Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Red Wedding

Are the Democrats a Real Opposition to the Republican Party?

The topicality sucks, but there it is.  The 2014 Mid-term elections reflect a triumph of the hard right in U.S. politics.  Satan's minions are at the gates.  Nearly every anti-labor bonehead won.  War, immiseration and gridlock are our future.  Of course, that was the status before this election.  Newly elected ‘establishment’ Republican Mitch McConnell from Kentucky said he could work with Obama on imperialist trade deals, bombing ISIS and tax ‘reform.’  He’s not far off in his suppositions.  Obama is "looking forward to working with McConnell."  Really?

What happened?   This election proves once again that the Democratic Party is not a real opposition to Republicanism. It also reflects a failure of bourgeois ‘democracy’ in all its glory.  Certain key figures in left-liberal circles are throwing up their hands at the weak nature of the Democratic Party – and the whole system of electoral democracy.  The majority of eligible voters did not show up.  Youth, blacks and Latinos vote percentages were down – far down in the case of youth.  Some states had the lowest voter turnout in history.  Only 25% of LA County voted, for instance.  Gallup showed significant drop-offs in enthusiasm for voting, per se, even from other ‘midterm’ elections. 

If you parse the figures, as AP did, around 36.7 percent of the population voted nationwide.  That leaves about 18.35% of the population controlling the ‘election.”  The average for mid-terms is between 39-43% since 1974 - never a majority.  So this is the lowest turnout for a mid-term in recent history - and that denotes an extreme failure of bourgeois democracy.  People are voting with their feet.  CNN reported that 79% of voters had a negative view of Congress.  Old white Republicans vote the most, because they are the ones that believe in the ‘system’ the most.  The vast majority did not vote again – and this includes large numbers of the white working class.  Many of these elections were in Neo-Confederate states, but even in some non-Neo-Confederate states, the Democrats lost.

Greg Palast cites massive voter suppression in operation “Crosscheck” as one reason.   Palast describes a 27-state database that merely matches first and last names – not socials or addresses or middle initials – that states selectively use to block voters from voting.  This is the crudest, most simple-minded form of ‘identification,’ and, as anyone knows who has to identify people, this method is criminally inaccurate.  Wade Henderson of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights says that 14 states changed their laws to restrict voting after the ‘60s era Voting Rights Act was basically struck down last year.  The league-leader here is Texas, and we have only heard a few stories of Texas voters forbidden from voting, but it could be up to 600,000.
While the Texas population larger, and turnout in 2010 was 37.5 percent, in 2014 turnout was around 33.6 percent, according to the NY Times.   The Supreme Court allowed the Texas restrictions to function this election, predictably enough. 

Welcome to the new Jim Crow.  And you thought that was history?  Water hoses, dog bites, Klan crosses and shotguns are next. 

Democratic Party figures lost while ‘liberal’ policies won.  That is significant. A higher minimum wage won in 4 states - and they were all 'red' southern or mountain states. California voters approved reducing some 20 'felonies' to misdemeanors, which weakens '3 strikes and your out,' and mass incarceration.  This measures takes aim at the drug war.  Two person-hood amendments – giving legal status to fetuses (yes!) lost, even in North Dakota.  Marijuana legalization was approved in Oregon, Alaska and D.C. – though the white bigot landlords of D.C. will overrule the vote, I’m sure.  This is also a dent in the drug war.  Fracking was defeated in a Texas town north of Austin, Denton - in the middle of oil & gas country.  Denton is now under legal assault by the whole industry. Soda was taxed in Berkeley, even after millions was spent by the sugar industry to defeat it.  Some gun control checks on buyers were passed in Washington state. Maui County in Hawaii outlawed the growing of GMO crops, and are now being sued by DOW and Monsanto.  So why do Democratic Party politicians lose while even ‘some’ of their culture-war stuff wins?  The answer is obvious.  Few trust the Democratic Party except the older Party loyalists.

Youth, black and Latino vote totals were down and there are reasons for that.  If you ignore your base, or oppose your base, they really are not enthused.  Whose going to vote to be shit on again?  Even if you scare them with the Republican Bogeyman.  The refusal to work on legalization issues for immigrants before the election reflected a real Democratic Party dive, and cut the Latino vote.  Weak Democratic candidates even ran from Obamacare – from the right! This shows that the antidote to Republicanism is not being a Blue Dog, or dives, or surrender, or agreement, or partial agreement, but clear, total opposition.    What is really funny are the left-liberals constantly giving 'advice' to the Democrats or Obama about what to do.  Ignoring your base is almost the only way this party can function, given it is controlled by the liberal wing of the capitalist class.  Better ideas – like single-payer, anti-imperialism, pro-unionism and class struggle – are the real opposition to Republicanism in all its forms.  Only socialists can offer that.  None of that will come from this Democratic Party.

Most political surveys only track voting by sex, age or ethnicity, not class.  This reflects the Democrats, who are whistling by the graveyards by figuring that demographic changes will save them some day. Ethnicity, sex or age are their only political categories too.  Lets hope the old rural white people die!  Class is completely invisible in these estimates, though class cuts across all of them, and dominates all of them.  This is the reason why the Democrats lose elections – because they are not a party of the majority working classes, but of a middle and upper-class that pretends to be your friend.  Liars are soon exposed, even to the dimist of bulbs.

The ‘slipping away of democracy’ – a phrase being used by more and more by leftish commentators - is not a mere phrase or an exaggeration.  Voting for Democrats – or Republicans - is exposed as a pathetic and insufficient sham that cannot change anything – especially if there are only two corporate parties running. 

Red Frog
November 5, 2014

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