The entire Democratic Party Leadership must change.
Robert Reich, who was secretary of labor in Bill Clinton’s administration, wrote today:
It is time for a New Democratic Party.
The old Democratic Party has become a giant fundraising machine, too often reflecting the goals and values of the moneyed interests.
It has been taken over by Washington-based fundraisers, bundlers, analysts, and pollsters who have focused on raising campaign money from corporate and Wall Street executives and getting votes from upper middle-class households in “swing” suburbs.
The election of 2016 has repudiated the old Democratic Party.
I don’t regret my vote, and I don’t regret working for Bernie in the primary, or Hillary in the general. Trump and total Republican control of the federal government is going to be a catastrophe for America and the world.
It’s absolutely true that President Obama could have done more with a congress that wasn’t obstructionist, and that people all over the country would be doing better. It’s absolutely true that the infrastructure spending he’s been calling for since day one would have helped tremendously, if it hadn’t been blocked by Republicans.
This isn’t just about Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by at least half a million votes and growing. This is about all the state races and congressional races that Democrats also lost. This is about the current chair of the DNC pointing fingers at everyone else and refusing to accept what everyone who ended up being right about Trump winning the electoral college has been saying for a year: our economy isn’t working for the middle class, and a lot of Americans are pissed. It’s absolutely true that President Obama could have done more with a congress that wasn’t obstructionist, and that people all over the country would be doing better. It’s absolutely true that the infrastructure spending he’s been calling for since day one would have helped tremendously, if it hadn’t been blocked by Republicans. It’s absolutely true that unemployment is, nationally, better than it’s been in over a decade … and that doesn’t mean a damn thing to people in towns that have been crushed by the destruction of their unions and the shuttering of the factories that generations once worked in.
But it’s important to remember that the Democrats had both houses of Congress for two years, and didn’t do much with it other than try to play nice with a ruling class that wasn’t interested in finding compromise or common interests to more the country forward. The Bush/Cheney war criminals were never held accountable for Iraq. The banks who destroyed the economy were never held accountable, and were actually rewarded with bailouts and massive payments to the executives who caused it. Democrats had a huge opportunity to stand up for middle class Americans and prosecute those people, and as a party they chose not to. It’s not unfair to say that the Democratic Party picked a side, and they picked Wall Street.
The Democratic Party once represented the working class. But over the last three decades the party stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class — failing to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violate them, or help workers form unions with simple up-or-down votes.
The Democrats have a stark choice right now: Whose Side Are You On, Democrats? Will you continue doing the same thing that’s been losing elections across the nation since 2010, or will you listen to America and fight for the middle class? Will you fight to restore unions? Will you fight to hold executives accountable when they hurt their employees? Will you make it your fundamental priority to fight for the people who are about to be royally screwed by complete Republican control of government?
Because unless the answer to all of these questions is YES, and unless the entire Democratic Party leadership is completely replaced, because accountability starts at the top, Democrats will continue to lose until we have single party, right-wing rule in America. And I say “rule” because Republicans don’t lead, they rule.
Other than cultural issues, where the Democrats, Progressives, and most Moderate Republicans are all on the side of equality, tolerance, shared prosperity and peace, Democrats must fundamentally shift the party’s priorities, so that the economic anxieties that are felt all over the country are addressed, and a Billionaire conman like Donald Trump can’t walk in and pretend to be the populist who will finally hold people like him accountable.
Reich, one last time:
The power structure is shocked by the outcome of the 2016 election because it has cut itself off from the lives of most Americans. Perhaps it also doesn’t wish to understand, because that would mean acknowledging its role in enabling the presidency of Donald Trump.
We need a New Democratic Party that will help Americans resist what is about to occur, and rebuild our future.