If Donald Wins in 2020 Blame the Mainstream Media

Reading the reactions of pundits and press to two nights of Democratic Party debates should actually soothe Donald Trump’s anxieties. The press, especially the mainstream press along with a few temporary volunteers from the Conservative Party, is going to do Trump’s job for him. We are being whipped up into a sense of panic for a number of reasons, all related to the reactionary judgments of people who have reached “a certain age” and beyond.

The angst over the use of the word socialism could be enough all on its own to put DT back in the oval office. Progressives are not trying to turn America into a socialist nation. Some progressives may one day manage to overturn capitalism, but not today. Most Democrats see ways to be progressive without displacing the capitalist system we have. Admittedly it would be much easier if wealthy capitalists pitched in to help keep America’s core values alive, but change can be legislated step-by-tedious step if necessary. Or we can start with blue states and use envy to get working Americans to insist that their red state follow suit. If we the people decide to make a budget that offers social programs rather than an obscene tax cut for billionaires, it’s a democracy, we can do that. All we have to do is get enough other Americans to agree. As long as the media keeps asking Democratic candidates about their view of socialism this will remain an unsettled question in the minds of many voters. Democratic socialism is not the same as socialism.

As more Democratic candidates design more and more programs to meet the needs of parents in a world where two parents probably work, or where there are many single-parent families, the mainstream media raises questions about their ability to get these things done. As long as they vow to pay off everyone’s college loans, pay reparations to Americans of African Descent who have been held back economically by discriminatory practices, offer everyone free medical care even though you might have to pay taxes that are a bit higher (offset by free medical care), make the economy more equal, and many more great ideas, the mainstream media passes on the message that these left-wingers are fringe people who will not be able to deliver on their promises. Then the media reminds us of how centrist most Americans are, and implies that we the people don’t want these things and will, as usual, vote against our own best interests. Clearly it is unlikely that all these benefits can accrue to working Americans at once. There are designs that must be debated, bills that must be written and passed. These things take time. And, although all of these programs would be paid for by the federal government they would be paid for with our money and most likely would be run by free-standing agencies with federal oversight.

Everyone who offers Progressive ideas admits that we will have to raise taxes on those at the top of the economy. There are justifications for this. Whether you think they are valid depends on your own ideological bent and perhaps how big you bank accounts are. (Most of us have only one bank account; some of us have none.) The biggest argument offered up so far is the “you did not build it”/”you did not build it alone” impasse in which some people say (“the makers”, in this scenario) that without the business they established society would be poorer. They call the rest of us “the takers”. Well that can’t be right. Without workers they could never have made such great products or offered such in-demand services and they would have stayed very small or failed. What they mean is that, now that they have found new workers, cheap workers, they don’t need us anymore. Except now we are their best consumers. And we can’t consume as much as they would like because they did not share the wealth with us. Workers did not think of themselves as “takers”. It’s insulting. Workers thought of themselves as partners, as family, but now they have been disinherited. New worker families are reaping the benefits of corporations and they are slowly becoming new consumers.

Are corporations American corporations, or do they belong to whatever country has the least expensive workers? If they can switch nationalities for economic reasons, haven’t they switched their nationalities altogether. If they strive to pay as few taxes into the government of the nation they still like to claim as their own, are they still patriots? If they pay no taxes can they still lobby as insiders for more favors from a federal government they no longer support? If they do not contribute to the federal budget should they have any say in deciding how the budget is divvied up?

I believe that if corporations continued to invest in America and American workers this nation would blossom and could, once again, become the hot crucible of innovation that it used to be. The media keeps telling Americans how centrist they are, how moderate. They do not ever get Americans excited about how lifting away some of our worries might free the nation to explore new technologies, medicines and medical treatments, ways to keep the planet clean and healthy and to solve lots of pesky problems that seem inherently solvable, but never get solved.

And finally, Progressive or Moderate, whoever becomes the Democratic candidate must not be obstructed by a moderate mainstream press from having a real shot at beating Donald Trump because he is an existential threat to our democracy/republic. Unless we have decided to stop flirting with authoritarianism and to actually become an authoritarian state; unless we kiss the forefathers goodbye – you tried, you lasted two and a half centuries – but close only counts in horseshoes and (I forgot the other one) but Google says it’s hand grenades. In the 2020 election there are only two choices, Trump or the candidate the Democrats choose. You cannot afford to be an independent voter. Not this time. You cannot afford to sit this one out. And if you saddle us with Donald Trump for four more years we may not be as nice to you as we have been so far.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Left Voice

Unite the Democrats with a Message from Progressives

The Democrats are split in a way that could hurt their goals to turn the majority in, at least the House, from red to blue. We have the Bernie Sanders Progressives suggesting we “go big or go home”. And we have the Obama wing that does not necessarily want to blow up Capitalism; that wants to stay with the current array of power brokers and money people. These folks back the social safety net but they like to straddle the extremes and they like to back public/private partnerships. They do not like the smack of “socialism” that Bernie’s peeps seem comfortable with. There are even two Democratic leaders, the official, duly elected Tom Perez of the DNC, and Keith Ellison, the ersatz leader of the Progressives (sort of like when Europe had two popes). Of course there is also the point that Sanders is registered as an Independent, not a Democrat.

Republicans have chosen to make their stand on health care and so that is where we find ourselves in pitched battle. Bernie has decided to heat up his single payer campaign. The moderates have been offering to take the poorest and sickest people off the hands of the for-profit private insurance industry with their public option (Medicaid). The Republicans are trying to shrink the role the federal government plays in the lives of less affluent Americans, because, they argue, we are robbing them of the incentive to thrive, and incidentally they are not real Americans or they would not sink so low, and because it hurts business and lowers profits. (The Republicans seem a bit preoccupied with money and the image America presents to the world and yet they are the party that gave us 45.)

So recently I have found myself, mostly out of disgust at the tendency on the right to abandon even the appearance of principled politics, tuning in to the message of the Progressives. Speaking of unprincipled politics, there is the rumored back room strategy to get reluctant House members to vote for the newest version of the Republican Health Care Plan by taking block grant money away from blue states and giving it to red states. Is this still business as usual or is this kind of partisan bargaining more underhanded (and possibly less legal) than anywhere politicking has been willing to go before. Someone will dredge up a precedent for this behavior from their deep knowledge of all things political, but I will still find this shocking.

When faced with bad ideology, and refusal to come to the negotiating table, and dirty dealing why would the Dems not go nuclear and adopt a Progressive platform focused on “we the people”. Moderate Dems are unwilling to give up the middle ground because they feel that they may lose important supporters, and perhaps they feel that giving Progressives free rein will change the very nature of our Democracy.

I don’t think it takes much imagination to guess what the private health insurers are saying about Single Payer.

If it ends up that it is not the right time to be extreme, will it be a mine field to retreat back to the public/private arena? Risks are risky and all could be lost. But it looks like we will be stuck in this place where Republicans keep bringing up their terrible health insurance plan until it finally passes and we must live with it. Perhaps it is best to ask for more than we think we can ever get so that a least some boons will be granted to citizens, who seem to be in control of America “in name only”.

Unite the Democrats on a Progressive message and at least we will not split our votes.

The Media Blasts the Progressives

Sunday morning did not have much media presence on
our TV’s because of soccer, which the networks hope will be the next great
sports craze. However in just the tiny bit of time intellectuals were allowed
this morning the media managed to warn Progressives that they were too focused
on the middle class and they were about to ignore hordes of voters among the
poor. Applying a bit of logic to this piece of skewed nonsense will show that
Progressive/Liberal agenda items are not only important to the middle class; they
could also be very important for those who are considered poor. But what the
media may be suggesting is that the poor are deficient in logical thinking
skills and will never realize these social programs would also help them.
(Surely, the media wouldn’t do that!)
Americans who accept low paying jobs because they
lack training and/or education often cannot afford to work because child care
costs would wipe out their income. Single moms are in an especially precarious
situation when they have no nearby family support system. If you can drop your
children at home and if you know your Mom’s a nurturing person with a healthy
lifestyle, then you are lucky indeed. Free day care along with universal pre-K,
are certainly programs that would help lift some people out of poverty and programs
which would also help the middle class.
Free training and college, another Progressive goal,
especially if accompanied by reliable child care and pre-K and after-school
programs is a triple whammy that might make astonishing inroads into the number
of poor in the country. These same things would also provide security to the
American middle class. Children would be cared for systematically and parents
could work with less guilt and fewer interruptions. For the middle class these
are peace-of-mind-items but would also help folks climb their career ladders.
For the poor they could be the difference between failure and success. These
programs might attack those pockets of stubborn poverty in America that we
discuss so often and create pathways out.
Progressives also believe, and the experiences of
other nations which have these supports in place show, that these programs also
improve day-to-day life for the middle class and help them concentrate on their
jobs when they are working and concentrate on their families when they are not,
instead of being torn between two loyalties. Family leave helps families deal
with illness, death, and crisis within the family without losing their
livelihood.
I love the Progressive/Liberal agenda for its sheer
audacity. To peddle growth in the midst of a push for drastic austerity takes a
lot of chutzpah.
And this stuff, while jaw-dropping, does not strike
us as being as nutty in a way as the right wing diatribes have been. If you ask
me who makes arguments closer to the promises we believe are made by our
Democracy, I would have to go with the Progressives. There is also the argument
that we like these things Progressive want to fight for; we want these things;
these things would be a godsend for both the middle class and the poor.
But we have been beaten down; we have been shown our
greed and the affects that our greed has had on the Federal budget and we are
ready to take our punishment. We are almost convinced it is just. We are almost
persuaded that we cannot ask the rich to part with one more red cent of their
hard-earned bucks. I say this with sarcasm but the part of the middle class
which feels comfortable, that feels on the verge of attaining enough wealth to
put their money worries to rest, are truly loathe to touch up the very rich for
these programs (even if our tax structures and our laws are funneling all America’s
money into a very few pockets).
Both propaganda and direct observation, I might add,
have done their work. Americans with a strong work ethic feel like they have
wage suckers attached to every window, door and crevice in their homes (thank
you Progressive Insurance for that image). Perhaps they are right, but I
believe the number of wage suckers would also be trimmed by adopting a more
progressive approach to social programs (along with a really effective new way
to wean people off opioids and other debilitating addictive substances.)
The middle class is ready to cut the wage suckers
loose. Everyone should have to work and plan and save and climb. That’s the
American way. And, yes, it is, but it has left a lot of wage suckers and those
unable to work circling the drain. Abandoning them will not improve America. It
will make it sadder and scarier. People will not just go live in suburbs, they
will have to live in walled and guarded communities and be very choosy about
who they let in. Or we can try one more time to help those who need it find a
way to live independent and productive lives.

So the media may be correct about the factoid they
offered which said that Progressive/Liberal talk is focused on the middle class
and that they will lose a lot of votes with this kind of focus. Clearly,
though, the same social programs that are offered to assist the middle class,
would be even more helpful to the poor. It’s a bold approach. When all are moaning
about debts and cuts, go big. Spend money to make money. If were headed for a
25 year long great depression on our current path, risk-taking might be just
the trick to turn the whole thing around. We would be betting on the same
Americans we have been talking about kicking to the curb. Now, that’s
Progressive!
By Nancy Brisson