Establishment democratic politics and what motivates it is entirely obvious: Never propose any policy that threatens powerful economic interests (banks, corporations, insurance companies, energy companies, educational companies, automotive corporations, etc) because their campaign contributions depend upon these industries and will dry up if they attempt to do anything about their abuses.
Towards this end, the democratic establishment does everything it can to divert attention elsewhere. Its entire machinery is designed to suppress any meaningful discussion of these issues and, even worse, to ensure that there’s never any meaningful policy addressing these issues.
First, it perpetually strives to make elections about republicans being worse so that
- a) people will accept whatever lame policy and ineffectiveness our own ineffective politicians propose because those republicans are just so damned spooky!
- b) people won’t address the real division between the 1% and the rest of us.
I swear, if I see another front pager or Clintonian ramble about how the republicans are worse so we have to embrace our own crappy candidates, I’ll scream. This is not because the republicans aren’t worse, but because this whole line of argumentation is clearly diversionary and a way of disciplining the population so as to favor big money interests over the interests of the planet and everyone else. Republicans are worse. We get it. Enough already. You know why we don’t get the people to the polls, though? Because they don’t think we’ll do anything to address the issues they deal with daily.
Do you know why people vote against their own self-interest and become bigots and rightwing religious fanatics? A big part of it— not all, but a big part –is because their lives are hopeless and they are so powerless that they can only conceive of a god doing something for them and they scapegoat their woes on other groups. It’s jaw dropping to hear “democrats” actively deny the relationship between cultural politics and economics as if the link doesn’t exist. But again, the reason is transparent. Acknowledging such a thing would require acknowledging the big fat corrupt campaign finance system in the room and we can’t have that, can we?
Second, they perpetually strive to make politics EXCLUSIVELY about CULTURAL issues so as to divert attention from anything to do with economic politics. This is the “Look, Squirrel!” strategy. If people are constantly talking about the latest idiocy of religious fundamentalists and rightwing bigots, then they don’t talk about economic politics. As a gay man, I find this particularly irritating as I feel I’m being USED. I have to, of course, engage in cultural politics because this shit affects my life. Nonetheless, the democratic establishment tells me that we can’t deal with environmental and economic issues because we’re too busy in the struggle for civil rights. It’s absolutely disgusting.
Third, they convince us that nothing is possible because of congressional deadlock so we just have to be “adult, pragmatic realists” and deal with the shitty system we have. The entire Clinton campaign is about beating us down and telling us that there’s nothing to be done but embroider around the edges. That’s what they’re selling: hopelessness.
They’re right, there’s nothing that can be done RIGHT NOW because congress is a mess. However, that doesn’t preclude getting our message out there, and forcefully defending and selling it. If we can just get our message out there, if we just share it with the American people, we will begin to build support. If we build support we get more votes and more people to the polls. If we get more people to the polls we get more offices. If we get more offices we create an environment where EVENTUALLY we WILL be able to enact meaningful policy. This is how the Reaganites did it. It took decades. They didn’t preach “pragmatic realism”. Instead they gave a muscular defense of their policies and philosophy and eventually, over time, made that philosophy the reigning conventional wisdom. Why don’t we do this? What are we afraid of? Again, the clear and transparent answer is money. The establishment knows that our message will threaten their ability to draw the corporate money they use to fund their elections, so they adopt a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil strategy and strive to make democratic politics SOLELY about cultural politics because this politics is no threat to those interests.
You can palpably sense the panic among Clintonians and Clinton supporters. It’s as if they unconsciously know that this is how the system works (that’s being charitable, because if it’s not unconscious, that means these are horrible, horrible people). They’re panicked that any economic politics is being discussed at all. They’ve tried to portray discussion of these issues as somehow being “white male issues”, despite the fact that the systematic injustice of this system— a system our elected leadership has helped to DESIGN since Bill Clinton you fuckers –affects EVERYONE and disproportionately affects women and people of color. With arguments like this people are literally using cultural politics to FURTHER the aims of oppression and inequality. It’s disgusting and transparent.
Second, we’ve heard people make the GROTESQUELY STUPID argument that because Sanders is unlikely to be successful in getting his proposals through, we shouldn’t support him. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered a more idiotic argument. It took conservatives DECADES to accomplish their goals and so change the field of politics that even (establishment) dems became republicans. They only accomplished this by continuously fighting for their platform and articulating it in public. No one is under any illusions that a left revolution such as Sanders is proposing will happen overnight or tomorrow. What’s symptomatic is that Clintonians argue we shouldn’t even try. It’s both bizarre and revealing.
This article originally appeared at Daily Kos.