I’ll admit it: I’m an extremist. If I had my druthers, I’d dismantle the capitalist system. It’s morally indefensible. But I’m also a practical guy. So I’m more than willing to accept the Democratic Party. But I want to push it in the right direction. It’s hilarious that Bernie Sanders goes around calling himself a socialist and people don’t slap him. Do words no longer have any meaning?!
But I’m definitely part of the “Sanders wing” of the Democratic Party. I’m willing to accept a party that supports unions and takes care of the poor and doesn’t apologize for the fact that, yes, we have to pay taxes for that. And just to prove it, I just paid over 22 percent of my income last year to the federal government. And I’m proud to do it, even though I don’t make that much money. I assure you that Donald Trump and Mitt Romney both paid a far smaller percentage of their incomes.
Allies Who Disagree
So what I’m saying is that as a practical matter, I’m a good old fashioned New Deal and Great Society Democrat. But I understand that the New Democrats still have enormous power in the party. And I understand that the party is still wedded to neoliberal ideas. It’s always a better idea to give money to the rich so they can give a job to the poor than to just give the money (Or the job!) to the poor. Everything has to be complicated because — Damnit! — Ezra Klein and Bill Clinton are both really smart guys and they don’t cotton to no simple answers!
But I get it. Somethings things are complicated. I’m not against that. But just as Republicans approach every problem with a long list of things they absolutely can’t do because of their ideology, the New Democrat side of the Democratic Party approaches every problem by assuming that simple answers won’t work. I think they’re wrong. And I will argue with them. But I understand that they are on my side.
The problem is: I don’t think they understand that I’m on their side. I think they are like the The People’s Front of Judea:
Intra-Fighting Trumps (!) Inter-Fighting
It seems to be worse in the United Kingdom, where the establishment of the Labour Party (You know: the ones who kept losing elections!) seem happier to see the Tories in control of the government than Labour if scary old Jeremy Corbyn leads the party. And this was always my single biggest concern about Bernie Sanders during the last Democratic primary. For all the bellyaching about Sanders supporters not supporting Clinton in the general election, we did — in a big way.
But I feel certain that had Sanders won the primary, the establishment would have treated him the way they treated George McGovern in 1972. “The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People’s Front!”
Democratic Party: Too Big a Tent
And actually, there’s a reason for this. The United States is a one-party country. The Republicans aren’t a political party. They’re just a group of nuts. The only people who are actually interested in how the government is run are now in the Democratic Party. And in that way the New Democrats and the New Deal Democrats really are two parties. But hey: we’re stuck together for right now. We are on the same side: the side that thinks the government should actually work for the people.
Sure, you would think the Republicans would be for that too, but they aren’t. And that’s the reason that the Democratic Party with its far too big a tent needs to stick together. And that is why I was a strong supporter of Hilary Clinton. Because on the issues that are open for discussion in our deeply troubled country, I agreed with her the vast majority of the time.
We’ve Got to Get Along — for Now
My question to the New Democrats is whether they can see that. I got into a big fight with an old friend over Glenn Greenwald, even though I have little doubt that my friend not only agrees with me the vast majority of the time but that he agrees with Greenwald the vast majority of the time.
The only way we save this country is if we hate the “Romans” more than the “fucking Judean People’s Front!” And if we do, we can destroy the Republicans. Then we can dig deeper and disagree enough to have two different political parties. (Actually, all the New Democrats would just become Republicans. Or we would. What’s in a name?) But if the New Democrats think that’s going to happen by brushing the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party aside, they are sadly mistaken, and we might all just give up now.
That phrase “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” is most known from Howard Dean. Other than his stance on the Iraq War, I’m not much of a fan of the man. He is a New Democrat. Dean took the phrase from Paul Wellstone and so I claim it as ours: the people who want more Great Society and less welfare “reform” and education “reform” — the people who want more equality and less of the false promise of “equality of opportunity.”
And don’t go complaining that there is a tiny group of liberals who won’t vote for the Democratic Party. This has been true my entire life. Just because they liked Bernie Sanders doesn’t mean anything. The vast majority of Sanders supporters voted for Clinton — about the same as the number of Clinton supporters who voted for Obama in 2008. I have one thing to say to anything anyone wants to say on this issue: all Indians walk in single-file, at least the only one I ever saw did.
Learn statistics, folks!
I’ve more or less changed my mind about who gets to be a dick around here.