FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Mid-Term Elections

The mid-term elections are over. After spending hundreds of millions of business dollars, the Republicans now control the Senate and hold on to the House of Representatives. It is amazing that the Democrats did not do worse. They had decided months ago on a strange strategy –that they were going to defeat the Republicans by not criticizing their belligerent leader, George W. Bush.

In their ads, literature and debates between Senatorial and Representative candidates, mention of Mr. Bush by them was to praise not to challenge, or to expose the hypocrisy, and the damage to American workers and consumers by this corporation President.

Listening to the debate from around the country on C-Span radio, I was astonished to see Democratic candidates in tight races eager to show their support for Bush’s 2001 tax cut for the wealthy, for the give-a-way war resolution authority on Iraq, and for Bush’s federal drive to take over the historical role of the states in personal injury law by restricting Americans’ right to their full day in court.

And what did Senate Democrat candidates such as Jean Shaheen in New Hampshire and Senator Max Cleland of Georgia get for their support of President Bush? Why he roared into their states on Air Force One and campaigned against them, as he did against other Democrats who voted with him on these and other Republican litmus paper tests.

The morning after election day, reporters asked Senator majority leader, Tom Daschle why the Democrats lost? He replied, because the Democrats were “up against a very popular President.” That’s a self-fulfilling point. Asked the same question, Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe answered: “Because they [the Republicans] outspent us.” But it was Republican House speaker who gave the accurate response: “Because the Democrats did not have a message.”

At a time of rising unemployment, a shaky economy, and growing Republican deficits, it would seem that the Democrats had opportunities. Yet while the Republicans were shamelessly touting ending the estate tax for the 4000 estates a year that are in the multi-million dollar category, the Democrats were not highlighting the desperate need for raising the federal minimum wage (now about a third less in purchasing power than it was in 1968!) and extending unemployment compensation benefits.

Most Democrats, with the prominent exception of the late Senator Paul Wellstone, took a dive on making Republican softness on corporate crime a major issue, coupled with solid reform proposals to crackdown on corporate scandals that stole billions from pension funds and 401ks and cost many jobs. (See Citizenworks.org).

Namby-pamby was the Democratic routine on the increasing millions of Americans without health care coverage and on the staggering inefficiency, waste and greed of many giant HMOs and the drug industry.

Although the Democrats had in their possession finely tuned economic stimulus plans, they tied their own by declining to go after a bloated military budget (now half of the U.S. government’s entire non-discretionary budget) and the tens of billions of dollars in yearly corporate welfare subsidies and handouts.

Instead, the Democrats’ economic agenda was the raising of big bucks from business interests — a sure way to silence championing the peoples’ necessities.

When the Democratic Party adopts a look-a-like strategy vis-a-vis the Republican Party, some of their voters may prefer the real thing and vote Republican. After all, only a shift of less than three hundred thousand votes in key states would have given the Democrats control of both Houses of Congress.

Amidst the din of endlessly repeated political television ads, it wasn’t made very clear that the Democrats were going after the Republicans on down home consumer protection issues, such as insurance and food safety and affordable housing. Environmental positions regarding cleaner air and water were not prominent either.

Lessons for the future? Don’t give your major political opponents a free ride between and before elections. Challenge the corporate takeover of elections, including the sudden surge of political television advertising paid directly by industries like the big price-gouging drug companies. And get down to the neighborhood level with visible stands for the people.

Otherwise the Democrats will become even better at electing very bad Republicans.

 

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail