by John Lawrence from the San Diego Free Press
Democrats Need To Be Elected "Up and Down the Ticket"
In a great speech at the Democratic convention President Obama made his case about why we need to elect Hillary Clinton the next President and that we should also elect Democrats "up and down the ticket." That is very important because Obama himself only got his agenda implemented when there was a Democratic filibuster-proof Congress. Do you remember the high drama surrounding the supermajority that the Democrats supposedly had in 2008 after Obama was elected? Senator Ted Kennedy was ill with brain cancer. His vote was the much needed 60th vote for filibuster-proofness. But he was too sick to vote. San Diego Free Press writer Andy Cohen laid out the high drama here. Eventually Republican Scott Brown was elected to Kennedy's seat, and Democratic control of Congress ceased because from then on, the Republicans filibustered literally everything. Obama was left to spin his wheels trying to get them to play nice and compromise. It didn't work, and Obama wasted his time.
From Day 1 the Republicans had a pact going, the intent of which was to doom Obama's Presidency to failure by any means necessary. Does anyone believe they won't do the same thing to Hillary if she's elected? And if Trump is elected it will be downhill all the way for the Republican agenda of lower taxes for the wealthy, repeal of Obamacare, denial of global warming, getting rid of Social Security and Medicare and eliminating the minimum wage. Why are establishment Republicans not too concerned about Trump even though they can't stand him? Because they know that they hold the real power in Washington and not the President, and they can force Trump to go along with their agenda not his. They know the ropes; he doesn't. Plus they'll give him a few fillips that won't benefit the American people and won't hurt the Repub agenda.
Voters Are Divided Into Two Tribes
The anti-establishment has manifested itself in both parties. Bernie voters and Trump voters all seem to want the same things: money out of politics, good middle class jobs. It's just that there are two tribes here - the Republican tribe and the Democratic tribe. Each tribe will only vote for their own party as if they were two different religions both wanting the same thing but only identifying with the leader of their own tribe and a pox on the other.
Robert Reich has said it well:
Most basically, the anti-establishment wants big money out of politics. This was the premise of Bernie Sanders’s campaign. It’s also been central to Donald (“I’m so rich I can’t be bought off”) Trump’s appeal, although he’s now trolling for big money.
A recent YouGov/Economist poll found that 80 percent of GOP primary voters who preferred Donald Trump as the nominee listed money in politics as an important issue, and a Bloomberg Politics poll shows a similar percentage of Republicans opposed to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision.
Getting big money out of politics is of growing importance to voters in both major parties. A June New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 84 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of Republicans want to fundamentally change or completely rebuild our campaign finance system.
Last January, a DeMoines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers found 91 percent of Republicans and 94 percent of Democrats unsatisfied or “mad as hell” about money in politics.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to move toward the “middle.” In fact, such a move could hurt her if it’s perceived to be compromising the stances she took in the primaries in order to be more acceptable to Democratic movers and shakers.
She needs to move instead toward the anti-establishment – forcefully committing herself to getting big money out of politics, and making the system work for the many rather than a privileged few.
In addition to being demonized for the last 25 years by Republicans, Fox News and hate talk radio, Hillary represents the establishment in a lot of people's minds. That's why her negatives are so high. But at this stage of the game, folks, she's all we've got if we don't want the nation and the world to descend into chaos in a Trump Presidency, a right wing Supreme Court and a Republican Congress. The Republican Congress will "compromise" with Trump giving him everything he wants as long as it's what they want, humoring him with things that he wants as long as it doesn't interfere with their agenda and the result will be an America in which the rich will rule, inequality will get much worse and the American middle class will be escorted into the dustbin of history.
Hillary Needs to Champion the Anti-Establishment
I do believe that Hillary "gets it." She's a smart cookie. I think she realizes finally that the Bernie and Trump voters who are sick of politics as usual are not going anywhere. If she can marshal their energy and be their representative in Washington, she can bring about great change in this country.
In her acceptance speech Hillary said:
“I want to thank Bernie Sanders,” she said. “Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You've put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.”
“And to all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I've heard you,” she continued. “Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion. That's the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America. We wrote it together—now let's go out there and make it happen together.”
So what would a Hillary Presidency look like? A lot like the Obama Presidency: a lot of frustration trying to work across the aisle when on the other side of the aisle there is nothing except intransigency. She won't be able to do much without a Democratic filibuster-proof Senate, and that she's not likely to get. Even if she does get that, Paul Ryan's House will put an end to any legislation that might cross Hillary's desk.
The Republican establishment is wedded to their perks as a result of big time corporate money flowing indirectly into their personal coffers. It's all about Republican Congress men and women getting rich by one means or another without actually breaking any laws. Any laws that stand in the way of this can be changed. For instance, it's not illegal for Congressmen to act on insider information when accessing the stock market whereas, if you and I did it, we'd be put in jail. And there's jobs aplenty for ex Congressmen and women once their "public service" is over. We have effectively government by lobbyists. They even write the laws. Congresspersons are too busy dialing for dollars to do that!
Robert Reich is an astute observer of the political scene. His observations should be taken seriously. Hillary needs to get the anti-establishment behind her or else her potential Presidency will have not only Republicans against her, it will have Bernie supporters against her. Bernie needs to remain active in Hillary's camp all through the campaign and even after the election. There needs to be tangible results for young people drowning in student loan debt especially. But the Repubs will do everything they can to defeat any such debt relief or anything else that would benefit the average American not in the 1%. And they have on their side the Republican "tribe" mainly in the South who will vote time and again against their own interests. That and Republican "safe seat" gerrymandering is a formidable obstacle to overcome.
Democrats need to band together which, fortunately, is something they seem to be doing if there is any chance, any hope of saving the US from becoming a political oligarchy and economic plutocracy totally ruled by the upper 1% and their lackeys. A Trump Presidency will doom America's image and reality in the rest of the world and make a mockery out of the American Dream. Young Bernie supporters need to know that a Hillary Presidency is not the end of their movement. In fact Hillary needs them behind her if she's to get anything at all done that they want. They need to keep pushing for a Democratic Congress if not in 2016 then in 2020 for Hillary's potential second term. The 2020 date holds the possibility that the new census will produce the result of ungerrymandering the Republican "safe seats" in Congress. Now that's something Bernie supporters should really get behind.