Democrats Don’t Need a ‘Better Deal.’ They Need an Intervention
The ‘Better Deal?’ Kamala Harris? Okay, Democrats… It’s Time For An Intervention
I’m going to put a pot of coffee on. We’ll lay out a nice little spread of pastries and fruits. All you need to do is show up, America. We need to have an intervention for the Democratic Party. I know it will hurt you to write your speeches almost as much as it will hurt the Democrats to hear them, but we need to explain to them how their addiction to losing is hurting America. Because their “Better Deal?” Their anointment of Kamala Harris? It’s getting to be too much. We can’t let them self-destruct like this.
We all have reasons to be upset with the Democratic Party these days. Some of you want to hate them. Others are in denial and refuse to acknowledge that the Democratic Party has a problem to begin with. But they most certainly do have a problem, and sugar-coating things serves no one. They need help. Their addiction to losing doesn’t just hurt them. It hurts all of us who care about them. And if we don’t do something about this right now, we might lose the party forever.
Hillary Clinton’s Loss In 2016 Should’ve Taught the Democrats a Valuable Lesson
I could easily write a whole book on why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, but it can all be summed up pretty succinctly in four words: Americans don’t trust her. And that has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders, or Russian hacking, or third-party candidates, or Benghazi, or her emails, or anything else you’d likely guess.
The real reason people don’t trust Hillary Clinton is the same reason the Democrats continuously manage to fuck themselves out of every midterm election. She lacks authenticity. And that’s the number-one quality someone running for office should be fighting like Hell to establish.
Hillary Clinton is a political Terminator robot built by the Democratic Party to become President. She’s designed to be overqualified for the Oval Office. A no-nonsense centrist built from the ground up to appeal to all of their target demographics. She flawlessly runs the “pick up baby, kiss baby, set baby down, smile” subroutines without a single bug. And she’s easily 400 percent more human-like than the Democrats’ earlier cyborg president model, the T-2004 John Kerry.
But there’s one thing robots suck at doing, and that’s faking human emotion. No one really knows where Hillary Clinton stands on any single issue, because her views are an amalgamation of polling data and focus-group testing. She’s a humorless political machine whose creepy, mechanized emulation of “human laughter” scares the ever-loving shit out of most people.
And that’s why even today, so many months into the Trump presidency, Clinton is still viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans. A recent Bloomberg poll shows she’s even less popular today than Donald Trump. It’s impossible to really like or trust a candidate when you can’t really be sure where they truly stand on any issue. You can’t convince someone of such things without authenticity. And that’s the same exact problem the Democratic Party as a whole is suffering from today.
The Anointment of Kamala Harris for 2020: Did The Democratic Party Learn Nothing From 2016?
Progressive Democrats distrusted and disliked Clinton as much as anyone else. But regardless, the party added insult to injury by anointing Clinton as their “Chosen One” before the 2016 Democratic Primary had really begun. The party’s establishment determined Clinton would win, public opinion be damned, and those progressives who supported Bernie Sanders or anyone else? They were classified as enemies of the party and driven away by moderate Democrats who felt the party didn’t need or even want them.
It should come as no surprise then that progressives aren’t too happy with the anointment of freshman California Senator Kamala Harris for the 2020 race. A sect of Clinton’s former 2016 donors and staffers have donned her as their candidate of choice to run in the next election, and on paper, it’s easy to see why party-first Democrats are keen on her. Like Clinton, Harris is a staunch moderate. And like Barack Obama, Harris is experienced enough to do a good job, but not so overly experienced that people will see her as a career politician. She seems like a perfectly logical choice… right?
But a small room of party elites shouldn’t get to decide the winner of the party’s 2020 primary. After all, this is supposed to be an election, not a coronation.
Harris doesn’t have much to offer progressive voters. She’s pro-choice, a proponent of gun control, and she’s opposed to the death penalty. But those are all positions democrats generally favor, be they progressive or liberal or neoliberal. She seems to favor single-payer health care, but not in the firebrand manner progressives are accustomed to. Even there, her commitment level is best classified as mild. If the party’s leadership were to insist she back off single-payer, it’s probably safe to assume that’s precisely what she’d do. And that’s the problem with Kamala Harris. She doesn’t really seem committed to any issues on a personal level. Well, apart from her viewing the parents of truant school kids as criminals, that is.
The anointment of Kamala Harris shows that Democrats still don’t really know what they stand for, apart from trying to win elections. Choosing a moderate candidate with over-simplified positions that loosely cater to the center-left can hardly be classified as a bold political statement. And bold statements are precisely what Democrats should be looking to make right now.
The ‘Better Deal?’ Better For Whom?
And then comes this week’s grave insult to the progressive base: an obvious attempt at pandering to progressive voters that is already failing harder than Donald Trump’s autocorrect feature on his phone: the Democratic Party’s so-called “Better Deal.” A nauseating, cringe-worthy title they’ve slapped onto a new policy agenda that should be more aptly titled “Let’s Pander to Progressives And Hope They Don’t Notice.”
The name is obviously intended to be an homage to Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal and FDR’s New Deal. Teddy Roosevelt and FDR are both heroes of the contemporary progressive movement, so surely, the Democratic Party intends to win over progressives with some serious reform proposals, right? Medicare for all, environmentalism, universal college tuition, a pro-union expansion of labor laws, and some good ole’ fashioned Roosevelt-style trust-busting?
Not a chance!
The Democrats’ “Better Deal” is meant to emulate the appearance of progressive ideals, but certainly has very little substance. And it’s broken down into three points that fall dismally short of winning over progressives or, more importantly, actually doing anything that helps the country.
With their Better Deal, Democrats are promising to create jobs with infrastructure, fight monopolization, and tackle prescription drug costs. But all of these proposals are absolutely toothless, and quite frankly insulting to progressive voters who are demanding real legislation on these fronts.
They’re promising infrastructure and the jobs that come with it, but that’s something everyone promises. We never really see anything come of big infrastructure promises, and until we see shovels hitting dirt, it’s pointless to get excited about them. They’re attempting to channel their inner-Roosevelt with a vow to bust up monopolies, but they make no mention of going after the big banks or the financial institutions that need trust-busting and fresh regulations like a fish needs water. And they talk about lowering prescription drug costs, but still get chilly whenever progressives talk about adopting true single-payer healthcare.
So what is this new agenda? It’s a bunch of moderate, middle-of-the-road, substance-free nonsense. They aren’t establishing positions or firmly planting themselves on these issues. It’s more noncommittal hogwash from a party that has perfected noncommittal hogwash in the past twenty or thirty years.
The Democratic Party Isn’t Getting This, And There Aren’t Many More Ways For Us To Explain It To Them
To their credit, the Democrats seem to acknowledge that they’re doing things wrong. But like a child attempting to glue together a vase they’ve just accidentally knocked over and smashed, Democrats are trying to fix what’s broken in all the wrong ways. They need help from a grown-up. Lots of help. Because right now, they’re just cutting their fingers when they aren’t gluing them together.
The Democratic Party isn’t going to win back progressives with begrudgingly weak-titled policy agendas or slightly-more-progressive-than-Hillary-was presidential candidates like Kamala Harris. And they’re not going to take back the White House by cautiously playing to the center and pretending that they’re more liberal than they actually are.
The Democratic Party lacks conviction. They’re not willing to fight for something unless it costs them nothing to do so. But that path of least resistance bullshit isn’t what American voters want to see from them. They want to see a party willing to fight for what they believe in, even if they don’t necessarily agree with them on every issue. Democrats aren’t doing that. They don’t seem to even really know what it is they’re fighting for. All they do know is that they really want to win.
The only way we’ll save the Democratic Party from itself is with this intervention. We need to sit them down and lovingly explain to them how their addiction to losing is hurting all of us. It’s time for the Democrats to commit to progressive values. That, or commit to the middle and quietly fade away as a third party rises from their ashes. But either way, it’s time for something to happen. And this intervention? It’s as good a place to start as any.
So please, write to your Democratic Party representatives. Author your letter the same way you would an intervention letter, outlining how their actions (and their inaction) hurt you, and send it out to them. Maybe if enough of us try to reach out, we can salvage the party before it’s too late.
Featured image courtesy of Win McNamee/ Getty Images