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What Democrats Must Do

What Democrats Must Do

James Zogby

We went into this election cycle knowing that both political parties faced real challenges. Republicans had created and fostered a radical populist movement they had intended to use to oppose President Obama but which, in the end, turned on the GOP and devoured their establishment. Trump's victory may, for a time, serve to mask this internal crisis, but it will no doubt resurface in short order.


“In fact, the party is currently undergoing just such an intense internal debate, asking questions like:”

Does the Democratic Party have the talent and the courage to forthrightly face its issues while supposedly representing the commons of the USA? Right now I’m thinking they don’t because, like the Republicans, they are owned by the corrupt corporate and media elite.


Are there any 12 step programs for shaking addiction to corporate money ?


Right now, the corporatocracy is working overtime every night to prevent a progressive takeover of the Democratic party. They will do everything they can to ensure that when and if there is a backlash against republicans, it will be their candidates riding that wave.

They are terrified of the prospect of losing control of one half of the corporate duopoly that runs the country.

And THAT is the 3rd most important battle progressives face. To take the Democratic Party away from the corporatists. The only 2 battles that are more important are combatting voter supression and somehow keeping Trump’s itchy finger from the nuclear button.


No, I’m pretty sure it’s over for the Democrats for the foreseeable future. It’s pretty basic, really. The Dem voting base had long consisted of the masses – poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, for the common good. The Clinton wing split this base wide apart, pitting us against each other. The past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent. A party can’t win elections with only a fraction of their voting base.

We’re 20 years deep into our war on the poor. As our attention began turning to the 2016 elections, Dems in Congress kicked off 2015 with a definitive statement of their intentions to maintain this war, voting to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled (cut from $115 per month, down to $10). I can’t support that.


Any politician calling himself progressive should – at a bare minimum – oppose the senseless regime change wars pushed by the neocons. Unfortunately, Keith Ellison does not fit that criterion. No matter how many times he votes against abortion restrictions, he is no progressive.

Americans ignore foreign policy, but it is at the heart of our economy, our cultural values, and our identity as a nation. Americans have to get over the narcissistic attitude that as long as their congressman votes good on their domestic backyard issues, he’s progressive. Not the case. Congress’s votes on foreign policy are critical to human survival.

In 2015, Ellison said publicly that he would have imposed a no-fly zone in Syria “way back” because Assad is the “heart of the problem.” It didn’t matter that regime change is an illegal and insane policy, and that the Syrian people did not agree with him and didn’t want their country ravaged by US greed.

Ellison also proposed a no-fly zone in Libya because he fell for the US propaganda – and helped spread it – that Gadaffi was inflicting violence on the Libyan people. Did he really not know the true reason the US and Hillary Clinton wanted Gadaffi out? He never opposed the invasion of Libya – he just wanted it done through the UN and not unilaterally. That’s what a Democratic war hawk looks like – let’s do our dirty deeds through the UN. Ellison has blood on his hands and is no progressive.


Shame, shame, shame on Keith Ellison for voting “yes” in favor the 21st Century Cures Act – a horrible act that was lobbied for by 1300 pharmaceutical lobbyists. Why such a lobbying effort? Because it’s a bonanza for Big Pharma: the FDA will allow Big Pharma to cut corners in research and put drugs on the market that have not been rigorously tested.

Cut corners how? Big Pharma will save money by side-stepping the gold-standard of rigorous evidence-based clinical trials. Instead, the act will allow patient comments, gathered outside the framework of a randomized, controlled clinical trial, to be used in the formal FDA drug review process. Patient comments are easier and cheaper to collect, thus saving Big Pharma the cost of clinical trials, but, any researcher will tell you, patient comments are notoriously unreliable.

But the best part – and here’s the reason we really need to connect the dots between domestic and foreign policies – is that the cost of this new initiative will be paid for by cuts to Medicaid and the sale of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. So while we’re over in the Middle East killing people for their oil, our government will be selling its own oil to give Big Pharma more profits.

Note that Warren and Sanders voted against it!


Of course they are. No one exists who isn’t upper middle class.

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The catch: Who can define a “progressive,” much less a progressive agenda? What progressives are trying to take over the party, and what would they do? Another 30-40 years of calling for jobs and slightly nudging up the minimum wage?

The media referred to as “liberal” or “progressive” have implicitly promoted the right wing economic agenda since the 1990s --the idea that our corporate state is now so successful that everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. We can conclude, then, that they agree we should (conservatively) “stay the course,” trusting in the free market system. This ideology is actually regressive – to the right of former Republican presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, and even Reagan.


The elderly poor and the disabled rely on Medicare/Medicaid, with Medicaid primarily covering prescriptions. Without this, people will die.


What the Deamoncratic Party has been doing lately is the mirror image of what the Repugs have been doing since at least RR: Use social issues to win over single-issue voters while covertly supporting an economic agenda the screws the 99% for the 1% who fund their elections. Curiously, in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, Malaysia and many other Muslim countries the dictators have been secular and not particularly dogmatic regarding social issues (at least by Saudi standards). I guess they just haven’t need that crutch, the way the Taliban and ISIS have in their less fortunate circumstances. Nevertheless, I would not give any credit to anyone for a position of societal responsibility based on their religion, as this article clearly does. After all, they might also get bit stressed out …


I understand but most poor and jobless people do not vote because they are too busy surviving. The war on poor people has sustained itself a lot longer than twenty years. It’s why there has been such a push for education and better jobs for many years. In fact the community college concept ( born about fifty years ago) was created because of the economy and so more people would be included.Now, however even people with a BA have difficulty getting jobs. In fact many people with a degree are waiting tables. It isn’t just the parties. It’s corruption, and overpopulation as well.
Even if the party “won” those issues would still be present. How to solve them? I think we might have to continue at the grass roots.
As for politicians( many of whom are useless) many of the people in congress are quite old and very wealthy. Let’s have term limits
Finally even President Obama has said: “We can’t fix everything.” We have a large country with over 300 M people- it’s hard to even wrap your head around it. Within the country, there are different cultures that people follow, and different lifestyles. Even heads of companies and mayors of towns and cities talk about challenges . Can one even imagine what the job of POTUS would be? Most of our presidents have looked much older after finishing their terms of office.
Just like in a household, many people do not wait for others to make decisions and/or take action. Still when the results of this election were so off base( that’s one way to put it) it’s hard not to be discouraged.
In the mean time, life is too short, and we can only try to do what we can each one of us.

Absolutely it is to the right- especially calling for jobs while they continue to get outsourced, population is way up , and resources are getting scarcer. Also, what does matter is who will give the most help- and it probably will continue at the grass roots level not necessarily at the corporate gov level.

That might be- but that isn’t related to the real lives of people in general. Sometimes even progressives have the policies and words , but not the action on the ground- and they get paid the big bucks for that as well. It’s the system in general . This has been going on for a long time. Hey, even Jerry Rubin the activist and member of the Chicago Seven worked on Wall Street for awhile for a firm that invested in liberal causes.

Many retired people ( no matter what their incomes are use Medicare for at least one source of their insurance or health care. They pay for part B, and that is based on income.

I like that one. Remember also, many people work quite hard in order to climb the ladder sometimes over 80 hours a week. I believe it’s deliberate fraud you are talking about. Anyway the 12 steps is very clever.

Sometimes I wonder - about the “lie down and cry” theory. Except for a few over the course of many years, there are no progressives not really.

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I doubt they have the will for taking the dem party back from the corporatists. Otherwise Wall Street would have gone on trial years ago. They don’t even talk about it anymore. ( except for Warren and Sanders when he campaigned. I believe the starting salary for a member of congress is close to 200000 with a pension and benefits. Also, for anyone who believes that “They do not accomplish anything in congress” Wrong! They sure did bail out the big banks with lightening speed.

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The Democrat Party is infused by representatives of the wealthy and profiteers of fear of the ‘enemy’. It is fundamentally structured to promote the interests of plutocrats and to perpetuate the existential fear that enables the government to ensure an economy directed toward incarceration, surveillance, foreign and domestic repression, and war.

“What Democrats Must Do?”

How about acknowledging that any hope for social justice must come from grassroots community based organizing.


By 2020, the US retirement program will consist of a cyanide pill. Much more cost effective!

(I’m not sure if I’m joking or not…)