Brodie Farquhar: Dems need to go bold
I read recently in Huffington Post that Washington, D.C. Democratic leaders are considering using their 2006 theme of charging Republicans with a culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence. It worked well enough in 2006 to recapture the House and Senate but will it work again in 2018?
As optimistic as I am about a blue tide rising, thanks to the #metoo, #blacklivesmatter and student-led gun control movements, I don’t think that’s going to be enough. It isn’t enough to be against President Trump and congressional Republicans — Dems need to be clear about what they want to do if they recapture the House and maybe the Senate as well.
And there’s the rub.
Democrats need to arouse and maintain a great deal of passion between now and November. Anger and disgust with Trump, his administration and Republicans is galvanizing thousands and millions of voters, but that isn’t enough.
We need hope and excitement as well, a legislative agenda that is big and bold. And the current platform of the national Democratic Party is certainly ambitious but is also mind-numbingly playing it safe. Yes, I agree with much of the platform, but confess it made my eyes glaze over.
It is remarkably like the white papers developed by the Clinton campaign, which were responsible, moderate, wonkish and aroused little, if any passion.
Not like the Trump and Bernie campaigns. Trump created a faux populism that is now falling apart as it becomes obvious that he’s nothing but a con artist. Bernie Sanders, however, is the real deal. Dunno if his health will hold up for a 2020 run, but his brand of big ideas is the way to ensure Democratic victories in 2018 and 2020.
So how ’bout the following:
- Medicare for all.
- Rein in Wall Street with a new and improved Glass-Steagal.
- Revive FDR-era taxation rates on the rich to pay for a 21st century infrastructure program.
- Get money out of politics with public finance and end Citizens United.
- Revive a national service draft, with military and civilian service options. Nothing like skin-in-the-game for create a genuine interest and involvement in foreign and domestic policies.
- Free or affordable college and vocational education.
- Make it easy to form unions and make sure more profits go to workers and less to CEOs.
- Vigorously enforce anti-trust laws and knock the biggest companies down in size and power, like we did with AT&T a generation ago.
- Put America to work on renewable energy and public transportation — a moon-shot, Manhatten Project, full-tilt effort.
- Enforce equal pay for women and civil rights for all — but emphasize corporations are not people, and billionaires are not aristocrats above the law.
Boil all that down and it comes down to power to the people, not money.
I’ll close with this quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
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