Democrats: Free at last

Tuesday was bad news for America. It could be good news for the Democratic Party.

Until the Brexit states fell for Trump, the Democratic Party was tied to a fatal embarrassment: the Clinton conception of public integrity.

Compromised and conflicted, that conception insisted that powerful people can be trusted, both personally, and professionally, even while pandering to enormous wealth.

The party expected its loyal followers to look at the Clinton Foundation, and speak only of the good. It demanded that when asked about any appearance of influence peddling, the response was the Citizens United defense: where is the quid pro quo? We Democrats were to turn a blind eye to the way Bill Clinton sold the party out to Wall Street in the 1990s. We were to affirm our deep faith in his and Hillary’s good character, despite them both grotesquely cashing in after his presidency ended, even while she remained in public service. Even remarking the contrast between Jimmy Carter’s foundation — which earned the former President nothing in personal wealth — and the Clinton Foundation was verboten among loyal Democrats. She was good, her motives were good, so the stench of influence peddling must be ignored.

Tuesday has shown us that beyond the reach of John Podesta’s email list, that stench is not ignored in the heartland of America. Yet Tuesday has also shown us that the Trump has set us free.

Beginning today, the Democratic Party that we should celebrate is the party not of Bill and Hillary, but of Barack and Michelle — a couple with enormous personal integrity, who have only ever inspired the very best in all of us. It is the party of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — two souls constitutionally incapable of “triangulating.” And it is the party of Van Jones and Zephyr Teachout — two powerful and brilliantly articulate citizens, crafting a vision of a party that is not captured by the fundraisers of its past.

This is the moment when we should be clear about who we are and what we stand for — because we are free—FREE. AT. LAST.—to speak without compromise about what is right and good. We should be Democrats — which means we should fight for a democracy in which all are represented equally. Not more, because of wealth. Not less, because of sex or color. Not different, because of the games the gerrymanderers play.

This is the democracy agenda President Obama described in his last State of the Union Address. It’s the one agenda that would give America a reason to join us.