- Politics and Social Issues
Obama and Clinton Ruined the Democrat Party
Despite public opinion polling which shows that the American public is left of center, the United States is an incredibly right-wing country – and that is directly due to the ineptitude of the Democratic Party and, specifically, Barack Obama and the Clintons.
The majority of people in this country want gun safety measures. We want marijuana to be legalized and want to end the War on Drugs. We want a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants. We believe in marriage equality. We support a woman’s right to control her own body. We want universal, single-payer healthcare. We want tuition-free college. We want a more equitable tax system where the wealthy pay more. And we want to remove the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Unfortunately, due to the first-to-the-goalpost presidential Electoral College system, we have a two-party, binary system. There are solutions to that problem – from a popular vote to proportional representation or ranked-choice voting. Since the Electoral College was established in 1787 we’ve maintained but two major political parties. Parties have lived and died and been replaced over time – but always just two. And the problem we have today is that neither the Democratic nor Republican Party represents the people.
Now, the majority of the country opposed civil rights in the 1960’s, so majority rule is not always best. But this is a democratic republic after all, so we elect representatives to act in our best interests. And the problem we have is that those representatives, regardless of party, act in such direct opposition to the majority on such a vast number of areas.
In fact, a Harvard study going back to the 1970’s shows that the will of the American public has no effect on public policy. The study looked only at polling in which respondents were required to disclose their incomes. What is found is that public policy is directly tied to the opinions of the wealthy, and the only time public policy reflected the will of the majority is when the wealthy happen to agree with the rest of the country.
There are myriad reasons for this, the prime one being a string of disastrous Supreme Court decisions going back decades, including the infamous citizens United, which have essentially legalized political bribery. This can be fixed, too, with a 28th Amendment to get money out of politics. We must have public financing of elections so that politicians represent the people rather than their private election financiers.
But that’s not the system we have. In this, corrupt system, we have the Democrats and Republicans. The current parties sorted themselves out in the wake of the Civil Rights era, when President Lyndon B. Johnson famously and correctly predicted that, due to his signing of the Civil rights Act, Democrats would lose the South for 50 years.
Richard Nixon accelerated the shift with his racist Southern Strategy, which the past two Republican Party chairmen have apologized for. But it worked. Republicans took the South and Nixon won twice. Ronald Wilson Reagan married the religious right with the Republican Party and defeated the Democrats twice as well. George McGovern and Jimmy Carter were cast as the villains. Democrats were cast as the party of welfare queens, pinko commies, and stoner pacifists.
They were lost. They freaked out. And they sold out.
Bill Clinton and Al Gore took the money and sold the soul of the party when they teamed up with the Koch Brothers for the Democratic Leadership Council.
Bill Clinton left the presidential campaign trail to witness the execution of a black man and Hillary Clinton fear-mongered young, black “super-predators”. Bill Clinton signed the Crime Bill - he exploded the prison population with Three Strikes and mandatory minimums and increases in the numbers of cops and prisons. Bill Clinton screwed over poor folks when he gutted welfare. Bill Clinton signed the homophobic Defense of Marriage Act and instituted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military. Bill Clinton bombed a medicine factory in Sudan.
Bill Clinton (not Reagan) signed NAFTA, which enriched multinational corporations and the wealthy by shipping American jobs to Mexico. Bill Clinton deregulated the media with the Telecommunications Act which resulted in the consolidation of 50 major media companies into six. Bill Clinton deregulated the banks which lead to the housing bubble which caused the financial crisis (which Bush exacerbated with tax cuts for the wealthy and war spending).
The people of the country saw what the Clintons had done and the party was a shambles. They lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in decades and got impeached over a blowjob. They lost twice to a doofus war criminal who bungled Katrina and destroyed the economy.
Then, along came a charismatic and attractive man who won twice on the promise of changing a broken system in D.C. - despite being black and named Hussein in a country that would soon elect Donald Trump.
What lead to Trump? Barack Obama.
Obama bailed out the banks (Bush, too), gave them near-zero interest rates on billions of dollars for years-on-end with quantative easing, and failed to prosecute a single bankster for their crimes. Obama made 90% of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. Obama promised a public option but instead gave us the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s healthcare plan with zero cost controls and 30 million without coverage despite having full control of congress.
Obama implemented no gun safety reform whatsoever. Obama did nothing to curtail the War on Drugs or mass incarceration. Obama did nothing about money in politics and instead took fundraising to new levels. Obama did nothing on immigration reform and instead earned the moniker Deporter-in-Chief.
Obama reneged on his promise to put on a soft shoe for unions and instead abandoned the teachers in Wisconsin. Obama used the Department of Homeland Security to quash Occupy Wall Street. Obama “let things play out” with the Dakota Access Pipeline while oil cops brutalized First Nation water protectors in North Dakota. Obama barely even mentioned police brutality or Black Lives Matter.
Obama created economic terrorism and neutered the investigation of right wing domestic terrorists. Obama repealed Habeas Corpus so that one needn’t be charged with a crime in order to be imprisoned.
Obama expanded and codified into law the surveillance state. Obama accelerated the drone wars and codified legal rational for the assassination of American citizens. Obama failed to prosecute any of the war criminals or torturers and failed to close Guantanamo.
Obama turned two foreign wars into seven and ran out of bombs in Syria. Obama approved off-shore drilling and ended the push for energy independence. Obama let Keystone XL stay alive. Obama let Trump decide net neutrality. Obama even handed over his Supreme Court nomination without so much as a damned whimper.
Obama was so awful that Democrats lost 1000 elected seats nationwide during his administration. Rather than embracing the populism that had risen in the wake of the Great Recession, Obama and the DNC inserted their hand-picked, corporatist establishmentarian candidate in Hillary Clinton - a candidate so off-putting that the country elected a thin-skinned and predatory, fascistic moron over whatever it is that Democrats pretend to be selling.
Yet and still, they’ve learned nothing.
They still have Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as their congressional leaders simply because they accumulate the most legalized bribery from Silicon Valley and Wall Street, respectfully. The party is still functionally run by the consultant class whose jobs depend on maintaining the status quo.
Rather than embrace the most popular politician in the country, Bernie Sanders, they went against his endorsed DNC Chair candidate, Keith Ellison, and instead went with Obama lacky, Tom Perez.
The DNC, under Perez, immediately voted to reinstate the policy of taking corporate cash directly. They kicked anyone who endorsed Bernie Sanders or Keith Ellison off of the rules committee. They refuse to reform the superdelegate system or to disclose their budget to even board members.
And after being charged with rigging the primary election in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders, they argued that they can pick their presidential candidate in the proverbial smoke-filled room if they so choose.
They are sick, and they have no interest in getting better.