This afternoon I took a little time away from work for a medical appointment, and I had the pickup to get me to the clinic and back. On returning to work from the clinic, I caught a bit of PDR, including the weekly blog post. (Unfortunately, as of this writing, the link to the Blog of the Week is broken.)
The headline for this entry on the PDR website, is quite correct, in my estimation: It is [indeed] up to progressive activists to win the election in 2018, if their goal is to flip both house of Congress and some state legislatures to Democratic control. In his reading of the blog entry, Willies went on to make some excellent points, which I will take the liberty of expanding:
- In media appearances, Democratic politicians are usually quite adept at answering the questions, but not so good at answering the questions that should be asked. As of now, Democrats do not drive the political narrative, and thus voters are clueless as to what the Democratic Party and its candidates actually stand for. The liberal mindset wants policy to be based on facts—which is admirable, but it leads to fact-based responses that conservatives too easily overcome with mere rhetoric.
- Democratic candidates and office-holders should be saturating the media with truly progressive proposals, including single-payer health care, subsidized child care, free public universities, and ending the drug war and mass incarceration.
- The Democratic establishment, with its addiction to corporate money, stands as a bulwark against progressive proposals that are proven winners—you know, the old "Dems have lost a thousand legislative seats (net) since 2009 because they haven't talked a populist-progressive game" argument that Jimmy Dore often advances.
Here is where Willies and I part company: He firmly believes (or seems to) that the Democratic Party can be reformed from within, that groups like Indivisible and Swing Left can infiltrate the party's machinery and, by sheer force of numbers and youth, remake the party as a vehicle for progressive change. After all, as Indivisible would say, look what happened to the Republican Party with the Tea Party insurgency of 2009-10, when Tea Baggers attracted huge post–Citizens United donations and got themselves elected.
From what I've heard from other KPFT public affairs jocks, Willies is certainly not alone in this delusion. That's scary. On-air personalities at Pacifica, Radio for Peace, still somehow see Democrats as the Party of Peace, even after all those Congressional votes in which Democrats have given Republican presidents a blank check for undeclared wars.
The Duopoly Is the Enemy
Willies, like far too many Americans, is stuck in the two-party paradigm. Yes, our current system is set up to facilitate two dominant parties, both of which dance to the same corporate fiddle and compete more intensely for campaign cash than for votes. We need to change that system, and radically, not keep propping it up. We need to resist it more forcefully than the pussy-hat crowd are resisting Trumpism, with any tools and techniques at our disposal.
The two-party duopoly is the enemy of the people. The so-called two-party system, bankrolled by and answerable to two slightly different flavors of fascists, is the monster we must defeat.
I don't use the term fascists lightly. I refer to Benito Mussolini's own definition of fascism, which he said should rightly be called corporatism. Whichever faction of the Corporate Party holds the White House and Congress, a corporatist oligarchy rules here.
Willies also likes to call out the corporatocracy on his show. He knows who really runs things in this nation. Corporatocrats will not allow single-payer and tuition-free college to come to pass.
In order for Democratic candidates to make these proposals with a straight face, and this win back the millions of progressive voters who have abandoned the Democratic Party, it must follow the lead of the Green Party and stop taking corporate cash. They won't, of course, for fear that only Republicans would receive all that lovely money, but for decades they have mostly refused even to challenge the system that benefits Republican candidates and their benefactors.
A Sidenote about Beto
Before you say something like, "Well, Democrat Beto O'Rourke isn't taking money from political action committees in his US Senate campaign!" shut up and read this. There may be a lot of $0 figures in the PAC columns of his fund-raising summaries, but there are still PACs behind it. Interestingly, O'Rourke's top contributor is the non-profit J Street, which funnels its donations through J Street PAC. That's why it seems odd to me, given that fact, that he hasn't been hammering on about a two-state solution in Palestine.
In fact, there's little or nothing about foreign policy on O'Rourke's Issues page. If he were half as articulate on foreign policy as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, I wouldn't be so hesitant to reward him with my vote for his sheer not-Ted-Cruz-ness.