Democrats Can Stop Being Afraid

NRA ParodyHere’s something I’ve been thinking about: the harm conservatives do to themselves with their “all or nothing” approach and how Democrats need to stop allowing it.

Groups We Fear

I’m talking here about groups like the NRA. For a long time, Democrats were terrified of the NRA. But over time, the NRA became a Republican-only group. Since they would brook not even the smallest concession, only extremists went along with them — even if more reasonable politicians still feared them.

A good example of this is my Representative: Mike Thompson. I consider him ridiculously pro-gun. Yet the NRA gives him a C+ rating. So is it any wonder that the House Democrats have now passed a gun control bill? (Sponsored by Mike Thompson!)

We see the same thing with Israel. I think that Netanyahu will go down in history as the guy who screwed Israel by picking a side in US politics. Maybe this had to happen because Likud has become as extreme as the Republican Party. But to be so explicit about it was a bad tactical move.

I don’t think it is a surprise that the Democratic Party is now seeing a pushback to “Israel right or wrong.”

We Never Should Have Feared Them

Of course, it never mattered. For decades, Democrats did nothing on gun control and the NRA still vilified them and encouraged their members to almost always vote Republican. And most American Jews (Ben Shapiro — God’s elder brother — calls them JINOs) are more skeptical of Israel than the Democratic Party.

So we see two things. First, conservatives being unwilling to accept anything but complete capitulation. Second, we have had Democrats who capitulate in exchange for nothing.

De Rigueur Calls for “Realism”

The Democratic Party is slowly learning that it doesn’t need to get permission to stand-up to vile interests.

I hear a lot of people complaining that the younger, more aggressive, Democrats are being unrealistic. But it seems that it is the conventional wisdom that turning ever to the right would lead to power that was actually unrealistic. What exactly did we get from all Bill Clinton’s triangulation? Cries of “Socialism!” NAFTA and welfare “reform”? What did we get for electing Blue Dog Obama? Cries of “Socialism!” a near debt default and Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch?[1]

The Democratic Party is slowly learning that it doesn’t need to get permission to stand-up to vile interests. It goes way beyond the NRA and Israel. Warren’s plan to break-up Facebook and others is a good start. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough; even still, many Democrats think it is outrageous because they have been living in a cave made out of money the last 25 years.

The Battle Is On

The battle is on for the soul of the Democratic Party. And may I never again see an article about how young Democrats need to be realistic. It’s funny how we never saw articles saying that the Tea Party had to be more realistic. And after Trump, what is “realistic” anyway?

[1] The stolen Gorsuch nomination doesn’t matter. There will still be articles about how the Democrats are misbehaving once they have the White House. The mainstream media all stood around twiddling their thumbs while McConnell stole a seat. But anything a Democrat does to correct that will get a loud and sustained, “Foul!” Sadly, the next Democratic president will likely be in the old mode and do nothing. When they go low, we bend down so they can better kick us in the face. But that is changing.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

20 thoughts on “Democrats Can Stop Being Afraid

  1. Well, and the whole thing about incremental reforms is, they’re easy for Republicans to repeal because very few citizens know these things even exist, although they do make some improvements. A lot of what Obama achieved is now reversed. Big dreams, big projects, those are harder to enact, yet harder to walk back. To make a program immune against party whims, it has to be something clear & large.

    • I’m not sure. Obamacare is incremental (although it is large). And it has shown itself to be resistant to direct attack. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been badly wounded. And Trump wants to do even more. But ultimately, Social Security and Medicare are safe simply because they’ve been around so long. If Social Security had been enacted by Obama, the Republicans would be doing everything they can to destroy it.

      • “[Obamacare] has shown itself to be resistant to direct attack”

        Really? Then how is it that a quarter of the states never got Medicaid expansion? As we know, Medicaid accounts for the lion’s share of new coverage under Obamacare. And even in covered states Medicaid is being rapidly eroded by privatization. I was a vocal opponent of Obamacare partly because it was completely predictable that its complex and rickety apparatus would be conducive to a variety of attacks over time, diverting political energy into defending it rather than creating real reform.

        • If the Democrats had brought in a good health-insurance scheme instead of this slightly-better-than-status-quo piece of poop, Hillary Clinton would be president of the U.S.A. Incumbent parties never lose after bringing in a really good health plan; this is the evidence from almost every country.

          • “Slightly” is doing a lot of work there. Millions of people (myself included) have health insurance because of it. Given that Joe Lieberman was part of the Democratic coalition and that not a single Republican voted for it, Obamacare was good policy. And without it, I question if the Democratic Party would now be behind M4A. Obamacare was proof that there is no healthcare reform that Republicans will back. Even I didn’t think that not a single Republican would vote for such a conservative proposal.

        • Also I forgot to mention that the built-in and quite real failures of the ACA are already being used to argue against instituting something better.

          • I think they are being used much more to argue for something better. There is literally no plan that is more conservative than Obamacare. The plans that Republicans push are not about healthcare; they are about destroying the safety net and enriching the rich.

        • States that didn’t enact it is part of the implementation. And note: that was due to the Supreme Court, not the law.

          The rest is why I said “direct.” Obamacare has been greatly harmed — especially under Trump.

        • That’s true. And I’m well aware that Republican elites would love to destroy these programs. It’s a lot of things. But let’s face it: Republicans hate Obamacare because it is associated with Obama. Had there been Fox News in 1968, Nixon would have spent his entire presidency trying to destroy Johnsoncare.

  2. @ Frank — I was thinking more of the things like overtime rules for “managers,” which were slightly being changed under Obama but now massively rolled back. There are fast-food chains calling the person on night shift an assistant manager, so they can avoid paying overtime. It’s bullshit and it’s wrong, and because it’s been incrementally set up, incremental repairs aren’t going to fix it.

    • Here in California, Silicon Valley got the state to make it so that tech workers who make over a certain amount can’t get overtime. It’s the same old thing. Until we all have to work 6.5 days a week for 12 hours a day, they will not be satisfied.

  3. Thing is, the corporate Democrats don’t need to win and therefore this sort of argument, which would otherwise be conclusive, will not cut any ice with them. Their primary political aim is to protect their moneyed donors. If they win the election, they personally work to protect mammon; if they lose, the R representative protects mammon, but the corporate Democrat still gets highly-payed board memberships, kid still gets highly-payed summer job, etc. Nancy Pelosi will die rich even if her party never again controls the Senate.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of these ‘geez, the D’s electoral strategy is obviously not working why won’t they go left?’ posts around, and one must look at the self-interest of corporate D’s in order to answer it coherently. But of course that would be rude and probably misogynist/racist, because no-one possibly could have good-faith reasons to oppose Kamala Harris, right?

    • I don’t know enough about Harris yet. I didn’t vote for her for Senate. Overall, she seems okay. But there are a few things that bother me. I don’t need to make a choice at this point. And I’m currently supporting Sanders and Warren. I’m interested to see how they do. I think the primary may come down to Sanders vs Harris. I hope not.

      I don’t have a problem building a coalition with corporate-friendly Democrats. It’s all about the environment. I can always send them to the Gulag later.

  4. @RJ — There are good reasons to be against Harris. Some reasons to be for her as well. Not my first choice or my second, but if she won the nomination, I’d vote for her in the general and encourage others to do so.

    The one I really don’t like is this Beto guy. The last thing we need is an empty suit who’s good at fundraising.

    To be completely shallow and appearance-y about it, Beto looks like the husband who never picks up his dirty socks because he doesn’t think anybody ever does, the socks just magically get washed somehow…

    • That would make a great meme, James!

      I’m also not fond of Cory Booker. It’s not so much what he’s saying now. It’s that in 2012 he was saying that the Democrats shouldn’t complain so much about Wall Street. Sorry, but I think that’s what he really thinks. He’s a New Democrat who is branding himself for these times. But if he becomes president, be prepared for talk about a Grand Bargain.

    • What’s the good part? Not as dumb or evil as Trump? The Democratic Party motto (and that of many of its voters): ‘not as bad as the other guy’.

      • But I think that’s changed. The Democratic Party is hardly great, but it is far better than it was 10 years ago — much less 25 years ago!

  5. @RJ — I was being polite. Harris would not be my first choice, her record as a prosecutor is a no-go in my eyes. But I know several people with a longer history than mine of political activism like her. You always gotta respect the experience of people with longer years than you, even if you sometimes think they’re wrong.

    • I’m fine with her. She doesn’t get me excited. I’m not giving money to her campaign. But she seems like she will be fine. I’m not expecting the revolution. Not yet anyway.

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