An Open Letter to Democrats- Your Party isn’t Liberal

Now more than ever the country needs people who are honestly liberal to solve the problems this country, and frankly this world, faces. While many would point to the Democrats as the liberal choice, they are sorely mistaken. The Democrats have found a way to make themselves the untrustworthy party that hasn’t aligned with the values of most Americans. We moved from the days of Anti-Trade, of Intellectualism, and honestly fighting for the little gut to the corporate-democratic party that we currently have. It’s time we go back to the party that kept the Congress for half of a century and elected leaders with the vision of Senator Obama.

The Democratic Platform recently written and approved in Philadelphia at the 2016 Democratic National Convention is truly the most progressive platform the party has ever seen. But those that the Convention nominated and supported don’t meet such standards. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the Democrats went soul searching as we had no majority in any category. No White House, No Senate, No House, No Supreme Court, No Majority of Governors or Majority of State Legislatures. It was clear, at least to me, that we couldn’t continue to act as if everything was OK. We needed change in leadership, change in rhetoric, and change in attitudes.

Essentially we needed to blow up the Democratic Party establishment and everything it stood for. We saw possibilities for this in Tim Ryan, a candidate for House Minority Leader. We see this in Keith Ellison for Chair of the Democratic Party. While the Chairmanship of the party is still up for grabs, the race in the house is over, and it didn’t end well. Tim Ryan lost the race for Leader but carried 63 votes. In response to winning the election for Leader, Nancy Pelosi claimed that she didn’t think that the Democrats want to change.

But Madam Leader, this isn’t about what anyone wants to do. This is about what we NEED to do. We lost this election because we as a party offered no palpable change which isn’t going to cut it. Our party moved from the party of the blue collar worker to the party of Trade rather quickly.

Democrats in Congress opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership but were overshadowed by the show of support from President Obama and the fact that our nominee had once praised the deal. We got beat on this when the Republican Nominee became a protectionist and we had a nominee who was easily painted as Pro- Trade. We were the party that wanted to protect blue collar jobs, we even saved an entire industry back in 2009. Our party in a split second became the enemy of factory workers across the Rust Belt. You can’t explain this away by calling them racists like you want to do.

Our party is 1988 was extremely liberal. In 1988 we proposed a “National Health Care System” and stated unequivocally that “no one should be denied the opportunity to attend college for financial reasons.” We also advanced the idea that Trade should mean we export more, not import more. They were really working for those at the bottom. We advanced the idea of an indexed minimum wage, supported unions and supported the common man. We did this while supporting African American interests by pointing towards hiring more minority educators and giving scholarships to those minorities who want to go to college.

I have just one question- Where the hell did this party go???

In the 2012 democratic platform there was no mention of a National Health Care System. This platform also didn’t discuss tuition free college. This platform instead of discussing what we were going to do for Unions, discussed how Republicans were bad for them. Our tone and rhetoric have matched this, until the 2016 election the Democratic Primaries had consisted of Third Way Moderates. Bernie Sanders was the last candidate real contender for the nomination to be a real liberal and he wasn’t even a democrat. While many may decide to “clap back” and say that Third Way politics is popular because we’ve taken the popular vote 6 times since 1992, they’d be ignorant of the reality.

This is the share of votes Democrats have gotten in national elections since 1992.

1992- 43%

1996- 49%

2000- 48%

2004- 48%

2008- 53%

2012- 51%

2016- 48%

Yes we were EXTREMELY popular, so popular that in 7 elections we only won a majority of votes twice (and that was with a seemingly progressive nominee). We also only held the majority in both houses for a collective of 6 years out of the past 28 years. Looking at how we performed beforehand in terms of congress, we held on to the House for decades and held onto the senate a majority of the time between the 1950’s and the 1990’s.

Your party was successful when it was ACTUALLY LIBERAL. But since the Democratic Party has gone Third Way and decided to stay away from real liberal economics and cozy up to the Corporations with tame legislation like Dodd-Frank as a reaction to the 2008 financial crisis (as well as staying away from arresting nearly anyone who caused the collapse) we haven’t been successful. Voters sent a message to the Democratic party during the primary when 43% of the voters voted for someone radically different from past nominees. They also sent a message when many usual democratic voters voted the other way for the person with the liberal trade policy.

That message? Get Liberal or Get Lost.