Barack Obama called a cop stupid in July 2009 and lost white support for the rest of his presidency. For weeks the right wing howled, the progressives snorted and the moderate Dems capitulated. Instead of flexing their majority muscle in the Senate, the Democrats in charge of moving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) legislation kept making concessions to the Republicans who were never ever gonna vote for it or for ANY legislation proposed by Obama.
While the Dems wrung their hands about “reaching across the aisle,” the Republican donor base ginned up the AstroTurf roots of the Tea Party, which laid the groundwork for Donald Trump with, “I want my country back!”
Before the ACA Legislation was passed in 2010, moderate Democrats killed the public option, and in the midterm elections that followed, Democrats suffered historic losses, including the majority in the House of Representatives. In what he described as a “Shellacking” Obama took blame from the left for not including a public option and then those same Moderate Democrats who killed the public option blamed him for not “reaching across the aisle” to work with the GOP minority. Thanks to “progressive” commentators such as Ed Schultz and Cenk Uygur, lefties and libs stayed home, and in an electoral fit of pique gave the House back to the Republicans.
That became the framing of the rest of the Obama Administration. No matter the situation the Administration’s efforts never met the muster of the mainstream, and as result was red meat for the right-wing media whose coverage was mirrored in the mainstream media.
What my Grandma Rosella said was correct, “Son, always know in this country you got to be twice as good . . .”
Obama couldn’t even mourn the murder of a young man when he thought — as almost every black man thought with good reason — “That could’ve been me, that could have been my son.” To many on the center-right, his words, “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon” meant he was “taking sides.” Unfortunately, while left-leaning commentators blamed Obama for not plowing full steam ahead to “protect his legacy.” center-right commentators insisted Obama should just use his Green Lantern Ring of Power and just “lead.”
Brother couldn’t win and neither could the USA.
For some reason, moderate Democrats to this day insist the party must “reach across the aisle” and “compromise” to “get things done” despite a decade of empirical evidence there is no compromise with Republicans other than total capitulation.
That’s the recent history, but the Democratic Party and its consultant class are still making the same mistakes they’ve made since 1964, trying to win the mythical votes of the white working class. Democrats expect the 90 percent of the black vote to come their way, but rather than making sure to turn out MORE black voters they always try to gain the votes of people who haven’t voted for them since Lyndon Johnson was elected in 1964. Johnson signed civil rights and voting rights legislation and the majority of white voters left the party never to return.
Bill Clinton lied about an affair and was impeached by the GOP morality commission yet saw his popularity soar to a 73 percent approval rating. By the time he left office he was still at 65 percent. However, the Democrats ran as far from him as they could per the conventional wisdom of the moderate New Democrats who claimed to blend social liberalism with fiscal conservatism.
Even with one hand tied (Bill Clinton) behind their backs and a liberal icon, (Ralph Nader) in their face, it took a Supreme Court decision to award the 2000 election and the presidency to Republican George W. Bush over Democratic Vice President Al Gore, a decision so fucked up that SCOTUS made it clear the case was NOT to be used as a precedent. In the process of getting mugged with electoral irregularities in the deciding state of Florida, Democrats were afraid of riling up the conservatives and alienating the “middle” of the electorate, while the Republicans literally staged a riot to stop the recount.
In 2004 the moderate Democrats had the crap scared out of them by the candidacy of Gov. Howard Dean, who was poised to make some serious noise in the primaries until he made some actual noise after Iowa and was finished. The nominee that year was Sen. John Kerry an actual war hero whose military career was supposed to be his advantage over Bush but was ultimately weaponized against him in the campaign, as was his effort not to offend anyone. With all that effort to appease the centrists, the 2004 election narrowly turned in Bush’s favor because of election “irregularities” in Democratic areas (black voters) of Ohio.
Nationally, Kerry lost the white vote by 41-58 percent but won the black vote by 88-11 percent. Once again, white voters forsook the Democrats in spite of the efforts made by Democrats to woo them. Many of us have had conversations on race and politics where someone said, “Well, white people elected Barack Obama!”
No. White people did not elect Barack Obama. Some definitely helped in the effort because they voted in a coalition of African-Americans, Hispanics, women, independents, millennials and those with a college education. Overall? Obama received 43 percent of the white vote in 2008 and 39 percent in 2012, but hey, they would have voted for Obama a third time if they could.
The Democrats can expend huge amounts of time and resources tilting at the white working class windmills scattered across the Rust Belt, or they could remember the working class isn’t just white and there are many working class brown and black voters who have migrated South over the last few decades. Not every black person lives in an area where if you go buy bread you get shot!
The desire to return to “normal” is not only whimsical it is dangerous.
The common refrain from the “liberal media” and (those folks who swore Bill Barr was an institutionalist) is how we need to get back to a more civil discourse; a return to normalcy, so to speak.
However, if our goal is “getting back to normal,” well, that really sucks for most of us . . . but that’s what the Democrats do. The Republicans talk about bi-partisanship and Democrats always seek compromise even when it is obvious the GOP will never hesitate to act in the best interests of their donor base and mug the Democrats at every turn. Merrick Garland, anyone?
Anyone who says Democrats should reach across the aisle for the sake of getting things done has no idea what’s going on and doesn’t feel the apprehension many of us feel. In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation we saw the GOP exercise raw, naked power as it proclaimed, “this is a nation by, of and for rich white men and don’t you forget it!”
Republicans bring guns to knife fights, Democrats bring covered dishes.
There is no bottom to these bastards . . . there can be no compromise with the GOP. The Trump Administration has been intentionally traumatizing refugee children at the border, and now children of factory workers in Mississippi, making them prime targets for gang recruitment as they’ve had family units disrupted and know they cannot trust our government. They also know the president is “inspiring” white supremacist violence against them, along with every other segment of society that isn’t white. But bullets have no conscience, so . . .
In 2019, moderate Democrats and the media love to say the Blue Wave is the result of Democrats flipping Red seats so therefore the majority of the party belongs to centrist voters who voted for Obama in 2012 but voted Trump in 2016. Theoretically? Sure. But really?
How many of those folks actually believed in Obama as a truly transformative figure and then voted for a guy who is hell bent on deconstructing everything Obama stood for? Not as many as pundits would like us to believe.
The more likely scenario is a whole lot of folks who voted for Obama in those Midwest counties did not vote for Trump or Clinton, but instead stayed home, voted third party or worse, wrote in some random name or left the presidential ballot slot blank.
Conventional wisdom counsels the Democrats to tack to the middle and avoid “going too far left” but when have you heard members of the Very Smart People put forth “conventional wisdom” about the Republicans going too far right? Never. That’s why a tactic the GOP is putting a lot of weight behind will most likely backfire. They are determined to make “The Squad” the face of the Democratic Party.
The Squad IS the future of the Democratic Party, and fortunately the future is now.