The American public is decidedly left of center according to public polling across myriad topics. In spite of this, the United States is an incredibly right-wing country – which is directly due to the shoddiness of the Democratic Party and, specifically, the Clintons and Barack Obama.
The majority of people in the United States want gun safety measures. We want marijuana legalization and an end to the War on Drugs. We want immigration reform including a path toward citizenship for the undocumented. We believe in marriage equality. We support a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. We want universal, single-payer healthcare. We want tuition-free college. We want the wealthy to pay more in taxes. And we want to remove the stumbling block to each and every one those issues: the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Unfortunately, since the first-to-the-goalpost Electoral College system was established in 1787, we’ve maintained a binary, two-party system. Alternatives exist – from a popular vote to proportional representation and ranked-choice voting – which should be enacted. Under the current system, parties have lived and died and been replaced over time – but only two major parties at a time. And the fact that neither the Democratic nor Republican Party have shown themselves to represent the will and best interests of the people is what lead to the election of President Donald Trump.
Now, the majority of the country opposed civil rights in the 1960’s, so majority rule is not always best. But this is a democratic republic after all, so we elect representatives to vote on our behalf. However, regardless of party, politicians act in direct opposition to the majority practically across the board.
In fact, a Harvard study looking back to the 1970’s shows that the will of the American public has essentially zero effect on public policy. The study looked only at polling in which respondents were required to disclose their incomes. What it found is that public policy is tied directly to the opinions of the wealthy, and only when the wealthy happen to agree with the majority is the will of the majority reflected in public policy.
There are myriad reasons for this, primarily a string of disastrous Supreme Court decisions – including the infamous Citizens United – which have essentially legalized political bribery. This can be fixed, too: with a 28th Amendment to get money out of politics. We must have public financing of elections so that politicians represent their constituents rather than the financiers of a privatized elections system.
Until then, in this, corrupt system, we have the Democrats and Republicans. The current parties sorted themselves out in the wake of the Civil Rights era, when President Lyndon B. Johnson famously and correctly predicted that, due to his signing of the Civil rights Act, Democrats would lose the South for 50 years.
Richard Nixon accelerated the shift with his racist Southern Strategy, which the past two Republican Party chairmen have apologized for. But it worked. Republicans took the South and Nixon won twice. Ronald Wilson Reagan married the religious right with the Republican Party and defeated the Democrats twice as well. George McGovern and Jimmy Carter were cast as the villains. Democrats were cast as the party of welfare queens, pinko commies, and stoner pacifists.
They were lost. They freaked out. And, unforgivably, they sold out.
Bill Clinton and Al Gore took the money, sold the soul of the Democratic Party, and sold out the country when they teamed up with the Koch Brothers on the Democratic Leadership Council.
These corporate, neoliberal Democrats veered right in every conceivable manner in an effort to appear moderate which forced Republicans ever further right in order to maintain contrast.
Bill Clinton left the presidential campaign trail to witness the execution of a black man and Hillary Clinton fear-mongered young, black “super-predators”. Bill Clinton signed the despicable Crime Bill – he exploded the prison population with Three Strikes, mandatory minimums, crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparities, and increases in the numbers of both cops and prisons. Bill Clinton screwed over poor folks when he gutted welfare. Bill Clinton signed the homophobic Defense of Marriage Act and instituted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military. Bill Clinton bombed a medicine factory in Sudan.
Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, which enriched multinational corporations and their wealthy shareholders by shipping good paying American jobs to Mexican workers who could be paid lower wages. Bill Clinton deregulated the media with the Telecommunications Act which resulted in the consolidation of 50 major media companies into six. Bill Clinton deregulated the banks which unleashed the housing bubble and caused the financial crisis (which Bush exacerbated with tax cuts for the wealthy and war spending).
The people of the country saw what the Clintons had done and the party was a shambles. They lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in generations and got impeached over a blowjob. They lost twice to a doofus war criminal who bungled Katrina and destroyed the economy.
Then, along came an attractive and charismatic gentleman who won twice on the promise of changing a broken system in D.C. – despite being black and named Hussein in a country that would soon elect Donald Trump.
What lead to Trump? Barack Obama.
Obama bailed out Wall Street with tax payer money (and Bush’s help), gave them near-zero interest rates on billions of dollars for years-on-end with quantative easing, and failed to prosecute a single bankster for their reckless and damaging crimes. Obama made permanent 90% of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Obama promised a public option but made sure , while enjoying full congressional control, that we got the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s healthcare plan, which has zero cost controls and left 30 million without coverage.
Obama implemented no gun safety reform whatsoever. Obama did nothing to curtail the War on Drugs or mass incarceration. Obama did nothing about money in politics and instead took fundraising to new levels. Obama did nothing on immigration reform and instead earned the moniker Deporter-in-Chief.
Obama reneged on his promise to put on a soft shoe for unions and instead abandoned the teachers in Wisconsin. Obama used the Department of Homeland Security to quash Occupy Wall Street. Obama “let things play out” with the Dakota Access Pipeline while oil cops brutalized First Nation water protectors in North Dakota. Obama barely even mentioned police brutality or Black Lives Matter.
Obama created economic terrorism and neutered FBI investigations into right wing domestic terrorists. Obama repealed Habeas Corpus so that American citizens needn’t be charged with a crime in order to be imprisoned.
Obama expanded and codified into law the surveillance state. Obama accelerated the drone wars and codified legal rational for the assassination of American citizens. Obama failed to prosecute any of the war criminals or torturers and failed to close Guantanamo.
Obama turned two foreign wars into seven and ran out of bombs in Syria. Obama approved off-shore drilling and ended the push for energy independence. Obama let Keystone XL stay alive. Obama let Trump decide net neutrality. Obama even handed over his Supreme Court nomination without so much as a damned whimper.
Obama was so awful that Democrats lost 1000 elected seats nationwide during his administration. Rather than embracing the populism that had risen in the wake of the Great Recession, Obama and the DNC inserted their hand-picked, corporatist establishmentarian candidate in Hillary Clinton – a candidate so off-putting that the country elected a thin-skinned and predatory, fascistic moron over whatever it is that Democrats pretend to be selling.
Yet and still, they’ve learned nothing.
They still have Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as their congressional leaders simply because they accumulate the most legalized bribery from Silicon Valley and Wall Street, respectfully. The party is still functionally run by the consultant class whose jobs depend on maintaining the status quo.
Rather than embrace the most popular politician in the country, Bernie Sanders (who they cheated in the primary, by the way), they went against his endorsed DNC Chair candidate, Keith Ellison, and instead went with Obama lacky, Tom Perez.
The DNC, under Perez, immediately voted to reinstate the policy of taking corporate cash directly. They kicked anyone who endorsed Bernie Sanders or Keith Ellison off of the rules committee. They refuse to reform the superdelegate system or to disclose their budget to even board members.
And after being charged with rigging the primary election in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders, they argued that they can pick their presidential candidate in the proverbial smoke-filled room if they so choose.
They are sick, and they have no interest in getting better.