There is some grumbling that to save the nation; the Democratic Party must come back to the center. The heads of the Democratic Party are already at the center. In fact, they are right of center. To save this nation, if imperialism is your thing, we need to employ a strategy that is inclusive of everyone and the Democrats must abandon neoliberalism.
The Democratic Party barely won (maybe) with the “just focus on white racists” and the interest of corporate interest strategy. If it weren’t for the COVID-19 currently burning its way through the Midwest I shudder to think what might have happened, but despite the fact that the mishandling of COVID-19 was a team effort— the Republicans look as if they have been able to retain the Senate.
We need a drastic overhaul, not diet Republican neoliberalism.
We need everyone.
We cannot let one portion of this nation be relegated to living in the filth produced by racism.
Everyone is not code for white racists. Everyone is Native Americans in New Mexico, Black people in Georgia, Puerto Ricans in New York and Chicago, and Jewish people in New Jersey. Everyone is working-class Black and Chicanos in Los Angeles, upper middle-class white people in Vermont, the poor white and Black people in Appalachia, and working-class Southeast Asian parents in Minnesota.
It is inclusive of not just of race but also class, and it joins people together in a vision.
At one point within the past decade, the Democratic Party had this vision and a strategy for “everyone.” It was called the 50 State Strategy. Howard Dean conceived it in 2005. With the 50 State Strategy effectively employed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) the Democrats took over the House and the Senate in 2006. It brought Indiana and Iowa along in electing the first Black US President in 2008.
It was grassroots organizing with reliable institutional support.
And it wasn’t just about having people on the ground.
It was about having a vision that people on the ground could relate to:
- Universal Healthcare
- New Energy America—to invest in renewable energy sources and address global warming issues
- Eliminating “tax credits that have outlived their usefulness” and closing corporate tax loopholes
- Supporting net neutrality
The 50 State Strategy worked in a country where racism has long been the deciding factor in portions of the Midwest and the South, and because of the electoral college —appealing to the Midwest and the South is important despite its small population. But appealing to the South and the Midwest is not code for appealing to racists, it means being vigilant against voter suppression and providing resources to progressives. We all have known that Georgia can win elections that was amplified with the organizing by Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight, and the New Georgia Project. Mijente showed that the LatinX voters can swing the Southwest and its amazing organizing brought in Arizona. Western Native Voice showed that the Native Votes have always mattered and Wisconsin, which is a must have for any election, does not happen without Black Milwaukee and Black Fox Valley.
The 50 State Strategy not only worked with organizations it also built organizations. It didn’t take marching orders from headquarters, headquarters took guidance from the grassroots.
If you have people on the ground building on an agreed upon vision, speaking to people one on one every day, you help build purview. You build purview by talking to people, getting in and supporting local media, and reciprocation in support of the local community’s vision.
Presidential campaigns reinforce what people already believe.
Campaigns are often won before the ballots are printed— unless there is a global pandemic.
So what happened?
Rahn Emanuel happened.
Emanuel was Obama’s campaign manager, and while he was skilled at short term wins, he was a strident neoliberal from Chicago, a metropolitan and highly racialized town.
Emanuel did not understand the rural Midwest or Latinos in the Southwest. He viewed Black people who weren’t Harvard educated in a pathologized matter reminiscent of the nonprofit industrial complex’s purview. See his term as the Mayor of Chicago as an ugly example of this purview.
He saw no value in building one America. Though Emanuel viewed himself as more conservative, he was actually more radical.
By excluding huge swaths of the country and perspectives in the name of political expediency — he helped create a radically right-leaning Democratic Party.
Emanuel advised Obama to abandon his vision and to abandon hope. He dismantled the 50 State Strategy and pushed Dean out of the party and put in motion a disastrous strategy that ended in a bloodbath for the Democrats in both the House in the Senate, a disaster which Obama would never recover.
- State House seats: Net loss of 249 seats, a decrease of 13 percent of the existing seats in those states
- State Senate seats: Net loss of 84 seats, a decrease of 12 percent
- Governorships: A decrease by half, from eight governors to four
- Attorney generalships: A drop by two-thirds in elected Attorney Generals, from nine to three
- U.S. House seats: A 40 percent drop, from 44 seats to 26
- U.S. Senate seats: A drop from 11 seats to 8.
And hope drifted away.
That, along with 24 hours of Fox News broadcasting unchallenged lies owing to the dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine set up the country for division. There was no one on the ground in Nebraska or Indiana to provide correct information or to protect marginalized communities.
The Voters Right Act was dismantled in 2013, and by 2016 the United States had elected Donald Trump, a former reality TV show star who was a full-blown racist fascist.
How did going further to the right and acquiescing to the racist in the Republican party work out for the United States? The Democrats? It clearly worked out horribly.
And Emanuel is still running portions of the Democratic Party. He is partially responsible for keeping the “setting money on fire” Lincoln Campaign funded and relevant. How many times does this divisive, overly aggressive, diet Republican get to mess up the DNC? His nickname is Rahmbo for god sakes, how does that translate to cooperation?
We need to go back to a country that will elect a Black man as president. We need to go back to a country that provides people with hope.
This country does not need less of AOC and Bernie’s cooperation; it needs more of it. The progressives of the Democratic Party, which includes the newly elected Cori Bush, who got to the general by beating 20-year Democrat incumbent, William Lacy Clay in the primary, is winning races with multi-racial and generationally diverse coalitions against better-funded competitors without corporate America’s blessing. We need people on the ground in every state. We need to support media in every wheat field and golden valley of this country.
We need to have a vision that includes:
- Medicare for All.
- Universal public colleges.
- Universal childcare.
- And a minimum wage that is tied to how much it costs to live in this country and not the amount it takes to not die.
- And Trump indicted for killing over 231,000 people owing to his incompetence, because in any civilized country in the world a person who committed this level of malfeasance wouldn’t be able to just go home and watch TV.
The DNC can once again be the party of the people, but it must start listening to people who have a track record of building coalitions and stop listening to people who have a track record of just having a lot of money and creating strife.