The Democratic Party Finally Unites Bernie and Hillary Voters…In Disgust and Fear
I never understood my Bernie-voting friend’s wrath at the Democratic Party. We all know the party has always been a disorganized mess of competing priorities and muddled messaging. “I’m not a member of any organized political party — I’m a democrat.” So it was always thus. But why the outpouring of anger? Well, my Bernie friends will be happy to hear that finally, after and exhausting year of defending feminism, something I thought wasn’t up for debate in the Democratic Party, I finally see what Bernie voters were talking about.
I never truly understood what a bunch of buttheads the Democrats really are until they unveiled their “Better Deal” campaign. Where to begin? It sounds like they ripped the front page off a socialist magazine from the 1940s. I mean, “trust-busting”? What are they talking about? We have anti-trust laws on the books, the problem is they’re not always enforced. Like so many problems in America, anti-trust laws can only be strengthened by appointing good judges. Raise your hand, Bernie and Hillary voters, if appointing good judges is a major priority for you? Oh, look, everyone’s hands are up! What do we mean when we say “good judges?” We mean the rule of law, where companies, individuals and, yes, the President are treated to the same norms, rules and standards. When Bernie voters talk about the “rigged” economy, what they mean is that the laws aren’t being applied due to massive corruption.
Likewise, the $15 minimum wage was already in the party platform as of last summer, when the Hillary campaign adopted it from the Bernie campaign. Yet Hillary still lost, because the only thing Republicans hate more than immigrants, Syrian refugees and uppity black men who don’t know their place is an uppity femi-nazi who doesn’t know when to shut up. Yet the Democrats act like saying “$15 minimum wage” is somehow going to make white and black America join hands and sing Kumbaya together. Issues of economic fairness are always about distribution and white America is, for the most part, convinced that black America is “getting free stuff” with white tax dollars. Ignoring this basic belief of white Americans is not going to make it go away.
But the content of the campaign discussed above is just silly and embarrassing. More ominous are the glaring omissions. We all know Hillary lost this election due to a toxic combination of racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, trans-phobia and, yes, anti-Semitism. And yet the Democrats have declared themselves unwilling to fight for their base at all. To watch trans-people in particular get thrown under the bus with no powerful political party to speak for them is chilling. I am not a trans-person, so according to the Democratic Party’s logic, I shouldn’t care. But I do. I do care, deeply, to the very marrow of my bones, because I am not a sociopath. The Republicans know trans-rights matter because they keep passing high profile laws to oppress and humiliate trans people. Yet the new Democratic Party platform seems to suggest that if just ignore it, trans-phobia will go away on its own. Kumbaya America!
Both Hillary and Bernie embraced Black Lives Matter, prompting a rare discussion about race within the Party, the ugly history of the Crime Bill and other issues, but where are black lives in this platform? Erased. The entire, painful conversation has been swept under the rug. Because that’s how you get black voters excited about voting! By ignoring them! And I haven’t even gotten to the Dreamers yet. Once again, the Democratic leadership seems to have taken the fact that immigrants and refugees can’t vote as a reason to ignore them and assume that the rest of us a sociopaths who don’t care. Yet nothing has galvanized people to act like Trump’s travel ban because it cuts to the heart of our image of ourselves as Americans and what we believe this country stands for.
And finally, there are female voters. Despite overwhelming support from minority women and single, white women (who aren’t married to Republican men), the Party has decided to ignore women’s issues all together, apart from a vague gesture towards “equal pay.” The entire issue of female reproduction is simply ignored, despite the fact that “equal pay” for those of us who reproduce can’t be achieved without addressing thorny issues about child care, family planning and, yes, abortion. I have yet to see a single pundit brave enough to address what Lock Her Up actually means, which isn’t about Hillary Clinton as an individual person, but is rather about putting women in jail for their “crimes.” If abortion is a “crime,” than shouldn’t women be in jail? Oh, sorry, Democrats, did I say something that made you feel uncomfortable? Let’s ignore it and talk about anti-trust laws.
Pundits keep telling us that the Democrats “don’t stand for anything” except “opposing Trump.” But to oppose Trump is to stand *for* the opposite: a secular, plural society based on rights and rule of law, where impartial judges apply the laws on the books as they are written, including boring stuff like anti-trust laws, and people are treated equally despite their gender, race and religion.