I’m Sorry, Did You Think You Were in Charge?
In a powerful speech on Monday Senator Elizabeth Warren laid out a clear vision for a true opposition party. She said
The American people didn’t give Democrats majority support so we could come back to Washington and play dead. They didn’t send us here to whimper, whine or grovel. They sent us here to say “no” to efforts to sell Congress to the highest bidder. They sent us here to stand up for what’s right. Now, they are watching, waiting, and hoping — hoping we show some spine and start fighting back when Congress completely ignores the message of the American people and returns to all its same old ways.
The majority support Warren refers to is the popular votes for Congress and the President. It turns out people voted more for democrats across the Board, but the efforts were hampered by gerrymandered districts and other impediments such as the totally outdated way we elect president.
Warren’s stance is dead on. Democrats should not see themselves as a minority party. They should see themselves as an opposition party. An opposition party does not allow itself to be bullied, but instead, asserts it’s right to say no. Saying no is an integral part of having a voice at the table. But that is only part of it.
Not surprising, the right is asserting hypocrisy. Jim Geraghty wrote in National Review
This is what really infuriates the raging Left right now: They aren’t getting what they want because of the Constitution, and provisions of the founding document that never bothered them before, like the separation of powers, rules for confirmation of judges, and the electoral college, are now “bizarre quirks…”
Far too many Democrats can only see the world in terms of what they politically need in this particular moment. They can’t see too far down the road, or how an issue will look when they’re in a different circumstances
If we were speaking of the establisment of the party, this may be the case. But here’s the thing. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Robert Reich to name a few aren’t talking about this “particular moment.” They aren’t talking about procedural changes and dirty tricks. They are looking for a plan that will transform the Democratic Party into an effective voice of dissent. They aren’t looking to obstruct, they are looking at making the Democratic Party a populist voice for working Americans, informed and led by the grassroots promoting a true progressive agenda that moves beyond the failed politics of appeasement and patronage. Instead, the new Democratic party sets forth a positive agenda of legislation supported by the majority of democrats that voted against Trump and his party.
By calling sour grapes on Democratic efforts to understand their position, Republicans are currently misreading theirs. From Standing Rock to New York, people are speaking their minds forcefully and empowering one another with purpose as well as rage. This is not unfocused anger, it is an anger being turned into a movement of working class and minority citizens who refuse to allow themselves to be overlooked and set against each other. People are, as they say, woke.