I don’t find much in your response to disagree with.
The Democrats are a poor, often anemic opposition party.
As for how we got here, people like me we got here because America’s history aligns more naturally with republican values and policies. Democratic values are, in some real, every-man sense, less “American”.
In the 1770’s, America forcefully rebelled against the British and its taxes. It was money and private property and taxes from the start. The US didn’t say pretty please to Britain like Canada or Australia. They fought. With guns. To claim and build America, white settlers exterminated the native population and imported slaves to boost profit. With guns. From the 13 colonies, America’s boundaries pushed to the Pacific, as parcel after parcel was seized. With guns. And a few good/bad lawyers.
The civil war was bloody and brutal and fractured north from south, an injury that remains to this day. It also involved a lot of guns. The great depression revealed America’s every-man-for-himself, libertarian heart. FDR got a New Deal but a lot of conservatives have hated every letter of that legislation ever since.
Then, early in the 1900s, a protestant Christian movement founded by Scofield and others in the late 1800s, and energized by millions of white KKK members, became a major political force. They morphed into the moral majority that elected Reagan in 79, the twice born POTUS who convinced a generation or two of Americans that government was the problem.
No other country has these deep roots in evangelical Christianity and libertarian economics. The nexus of the two can be found in preachers like Joel Osteen and Kreflow Dollar (great name) who interpret the Bible as a self-help manual for would-be, wealth-seeking capitalists. (Christians believe in God. Libertarians believe in money. Libertarian Christians believe God is money.)
I often argue with a colleague who thinks Americans reject Dems because they are bad politicians or have bad ads. To be sure, many are and do. But I think Americans reject Dems because most Americans don’t believe in secular, liberal values, personal or economic. Only in America is Ayn Rand an esteemed philosopher and writer. Most Americans still think government is always bad and markets are always better. Americans don’t believe in sharing. Obamacare proves as much. They don’t believe in public goods, infrastructure, education, or health care. They just do not believe in liberal/progressive values.
That is also why Dems like Bill Clinton and Barak Obama tend to be conservative. Because American values are more conservative than progressive. America is not Britain or Canada. It’s very different. America is the most extreme democracy in the world with respect to the balance it prefers between the public and private sectors.
How to get out of it? Your blunt point about me is right: I have no magic formula.
That’s because the real challenge for the Dems is to change the longtime American mind on government and community.
As a partial answer, I would say that liberals and progressives of all stripes need to unite under one party. That one party is the Dem party. United they could transform the Dem party into something much less corporate, much less Clintonesque. Greens like Nader and Stein need to work within the party, again, in Nader’s case. Ocasio Cortez proves that far-left (hate that term) liberals can win. Sanders proves it. Warren proves it. Heck, California proves it too.
It is a generational challenge. But as American demographics change in the next 20 years, and as corporate capitalism provides fewer answers to income inequality and the effects of AI and robotics and offshoring on every western economy, something has to give. Ideas like universal basic income and lifetime employment (Japanese idea) will continue to surface. New forms of socialism will emerge, no matter how much Jordan Peterson dislikes it. And of course the continued degradation of the environment will push everyone to rethink government, economics, and civilization.
In the meantime, before big and better answers emerge, liberals should not stand down in the face of Trump and his legion, who are trying to make America into one giant, corrupt family business. Liberals must resist. And for now, the only effective way to do that is to vote Dem. Sorry, hate its flaws too, but there is no other option.
The election results last night were a good start. Something to build on. So, so much better for the Dems to be in charge of congress.
In the end, individuals like you and I can only try to do what we can in our own small spheres of influence. Perhaps we get involved in local politics. Perhaps we write on web sites to encourage one another. I have kids. I soldier on. I hope. And to the extent that I can, I vote and do.