Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: The Silver Lining to Tonight's Results
Assuming the results come out as expected, tonight will mark yet another election where the voters reject the policies of endless war, bank bailouts and sucking up to the rich at the expense of everyone else.* Just as they did in 2008 and 2006.
Sure, the GOP will not change these policies. They will continue them. Just as Obama didn't change them when voters chose him over the GOP's policies of endless war, bank bailouts and sucking up to the rich at the expense of everyone else.
But I take at least some heart in knowing that my fellow Americans think the country is on the wrong track. And while a lot of Americans couldn't define socialism if their life depended on it and are fed nothing but bullshit propaganda by the corporate media, they're actually pretty sane on basic policy issues: they like Medicare and single payer, oppose the war in Afghanistan, hate the bank bailouts, and want to raise taxes on the rich. There will be a lot of "progressives" blaming the voters tomorrow, but it's the elites who suck.
Our challenge is to find a way out of the ratchet effect. To give a true voice to the desires of the American public, which somehow never seem to get translated into national policy.
Whatever the answer, it ain't going to be found in the Democratic Party. As Chris Floyd points out in the article linked above (which provides the framework for this post and should be read in its entirety), the Democratic Party is part of the problem, not the solution:
Now it is obvious to all that Obama's core agenda is the same as Bush's: maintaining the elitist, militarist, corporatist system in all its essential elements. The "War on Terror" goes on, expanding into new lands. Torture and murder are still countenanced and concealed, in concentration camps and secret sites that are still in operation. All of Bush's most egregious assertions of authoritarian power are embraced and defended in court. Wall Street is rewarded, not regulated for its vast crimes. The legislative architect and champion of one of the most regressive, punitive, draconian acts of class war in our time – the Bankruptcy Bill, that atom bomb dropped on working people, the sick, the old and the young – has been plucked from deserved obscurity and made Vice President of the United States. A grotesquely expensive, unjust and dysfunctional health care system is not only left intact by "reform," it is given millions of new, captive customers, and more public money to guarantee its profits.
Once again, the question arises: Is this a winning agenda?
It is not just Obama's agenda, of course. It is the agenda of the Democratic Party: war, empire, and corporate profit über alles. Is this really worth defending, even with a held nose? Yet progressives and liberals will continue to insist that, bad as it is, we've got to keep supporting the Democratic Party – because there is no alternative, because otherwise, Tea Party torture mavens like Scott Brown or Sarah Palin will get elected.
But as we've already noted above, it is the Democratic agenda itself that is opening the door for extremist opponents, who then exploit the genuine dissatisfaction and genuine suffering caused by that agenda. The fact that these opponents also support the same core agenda means that the nation will keep ping-ponging back and forth, with an electorate hungry for change desperately chasing anyone who promises it – only to rush back in the other direction when the 'change agent' proves to be just another stooge of the status quo.
This destructive, corrosive dynamic – this ever-worsening death spiral – is what progressives are actually supporting and enabling when they "hold their noses" to support Democrats. The Republicans and Democrats are now simply two factions of the same party – the party of war and greed. To support one faction, no matter what, with held noses or open arms, in such a locked system only perpetuates and exacerbates its worst elements.
We must break the death spiral. That's the bad news. The good news is that an awful lot of other Americans want the same thing. Don't let the tribal hype fool you. We're in the majority. All you have to look to tonight is what the American people voted against and contrary to what the corporate spin will be, most people voted against the Ds or stayed home, the GOP isn't any more popular than it was 2 years ago - it's not a GOP win, it's a D loss.
* Thanks to VL for reminding me of Floyd's excellent article and I agree with VL that it explains the whiplash of voters better than almost anything out there and explains how propping up the Democratic Party enables the extreme right-wing candidates to get elected. It's not only not helpful to moving the country to the left, it's actually damaging.
NOTE: None of this is to say that there aren't extreme right-wing elements out among the American people. There are. It's just their numbers are vastly inflated - by the corporate media and the GOP to push right-wing policies and by the Dems and their cheerleaders to try to scare people into holding their nose and voting for the (D).