After a long long weekend producing ads, it's a pleasant treat to sit down and pour out a few thoughts I have. Democrats are rightly desperate to get Build Back Better over the line. A wider reflection at the moment, still has me somewhat confused. I am still wrestling with how 70 million Americans wanted more of the same hatred, division and moral bankruptcy that they had suffered throughout the Trump years. It's like saying I almost drowned yesterday, but feel free to waterboard me today. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The sales pitch that you are better in the hate tribe than with the weak bleeding heart liberal camp, really seems to resonate with some. Whilst before it may have been underground, this ideology is now out and proud.
On Thursday, Biden tried so hard to push Democrats to come together. Watching Bernie Sanders on TV yesterday, I was puzzled by his refusal to accept that HIS policy agenda should be diluted. It was as if he had lost touch with the reality of politics and that his entire wish list was still on the table. Let me be clear, I have absolutely no issue with the policy agenda of the progressive caucus, indeed I support everything they are asking for. However, as a pragmatist, I understand that sometimes to get a win, you have to take a loss and live to fight another day. I was interested to note that Bernie is of the opinion that 70% of the American people support the Build Back Better Agenda. Of course they do, like all good stories, it makes for a good read. However, the reality is, at a time when America was on its knees and unemployment was rocketing, not to mention that growth was going backwards and half a million Americans were dead from gross mismanagement of the Trump administration. 70 MILLION PEOPLE STILL VOTED FOR HIM. It's one thing to like a good story, it's quite something else to make that story a reality. Given the current majorities held by Dems, compromise is simply unavoidable.
Progressive ideas in politics are a critical component in delivering a more equitable society. America may believe itself to be the number one at everything in the world, but remove the thin film of delusion and in many respects, it is a third world country. It's infrastructure is crumbling, healthcare availability to the poor and vulnerable is lamentable and the homeless crisis is becoming an epidemic. For far too many, the 'American dream' is more of a nightmare. But hey, at least you can bomb anybody off the face of the earth. Way to go! The US is in need of a cultural reset, but corporate interests will defend the status quo to their last dying breath. The really sad thing is, Republicans know there's enough money in the system for ALL Americans to have a basic humane standard of living, they know that. Indeed, their political agenda relies on that inequality to survive. They can only sow hate, mistrust and division in a world where the pain of poverty is the gateway to economic slavery. The rich actually admire the Chinese version of capitalism and they would adopt it in a heartbeat if they thought society would comply.
This spectre of communism and socialism is baked into the American psyche. It is a hang over from the Cold War and the perceived threat of communism. It wasn't real then, and it's not real now. America has long been a kleptocracy where the rich determine policy in Washington and the Dems are not exempt from the power of money either. Once you give corporations the status of a person, you simply invite them to be the bully in the playground. They have all the best toys and lawyers to make real people insignificant in the crafting of legislation.
The legacy of the 14th amendment.
Not everyone agrees with this expanding interpretation of corporate personhood. In his dissent in Bellotti, Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote that corporations were “artificial” persons rather than “natural” persons, and that granting them the right to political expression could “pose special dangers in the political sphere.” Along similar lines, Justice John Paul Stevens argued in his dissent to Citizens United that “Corporations…are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.” And soon after the ruling, then-President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that the decision would “open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections.”
Once you open the flood gates for corporations to be able to spend unlimited amounts of money to gain influence, you really have sold your soul to the devil, from which there is no way back.
The obscene amounts of money spent on political campaigns and lobbying is a measure of just how important it is for corporations to hold sway over the legislative process. This is where voting rights aligns well with the need to remove dark money from the equation. It is equally why Republicans will NEVER cast a vote to reform it. For the GOP, close elections are the glue that allows them to be in power even when they are out of power. Republicans have refined the political engine to ensure that when they are out of power, the filibuster acts as their bulletproof vest. It is the safety rail against falling into the political wilderness.
I can't think of another modern democracy where you need to have a super majority to legislate. There is little point being elected to power, if the only way you can pass legislation is to spend all your time trying to find a workaround on political and not legislative impediments. That is simply NOT how it should be, but the dilemma is, to remove the filibuster you need a super majority, so it is a catch 22. We can talk all day about a policy agenda and transformation change, but without federal voter rights, Dems are staring down the barrel of a political gun for 2022.
I've said it before, just to hold their ground Dems are going to have to roll out the biggest ground campaign in US political history. Talk needs to convert into action and that is the real challenge. The Virginia gubernatorial race is a real temperature check on the state of the cultural battle that politics has now become. So I am really interested to see if it is going to translate into a Republican gain. Just remember, the GOP were really smart when they started turning up the misinformation surrounding vaccines and kids. It has NEVER been the preserve of parents to be doctors when it comes to the medical welfare of their children. That has always rightly been the preserve of medical professionals. However, the campaign of the right to recruit lunatics to create chaos in schools has created new political fertile ground, which is being welcomed and exploited by Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. This cultural dynamic is not going to change before 2022 and it is something the Dems are going to have to factor in, along with all the other obstruction and disruption that is now woven into the fabric of the campaign.
There are so many things up in the air right now, it's difficult to form a coherent message to take forward. It appears Dems are closer now to an agreement on the two bills they have been wresting with. It is MISSION CRITICAL that they get this resolved, because it's creating drag on the policy agenda that is now starting to cause real concern. Hopefully when we chat tomorrow, we will all have a bit better idea as to where we are. This will make it easier to develop a clearer strategy moving forward.
Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to catching up tomorrow. Stay safe out there.