by unscrupulous banks. No help educating their children or paying for college. We can’t even get our basic infrastructure built.
During the first two years of the Obama administration, if the Democrats had the courage simply to lower the Medicare age to 55 (or even 45) and throw in jail a few corrupt bankers, like Angelo Mozilo or Lloyd Blankfein, the Democrats would be a lot better off today politically.
In other words, had the Democrats used their time in power to pass bold progressive policies they’d be right now reaping the political benefits and the country might’ve been spared the catastrophe we now find ourselves in.
This chasing of the illusive “moderate” voter on the part of Democrats is chimerical. “Moderates” don’t vote to blow up Washington as the angry electorate did in 2016. No one scolds the Republicans to “move to the center” or fuck their own base. Yet that’s the advice the chattering classes have given Democrats for forty years.
In 2016, pissed off people sent a clear message that they’re fed up with the status quo in Washington that gives away everything to the rich and the corporate and banking elites but precious little back to working people.
They might’ve expressed their anger by sitting out the election (as 4 million people who voted in 2012 decided to do), or casting their vote for a reality TV star who claimed not to be beholden to either party, or throwing away their vote on the historical footnote, Jill Stein.
But it was anger that drove them to reject the status quo.
The last time the federal government passed a truly transformative public policy that lifted the lives of working people was back in 1965 when LBJ muscled through Medicare and Medicaid.
So, it has been fifty-four years since Washington did anything big for working people; a sweeping program they could hold in their hands that made their lives a little better.
We need audacious new progressive policies and programs that compensate working Americans for the forty years they were left in the wilderness of “Reaganomics,” taking it on the chin from corporations and their puppet politicians in both parties.
Trump got one thing right: the last forty years have been “American carnage” for the working class.
Since the “Reagan Revolution” people’s lives have gotten a lot harder. They have to work multiple jobs and longer hours just to make ends meet. Their labor unions have been crushed, and their wages have been stagnant for decades. The public services upon which they depend have been either zeroed out or slashed to the bone to the point of becoming useless. Corporations rip them off every which way with “rents” and “fees” that reflect their concentration and monopoly power. They can’t afford their prescription drugs and they can’t send their kids to college.
Do you want to know why our politics have become so volatile?
It’s because both parties have allowed this social degradation and dislocation to fester for the last forty years.
Under Bill Clinton we saw the “end of welfare as we know it,” where a Democratic president eliminated Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), a fundamental New Deal welfare program. He also deregulated Wall Street banks by teaming up with Citigroup’s Robert Rubin and repealing another central New Deal reform, the Glass-Steagall Act. Cutting welfare and deregulating banks sure sounds like “Reaganomics” to me.
Under Barack Obama we had “sequestration” where public sector budgets were slashed and a Secretary of Education who was openly hostile to teachers’ unions, an important constituent of the Democratic base, (which really looks pretty dumb now that even teachers in deep red Republican states are striking for a better deal).
Obama teamed up with Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to bail out Wall Street but treated the 15 million people who lost their homes as “foam on the runway” for a “safe landing” for the big banks. And after the largest-scale fraud ever perpetrated on American financial consumers — a fraud so big it attacked the foundational idea of the “American Dream,” owning your own home — leaving millions of innocent people holding the bag who were laid off or unemployed or homeless and NOT ONE of the biggest white-collar criminal perps got prosecuted? Millions of people voted for Obama to crack down on the banks whose popularity at the time ranked somewhere between toe fungus and the clap.
Letting white-collar criminals off the hook after they destroyed the world economy and using working people as “foam on the runway” so the millionaire and billionaire class is not inconvenienced sounds a lot like “Reaganomics” to me.
In September 2011, after it became clear that Obama wasn’t going to do shit to help the millions of ripped-off homeowners, Occupy Wall Street exploded across the country, coast-to-coast and even internationally.
Since 1981, the dominant public policies affecting our nation’s economy have essentially welded the political “pendulum” to the far-right side with both parties accepting the tenets of the “Reaganomics” gospel. The supply-side, trickle-down, ‘Laffer-curve” cod-spittle has today reached comical proportions. Charlatans and hacks like Stephen Moore, who was seriously considered for a spot on the Federal Reserve, and the drunken fool Larry Kudlow pimping “Reaganomics” as the lead economist for the White House. You can’t make this shit up.
Impeach the Motherfucker!
The “pendulum” political scientists used to like to write about was never allowed to swing back away from “Reaganomics” and toward a period of investing in and expanding public services and public institutions, investing in infrastructure and education, and building a system that provided health care for everyone.
So, after all these years of the failed economic flim-flammery of “Reaganomics” we need the fucking “pendulum” to swing in the other direction, toward socialism and investments across the board in the public sector, infrastructure, public parks, public libraries, public services, hospitals and schools and daycare centers, and health care for all. It’s time for the billionaire class to pay up.
To paraphrase Representative Rashida Tlaib, the Democrats need to “impeach the motherfucker” now! Use the impeachment process to educate the public about the peril we face having a gangster as president, energize the Democratic base throughout the election year 2020, and then nominate a true progressive, either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, or both!
Then the party can show us definitively it has quit enabling the Republicans’ brutal economic policies. They need to prove to us that they are no longer going to be the party of “Reaganomics” and only meekly once in a while just nibbling at the edges of reform. The country needs the Democrats to be courageous and bold, not only in 2020, but right now. And the best way they can prove they’re worth supporting in 2020 is to impeach this lawless, vulgar, lying, underhanded despot now!
No matter who the Democrats nominate in 2020 we all know the Republicans are going to smear that candidate as a “communist” and a “radical socialist” who runs pedophile sex rings out of pizza parlors. Let us, at long last, finally give the Republicans something real to cry about.
When the Watergate hearings started, people weren’t backing impeachment. By the time they ended, people were. The investigative hearings made the difference. (I’d expect Pelosi to know that.)
Good point! The process itself will educate the public about the malfeasance and corruption of His Royal Highness!
If you get a chance, go see what Laurence Tribe has to say about the benefits of just going through the process of impeachment. He does not think it’s doomed because Democrats don’t have the Senate.
Yes – we should listen people like him who understand what’s at stake – & John Dean & Elizabeth Holtzman & Richard Painter
I would say you will certainly find some pundits at Daily Kos who say they fear that if the Democrats nominate a true progressive in 2020 they will lose. You will also find just as many who favor a true progressive. Among the rank and file, Warren has handily won the biweekly Daily Kos straw poll many times now.
You also write, “…had the Democrats used their time in power to pass bold progressive policies they’d be right now reaping the political benefits and the country might’ve been spared the catastrophe we now find ourselves in.” The only time the Dems had a Senate majority and then only sometimes was in the first two years of the Obama administration—what with sudden deaths and unexpected party switching and what not. But hindsight is great, huh.
The WHITE working class may have voted for Trump, because of anxiety about losing dominance within society rather than economic anxiety. The non-white working class voted for Hillary.
This might be a better link for the “foam the runway” quote: https://shadowproof.com/2012/07/20/barofsky-book-geithner-confirmed-in-2009-that-hamp-was-designed-for-banks-to-spread-out-foreclosures/
I have my own beef with the way the financial recovery was handled. I don’t like dragging future returns into the present. Sooner or later the piper must be paid. I also agree there should have been some prosecutions. However, I think you overstate your case. Also how about losing the gratuitous profanity?
Hi Tim. Nice to see you again. Thanks for stopping by.
Hell, I can remember some “progressives” who talked about sitting out the 2010 midterms to “punish Obama” for not delivering 100% of his campaign promises, especially on health care. The talk at the time was “give the people a decade of right-wing control and they’ll swarm to the progressive cause in 2020” (these dolts obviously didn’t consider how those right-wingers might not be so willing to give up control). And thanks to the fact that most states hold their own gubernatorial and state legislative elections when there’s no Presidential race to compete with, it made it a whole lot easier for the right-wing to take control (executive, legislative and judicial) of more states and, now, we’ve got a Supreme Court (another concept that “progressives” tend to treat as “unimportant” during Presidential campaigns) that just said “it’s not the Federal government’s business to ensure that voting districts in the states are actually drawn fairly or responsibly” and many fights across the country over gerrymandered districts that allowed GOPers to have *supermajorities* in their legislatures even though, as a whole, their candidates got less than 50% of the popular vote.
Voters respond when they can feel in their lives the federal gov doing something to make their lives less insecure – they haven’t felt it since 1965.
LBJ did more in 2 yrs for working people than Obama & Bill Clinton did in their lives. Obama blandly accepted the idea that he could reach across the aisle & McConnell played him badly – I was saying that had Obama passed real relief for the ripped-off homeowners (HAMP was a joke) – & prosecuted a few bankers in big high-profile cases (even a few would’ve gone a long way to establishing some accountability) the Dems might’ve big in a more popular position – The Kos always smugly takes the side of the corporate Democratic establishment instead of working people – they smugly wrote constantly about Hillary’s inevitability in 2015-2016 only to be made to look silly – then they blamed Bernie who did more to energize the base than HRC did – Obama lost the progressive base in 2010 with disastrous results b/c he didn’t deliver (especially Arne Duncan alienated all the teacher unions – a big part of the Dem base) – the base stayed home, McConnell was never called out but allowed to out-maneuver him & then Citizens United wiped out progressive voices.
“The WHITE working class may have voted for Trump, because of anxiety about losing dominance within society rather than economic anxiety. The non-white working class voted for Hillary.”
^^^^ THIS ^^^^
POC well know that more jobs mean nothing when their resumes get rejected because of their names. They also know a job won’t bring back a son murdered by the police or ease their worry of it occurring. And I’m sick of bothsider bull shit. Bad enough when its from the right wing.
You know, it’s just too bad that the Democratic “base” was just SOOOOOOOO in love with the idea of “a black man as President” in 2008 that it NEVER bothered to actually investigate said black man’s actual voting record during his time as US Senator because, if they had, they might have been a lot LESS enamored and more willing to back the woman whose ONLY real flaw was her Iraq War vote (because *her* Senate voting record was almost exactly identical to the black man’s, except when you factored in ALL the votes they both voted on, hers was actually the MORE liberal/progressive record).
So, please Mr Palermo, do NOT talk to me about the Democratic “base” and how its zeal to nominate “progressive” candidates is so great. We got skunked in two consecutive elections by nominating the old-fashioned liberal politicians (back when “progressives” were “liberals”) and, again, it couldn’t see just how TRULY centrist its preferred 2008 candidate was. Then, in 2016, we saw that “progressive base” willing to destroy its Party by electing an OPPORTUNIST who only ran in the Democratic primaries because he COULDN’T WIN AS AN INDEPENDENT. (And, of course, after losing the nomination, he PROMISED that in ALL FUTURE ELECTIONS he would run as a Democrat. He said he was only going back to “Independent” because he “was elected as an Independent” and he felt he needed to serve the voters. He shouldn’t even be in this contest and the fact that he is allowed to be is an EMBARRASSMENT to REAL Democratic voters.)
And, as for Ms Warren, let’s not forget that she only became a Democrat during Bill Clinton’s term in office (she won’t/can’t say exactly when that happened) but she was an avowed Republican a hell of a lot longer than Hillary Clinton was but her supporters just give her a free pass because she “talks the right talk” now. (Remember the Hillary haters who, in 2016, were still giving her grief over her HIGH-SCHOOL “Goldwater Girl” time–even as she’d been working for Democratic campaigns from at least 1968?)
I don’t know about avowed Republican, but she is of an age when she may have been a Republican when Republicans were nothing but the other party. She became a Democrat when Republicans seriously lost their way after Reagan.
Who cares? What’s important is where Warren wants to take the country today – the Kos, like Hillary & Biden, need to realize it’s not 1995 anymore.
Apparently you care, because you do not seem to think a person’s change of party affiliation is ever genuine. What we do not need is party loyalty. We need loyalty to the oath of office.
Bernie’s ideas in 2016 are now ALL the Democratic candidates’ ideas in 2019 – funny how that happened.
Obama beat Hillary in 2008 – she should’ve taken the hint.
The Repub base gets everything it wants – the Dem base never does – you can’t win elections if your base stays home.
Great article, a herculean effort, well researched and thought through. I would quibble with the assertion that the Republican base gets everything it wants. It gets everything it wants from an economic standpoint, the tax cuts and the regulatory appeasement. But, until Trump, it really didn’t get any of the social reforms it wanted, it couldn’t do anything like a “wall” because big business needs the influx of labor provided by undocumented immigrants. Trump’s clubs themselves demonstrate that truism.
Liberals tended to get the social changes we’ve demanded, LGBTQ rights, increased diversity and treatment of women and such, but get none of the economic policies … with the exception of the ACA, which flawed as it is, was still a MASSIVE tidal wave in American politics, forever changing how we view healthcare.
Your thesis, however, is spot on, and extremely well-written. This Warren supporter certainly agrees with you.
yes – good point – they call it the “culture war” – that’s why Bannon & Breitbart & the rest of the chuds attack the 3 pillars & institutions of cultural liberalism: Science (climate denial); Journalism (“fake news”); universities (trolling while screaming “free speech” & claiming it’s all indoctrination). They have a game plan to strip legitimacy from these institutions & replace it with the cultural hegemony of white ethnic nationalism. We live in interesting times.
It is time, Speaker Pelosi.
If Nancy Pelosi does not say “Let’s impeach” this week she will go down as a Dem establishment coward. https://www.alternet.org/2019/09/house-committee-intensifies-the-push-for-impeaching-trump-but-nancy-pelosi-is-still-putting-the-brakes/
They need to impeach if not simply to bring Trump’s taxes into some form of enhanced scrutiny. Impeachment would give them a lot to work with regarding subpoenas.
Yes – it’s unbelievable to me that the House has not obtained his tax records given his criminality regarding taxes we already know about – & this idea of immunity from testifying to Congress of former (& current) employees is unconstitutional – the Dems should ne hammering this point as it quietly winds its way through court – given the national interest in this it’s stupid the courts are so slow as if Trump’s taxes & witnesses are just another court case. Dems do not communicate well – but we sure hear from Repubs – I showed my class the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings: it sure looks like Congress had power then!
It is past time to Impeach Trump, Speaker Pelosi.