Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
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
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail