“But This Time Will Be Different!”— A History Lesson on Centrism & Progressives in the Democratic Party
Refuting “Conventional Wisdom” with Actual Facts
The tragedy of the American mind is that it doesn’t remember anything that happened longer than five minutes ago. That’s why, election after election, the general electorate acts like what they see in the present is the First Time This Has Ever Happened. Nowhere is this affliction more prevalent than among Democrats. By a potent combination of social engineering, manufactured consent, cognitive bias, corporate media propaganda, inflated ego, dialectical thinking, fear of Republicans, and a brain full of logical fallacies instead of logic, they trip over the exact same obstacles over… and over… and over again.
Part of this is because so few bother studying history. But! Never fear! I have done the heavy lifting for you, investing years of my life into de-bunking mythology and disinformation about the American political system, and now all you have to do is read one article. You might note, this pattern repeats another few dozen times going all the way back to the sabotaging of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, but I know that attention spans are short. Examining this timeline, however, along with the numerous links of contextual information provided, will undoubtedly lead you to some very clear conclusions.
Behold, the timeline of Democrat elections.
- 1968: Humphrey v. Nixon- “The election that broke a generation”
Democrats: “We have to vote for Humphrey because Nixon is the Worst Guy EVER! Unity! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
Dems went directly against the will of the voters, who overwhelmingly chose the Progressive Eugene McCarthy, and installed former Johnson VP Hubert Humphrey as the nominee even though he didn’t actually run in the primary. McCarthy was staunchly anti-war, along with the similarly Progressive George McGovern, who was also running. The only people that wanted Humphrey as the nominee were the party bosses, and they made sure they got their way.
This resulted in epic revolt at the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention. It was the biggest convention upset in American history. It didn’t stop the Dems from trying to sell their rotten meat to the voters, however. The party establishment’s open contempt for the young Boomer generation’s demand for an end to the Vietnam war and social progress is obvious in this account of the convention.
It was clear that the notion of a unified Democratic party, joining around a common agenda, was irreparably fractured. A pattern of blaming the voters for the party’s failings was established. Millions of voters left the party for good.
*This marks the 1st time Democrats deliberately sabotaged leftist, working class candidates and installed an establishment relic to serve the interests of the party bosses and the ruling elites.
RESULT: EPIC LOSS
2. 1980: Carter v. Reagan- The birth of neoliberalism
Democrats: “We have to vote for Carter because Reagan is the Worst Guy EVER! Unity! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
Carter’s 1976 run was on a Progressive anti-war platform immediately after Nixon was impeached and forced to resign in humiliation. His embrace of economic populism appealed to voters in the wake of the early 1970s oil embargo and resulting recession.
By 1980, Carter had been fully recruited into the new neoliberal project and was already beginning to support union-busting and other anti-worker policy. Progressive Jerry Brown ran against him for a second time, but intervention by Ted Kennedy and others ensured that he did not get far.
Reagan’s administration also marked the resurrection of the war of ideologies; namely exalting the gods of capitalism and “free markets,” while labeling anything else as “socialism,” or worse, “communism.”
*This marks the 2nd time Democrats deliberately sabotaged a leftist, working class candidate and installed a “centrist” to serve the interests of corporations and the donor class.
RESULT: LOSS, RESULTING IN AN IRREVERSIBLE DISASTER OF NEOLIBERAL ORTHODOXY IN BOTH PARTIES THAT CONTINUES TO THIS DAY.
3. 1984: Mondale v. Reagan
Democrats: “We have to vote for Mondale because Reagan is really really really really really the Worst Guy EVER! Unity! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
The tragedy of this election is that it was against Progressive Jesse Jackson, with his Rainbow Coalition and platform of social, racial, and economic equality for all. He modeled himself after Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples’ Campaign, formed a year before his death. Predictably, his call for social democracy was painted as “socialism,” likened to anarchy.
*This marks the 3rd time Democrats deliberately sabotaged a leftist, working class candidate and installed a neoliberal to serve the interests of the party bosses and the ruling elites.
RESULT: BIGGEST LOSS IN U.S. HISTORY, 49 STATES
4. 1988: Dukakis v. Bush I
Democrats: “We have to vote for Dukakis because Bush is the Worst Guy EVER! Unity! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
Jesse Jackson ran again, and the Democratic party screwed him- and the rest of the country again. Gone was the Rainbow Coalition, equality and representation for workers, and any hope of a Progressive candidate gaining traction until Bernie Sanders in 2015.
*This marks the 4th time Democrats deliberately sabotaged a leftist, working class candidate and installed a neoliberal to serve the interests of the party bosses and the ruling elites.
5. 2000: Gore v. Bush II- The shock doctrine
Democrats: “We have to vote for Gore because Bush Jr. is the Worst Guy EVER! Unity! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
Gore, already known as a “Southern centrist” from his failed 1988 campaign, picked an even more centrist running mate, Joe Lieberman. He championed the typical neoliberal austerity and militarism that had come to characterize the Democratic party since the Carter administration.
It is debatable whether Gore would have actually done about climate change given his awkward relationship with the fossil fuel economy, but his predictions from his later film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” shows that he certainly knew about it. Either way, it never made its way into his presidential platform.
There were Progressives in the race too, in the form of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. His tragic political demise despite his platform of economic populism, opposition to destructive trade deals, social and racial justice, and environmental stewardship could have changed history. However, the old “a third-party vote is a wasted vote!” trope was orthodoxy, and he was pushed to the margins. Democrats have never stopped blaming him since.
RESULT: LOSS, RESULTING IN “THE WAR ON TERROR;” BEING LIED INTO IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, & THE INCEPTION OF THE MASS DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE STATE
6. 2004: Kerry v. Bush II
Democrats: “We have to vote for Kerry because Bush Jr. is the Worst Guy EVER! Evil! Anti-Christ! Extreeeeemely bad! Bad, bad, bad! Unity! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
Again, Progressives ran, Howard Dean being the most notable. Again, they were repressed and pushed out. With the strong opposition to the Iraq war, Dean, the anti-war candidate in the race, would likely have been the winning ticket. Instead, the defense industry with their party lackeys got their way.
*This marks the 5th time Democrats deliberately sabotaged a leftist, working class candidate and installed a neoliberal to serve the interests of the party bosses and the ruling elites.
7. 2008: (primary) Clinton II v. Obama
Democrats: “We have to vote for Hillary because WOMAN PRESIDENT! Yass kween! Yass kween! Clinton balanced the budget! Obama’s ‘not even a citizen!’”
Obama ran far to the left of Hillary on a Progressive populist platform. The term “Obama Boys” was invented by the Clinton campaign as a slur against women, ethnic minorities, and people of color supporting him- which was later resurrected and rebranded as the “Bernie Bro.” “Sexism” was also frequently mentioned. “People don’t like you. Half of the country already says they’re not gonna vote for you!” Obama clapped back in the debates.
It was an acrimonious 18 months. Approximately 30% of Hillary Clinton primary voters sought revenge by defecting the party in the general election, voting for the neocon John McCain.
Even further left than either candidate was Dennis Kucinich, the genuine Progressive in the race with a large grassroots coalition and working class-centered platform.
RESULT: CLINTON II LOST
8. 2016: Clinton II v. Trump
Democrats: “We have to vote for Hillary because TRUMP OMFG aack! aack! aack! is the Worst Guy EVER! We’re gonna diiiiiiieeeeeeee! Unify you filthy Bernie Bros! You will unify right now! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS!”
After a record ascent to becoming the most popular and trusted politician in America, the Democratic party deliberately rigged their own primary against Bernie Sanders. Hoping to repeat their 1964 Johnson v. Goldwater success by helping to nominate an Anti-Christ as their Republican opponent and fearmongering the electorate into believing they had to vote for Hillary because the Other Guy was the Scariest Thing Ever. (see: “Pied Piper candidate, Hegel’s Dialectic)
Staggering global income inequality and its failures due to the American system was the foundation of Sanders’ campaign, threatening all of the country’s institutions, including the Democratic party. In addition to the dismal healthcare system and a swell of outrage over the government’s inattentiveness to climate change, there was vehement opposition to Obama’s — and by extension, Hillary Clinton’s — latest disastrous trade deals, the TPP/TTIP/TISA.
The party establishment and the elitist media punditocracy and their Professional Managerial Class consumers were certain that Americans were too stupid to care about trade. Wrong. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the most common protest signs read “No TPP!”
They were also certain that fearmongering over Trump would be enough to win. What they didn’t notice, was that the vast swath of Americans sacrificed on the altar of neoliberalism were very, very angry. In 2015–2016, several national polls demonstrated that 71% of Americans across parties wanted harbored significant resentment at the existing system and its injustices. Every poll for 18 months consistently showed Sanders beating Trump, and Clinton II losing. They also showed that when Republicans were asked who they would vote for, 35% polled chose Sanders in a hypothetical general election.
None of that, however, was going to stop the Democratic party from coronating its queen. She had purchased more than 500 of the party’s 740 superdelegates, whose votes each count as 10,000 to every one citizen vote, months before the Iowa caucus. In every state, election fraud was rampant. By a dozen different means, Sanders and his massive revolution didn’t stand a chance. The death of electoral politics was complete.
Later, 2018 class action lawsuit, one of several levied against the Clinton machine and the DNC, was dismissed by the Florida Supreme Court, declaring that the party is a private corporation with no obligation to represent the will of voters, or even use their votes in determining its bosses and presidential nominees.
*This marks the 6th time Democrats deliberately sabotaged a leftist, working class candidate and installed a neoliberal to serve the interests of the party bosses and the ruling elites.
RESULT: COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE LOSS
The First Step is Admitting the Problem
Denial is an addiction for the Democratic party, and no time has it been more glaring than the 2016 primary. You cannot solve a problem if you can’t accurately identify its cause. Tragically, the confusion over the 2015–16 election cycle and the way it was explained afterward boggled the brains of Democrats everywhere and caused millions to cast their votes in 2020 based on sheer disinformation.
“Sexism” was hilariously blamed in 2016 as in 2008, despite there having been two other women in the presidential race this time (Carly Fiorina, Jill Stein). One of them was vilified, canceling out the sexism claims in favor of proclamations that anyone who voted 3rd party was a traitor.
It wasn’t long before the Russiagate narrative was manufactured to cover up the party’s corruption. The media entertainment networks made a fortune off it. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, for example, got paid a cool $30,000 a day ($10.6M per year) to foment a second Cold War in lieu of holding the Democratic party accountable or any form of self-introspection. One person doing actual journalism reported the story accurately from the beginning: Aaron Mate’ (son of reknowned psychologist Gabor Mate’ and Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter), is the only person that received honors for his Russiagate reporting. Not that the managerial class was paying attention.
Long after the Mueller report fizzled out, Russiagate turned into Ukrainegate, and the party’s “impeachment” gambit predictably failed, the Democrat electorate held onto the myths of 2016 and decided that the best way to defeat the man they lost to last time was to nominate someone exactly like the person that lost to him.
9. 2020: Biden v. Trump
“We have to vote for Biden because Trump is really really really really really really really the Worst Guy EVER! Racism! Corruption! OTHER THINGS! Unify you POS Russian bot ragey white males! Saaaave our democracy! SCOTUS! Bernie Bros ruined our brunch for FOUR YEARS!”
Between 2016–2020, the party learned nothing. A “Unity Reform Commission,” the one concession given to Sanders upon his prior resignation, superdelegates were performatively moved to a secondary position- but with easy loopholes around the rules. The job of the Sanders campaign was not so much to win popular support as it was to overcome the completely rigged electoral system. Revolution was once again under way. Once again, Sanders made history by every metric and was poised to run away with the nomination. Until he wasn’t.
Democrats, in the most unforgivable and blatant crime against the American people, once again rigged their own primary, resulting in screwing the planet Earth out of its last chance of being led by America to get off fossil fuels in time to reverse the global climate crisis, as detailed in Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal. As usual, the Democrat party bosses, orchestrated by Barack Obama, and the corporate media establishment, played their roles to perfection.
After Sanders broke historical fundraising as well as election records by winning Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, the latter by a 60% margin, the party united to sabotage him in a coordinated coup. “Centrist” candidates polling higher, and with much more success in the early states, dropped out of the race to back Joe Biden, whose campaign was on life support and was polling nationally in the single digits. They were joined by almost every candidate that had previously been on the ticket. Elizabeth Warren, also limping along in distant 3rd and 4th places, stayed in the race through Super Tuesday- just long enough to ensure the crushing of the Progressive revolution was complete.
The Democratic party‘s subsuming into the machinery of oligarchy, long under way, is now complete. With Joe Biden at its helm, it is unlikely that they will eke out a win. Either way, Biden’s disastrous history of warmongering, corruption, and Wall Street giveaways is the final shot across the bow to the Progressive movement to signal that they will never have a home within their party.
The 2020 election will go down in history as the one where the Baby Boom generation and their neoliberal cohorts in the Democratic party caused the extinction of the planet.
*This marks the 7th time Democrats deliberately sabotaged a leftist, working class candidate and installed a neoliberal to serve the interests of the party bosses and the ruling elites.
PREDICTED RESULT: BEATS MONDALE’S 1984 RECORD TO LOSE 50 STATES
But we’re not done yet! There’s more!
A. 1960: The legendary John F. Kennedy
JFK ran on a Progressive populist platform and won.
B. 1964: Johnson v. Goldwater
Democrats: “Aack! Goldwater is the Anti-Christ! Johnson is the slightly less Anti-Christ! Goldwater’s gonna KILL YOU! You Must Vote For Johnson!”
Johnson v. Goldwater is the tactic that the Democrats attempted to replicate in 2016, with disastrous results. (For more on this, see “Hegel’s Dialectic.”) The only reason this worked, though Johnson was the most hated Democrat alive, was because Goldwater was openly racist and lobbying against the Civil Rights Act in the time of MLK Jr. and JFK.
He was also elected because of peoples’ nostalgia for the JFK presidency, recently dead, and a misguided sense of loyalty.
RESULT: “WON”… KIND OF
C. 1972: The Infamous McGovern v. Nixon
“No McGovern! He’s too ‘for the people!’ Democrats for Nixon!”
Democrats, still driven by the working class and before any superdelegate system was in place, deliberately sabotaged Progressive populist George McGovern by funding Nixon’s campaign, operating behind the scenes to suppress voter turnout.
They also sabotaged him by forcing him to adopt a “centrist” platform after winning the nomination on his Progressive agenda. They then created the superdelegate system to ensure that the will of the people could always be overridden by the party bosses.
Ever since, the Democrat party bosses have lied to the public, claiming McGovern lost because he was “too far left” and that “a left candidate can’t win.” The media continues to sell the lie in every election, with a barrage of talking heads and think pieces taking over the public consciousness warning voters against venturing into Progressivism on account of George McGovern.
And ever since, Democrat voters have believed it.
RESULT: EPIC LOSS
“But what about all the other Progressives?”
D. 1976 & 1980 (primaries): Jerry Brown v. Jimmy Carter, twice
The 1976 primary was the first time the Democratic party used the primary system to designate its nominee. Several candidates entered the race, including Jerry Brown, but none took advantage of the new system quite like Carter. He also capitalized on the electorate’s disaffection with Ford’s handling of the Nixon scandal; on the recovery after withdrawing from Vietnam, the 1974–75 recession, and the oil embargo. Brown, entering his primary late, never caught up to Carter’s momentum.
Brown’s 1980 campaign was different, however. His slogan was “Protect the Earth, serve the people, and explore the universe.” He ran on a robust platform of what he termed “Buddhist Economics” and fossil fuel reform, specifically taking aim at Carter’s Faustian bargain with the oil industry. He also advocated significant development of solar power and alternative energy sources.
Most notable about this election was that Jerry Brown’s response to the 1970s energy crisis was fighting to end oil dependence and transition to Green energy, while Carter’s was to get in deeper with the fossil fuel barons.
Senator Ted Kennedy and the establishment party bosses intervened on behalf of the capitalist class. The Democrats nominated Carter anyway.
Unsurprisingly, Jimmy Carter won on a Progressive populist platform when he won in 1976, in 1980 ran as a centrist and lost.
E. 1992 (primary): Jerry Brown v. Clinton I
1992: The Year the Democrats Became the Party of Wall Street & the PMC (Professional Managerial Class)
Jerry Brown was the true Progressive in this race as well, and was posing a significant threat to the establishment’s pick, Clinton I. Running a platform specifically on Wall Street reforms, getting money out of politics, and labor empowerment, Brown represented what the Democratic party was supposed to be about.
He announced at the start of his campaign that he would take only individual contributions, and none exceeding $100. He proposed raising taxes on corporations and closing corporate loopholes. He decried alleged “free trade” agreements such as NAFTA.
(borrowed from the Jerry Brown Wiki page:)
Continuing with his populist reform theme, (Brown) assailed what he dubbed “the bipartisan Incumbent Party in Washington” and called for term limits for members of Congress. Citing various recent scandals on Capitol Hill, particularly the recent House banking scandal and the large congressional pay-raises from 1990, he promised to put an end to Congress being a “Stop-and-Shop for the moneyed special interests”.
However, the advent of neoliberalism between the Carter-Reagan transition meant Democrats wanted a piece of the Rich Man’s Pie for themselves.
Clinton and the party bosses squeezed Brown out of the race and then co-opted his Progressive platform to appeal to his voters with no intention of executing any of it.
Simply put, they were no longer interested in representing the working class. And after Clinton I’s two terms, they didn’t.
*Though not in chronological order, the primary campaigns of Jerry Brown mark the 8th and 9th time a Progressive was disenfranchised in favor of neoliberal, establishment candidates.
F. 2004 (primary): Howard Dean v. John Kerry
Consistent with all the Progressive mandate upon which all other Progressive ethics rely, Dean ran a grassroots campaign which took only individual donations. In the early stages of the campaign, he outraised everyone in the field. He also pioneered internet voting and galvanizing online support. Political commentators have surmised that Obama’s later grassroots campaign model was built from Dean’s successes, though the anointed John Kerry was selected as the party’s favorite.
Dean made the Iraq war, and his condemnation of it, a pillar of his campaign. He called for comprehensive universal healthcare, a repeal of all of the Bush II tax cuts, wealth taxes, and opposed often-racist charter schools.
G. 2008 (primary): Dennis Kucinich v. Barack Obama v. Clinton II
“My politics are center for the Democratic party,” Dennis Kucinich declared in an early interview, accurately stating the alleged purpose of the party and its proclaimed role in serving the working class. His platform was one of the most Progressive seen up to this point. Like others before him, he proposed universal healthcare and transitioning to renewable energy sources. He opposed disastrous neoliberal “free trade” deals such as NAFTA, and called for an immediate repeal of the invasive, draconian mass domestic surveillance measures instituted under the Bush II regime, such as the Patriot Act.
In fact, his platform was the opposite of everything that Obama did as president- though we did not find that out until it was too late.
On multiple occasions, Kucinich was excluded from the Democratic debates. He was allowed to participate in a later debate only after suing the party for mismanagement, upon which the judge ruled in favor of corporate news machine MSNBC. However, he opposed the party’s mafia-like “loyalty oath” in which it was demanded that he swear fealty to a different eventual nominee. He was also barred from being included on multiple ballots, over which he sued in federal court and lost.
Barack Obama was the Democrat party establishment’s Chosen One, and nothing was going to get in their way.
Obama, like Bill Clinton, ran on a Progressive populist platform including universal healthcare, transparency in government, social equality, etc. Both Clinton I and Obama co-opted their platforms from the actual Progressives they had edged out of the race through various underhanded means.
Both times, it was all lies. They were neoliberal, corporate centrists masquerading as Progressives, once again to deceive leftists into staying in the “big tent” rather than forming a party of their own.
H. 2012 (primary): The Real First Sabotaging of Bernie Sanders
Obama’s first term, by all accounts, was an abject failure. With a Democrat super-majority in both House and Senate, one would think an entire raft of Progressive policies would have been enacted. Instead, what he accomplished was the neoconservative/neoliberal axis’ dream continuation of the Bush II administration.
The 2008 promise of universal healthcare quickly evaporated into a plan originally crafted by Mitt Romney and conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, enacted in Massachusetts. The re-branded “Affordable Care Act” was the most movement on healthcare in three decades, but only because three decades of Progressives running a universal, single-payer healthcare system were blocked in the primaries and replaced with “centrists.”
In the end, 87 million American remain un- or underinsured under the ACA; 68,000 die preventable deaths each year due to lack of healthcare; 500,000 file bankruptcy due to medical debt; 350,000 either ration or don’t fill their prescription drugs; and medical bankruptcy is also the #1 cause of homelessness.
Obama expanded Bush II’s two wars to seven, and kidnapped, assassinated, or attempted to assassinate the sovereign leaders of six different nations. He was entrenched in aggressive regime-change operations in multiple other countries, including Venezuela and Syria. He exceeded Bush II’s entire drone record for the length of his two terms in just 180 days. He prosecuted whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act, expanded mass domestic surveillance exponentially, and his infamous “Kill List” murdered hundreds of thousands as its accuracy rate never went above 2% for any of its intended targets.
When the economy crashed, Obama proceeded to engage in the largest treasury heist and upward transfer of wealth to the 1% in American history. Worst hit were people of color. Instead of bailing out people, Obama chose to bail out banks and large corporations to the tune of trillions.
Later, at the end of his administration, Obama sought to exacerbate the heist by passing the most disastrous trade deals ever conceived: the TPP/TTIP/TISA. In fact, while Native Americans stood in subzero weather at Standing Rock, fighting against the now-failed Keystone XL oil pipeline, Obama was busy trying to pass his deals during his last congressional session as president. This was not the first time Native American lands were “sacrifice zones,” even under the watch of one of the same man who was ironically awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
In the middle of all of this was the Occupy Movement, which began at Zucotti Park on Wall Street and flared up to encompass the globe in every major city. Rather than listen to the pain and anger of the disenfranchised, Obama doubled down on his attacks against the working class to protect the capitalists.
Seeing the looming completion of corporate control of all of America’s institutions, Bernie Sanders began serious consideration of opposing Obama to make him a one-term president. He proposed a remedy to the making of global capitalism through large-scale systemic change that centered the needs of labor and the working class. At the time, Nevada Senator Harry Reid was one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, and a formidable party boss. It didn’t take long after Reid weighed in that Sanders was intimidated out of making the primary challenge.
Reid also interfered in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, leveraging the Nevada Democratic party against Senator Sanders and orchestrating a disinformation campaign among the Culinary Union bosses against Medicare for All.
Identifying the Patterns
Of the 5 Democrat presidents (JFK, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama) that have won from 1960-now, the ONLY one that did not run on a Progressive populist platform was Johnson, due to the circumstances surrounding his election.
Of the 15 Democrat elections, 13 Progressives have run on working class-oriented platforms that centered labor unions; fair wages; Wall St. and corporate regulation; humanitarian, social, and racial justice; women’s rights; income equality; and government accountability to the people they serve.
All of them, one way or another and by any means necessary, were summarily squashed. 9 times in particular, there is evidence of party interference that disenfranchised and crushed Progressive movements and their candidates as they went on to nominate so-called “centrists.” Their loyal voters were marginalized, disenfranchised, and dismissed. Their needs were ignored. The party continued on its trajectory of neoliberalism, corporate capture, and empire. It continued to wage war against the working class.
What is different about the candidacies of Bernie Sanders is that, until 2015, the Progressive project was able to be pushed to the sidelines and its supporters viewed as a lunatic fringe. Neoliberalism, overwhelmingly catering to the interests of the politically and economically dominant Baby Boomers, seemed to serving the majority population fairly well. Knowledge of manmade climate change, before the Information Age and availability of social media, was suppressed by the fossil fuel barons. The national narrative was safely under control of the corporate media machine.
Simply put: there were not enough people hurting yet, or a candidate who had succeeded in waking them up in large enough numbers to make a splash. That is no longer the case.
As explained by Anand Giridharadas in “Winners Take All” and Sheldon S. Wolin in Democracy, Inc., the United States has become a neo-feudal society governed by “junk economics” (economist Michael Hudson, “ “J’ is for Junk Economics” “Killing the Host”).
With neoliberalism now in such crisis that ignoring it becoming unavoidable, the age of “incremental change” and the doctrine of “gradualism” are summarily ended. Along with the failure of neoliberalism is the failure of democracy. Ever-increasing austerity accompanying ever-greater bailouts of Wall Street and plutocrats, people are out of patience for the old system.
Sanders, with his coast-to-coast political revolution, record-breaking fundraising numbers, and the most diverse coalition of support in a century, opened up Pandora’s box. The four-decade neoliberal experiment is in a state of worldwide failure. Income inequality in the United States now exceeds that of the Gilded Age, and is 800 times worse than that at the fall of the Roman empire. The victims of the shock doctrine have come out of their stupor — and they’re mad as hell.
One of French economist Thomas Piketty’s conclusions in “Capital in the 21st Century” is that the “centrist” politics of the liberal class exacerbates systemic inequality, protects the ruling class and its managers, and will only continue to fail in elections as the populace awakens.
It is safe to say that the tide has irrevocably turned. Now the question is, can electoral politics, particularly in a two-party system, ever be the solution? With a generation divide more acrimonious than that in 1968, and class struggle now in the common parlance rather than mythologized as the troubles of an oppressed few, when will our expectations of our electoral system catch up to its realities?
THE GENERATION DIVIDE
The first of the Baby Boomers, 80 million, (1945–1965) came of age to vote in 1963, the last in 1983.
The first of Generation X, 51 million, (1965–1982) came of age to vote in 1983, the last in 2000.
The first of Generation Y, 80 million, (1982–1996), aka “Millennials,” came of age to vote in 2000, the last in 2014.
The first of Generation Z (1996-) came of age to vote in 2004.
In the 2019–2020 primary, 87% of Baby Boomers supported “centrist” candidates. A mere <13% of Boomers supported the Progressive. (Bernie Sanders is the sole Progressive.)
Exit polls showed repeatedly in each state that support for Bernie Sanders is over 80% for voters under 30; over 60% for voters under 50; and falling to single digits for voters 55 and older.
Generation X was the first generation to do worse than their parents, with less income parity, opportunity, and economic mobility. As inflation has increased, this has only accelerated for the two generations after them.
For the three generations born after the Boomer generation, issues trump partisan loyalty. The issues most of concern to them are starkly existential: the global climate crisis; healthcare; affordable education and student debt; and income inequality.
But the political party to which they have been held hostage has no interest in the lives or interests of the young. More often than not, it seems older voters have no interest in them either.
At this rate, as the “centrist” Boomer and remaining living Silent generation voters continue to die off, so will the Democratic party. If the planet even survives that long:
Since the Baby Boomers came of age and have been the largest voting and consuming bloc of the western world, 60% of the world’s species have gone extinct.
“BUT WHAT ABOUT PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENTS WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?”
Well, there have been lots of those too. Let’s take a look, but I’ll forewarn you: Progressive movements go to the Democratic party to die.
Jessie Jackson, 1984–88, Progressive
Lost, says “We will start a progressive organization and shift the party to the left!” Started the Rainbow Coalition. All his following joined. No change.
Jerry Brown, 1992, Progressive
Lost. Forms a progressive organization to shift the party to the left. Started We the People. All his following joined. Nothing.
Dennis Kucinich, 2008, Progressive
Says “Let’s start a progressive organization. Shift the party to the left!” We get Progressive Democrats of America. All the progressives join. Sadly, no change.
Howard Dean, 2012, Progressive
Ran and lost, started Democracy for America. All the progressives joined. Same result.
Now even Bernie Sanders, 2016 & 2020, who is the best we have had in decades.
Won but “lost.” TWICE. Started Our Revolution. Loyal progressives joined. Didn’t stop Bernie from getting screwed by the Democratic party the 2nd time.
The opposite thing actually happened with all of these progressive movements. They (with the help the Clinton cabal) successfully infiltrated the Democratic party, moving it to the RIGHT! Worse still, a dismally small number of loyal Democrat voters seem to notice the ratchet effect, which is precisely why you could also refer to as the “boiling frogs principle:”
Thus, after six decades, in spite of all the “conventional wisdom,” here we are. Democrats are still drilling for oil, fracking, going to war, shipping out all our jobs with horrible trade agreements, pushing for the TPP/TTIP/TISA, killing unions, in bed with Wall Street, Big Pharma, the military-industrial complex, and every predatory institution under the sun exacerbating the oppressive neoliberal problem.
In SIXTY YEARS, no centrist Democrat has been able to win an election against whatever current “Worst Republican Ever” opposed them unless they were the vice president of the most popular president of the 20th century who also happened to have just been assassinated. And, to coerce people to support them, the excuses for why people should vote for their shitty centrist have always been the same.
NINE TIMES, the Democratic party deliberately sabotaged Progressive populist candidates whose platforms and commitments to economic, racial, and social justice could have turned the tide of history and saved MILLIONS of lives here and abroad.
LOOK AT THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, REALLY LOOK:
— Wars that would never have happened, or been abated.
— The oppressive, disastrous bi-partisan neoliberal consensus choking the life out of this country would never have been allowed to take root.
— Systemic racism could have been eliminated.
— There could be a thriving middle class.
— A thriving working class. Unions. Labor rights. Equitable monetary policy.
— A completely different relationship to the rest of the world, built on sanity and cooperation rather than a military-industrial complex run amok.
AND, THE BIGGEST HEARTBREAK-
— Most of all, we would not be teetering on the brink of extinction because of an avoidable global climate catastrophe, fueled by a predatory economic system and driven by a rapacious capitalist class that concealed the truth of the fossil fuel apocalypse while buying off our government and overtaking our institutions.
Let that sink in.
No, really. Don’t look away. Face the reality. Let. That. Shit. Sink. In.
SO WHAT HAVE WE BEEN MISSING?
The key component that is continuously missed in partisan politics is that the divide among the factions that have historically voted on the Democratic party ticket is starkly along the lines of two things: generation and class. The generation war rages because 50 years of bi-partisan neoliberal consensus (see links under “The Generation Divide) overwhelmingly advantaged the Boomer generation, while simultaneously draining the generations born after 1965 of ecological and economic resources along with political capital. But neoliberalism is on the brink of collapse, and our government, with its bi-partisan neoliberal consensus, denies it:
The class war is even less acknowledged. Recently, Harvard University hosted a forum titled “Class Warfare” with a panel of speakers including Dr. Cornel West and other thought leaders. The two-part forum, with its diverse voices, is illuminating and worthwhile. Given the implications of a full systemic re-organization that centers the working class and downward distribution of wealth and power, the Democratic party instead maintains its support through a simple grift: Using cultural issues and liberal social positions to artifically juxtapose themselves against Republicans. Sure, gay rights, legal marijuana, and abortion are long-known parts of the Democrat party brand. But you’ll notice they have nothing to do with the economic interests of the ruling class- and are therefore not a threat.
As long as your demands are non-threatening and don’t cost anyone deemed “important” any money, you may find the needle creeping ever so slightly to the left. But the moment you start challenging the plutocratic institutions profiting off the existing system, well. You’ve just taken off the mask. Republicans are wolves, and Democrats are wolves in sheep’s skins, and the sooner everyone realizes that the better able we will be to progress in a hopeful direction. If it’s not already too late.
The glaring fact, as Pulitzer prize-winning author and historian Chris Hedges points out here, is that the two-party system is woefully deficient in answering the urgent needs of the 21st century:
Some other food for thought as you process this:
“Power concedes NOTHING without a demand. It never has and it never will.” ~Frederick Douglass
“If peaceful revolution is impossible, violent revolution is inevitable.” ~JFK
“You cannot have a revolution in a counterrevolutionary party.” ~Dr. Jill Stein
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” ~Einstein
“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” ~Greek proverb
“First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”
Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
“The Time is Now!”
“One of my favorite writers growing up was a man named James Baldwin. And I remember Baldwin saying, ‘You asked my grandfather to wait, my father to wait, my brother to wait, my uncle to wait, how long must I wait on freedom? How long must I wait on rights, equality, and liberty?’ “ ~Killer Mike (video linked)
UNDERSTAND THIS VERY WELL:
It’s not an option anymore for us to treat our elections as if there is always more time left to try again. As if the religion of gradualism and incremental change has ever done ANYTHING but get us killed:
It might be a harsh reality, but it is one we all have to face if we are to survive the decade with any remaining semblance of democracy or hope for the future of our Earth.
We have too long regarded our current system as “the end of history,” as if this is the best it can ever get. We view its failings as the “least harm” solution among the options currently available to us. But, as economics professor emeritus Dr. Richard Wolff explains in his talk at Google, we simply aren’t being creative enough. Things become clear very quickly when we start seeking solutions which place people above profit, and climate above economy.
Classical economist Adam Smith remarked,
“Profits are often highest in nations going fastest to ruin. There are many ways to create economic suicide on a national level. The major way throughout history is by indebting the economy. Debt always expands to where it cannot be paid by large swaths of the economy.
That is the point where austerity is imposed, and the ownership of wealth polarizes between the one percent and the ninety-nine percent.”
He goes on to expound on the neo-feudalism embraced by the government of the 20th and 21st centuries in both American political parties, which he refers to in stark terms as a condition of “debt peonage.” In other words, slavery. The sacred cows of free markets and meritocracy have proven themselves to be systems of oppression in which economic, racial, and social inequality are features- not bugs.
“Centrism,” in its decades of dominance, has failed to prevent the richest nation in the world from becoming a nation of slaves.
The Decline of the American Empire
Sir John Glubb identified that empires in human society have a specific life cycle and go through the same six stages in that life cycle until their demise. This is regardless of time period, geography, dominant religion or system of governance. This excerpt from the award-winning documentary “Four Horsemen” explains how to identify empires in decline:
Knowledge is power, and ignorance- often willful- is how we got where we are. Taking an objective look at the timeline, the state of our nation, the world teetering on the brink of climate collapse — and making use of the many links in this article (see also: Reading List, at the end) to increase your awareness of our current reality — you should be arrive at this single irrefutable conclusion:
To continue to give the Democratic party our support is to be complicit in our own demise. Enough is enough. It’s time for a new party. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
“With these hands!”
To take action, visit:
Interview with Nick Brana, former Sanders staffer & founder, Movement for a Peoples’ Party:
The Nomiki Show, with Democratic party insider Nomiki Konst: “Who Really Runs the DNC?”
“The Three Evils of Society,” live audio by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chris Hedges: “America’s Political System and How to Overthrow It”
The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein | Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky | Propaganda, Edward Bernays | Hate Inc, Matt Taibbi | Death of the Liberal Class; Wages of Rebellion; War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges | Listen Liberal; What’s the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank | Democracy Incorporated, Sheldon S. Wolin | A Brief History of Neoliberalism, David Harvey | A Peoples’ History of the United States, Howard Zinn | War is a Racket, Gen. Smedley Butler | Killing the Host; ‘J’ is for Junk Economics, Michael Hudson | None Dare Call it Conspiracy; Gary Allen | The Impact of Science on Society; Bertrand Russell | The Fate of Empires and Struggle for Survival, Sir John Glubb | The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt | The Coming Generational Storm, Kotlikoff & Burns | Confessions of an Economic Hitman; A Game as Old as Empire, John Perkins | Currency Wars; The Death of Money, Jim Rickards | Capital in the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty | A Populist’s Guide to 2020, Krystal Ball & Saagar Enjeti