On the Reformation of the Democratic Party

In a comment to a recent FB post I made about a video from The Real News Network: Campaign Calls on Bernie Sanders to Lead a New Party(1):

I was asked about my position on “DemEnter” which I have not personally heard of, but I suspect it is an effort to re-align the DNC to the needs and hopes of the bulk of their base membership and the needs and hopes of those they would like to see become part of that base. 

Assuming this definition is reasonably accurate my comments were as follows:

Viewing American Politics from an historical perspective the only thing that has ever moved either of the Major Political Parties toward the needs and hopes of the Average American has been a semi-viable or in the case of the 1850’s New Republican Party (the Old Republican Party was considered at that time to be the party of Thomas Jefferson,) a viable third party.(2)

Then in the 1890s the PEOPLE’S PARTY, a.k.a., the Populist Party, pushed the Democratic party leftward and when the Dems adopted their more progressive stance after which co-optation the People’s Party disintegrated. After that disintegration the Democratic Party shifted back toward the moneyed interests they had long represented. 

Then in the 1930s the threat posed by the massive unemployment of approximately 25% for years on end provided Leftist Parties (including various communist parties as well as numerous Socialist Parties) pushed FDR (who, incidentally, ran on a somewhat rightist balanced budget platform) was forced to adopt a fully Keynesian economic policy. 

But in 1944 the DNC forced FDR, against his desires, to accept Harry Truman instead of his choice of Henry Wallace who was a stalwart of PROGRESSIVE policies. In contrast Truman was a little known and somewhat right of center senator from the backwater state of Missouri, but he was a favorite among the financial elites of the Democratic Party leadership.

“The Democratic Partys 1944 nomination for Vice President of the United States was determined at the 1944 Democratic National Convention, on July 21, 1944. United States Senator Harry S. Truman was nominated to be President Franklin D. Roosevelts running-mate in his bid to be re-elected for a fourth term.

“How the nomination went to Harry S. Truman, who did not actively seek it, is, in the words of his biographer Robert H. Ferrell, ‘one of the great political stories of our century’. The fundamental issue was that Roosevelt’s health was seriously declining, and everyone who saw Roosevelt, including the leaders of the Democratic Party, realized it. If he died during his next term, the Vice President would become President, making the vice presidential nomination very important. Truman’s predecessor as Vice President, the incumbent Henry A. Wallace, was unpopular with some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, who disliked his liberal politics and considered him unreliable and eccentric in general. Wallace was, however, the popular candidate, and favored by the Convention delegates. As the Convention began, Wallace had more than half the votes necessary to secure his re-nomination. By contrast, the Gallup poll said that 2% of those surveyed wanted then-Senator Truman to become the Vice President. To overcome this initial deficit, the leaders of the Democratic Party worked to influence the Convention delegates, such that Truman received the nomination.”(3)

In other words, the Democratic Party elites were not interested in what the people wanted and were willing to resort to whatever means they deemed necessary to subvert the people’s will to serve their personal agendas.

However, it was impossible for the DNC elites to fully implement their wishes to remarry the party to the agenda of The Monied Interests until the death of nearly all who remembered the Depression of the 1930s and the success of The New Deal in dealing with it and the needs of the general populace, aka The FDR New Deal Democrats

This process of dismantling the New Deal Coalition began in earnest in the late 1960s with the dwindling numbers of “elected officials” who were old enough to clearly recall the Great Depression.

This was given a huge impetus when Nixon’s rigging of the election of 1972 ended in the abject defeat of George McGovern. However, it was not McGovern’s policies that had been rejected it was the corruption of Nixon that brought about that defeat and only George Wallace (with his ultra-nationalist and clearly racist stances–now a stalwart of Trumpism) might have stood a chance against Nixon that year. 

The following quote seems rather curious in several ways but the one really sticks out to me rather like the proverbial sore thumb is the reference of a rather strange name supporting certain types of Democrats, i.e., Koch, as in Charles and David… but Morgan Stanley, Dow Chemical, Citigroup also stand out in a significant way for a supposedly party of the ‘people’:

“Whatever the Reagan Revolution’s deleterious effects on Democrats’ fortunes at the ballot box, the party’s time in the presidential wilderness provided neoliberals with the perfect opportunity to stage a bloodless coup in the Democratic Party. In the mid-1980s, Alvin From, a staffer for a series of moderate Democrats, recruited Al Gore and other neolibs to form the Democratic Leadership Council. The nascent DLC argued that the defeat of Carter’s former vice president, Walter Mondale, in 1984 further demonstrated the failure of McGovernism, despite the fact that Mondale’s platform of deficit-slashing “New Realism” actually marked the party’s continued shift to the right.
“Emboldened by Reagan’s reelection, the DLC quickly attracted dozens of almost exclusively white male elected Democrats to its ranks, as well as buckets of seed money from some of the largest corporations in the country, including Morgan Stanley, Dow Chemical, Citigroup, and KOCH INDUSTRIES. Preferring the term New Democrats’ to ‘neoliberals,’ the DLC’s adherents kept the neolibs’ pro-business orientation and appended an even more reactionary stance on social and cultural issues. The New Democrats, as the DLC’s Chair Chuck Robb said, were no longer afraid to speak ‘uncomfortable truths’ about black poverty, ‘[I]t’s time to shift the primary focus from racism—the traditional enemy without—to self-defeating patterns of behavior—the new enemy within.’(4)

Now consider that this is the same coalition that brought us the Clintons, NAFTA, the end of welfare as we have come to know it,(5) and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which provided funding for tens of thousands of community police officers, the Defense of Marriage Act, financial deregulation, and yet another top-heavy capital gains tax cut and mandated life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes. Thus giving us the school to prison pipeline and a major impetus to the prison/industrial complex of private prisons. You might note that these programs had long been and still remain major Republican agenda items. But that should surprise no one who is aware of the history of the DNC’s actual elite leadership instead of the faux elites complained about by the Republican and Libertarian in their bit to more the entire American Political Spectrum steadily rightward.

If your political leanings are to REFORM the Democratic Party, I truly wish you well in your attempts to bring the DNC to heel but I don’t believe that that can be accomplished without the threat of some (at least semi-) viable third party. Thus I urge you to assist the Democratic Party to a return to a politics of sanity in the only way that has ever achieved any success in pursuing this goal.

Some commentary I am hearing is that:

the democratsdon’t need to be reformed. That they just need to get out and vote.” 

What I see in this type of comment is that what they are inferring that the voting public; is somehow shirking their duty as if the voting public in some manner OWES an obligation to a political party, in this case the Democratic Party; however, it is in my opinion that the political party owes an allegiance to the the voting public; that they hope will vote for them. It is not the voting public; that has abandoned the DNC: it is the DNC that has abandoned the the voting public. It is to the leadership of this party that I allude in the title of this post not to the the voting public.

Ideologically there are almost no 1960s or 1970s style Democrats left in congress and none whatsoever in Leadership Positions of the Party Apparatus itself. If you think of Sanders or Warren.(6) Yes, they are prominent in the public eye and even hold positions that give them some influence in the senatorial chamber. This, in the final analysis only makes them useful “thorns in the side” of that very Party Power Structure that has ruled since the defeat of George McGovern in 1972(3); notwithstanding, this leaves them on the periphery of actual power within the Party Apparatus. 

The ideology of the New Democrats(7) is straight out of the playbook of Charles Murray who is as anti-New Deal, or anti-traditional Democrat, as anyone there is including the likes of Barry Goldwater(8). This makes what is now the Democratic Party Power Structure solidly Republican in the 1980s sense of that institution.

So, YES, I agree that the voting public does not need to be REFORMED. It is not at, but to, the voting public that I aim my commentary. Thus, it is The Democratic Party Power Apparatus that I suggest, nay definitively declare needs reformation for the very simple reason that it does not represent, much less, work for the interests of those whose votes they require to remain a viable political entity in the American Political Theater.

In an effort to be clear allow me the opportunity to say a few words concerning people who wish to reform the Democratic Party:

I truly wish those who wish to try their best to reform the Democratic Party; that would be a wonderful and welcome outcome if they can achieve it. But I fear that I personally have absolutely no faith in that eventuality. It was the Democratic Party that laid the ground for what we are presently experiencing with the extreme rightist government of Donald Trump and the Republican Congress. Beginning in 1972 the regressive forces, who called themselves conservative Democrats, within the Democratic Party began a concerted effort to take over the party(9) and they, along with their corporate masters on Wall Street, will die before they allow you to retake the party as it is the Democrats meal-ticket to the Millionaire Club and their Corporate Master’s assurance to Billions at the expense of folk like those that wish to reform the Democratic Party.

Beginning in 1973 those regressive forces within the Democratic Party continually moved the party to the right (claiming this to be moving toward the center). And with every step they took to the right the Republican Party moved yet further toward the extreme right. If you care to really look at the policies of Bill Clinton’s administration, he was far to the right of Richard Nixon and even right of Ronald Reagan on many issues and no one I have ever know accused either if them of being liberal or progressive.
Add to this the leadership the Democratic Party has chosen since the fiasco of Hillary’s defeat being the most rightist members of the Democratic Congressional Delegation they had to choose from and you have the makings of further moves to the political right by, first, the Democratic Party followed by the consistent rightward shift of the Republican Party in response thereto. A process that has invariably been the result of the rightward shift of the regressives who from 1973 through the 1990s took over the Democratic Party.

I sometimes wonder how far back some members of the Democratic Party’s knowledge of the history of party’s policies go? I have come to wonder this because I have been told in no uncertain terms that it was not the Democratic Party that has moved to the right, but that comment simply demonstrates a lack of historical perspective of the policies of the Democratic Party. Plus, I have had my right to belong to progressive FB pages challenged which, to me, demonstrates a lack of understanding of what constitutes Progressive Policies and the contrast between them and what is sometimes referred to the Neo-Liberal Policies of Laissez Faire (10) (hands off business) and Caveat Emptor (11) (buyer beware) economics which are extremely regressive policies that the Democratic Party began to adopt after 1972.

 To reiterate: The Democratic Party has most definitely moved to the right politically speaking in a number of ways. I will deal with only one here: the one I believe to the of the greatest significance. The shift to Neo-Liberal Economic Policies began with Jimmie Carter, who was hand picked by David Rockefeller, chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Corporation and the founding Chairman of the Trilateral Commission along with Carter’s National Security Advisor (Zbigniew Brzezinski, director of the commission). This Neo-Liberal takeover of the Democratic Party was put in “high gear” in 1977 when “Jimmy Carter picked no less than twenty-five trilateralists to serve in the highest posts of his administration. Besides Brzezinski, founding director of the Trilateral Commission, we find: Vice-President Walter Mondale, (former) Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, (former) Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Paul Volcker.” (12)

 Incidentally, while I am not a Trilateral Commission Conspiracy Theorist as most of those “theories” are more than just absurd. However, the Trilateral Commission has constantly been a strong supporter of Free Trade Policies, Laissez Faire and Caveat Emptor economic policies which the Democratic Party implemented during the Carter and Clinton Administrations and continued to do so during the Obama Administration. (13)

However, if all one concerns one’s self with is social issues I can understand how that individual might have missed this rightward shift because the ruling class are most happy (for the time being) to offer Personal Freedoms (14) in order to gain essential control over the economic and political aspects of policy agendas.

A report to the Tri-Lateral Commission entitled THE CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY argues:

“that what is needed in the industrial democracies ‘is a greater degree of moderation in democracy’ to overcome the ‘excess of democracy’ of the [1960s] decade. ‘The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups’ [read the underclasses including the working class and all marginalized classes, for example, Native Americans and African Americans] and that ‘order depends on somehow compelling newly mobilized strata to return to a measure of passivity and defeatism… At least temporarily the maintenance of order requires a lowering of newly acquired aspirations and levels of political activity.’ The Trilateral recommendations for the capitalist democracies are an application at home of the theories of ‘order’ developed for subject societies….” (15)

In essence in time, what the ruling class’ offer should prove to be is meaningless rights for if someone has not the economic freedom to enjoy their rights and freedoms then those rights and freedoms essentially have no objective existence. For instance, I have the right and freedom to buy an apartment on the top floor of a Manhattan Skyscraper, but this right and freedom means absolutely nothing for me as I have not the money to make that illusion a reality.

What must be done to counter the media and the intellectuals, who, by exposing some ugly facts, contribute to the dangerous “shift in the institutional balance between government and opposition”? How do we control the “more politically active citizenry” who convert democratic politics into “more an arena for the assertion of conflicting interests than a process for the building of common purposes”? How do we return to the good old days when… could unite on a policy of global intervention and domestic militarism as our “common purpose,” with no interference from the undisciplined rabble?
The crucial task is “to restore the prestige and authority of central government institutions, and to grapple with the immediate economic challenges.” The demands on government must be reduced and we must “restore a more equitable relationship between government authority and popular control.” No challenge to capitalist institutions can be considered, but measures should be taken to improve working conditions and work organization so that workers will not resort to “irresponsible blackmailing tactics.” In general, the prerogatives of the nobility must be restored and the peasants reduced to the apathy that becomes them.
This is the ideology of the liberal wing of the state capitalist ruling elite…. (15)

The answer to the individual’s question, “Are you sure that you belong on a progressive page” is a resounding YES, I DO BELONG ON A PROGRESSIVE PAGE unless that page is solely about the promotion of a single political party at the expense of the privilege to hold differing opinions to that individual or those of like mind to her/him. 

If that party happens to be the Democratic Party it has, in the last 40+ years, become in nearly every way the Democratic Party of the Gilded Age. It has left the economic policies of FDR and Keynesianism, upon which FDR’s policies were based, in the dust bin of time. In other words the Democratic Party policies of today are those of Laissez Faire (hands off business) and Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) economics which are extremely regressive policies that have largely undone the positive gains of the Democratic Party of FDR and LBJ. But then LBJ was far too much of a hawk for his or the country’s good.

Essentially what I am interested in IS PROGRESSIVE POLITICS AND THE POLICIES OF PROGRESSIVISM.

NOT THE PROTECTION OF THE STATUS QUO AND OBSEQUIOUS OBEISANCE TO WALL STREET BANKERS WHO FINANCE BOTH MAJOR PARTIES.




 HTTP://THEREALNEWS.COM/T2/INDEX.PHP?OPTION=COM_CONTENT&TASK=VIEW&ID=31&ITEMID=74&JUMIVAL=18629#.WMQONPQXSEE.FACEBOOK

2  OF COURSE, IN THAT CASE THEY WERE REALLY ONLY A SECOND PARTY AS THERE WAS ONLY ONE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTY IN THE US OF A AT THAT TIME: THAT BEING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF ANDREW JACKSON.

3  WHILE THIS QUOTE IS FROM WIKIPEDIA I HAVE SEEN A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF REFERENCES TO THIS IF YOU DESIRE IT SHOULDN’T BE HARD TO CONFIRM.

HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/DEMOCRATIC_VICE_PRESIDENTIAL_NOMINATION_OF_1944

4  HTTPS://NEWREPUBLIC.COM/ARTICLE/130737/DEMOCRATS-STILL-DONT-GET-GEORGE-MCGOVERN

5 “WE CAN SEE HOW THAT MIGHT PLAY OUT BY LOOKING TO THE PAST. IN 1996, CONGRESS REFORMED OUR EXISTING WELFARE SYSTEM IN MUCH THE SAME WAY REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI) WANTS TO REFORM MEDICAID AND OTHER ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMS: THEY KILLED OFF THE FEDERAL ENTITLEMENT AND TURNED THE MONEY OVER TO THE STATES TO IMPLEMENT NEW MODELS OF WELFARE AS THEY SAW FIT. IT WAS A CENTRAL PLANK IN NEWT GINGRICH’S CONTRACT WITH AMERICA 20 YEARS AGO AND ALSO CONSIDERED ONE OF BILL CLINTON’S SIGNATURE ACHIEVEMENTS.”

HTTP://BILLMOYERS.COM/2014/05/12/HOW-BILL-CLINTONS-WELFARE-REFORM-CREATED-A-SYSTEM-RIFE-WITH-RACIAL-BIASES/

6 OR A VERY SMALL CONTINGENT OF MODERATE DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS UPON CLOSE INSPECTION THESE INDIVIVUALS NEARLY ALWAYS ARE FOUND TO BE WHAT IN THE 1960s AND EVEN IN THE 1970s WOULD HAVE BEEN IN PERFECT ALIGNMENT WITH THE “MODERATE TO PROGRESSIVE REPUBLICANS” OF THAT DAY. THESE HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN REFERRED TO AS EISENHOWER REPUBLICAN’s WHOM BARRY GOLDWATER CALLED WATERED DOWN NEW DEALERS. BUT THEN… NO ONE EVER REFERRED TO GOLDWATER AS MODERATE MUCH LESS PROGRESSIVE.

7 AS BILL CLINTON STYLED THE REGRESSIVE WING OF THE DEMOCRATED PARTY WHICH HE AND HILLARY COME TO DOMINATE.

8 I MAY BE ALONE BUT I FIND IT RATHER CURIOUS THAT HILLARY WAS A GOLDWATER GIRL with cowgirl outfit and all AND THE HEAD OF HER COLLEGE YOUNG REPUBLICANS BEFORE SHE SAW THE LIGHT AND DEFECTED TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. HILLARYs CONVERSION MIGHT HAVE SEEMED MORE SINCERE IF SHE HAD ACTUALLY ABANDONED THE ECONOMIC IDEOLOGIES OF BARRY GOLDWATER, RONALD REAGAN, CHARLES MURRY, MILTON FREEDMAN AND THE BIRCHER BABIES CHARLES AND DAVIED KOCH (who as it turned out was tow of the funders of the rise of Bill Clinton to political prominence within the NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY.)

9 I BELIEVE I HAVE ADEQUATELY DEALTH WITH THE PROCESS OF THE REPUBLICAZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY EARLIER IN THIS POST.

10 Laissezfaire, (French: “allow to do”), policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society…. The policy of laissez-faire received strong support in classical economics as it developed in Great Britain under the influence of economist and philosopher Adam Smith.

Laissez-faire was a political as well as an economic doctrine. The pervading theory of the 19th century was that the individual, pursuing his own desired ends, would thereby achieve the best results for the society of which he was a part. The function of the state was to maintain order and security and to avoid interference with the initiative of the individual in pursuit of his own desired goals. But laissez-faire advocates nonetheless argued that government had an essential role in enforcing contracts as well as ensuring civil order.

The philosophy’s popularity reached its peak around 1870. In the late 19th century the acute changes caused by industrial growth and the adoption of mass-production techniques proved the laissez-faire doctrine insufficient as a guiding philosophy.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/laissez-faire

But in practice Laissez-faire policies allow those with more money and position to control the market such that those who are in need have a distinct disadvantages. This, thus, forces the disadvantaged individual to suffer the effects of Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) policies that Laissez-faire permit. This is so because of the policy of governmental non-interference in business dealings permits the harmed individual no recourse for redress of the wrongs done him/her as he/she has not enough money to adequately seek redress.

11 Caveat Emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware.” And is a warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are “as is,” or subject to all defects.

12 http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Trilateralism/Trilateralism_overview.html

13 Consider the FREE TRADE policies pushed by the George H. W. Bush Administration and which were pushed through congress and implemented by the Bill Clinton Administration. And which the Barak Obama Administration tried to put not only on steroids but Human Growth Hormones as well with his attempted FREE TRADE deals of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Each of these programs would have taken away individual rights to seek redress of wrongs done them by Multi-National Corporations, but more than that some of them would have actually taken sovereignty from state and local governments about how best to serve and protect their citizens.

14 Please do not take this to mean that I don’t believe in “Personal Freedoms or Personal Rights because I most certainly do, but I do not believe that Personal Freedoms and Rights have much, if any, meaning if the individual enjoying those rights and freedoms do not have an economic status which enables them to enjoy those rights and freedoms in fact as well as in theory.

15 https://chomsky.info/priorities01/