We have discussed how Barack Obama’s incompetence and personal corruption led to the haemorrhage of Democratic seats that continued throughout his presidency. By the end of his term in office, the Democrats were wiped out at all levels of government, and the Clinton neo-liberal wing had seized control of the party. This is not hyperbole; there was a secret deal between the party leadership and the Clinton campaign whereby Clinton would pay off the party’s debts (debts piled on them by Obama) in exchange for her gaining executive authority over the party’s finances, hiring and firing, communications and strategy.
The 2016 Democratic primary election was a farce, with the party pulling an abundance of dirty tricks, including those employed by Republicans to cheat Democrats, to ensure that the progressive candidate, Bernie Sanders, would never win the nomination. We will discuss the details of this in a later post; suffice to say for now that the Democrats did not act in a democratic way during the 2016 primaries. It cost them the presidential election, as the American people had no appetite for the establishment corporate shill that was being offered to them. We have discussed the real reasons for why Clinton lost the election in a prior post.
Despite losing the election to a halfwit reality TV show host with no political experience, Clinton was not about to cede the control over the party that she had only recently purchased. This post is a brief story of the actions of the Democrats since the election.
The purge of progressives
After the Obama/Clinton double punch resulted in the embarrassing loss in 2016, their first task was to decide who was to lead what was left of the party. Wasserman Schultz had been removed from the role shortly after the Convention when leaks emerged of her rigging of the primaries in favour of Clinton. She was replaced at the time by Donna Brazile, who herself was marred in controversy as it was revealed that she, in her capacity as CNN liason, leaked debate questions to the Clinton campaign ahead of her primary debate with Sanders (she was fired by CNN but the DNC had no problems appointing her as their chair). Progressive Democrats saw an opportunity to claim some control and pull the party back from its neo-liberal attitude that brought it electoral devastation. They supported Keith Ellison, who was not the most progressive choice that was available but was probably sufficient to pull the party back from the brink. Ellison was the clear favourite for much of the race for DNC Chair.
Then the neo-liberal wing of the party interceded. Barack Obama ordered his former Labor Secretary and neo-liberal Tom Perez to run in opposition to Ellison, and Perez, under orders from Bill Clinton to “not let the party go to the Bernie Sanders folks” obeyed.
Perez entered the race on 15 December 2016 and the smear campaign on Ellison by the establishment escalated. Perez won the chair in February 2017 in a dubious election where the DNC broke its own bylaws by concealing the votes cast.
The DNC then voted to continue taking corporate PAC money, and Perez dragged Keith Ellison and Bernie Sanders around the country like props in a transparent farce that the party called the “Unity Tour”. He kept talking about Democratic values without anybody in the party knowing what those values actually were, and attracted the scorn of the American public.
Later that year, in October 2017 after the national spotlight had moved away, the purge of progressives from the Democratic leadership began. The day before the meeting of the Unity Commission, Perez stripped long-term party officials of their delegate status and leadership positions, while appointing 75 new members stacked with Clinton campaign veterans and lobbyists, including lobbyists from News Corp, Citigroup, and CITGO petroleum. Those purged overwhelmingly included vocal supporters of Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison.
Meanwhile, the Democratic party at the federal, state, and local levels have been rigging elections and changing rules to prevent progressives from getting at foothold. Some of these include:
- The deployment of superdelegates to override a democratic election in California, putting a Big Pharma lobbyist in place of the elected individual;
- The shifting of the California primary election from June to March, so that the largest state will have already voted before any non-establishment candidates are able to gain political momentum;
- A secretly-recorded audio tape revealed the Number 2 Democrat in the House pressuring a progressive candidate in Colorado to withdraw from the Primary race.
- DCCC was caught rigging an internal poll that they used as justification to avoid campaigning on single-payer healthcare;
- The Democratic Mayor of Baltimore vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour.
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has begun openly attacking its own progressive candidates during primary elections.
- Changing the rules to ensure that you must be a Democrat (and abide by the Democrats rules) to run for President as a Democrat.
The message has been sent loud and clear to the progressive majority of the American population. Attempts to reform the Democratic party from within are folly, and the progressive cause will continue to be impeded for as long as the belief that the Democratic Party can be changed persists.
Setting up to lose
If one was to qualify what an institute does by the amount of money it spends then the primary goal of the DCCC is to fund consultants. Consultants prefer to lose to a Republican than win with a progressive because a progressive will work to get money out of politics, which means that they are out of the job.
The political problem with the Democrats is twofold: they regularly ally with the Republicans and they have no message. Taking the latter first, when the democratic leadership is directly asked for the message of the party all that is returned are platitudes. Meaningless terms like “leading with our values” are trotted out regularly and never are any tangible policies offered. For a representative example the reader is encouraged to look at this clip by Jimmy Dore showing the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in an embarrassing incident where she cannot remember what is in her party’s platform. Here’s another where Pelosi states that the Democrats do not need to change because “our values unify us” and another here where she admits that she’s OK with cheating progressives. The Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer’s stated election strategy for 2016 was to abandon blue collar voters and chase Republican voters. The DNC chair cannot state what a Democrat stands for, even when asked directly he replies “we lead with our values” and Wasserman Schultz continues to stun the mainstream media with her stupidity, such as claiming victory after abandoning DACA to the Republicans because the Democrats won “the potential for momentum”. We have already discussed the vapid policy-free Clinton campaign that shunned progressives at every turn and has chastised voters ever since for not delivering their vote to the anointed one. But it’s OK, said Clinton in March 2018 because she won more votes in the places that matter.
Who did the Democrats select as their “rising star” to respond to Trump’s State of the Union on 30 January 2018? Joe Kennedy III’s speech was vapid and empty, full of useless platitudes and devoid of policy; straight out of the Hillary Clinton playbook. Joe Kennedy is part of the three big political families in the US, continuing the nepotism of the political elite, and whose top five donors in 2017 included Goldman Sachs, Forbes, Raytheon (defense contractor), and Cardinal (a top opioid distributer).
Who are the Democrats putting up as their preferred candidate for president in 2020?
Cory Booker has deep ties to Silicon Valley and is the largest recipient of Wall Street donations in the Senate. He has a record of dismantling public schools and supporting Big Pharma and predatory private equity firms.
Kamala Harris also has deep ties to Wall Street; her top donors are from telecommunications companies, commercial banks, securities and investment firms, and oil and gas corporations. Her time as a prosecutor has seen her advocacy for aggressive anti-privacy actions and civil asset forfeiture (i.e. the theft by the state of private property). At the same time she failed to hold the banks accountable for their criminal activity and sold out everyday homeowners.
In the past week, Kamala Harris has stated her support for ICE while it was tearing screaming babies from the arms of their mothers as its officials joked about it. (The standard progressive position is that ICE needs to be abolished.)
It is rumoured that the primary reason for the moving forward of the date of the California Primary is to ensure that Kamala Harris wins the nomination, and the Democrats expect her to lock down the California delegates such that the unexpected rapid rise of Bernie Sanders in the last primary is not repeated in 2020.
Meanwhile the DNC and DCCC continue to haemorrhage vital resources, as they funnel money from the party to Clinton’s superPAC.
These are not the actions of a party that is interested in winning elections by helping the masses. These resemble much more closely the actions of a corrupt ruling class that has lost touch with the masses. Bernie Sanders would appear to be correct when he said that the Democratic Party “would rather go down with the Titanic so long as they have first-class seats”.
Working with the Republicans to destroy the poor, working, and middle classes
The Democrats central political message of today is nothing more than “vote for us because we are not Trump.” They present themselves as the resistance for Trump and have stated their concerns about his unsuitability to be President. And yet, when presented with opportunities to resist Trump at the policy level, the Democrats have given him almost everything he has demanded. Like with the Democrats in the wilderness in the early 2000s, they always seem to be just enough Democratic voters to join Republicans to push through every destructive policy and corrupt action.
Ever since Keith Ellison told progressives to “buck up” and “Take It” (8 days after he lost the race for the Democratic leadership) the Democrats have voted with the Republicans to:
- Approve Trumps atrocious nominations, including the torturer “Bloody” Gina Haspel;
- Pass a vicious oppressive budget without any provisions for DACA, despite shutting down the government for 3 days to accomplish “the potential for momentum”;
- Push through a bill increasing military spending by another 90 billion dollars that wasn’t needed and wasn’t wanted by the people;
- Water down the Dodd Frank bill even further to the point where the US is back to where it was before the global financial collapse of 2007;
- Expand warrantless surveillance of US citizens.
The pattern is familiar and shows with clarity that the Democrats are more than simply obstacles for change. They are complicit in the ongoing devastation wrought by the Republicans on the country and the world.
Nothing of the recent behaviour of the Democratic Party gives me any cause to move from my prediction on the blog posted on 5 February that Trump will run for a second term in 2020. If anything, I would rate his chances of winning even higher than the 50% I provided then.
Have you no sense of decency, Democrats?
Just in case the Democratic Party needed to send a clearer signal that it has returned to its dark old ways it has introduced McCarthyism back into the political dialogue.
We need only look at the voting record of the Democrats to demonstrate that they are not opposed to Trump’s egregious policies, so what is this sudden wave of anti-Russian hysteria really all about?
After the loss in 2016 the neo-liberals were faced with a problem. They could not accept that their political paradigm was soundly rejected by the American people and so they needed a different reason for why they lost so terribly. We explored the excuses that have been tried in my post on 29 January, which included sexism, racism, third party voters, fake news, and the James Comey emails, but the one that the Democrats have doubled down on is Russian interference.
The Mueller investigation, while producing some tangible results in exposing some deep corruption within the inner Trump circle, has failed in its stated primary goal. That goal was to investigate Russian collusion in the 2016 election through which, it was hoped, would lead to indictment and possible impeachment and prosecution of Trump. I stated in my blog post on 5 February that this was impossible, and the Mueller investigation today has become little more than a pipe dream for Democrats. It is still early days as far as special prosecutor investigations go (this article provides an average of 904 days), but I remain firm in my prediction that Trump won’t be going anywhere. Whether anybody in his inner circle ends up in the dock remains to be seen, but I highly doubt that it will happen, and if any end up being imprisoned for contempt of court charges (for example), Trump will simply commute their sentence or pardon them as he has made very clear that he is willing to do.
In the meantime McCarthyisn has become the centrepoint of the Democrats’ political strategy. Its propaganda arms MSNBC and The Young Turks have been in overdrive, pumping out story after hysterical story about Russia, attacking Trump from the right for his refusal to be militarily aggressive towards Russia.
The anti-Russian hysteria has led to a crackdown on social media designed to crush independent outlets in favour of the establishment corporate media. Democrats continue to taunt Trump for not increasing US military aggression against the nuclear superpower, effectively calling for World War III and the party, still bereft of any message, clings to Russia as a shroud against criticism and reform.
Meanwhile Democrats, not Republicans, are working to sabotage the peace discussions between North and South Korea and when the deal is destroyed (as I predicted it would be), the blame will lie entirely with the Democrats.
Let us reiterate the extent of this Russian interference. As Thomas Frank writes, members of a Russian troll farm placed anti-Clinton advertisements on Facebook. The total spent on those ads? $100,000. Compare that to the total amount that was spent on the last US election, coming in at just under $10 billion. The level of cognitive dissonance required to believe that an unsophisticated troll farm spending 0.001% of the electoral budget is astonishing.
There was a moment at the height of the McCarthy hearings when Joseph Welch stood up to the rampant witch hunt that was being led by McCarthy. “You’ve done enough,” he said. “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you no sense of decency?” It marked a turning point and has been claimed as the point where the public turned against McCarthy. With his credibility was finally destroyed by Edward R Murrow’s documentary the Senate voted on 2 December 1954 to censure McCarthy.
One wonders when the “Have you no sense of decency?” moment will arrive for the Democrats.
Why won’t Hillary Clinton go away?
I would like to close out this post with some speculation. After such a conclusive and devastating rejection by the American people, why won’t Hillary Clinton collect her hundreds of millions of dollars and leave the political stage? Many are attributing her refusal as blind hubris, arrogance, and refusal to give up her anointed right to political power. This might be true, and given what is known about her almost psychopathic maniacal personality is far from the realm of possibility. But what if her refusal to leave the stage is more about self-preservation than greedy hubris?
The Clinton legacy is one of deep corruption at the highest levels of foreign and domestic power: a dangerous high-stakes game. Through the Clinton foundation the Clintons accepted large bribes from many corrupt and criminal organizations on the promise of financial and political favours when Hillary Clinton acquired the presidency. These are promises that they are now unable to deliver, and it is likely that they will never be able to do so. One can imagine that these organizations would not be particularly happy with losing their criminal investments.
Perhaps Hillary Clinton cannot leave the political stage for the same reason that victims of loan sharks need to commit crime to pay their loans; if the Clintons do not deliver on the promises for which their foundation received hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes then perhaps those dangerous organizations may one day come looking for them.