By Ralph Nader
October 24, 2018
Decades ago, prominent political analyst Kevin Phillips said that the Republicans go for the jugular while the Democrats go for the capillaries. Today’s national Democratic Party makes Phillips observation seem overly generous.
With the polls tightening for November’s Congressional elections and Trump’s weak approval rating inching up to 47%, there is a sense of déjà vu. Why should we be surprised? Look at the sorry list of national Democratic derelictions: they utterly failed to landslide the Republicans in the 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections for Congressional supremacy. Worse, the Republicans landslided the Democrats taking most state legislatures, governors and all three branches of the Federal government.
The current Republican Party is the worst in history. It is filled with cruel, vicious, corrupt Wall Street toadies, war-mongering wasters, and promoters of immunity and tax escapes for big corporations and the super-wealthy. In return for big campaign donations. The Republicans are very willing to imperil the health, safety, and economic well- being of consumers, workers, and patients.
Let’s start with the frozen federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. Some 30 million workers are making beyond that wage but still less than workers made in 1968, adjusted for inflation. Many of them say they are not voting because they feel disempowered. Well, why don’t the Democrats launch a national campaign urging workers to vote and get a long-overdue raise denied to them by corporate political power? Together with the AFL-CIO, the Democrats can bring this simple demand for justice, beyond formal resolutions, front and center before November 7.
For months I have urged Congressional Democrats to publicize a list of the most dangerous and cruel votes of the Congressional Republicans. The Democrats, for some unknown reason, have declined to do so. The Democratic National Committee, with their many occupied cubicles calling for donations, has not responded to my repeated year-long inquiries.
Support for raising the federal minimum wage is overwhelming with both liberal and conservative support among the voters. The Republicans are firmly set against any such raise; many of them want to get rid of the minimum wage law altogether. Why aren’t the national Democrats going beyond lip service and making this a really big election year issue?
Indeed, most people still ask “What does the Democratic Party stand for, other than Obamacare?” Some candidates running for Congress – mostly the insurgent Democrats who won their primaries – are talking up some of the many overdue justice reforms. However, only the Democratic leaders, and their allies, in Washington, D.C., with their hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign cash can make these causes nationally driven reforms.
Finally, one Congressman stepped up. No longer willing to wait, Cong. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), a constitutional law professor, put out a list of “20 Outrageous Things the GOP House Majority Did in My First Term.” (See the list at jamieraskin.com). By highlighting and declaring why the House GOP is so crazily anti-people, the Democrats can define what they stand for.
Raskin’s list starts with the obvious. The House Republicans voted to get rid of health insurance coverage for 30 million Americans and subjected many more to the insurance companies’ deadly fine print (eg. deductibles, exclusions, waivers, pre-existing conditions etc.).
The House GOP voted to weaken law and order efforts against Wall Street’s crimes and recklessness, putting trillions of dollars in worker pensions and mutual funds at risk. Prominent specialists are now warning of another financial collapse from the greed of the speculators.
On Raskin’s list are those massive tax escapes given to the richest 1% and corporations, adding more than $1 trillion to the national deficit and leading Republicans, such as Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to demand cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The Democrats attacked the Trump tax legislation – pushed cowardly through without public hearings, but they have not offered their own tax reform plan that would make the big boys pay their fair share. Those monies could be used to repair and upgrade our infrastructure and create good jobs that are not exportable. Where is the alternative Democratic tax plan?
The Republican Party’s votes against women rights and children’s well-being have become part of the GOP’s ruthless DNA – denying food, health care, housing, and energy assistance. Why aren’t the Democrats labeling the Republicans as the cruel and vicious big corporate toadies that they are? The message would be especially powerful in candidate debates.
Other House Republican votes on the list undermine workers’ rights to overtime pay for overtime work without loopholes, and all Americans right to their day in court with a trial by jury for their wrongful injuries and property damage.
For the GOP and their corporate paymasters, America is all about corporations uber alles. That’s why they push through Congress the nominations of big corporate judges such as Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The GOP cannot resist favoring more corporate pollution, especially for the mining industry, and giving the banks license to escape reporting requirements about their predatory and discriminatory lending practices.
Raskin’s 20th outrageous vote is a composite of what the House Republicans refused to do: “The GOP did nothing to address the nation’s infrastructure needs, pass the Dream Act, reduce gun violence, address climate change… increase the minimum wage, address the soaring price of prescription drugs, lower the cost of health care, strengthen voting rights and curb the power of foreign and corporate wealth in our elections, or challenge the outrageous corruption of this administration. “
Instead the Republicans are busy doing various things to suppress the vote in state after state. Where are the National Democrats to stop the rapacity and statism of the corporatist Republicans whom authentic conservatives also find repulsive?
Democrats have less than two weeks to show what the Republican Party is doing against the people and, by that message, show the people what the Democratic Party is determined to do for the people.
The Democratic Party has been told all the above for years. It is late but not too late to save the purported “blue wave” from becoming a blue trickle this November. Losing in 2018 will further open the gates to the Trumpsters’ greedy wrecking crew driving America into an authoritarian pit, if not worse.
Don’t think it can’t happen here again, visit jamieraskin.com for starters.