The Democrats Are Set To Screw Us Over Yet Again
Every time, it’s the same old story: Democrats come into power promising their voters and donors the world… then they sell us out.
Come the next election cycle they’re back boosted by allies demanding we give them even more money and votes to stop those dastardly Republicans from thwarting the change America needs.
I’m not even 40, and I’ve been through this scam three times already. Stopping the War on Terror back in the noughties was a sham — Obama continued the drone wars and sent more troops to occupy Afghanistan. The Affordable Care Act was a massive handout to insurance companies that didn’t solve the problem of too few doctors, nurses, and medical facilities or ensure everyone could actually afford care.
The Democrats adore their emerging brand identity as the only game in town if you care about America’s crapsaccharine democracy. It’s a beautiful con if you can pull it off — unfortunately for Americans who rely on them to govern, that’s all it is. Democrat is to Republican as Target is to Wal-Mart — same business, different customer base.
American media outlets from CNN to Fox news push out the same partisan tropes day after day, making money by presenting a skewed, narrow view of the world and America’s place within it. Politics after Citizens United is explicitly about money — the wealthy get more votes than the poor in America, even though this nightmare of a country calls itself a democracy.
Even arch-Progressives like Bernie Sanders represent a critical piece of this political forever war, giving young people hope that this time people power will be enough. They constantly sell a silly cartoon version of history that sees mass protests altering the plans of the powerful in America.
Which is of course why old politicians like Sanders will insist that the US has to have over $6 trillion in public spending, then turn around and accept less than a third of that containing few if any meaningful lasting changes. They’ll laud whatever is passed as an incredible achievement, when in power Republicans will blow it all up, and on the cycle will go.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna — you are all awesome people and I love how hard you fight.
But the most important part of fighting is knowing when you are on indefensible terrain. And the structure of the American system as it now stands will never allow meaningful progressive change in America.
People, forget the pundits: America is far from a real democracy. Political scientists classify it as one because half of them are from America — and just like political scientists who work for Beijing, the majority of leading American political analysts wear ideological blinders. They have long classified America as a democracy despite its serious lack of truly robust democratic institutions out of convenience, as a way to subtly imply America is special.
It doesn’t pay, whether you have tenure or not, to go against the American mythos. You don’t get hired to talk on TV or run for office if you speak the honest, blunt truth. Trump’s ability to say things that attract attention is fundamentally rooted in the cultural taboos Americans have been taught they must accept in order to be good citizens.
Taught by, of course, people with a direct professional stake in defining citizenship and America a certain way. A simple profit motive for not openly questioning or offering alternatives to the way things are. America is special, so it need not fundamentally change.
But no country is special. All are artificial. Made by people who make them. That’s why the American Founders rebelled against Britain in the first place — they claimed the right to establish their own nation with its own laws. This didn’t exist until they asserted it did and were able to defend it.
At the heart of all revolutions is mobilizing real-world power to a certain effect. Money and other resources sufficient to sustain active operations in the field, whatever and wherever it may be. Those who organize and lead these efforts do it for a reason.
America’s Founding Fathers didn’t establish a democracy, they intentionally built a Republic —a kinder term for oligarchy — in direct imitation of a contemporary myth of what Rome looked like before Caesar. What democratic rights the general public is now allowed under the Constitution only became established because people fought for them and sometimes even died for them. They made it clear America couldn’t work if they didn’t have the same rights as everyone else — that’s how and why the blight of slavery was finally ended, through threatening to end America if it did not.
You don’t hold your basic human rights because some written document says so. The Constitution can be interpreted many ways, and often it has been manipulated for anti-Democratic purposes. Only through natural democratic processes has the Constitution ever been by and for the people.
Most Americans don’t know that before the Confederate states began breaking away to fight for slavery, many Northerners favored secession to have a country free from it if that proves necessary. Canada as a country was shaped by Loyalists fleeing the new Revolutionary regime in the colonies. Actions have consequences. Actions define the reality we all have to share — this is a truth of life in this world.
Democrats, whether liberal, moderate, or progressive, will never bring the change they promise because if they actually did, people would stop giving the party money. Fear breeds markets, and Democrats — Sanders is effectively one too, his Independent status a convenient sham — have invested heavily in keeping millions of donors afraid of what happens if they ever stop participating in the broken game.
Progress comes in insufficient drips and drabs, the pace of change always blamed on the intransigence of the other party. The two parties, like Yin and Yang, are reflections of one another containing a seed of the other inside, the two a self-sustaining whole.
If you care about stopping climate change, equal rights, or simply not having your wealth stealthily consumed by billionaires like Elon Musk who get to manipulate markets with tweets without any consequences, you have to stop trusting Democrats. Even, as sad as this is to say, the many noble progressives among them.
They are never going to win a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party. The old guard has its hooks in far too deep.
People like David Shor, a supposed wonder child whose profile is clearly being elevated by powerful patrons within the Democratic Party establishment to put a youthful face on tired ideas, insist the Democrats’ secret to success is toning down all progressive rhetoric to make sure the party can maximize its appeal to wealthy suburbanites. Messaging discipline is the key to success, and failure in elections is the fault of activists who won’t follow the lead of party-appointed technocrats.
They blame progressives for upsetting the delicate sensibilities of moderates, pretending this is what is ruining the Democrats’ hopes and not the party’s own never-ending betrayals of the people it constantly promises to support. Police reform, the climate crisis, voting rights, universal healthcare — they get none of it done, then blame activists for the party elite’s inability to connect with voters they hardly know exist.
Mainstream Democrats are simply working to preserve their donor base of well-off white suburbanites, pretending that the increasing diversity of the suburbs means they’re magically helping all Black and Brown people too. This is a cruel subordination of their own base to the concerns of wealthy white people, a lasting hallmark of the Democratic Party.
They are obsessed with appealing to everyone, all the time, reducing every national election into a contest between democracy and authoritarianism. This mobilizes some people, sure, but if you’ve paid attention the past few years you’ll see how the two-party system’s power runs so deep in American society that as soon as any slogan or rhetoric becomes associated with the Democratic Party establishment it becomes a toxic rallying cry for Republicans.
This is what negative partisanship is, what it does. All political speech is about trying to convince some audience that the speaker is affiliated with their group, understands their concerns. Language encodes affiliations, which is why spin is so critical to modern American politics. Pundits and politicos are always trying to attach labels and feelings to slogans to define for their listeners what constitutes correct speech for their group.
Political debate is mostly posturing, a way for voters to get a sense for who they feel represents them. No matter who you are, whenever you feel warm fuzzies for a politician it’s because they know how to talk to you. That is when a politician is most dangerous — it is too easy to forget that their job is to persuade you to like them.
That has been Trump’s secret, and why making American politics about Trump has been and will continue to be such a devastating error. Too many people hate the system too much now, distrusting D.C. more than any other American institution, for appeals to save American democracy to mobilize enough people to stop the eradication of its few hard-won democratic vestiges.
Yet no matter how much the ground underneath them turns to sand, leading Democrats never learn. Their leaders have been doing this job for too long, they’re accustomed to a totally different world. And wow does it show!
Climate change is perhaps the single most vital concern of our time after preventing a nuclear war (yeah, odds of that are increasing). It is on the climate where where the Democrats’ failings and outright lies are set to screw over everyone under the age of 50.
Not that they care, since most leading Democrats are in their 70s, but this hard truth remains — they’re failing, and the young will suffer for their inept leadership the most. We’ve all been sold a happy Sunday school fairy tale about reducing our carbon footprints and consumption as the path to climate utopia, but the truth is it’s big, high-level stuff that’s got to change.
Democrats will never actually deliver on real carbon reductions in the quantities that truly matter — all they will ever do is push emissions abroad because the global economy is wired to them. Even Biden’s own plans push increasing natural gas production through fracking to offset coal production declines even as it builds solar panels and wind turbines. Far from being phased out, fossil fuels use is growing fast. That’s why fuel prices are skyrocketing along with everything else.
The climate caucus still isn’t large enough, and too many Democrats are deeply invested in the way things work now for climate action to take place at anywhere the speed we need it to. In most polls climate change still ranks 4th or 5th in terms of public concern. The economy, healthcare, and immigration are always ahead of it. Same is true of student loans and college affordability, the other critical youth issues.
This is not because Americans don’t care about them — it’s because politicians from both parties have learned they never have to deliver, so they don’t actually accomplish much but stage partisan show battles. People are forced to focus on getting what little attention and support they can, so they naturally defer to immediate concerns like their jobs.
Most Americans would love the country to be cleaner and greener — most people everywhere want that. What they lack is the time and money to be able to focus on these kinds of rich world concerns.
Even the Biden Administrations’ most radical proposals were wildly insufficient, relying on economist-driven solutions like carbon taxes and carbon trading schemes that will never work, only push pollution to poorer regions. Only lightning-speed buildout of green systems across the board can avert a calamitous twenty-first century, unless and until affordable fusion energy sources come online sufficient to pull carbon directly from the atmosphere.
But that level of tech is 20 years out unless research efforts are rapidly advanced. And the developing world is set to demand even more fossil fuel energy every year while the rich countries dither in their commitment to reducing their own use of this precious and finite resource, protecting established interests at the expense of a decent future.
Democrats may talk, but they will never change. Too many want to pursue inefficient strategies at the national level that hamper local-level organization. And it is likely the Republicans are willing to fight a civil war to prevent any major reforms from affecting the Red States — which house most of America’s fossil fuel industries.
Right now, the world is rushing to embrace a climate change “solution” that simply makes carbon emissions invisible, rich Americans and Europeans insisting they’ve done their part and shaming poorer countries from turning to coal. While leaders are able to tell their own people they’ve done their part, carbon emissions globally will increase.
COP26 is set to be another cruel joke, because without a global organization capable of punishing non-compliant countries few will fulfill their obligations. This is a sad fact of people, as is their penchant for unnecessary consumption. You’ll also never beat climate change by convincing people to reduce their consumption — people simply don’t change in response to global threats they don’t personally experience every day.
Scaring them with documentaries and doom articles doesn’t do any good, because when threats don’t feel immediate, we grow numb to them. Effect is seen in deployed soldiers in insurgency situations who go a while without being attacked — it’s normal. The brain focuses on what is of immediate concern, and future heat waves will rarely feature prominently in our minds unless we’re living with them every day.
In which case, we find a way to get air conditioning — or move to a cooler climate. That’s been the story of humans since day one. It isn’t going to change.
Think I’m too pessimistic? Fair. Keep reducing your carbon footprint and see where we all end up. Probably the same place as the fight to get everyone to recycle — we consume just as much, but since it’s all shipped to Asia and Africa to be dumped in landfills nobody cares. Out of sight, out of mind — and we get to feel like good green recycling eco-friendly people, hooray!
I was in college when climate change first became a hot button issue — this more than a decade after scientists began warning in public there was a problem. For twenty years I’ve heard people insist that we have less than ten years to solve the climate crisis.
Yet in 2021, we’re no closer than we were in 2001 to slowing carbon emissions. The IPCC predicts that in the best-case scenario humanity is only able to reach net zero late this century, with unsafe levels of warming guaranteed barring a miracle.
Meanwhile the Biden Administration’s efforts to meaningfully address the problem are doomed to be inadequate. Too many senators rely on fossil fuels, and when gas prices rise people demand more production, thus more pollution. Building green capacity as quickly and as universally as possible while pushing energy efficiency and electrification with refundable tax credits is the most important first step in mitigating global climate impacts.
Your personal consumption changes will alter nothing on a meaningful scale — green capacity is everything.
On the climate, on student loans, on every issue that matters to young people the geriatric wing of the Democratic party is determined to tell us to wait our turn to get help.
Which I’d be cool with if the Democrats were, say, protecting voting rights or successfully beating the pandemic. But they’re not — and at some point, they have to pay for their failings.
America’s future is grim, and things aren’t looking up. American politics is degenerating into little more than angry tribes screaming about how bad the other is. Separation or even civil war are possible this decade, perhaps even likely.
If you care about the planet, the most important action you can take is to reject the Democratic Party as a perpetual failure. National-level organization is probably pointless — local and global levels harbor the hinge points in the modern world, the age of the artificial nation-state is finally at an end.
The Democrats are a disaster, just as much a part of America’s decay as Republicans. And in some ways I dislike them more, because at least I know the Republicans are outright white supremacists.
When things go down, I know who to keep in the sights of my remotely-controlled sniper nests and drones if they’re wearing their colors openly. It’s the betrayers behind my perimeter that make me and mine vulnerable.
The Dems say they aren’t white supremacists, then rely on doctrines inherent to the nature of the beast when they govern. That kind of hypocrisy is toxic in an age of cheap information, and why their polls are so astoundingly bad this early in Biden’s administration.
Can they change course? I doubt it. There is a lot of money and power invested in the two-party sham. The wealthy do not want true democracy to come to America, even if their own resource hoarding is doomed to lead to their own destruction. A well constructed third party movement could be geographically targeted to harm Trump far more than it impacts whatever empty shell the Democrats run in 2024.
But the Democrats will fight to the death to prevent this from happening. Even though America needs and deserves a multi-party system and probably a regionalized federal government to remain intact and at peace, they profit from the fight. They don’t want any alternative, their survival requires the lack of any.
If you want a better world, the time has come to reject the Democratic Party. Leave, and let the centrist remnants merge with the sane Republicans. Let the Progressives join with all the other reasonable third party and local grassroots movement to push for radical change. Then left and center can form a national alliance to halt the march of the New Right and find a working set of reforms to fix — or better yet regionalize — the federal government.
The alternative is most likely to be Trump’s return to the Oval Office in 2025. No reasonable person should think this isn’t exactly what will happen. In my lifetime alone I’ve watched the Democrats blow the 2000, 2004, and 2016 elections and quite nearly lose 2020 too as even some Democratic-boosting writers are finally admitting they did.
This is bad for America, as well as the entire world. We’re all on this planet together, and what happens here impacts everyone else, too.
Helping stabilize the country is of paramount importance to all global work, from fighting climate change to eradicating poverty and preventing wars. There is no alternative but to destroy the two party system.
Starting with the Democrats.