“Sanders can’t win the presidency. He’s too far left.” Others opine, “He’ll never get anything through congress. He hasn’t ever accomplished anything.” What is this movement then? How did a ‘nobody’ build the greatest political movement and fundraising machine in the history of the United States? Because his ideas are popular. They have broad appeal. They are just unappealing to the very few who control what goes out on the airwaves and unfortunately influence a wide swath of voters.
How did the Republicans get to be so powerful? There are a few reasons. One of which was by not giving in. Democrats need to take a lesson from that because the Republicans have successfully moved the country to the right by convincing Democrats that they have to appeal to Republicans to get re-elected. After a decade it has filtered down to Democratic voters and sadly they believe that their candidate has to be more right-wing to get elected. The corporate media propaganda machine is strong, my friends.
Another interesting twist of reality is that Joe Biden is going to be the right candidate for the job. There are many reasons why he won’t but I’ll keep this relevant to the topic at hand. In an article from today’s NYT about Texas, Ms. Swartz argues, “Those who are hoping for a purple if not blue Texas live in fear that Mr. Sanders’s name at the top of the ticket will eradicate the gains made in 2018.” This is a common theme about Sanders being bad for down-ballot Dems. They always use the bunk metric of ‘electability’ when they start talking about this theory.
Which brings us to the real facts: were those democratic victories in 2018 actually “gains”? No, they weren’t. They were a recovery from all the losses that had been incurred by the Democrats during the midterm and presidential elections when Joe Biden was at the top of the ticket as the Vice President. 2010 saw the Democrats suffer some of the worst losses ever, not just at the federal level but also in state and municipal elections. Who was at the top of the ticket then? Not Bernie Sanders. It was the moderate, VP Joe Biden! The losses continued again in 2012 and were particularly brutal in 2014 too, when Republicans had the biggest pickup of seats in the Senate by either party since Clinton & Gore’s first midterm election in 1994.
Does that make you think that a moderate candidate is the key to beating Trump? Is that really how we are going to shift this country back towards the left? No. No it’s not.
The incrementalism that House and Senate Democrats in particular have allowed to occur has resulted in the federal courts being packed with judges that have been vetted and approved by the most pro-corporate Republican think-tanks. Guess who is voting to confirm those judges? Moderate Democrats. Why are they doing that? To try and appeal to people who will never support them. What is that accomplishing? Nothing good for their candidacy (or the Party). It doesn’t get them re-elected; it doesn’t get them any brownie points with the hardcore right-wingers that are now part of the Cult of Trump. Ask Joe Donnelly. Ask Heidi Heitkamp.
Look at what the Republicans did to one of Obama’s Circuit Court nominees, Goodwin Liu, and compare their criticism of him with the bevy of actually unqualified judges that they have all rubber stamped. They held Liu’s confirmation process up for an entire year and eventually the Democrats capitulated and withdrew it, but McConnell changed the rules so that all the Trump District Court nominees are only subjected to two hours of debate. I suggest you look and see how many Trump judges have been confirmed so far vs. Obama and Biden judges in their entire 8 years.
There has been this ever so gradual shift by the Democratic Party to the right because they think that they need to make votes like that to appeal to a segment of voters. What happens is they just end up helping enact Republican policies and then when election time comes around they get slammed by Republican strategists with attack ads for their other “liberal” votes or policy positions. And then they lose!
Don’t forget about Merrick Garland. That’s the reason Trump has two Supreme Court judges under his belt already. Mitch McConnell made up some totally bogus rule and didn’t budge on hearing the nominee and none of the ”moderate” Republicans felt the need to rebuke the leader and Trump was elected and filled the seat with a hardcore Christian zealot who values the CEOs and board members over the employees doing the work. Even Joe Biden, who went behind Harry Reid’s back and cut a deal with McConnell to save the Bush Tax cuts for the 1% couldn’t get Mitch to pay him back with a hearing for Merrick Garland. Imagine that.
The Republicans don’t play that game. They stick to the script. They don’t stray from the party line no matter how ridiculous they look and as a result they have people who have been lifelong democrats talking like they are George Bush Republicans. It is really disappointing to see. Somewhere in the ether David Koch is laughing and somewhere in middle America Charles Koch is rolling in his billions because they had a long-term goal of pushing this country to the right. As an added bonus they were able to accumulate about $100 billion between the two of them in the process. Slowly but surely, the incognizant acquiescence of the establishment Democrats has allowed this conservative shift to happen to the point that they are openly opposing the one truly liberal candidate that can beat Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders. History, my fellow Democrats, is very important to not lose sight of.Print