The Democratic Party Plans To Defeat Trump Without The Progressive Left

Kevin Gosztola
Aug 21, 2020 · 4 min read
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Image for post
Screen shot from Joe Biden’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention (Source)

*Note: This is a message for people the Democratic Party does not represent and has not represented for several decades.

The Democratic Party and Joe Biden’s presidential campaign have a plan to beat President Donald Trump in 2020 that does not rely on winning progressive and left-wing voters.

It has offered voters on the left stale bread crumbs for their support and exploited their fear of a second Trump term to hold them captive. Let them try to win without us.

During the 2020 Democratic National Convention, this strategy was on full display. Disgruntled Republicans were welcomed with open arms, including individuals who have fought against 99 percent of Americans throughout their careers.

The day Biden delivered his speech accepting the party’s nomination 90 Republican military and intelligence officials declared their support for Biden over Trump.

Meanwhile, fresh voices with popularity among the base of the party, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were granted only 90 seconds of speaking time or excluded entirely.

As journalist David Sirota noted, on the third day of the convention, former Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman told the Wall Street Journal the “pantry” will be “bare” if Biden is elected. All the deficits from tax cuts for corporations and the rich mean it will be “difficult” to expand social programs for unemployed Americans or those with low incomes.

The comment sparked an uproar, and Andrew Bates, the Biden campaign’s rapid response director, was forced to walk back what Kaufman said.

Progressives concerned about climate change managed to achieve language in the platform that said the Democratic Party opposes subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuel companies. The donor class that owns the party saw the language and demanded its removal. So, the party retroactively claimed opposition to welfare for fossil fuel companies was “mistakenly included.”

That sparked a backlash from the Sierra Club and environmental advocates, who have pledged to support Biden, and the Biden campaign was forced to recommit their campaign to ending fossil fuel subsidies.

Both are examples where Democratic Party elites said the quiet part out loud.

Also, as the Democratic Party establishment embraced Republican chickenhawks and security agents known for their contempt for civil liberties, the Biden campaign attacked Linda Sarsour, a well-known Muslim activist who previously committed herself to mobilize Muslim and Arab communities to vote for Biden to defeat Trump.

“Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform,” Bates stated.

Numerous progressives, including Justice Democrats who won their primaries like Cori Bush, showed solidarity with Sarsour while Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders attempted to tamp down outrage without pushing for a retraction of the right-wing smear.

Given these examples, there is very little reason to assist the centrist and left-of-center crowd of the Democratic Party in their effort to unseat Trump. They apparently have it all figured out and do not need the left.

How individuals vote is a private matter. Yet, whether one endorses or encourages others to vote for Biden in November is a public matter.

This is not a privileged position. Plenty of grassroots organizations and alliances have mobilized in communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the Black Lives Matter uprisings to reduce the harm that occurs daily. They encouraged donations of food, water, toiletries, personal protective equipment, and other supplies to help the vulnerable.

Activist groups have stood with workers deemed “essential,” who are most affected by the lack of economic assistance from state and federal governments. They demanded eviction freezes or moratoriums, as well as rent forgiveness. They insist upon expanded health care to cover all Americans while Democratic Party elites protect health care and pharmaceutical industry interests during a pandemic.

Biden and the Democratic Party have not demonstrated that these people’s lives will improve if Trump is defeated. All they’ve suggested is life for working people may not get worse, and at best, it will return to the status quo before Trump’s election.

The status quo is what fueled the anxiety and despair that helped Trump prevail over Hillary Clinton in 2016, and returning to normal is not a viable option. But these communities will not beg the Democratic Party establishment to treat them with dignity and allow a political conflict among elites to distract them from providing aid that is still needed.

Supporters of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will spend the next months demanding those who dissent submit to this strategy of running a smarter conservative presidential campaign to defeat Trump’s extremism. Their anti-democratic impulses should be defied during each ebb and flow of the general election.

The Democratic Party pulled out all the stops to prevent the progressive wing from meaningfully influencing their platform and from nominating a presidential candidate who would force them to abandon their corporate ideology.

If they lose in November, they will immediately blame the left. They are also likely to blame Russia again. But they will have themselves and only themselves to blame, and we should carefully document what happens between now and Election Day in order to have a record that can be presented to defend ourselves come November if they blow it.

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse.

Kevin Gosztola

Written by

Journalist. Writes about politics. Managing editor of Twitter: @kgosztola

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

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