You are now the opposition party.
The Democratic party lost the election primarily because you, collectively, ceased to be in touch with your voters. While approximately half of our nation has recovered from the Great Recession, the other half still lives in it. Your candidate not only chose to ignore those voters, but they were vilified, causing wide rifts to open among Democratic voters where there should have been a very old scar that was still in need of healing. Democrats of all stripes abstained from voting, for the fourth election in a row, out of disgust for what the party has become. Yes, some switched sides or voted third-party, but the bulk of the loss was due to non-participation. The anger that had been simmering was generalized across race, gender, and class, with class being the unifying factor.
In a new poll, the vast majority of Democratic voters are not giving newly-installed President Trump the benefit of the doubt. Congressional Democrats, neither should you!
The Grand Ole Party is now working at breakneck speed to roll back every inch of progress this nation has made since the 1950’s, including civil rights. They’ll take things even further back if time allows. Since Democrats cannot block Republicans, they should not help them in any way, by giving legitimacy to their actions – either via compromises or otherwise.
Triangulation, introduced into our politics by President Bill Clinton, is what has brought us to this low point in our history.
“In politics, triangulation is the strategy in which a political candidate presents their ideology as being above or between the left and right sides (or “wings”) of a traditional (e.g. American or British) democratic political spectrum. It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one’s political opponent. The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent’s ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue.”
When faced with Republican intransigence, Democrats pursued collaboration with a party that was hell-bent on the obstruction and nullification of a sitting president. The net-effect of this political philosophy has been the dilution of core Democratic positions and the adoption and legislation of policies that are not only diametrically-opposed to voters’ will and intent, but detrimental to them. Triangulation has had the opposite of its intended effect and weakened the party to the point of near-oblivion, instead of elevating it to a position of greater prevalence and esteem.
Looking back at President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, it was a prime example of triangulation. The legislation was modeled after a conservative think tank’s healthcare policy. Romneycare was implemented by then Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Did triangulating on healthcare yield the desired result? Obviously, it hasn’t, as Obamacare is now in the process of being dismantled. The Hill reports that a Republican senator is preparing to introduce legislation that would ensue pre-existing conditions continue to be covered after the ACA is replaced:
““We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions continue to get covered,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said on CNN Thursday. “In fact, I’ll introduce a bill next week that will provide and reaffirm that commitment from Republicans.””
On the surface, this would seem like just the kind of effort Democrats should support. Right? The Hill’s article goes on to describe a rather significant caveat:
“A Democratic aide familiar with a version of the bill said that the measure would provide for an enrollment period during which people with pre-existing conditions could get coverage. However, the aide said under the current language, insurers could charge a client any price if they have had a period of no coverage.”
Given these qualifiers, should Senate Democrats get behind Greg Walden’s legislation? Clearly, they should go nowhere near it. Senator Rand Paul’s proposed replacement is no better, by the way. Whatever happens to Obamacare, the GOP needs to own it in its entirety. Democrats should have no part in the repeal or replacement of Obamacare. Any Senator or member of Congress who breaks with the caucus should be expelled permanently.
The Guardian posted this video montage of some of the most jaw-dropping moments in the confirmation hearings.
What are these moments worth, though, if John McCain, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, all three of whom grandstanded during the confirmation hearings, ended up caving? What about Elizabeth Warren voting in favor of the likes of Ben Carson? What about 14 Democrats who voted against a bill that would have allowed pharmaceuticals to be imported from Canada? What about 17 Democrats who will vote for the NSA, CIA, State and other nominees? Won’t those votes make them complicit in Trump’s oligarchy? Won’t it lend their legitimization to what is the most corrupt administration yet? All those things are wrong for Democrats to do and just cannot stand.
Democrats have been advocating resistance to Trump in public all the while quietly making deals and facilitating the setting up of Trump’s cabinet. As the GOP dismantles everything that has been good and ethical about our policies and way of government, there isn’t a single deal Democrats can now make with Republicans that will, in the end, turn out to be beneficial for Americans. Let the GOP do what it does and let them own it all completely.
Voters have been calling their senators non-stop since the start of the confirmation hearings. Betsy DeVos’ nomination has galvanized millions of people in opposition to her. Politico reports that tens of thousands of constituents have flooded the Senate with letters and calls:
The office of Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from the large battleground state of Pennsylvania, has received more than 50,000 letters and emails opposing DeVos’ confirmation as education secretary — a “very high” level compared to other Cabinet nominees, Casey’s office said. Casey has said he will vote “no” to confirming DeVos during Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Her confirmation hearing was a disaster:
In an article entitled, ‘Democrats reject her, but they helped pave the road to education nominee DeVos,’ the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss writes about Senator Cory Booker:
“He appeared at the May 2016 policy summit of DeVos’s American Federation for Children, which he called “an incredible organization,” and he urged the attendees to “stay faithful to the work we are doing.” Booker came out before DeVos’s confirmation hearing saying he had “serious early concerns” about her becoming education secretary but that sounded to many as much about politics as DeVos’s education philosophy.”
On his Senate website, Booker writes:
“After her confirmation hearing, I still have serious concerns about Betsy DeVos leading the Department of Education and will not be voting to confirm her.”
It took a lot of public pressure to get Booker there, when there should not have been a need to begin with. Sadly, no amount of pressure worked on Booker when it came to voting against Big Pharma. Booker was one of 14 Democrats who broke ranks. When it comes to who rakes in donations, it turns out that Booker is rivaled by Mitch McConnell, leaving many other Democrats in the dust, when it comes to corporate money… What other issues will there be down the road that Booker, along with those same 13 other colleagues, against which they will again abandon the resistance? There shouldn’t be any. There wouldn’t be any, were the leadership steadfast and unencumbered by money in politics.
7. Only 17 Democrats are publicly opposing Sessions, who couldn't get confirmed as a federal judge because of his history of racism
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 25, 2017
Donald Trump’s first week has been a whirlwind of activity seldom seen in a new White House, with all of the activity being negative.
— Rima Regas, Blog#42 (@Rima_Regas) January 26, 2017
Meanwhile, on the Fight for $15 front, this is the opposition that is building against the Trump nominee for Labor:
— Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) January 26, 2017
— Fight for $15 LA (@Fightfor15LA) January 25, 2017
Trump lurches through chaotic day https://t.co/JmzELzXbTh
— Rima Regas, Blog#42 (@Rima_Regas) January 27, 2017
That chaotic day included telling the president of Mexico not to come, unless he was prepared to pay for the border wall and floating the notion that it could be paid by imposing a 20% import tax on goods made in Mexico. That last trial balloon exploded spectacularly:
Graham: Trump proposal on Mexican imports 'mucho sad' https://t.co/MNZFotUrb0
— Rima Regas, Blog#42 (@Rima_Regas) January 27, 2017
Eventually, Trump walked it back, saying it was only one possibility.
The other serious matter that took place was the mass-resignation of the State Department’s senior management team:
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.
Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land.”
There is nothing good to be expected from this Trump administration and, therefore, no help should be extended by Democrats in the opposition. Trump and Republicans in Congress must be allowed wide berth to do as they intend, without tacit or explicit approval from Democrats. The disaster that is sure to follow cannot be prevented. In order to prevent going back to an obstructed government, Democrats must allow the GOP to completely fail with the public. Democrats cannot ask the public to resist while compromising on the sly and not expect dire repercussions. The compromises of the last 30 years have, essentially, allowed for a state of affairs in which both parties are pulled to the right and policies the left would never have entertained became mainstream among liberal Democrats, making them indistinguishable from moderate Republicans. This, at the foundation, is what most Democratic voters objected to this election season, and the reason why Democrats have been losing these past four cycles.
What can each of us do?
Call – don’t write your members of Congress and Senate. Do leave messages like these on Facebook.
Donate to the ACLU, NAACP and civil rights organizations. All of them will be crucial during the years to come, as Democrats are unable to stop harmful legislation. They will be the frontline in the war to keep a semblance of democracy and ethics standards.
Breitbart honcho and Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, said today that the media should shut up. That comment drew the immediate response from journalists and their outlets. The best response came from CNN’s Jake Tapper:
I leave you with this relic from the past. A lot of pundits have been (over)using Nazi imagery over the past few weeks. In my opinion, such usage should always be left for truly extraordinary times. We have reached that point now:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Republicans are now on a path that cannot be halted. Democrats are at a dangerous point in time with voters. Establishment politics just won’t do anymore; not when faced with the Trump oligarchy and its overt rot.
Dear Democrats, the public is engaged and watchful now. The mere appearance of compromise with Donald Trump and House and Senate Republicans will be a stain on the party. Democrats must lead the opposition and resist the GOP, all the while working to earn back the trust of voters. Anything less will spell yet another disaster in two years.
James Baldwin said it best: