Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Election 2016: The Coming Fight to Reclaim Democrats' Populism

I interrupt my Summer Leave to make a required reading assignment.

I have just read the best article I've seen on recent political history.  If you want to understand what happened to allow the Democrats to trade away their signature role as defenders of the powerless, the workers (unions), the breadwinners, the victims of racism, sexism, and Big Capital, for a mess of bankers, corporate criminals, trade pact traitors, and media darlings, you'll do no better than to read Matt Stoller's masterful piece in the Atlantic magazine,  "How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul."

In it you will learn about the pivotal role played by Texas Congressman Wright Patman (1893-1976) as Jeffersonian guardian of the interests of the common people against Trusts, Big Banks, Big Corporations, monopolies, and so forth--displaced by the "Watergate Babies" of the Seventies, who redefined liberalism in terms of the counter-culture's anti-war (Vietnam) campaign, and battles against sexism, and racism, while giving a free pass to Wall Street, Big Banks, monopolies, and other barely disguised "trickle-down" theories of noblesse oblige.

Stoller is a prominent blogger for Progressive causes, and has worked for Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders as economic advisor.

An unforseen  consequence of this historical shift is precisely the popularity of the fascist Mr. Donald J. Trump in most areas of the country traditionally allied with the Democratic defenders of the victims of the owning class--the agrarian South, the industrial mid-West, and the rural areas of otherwise blue states.

Hillary is a thousand times better choice in the current election than the ignorant and volatile predator, Trump, but the article recommended above should help you understand why I--born in the Dust Bowl depression-era 1930s--much preferred Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

There is hopeful talk about Sanders's success in helping Hillary understand the centrality and importance of such concerns. We'll see whether her conciliatory talk leads to a new stress on Progressive causes in her first term, though the makeup of the Senate and House will determine how successful she, or any Democratic President could be.  At least we shall have dodged the nightmare of Trump's Supreme Court nominations!!