In the Age of Trump, certain figures may present a facade of populism, while still maintaining the kind of economic neoliberalism that many on the Left have been fighting as of late. California Senator Kamala Harris seemed to offer a progressive message, but it was made clear to me and many others back in April that she was not interested in trying to move the Democratic party beyond their failed Clinton-esque strategies.
In Los Angeles, she told a crowd of people that they should not feel the need to replace fellow Democratic senators such as Joe Manchin, which is what groups like Brand New Congress and the Justice Democrats are actively working toward. And of course there was that infamous quote which rocked the readers and writers of populist publications such as this one, “We can’t afford to be purists”. Well I would offer a differing statement which, based on this past election, seems to carry more weight: Democrats can’t afford to be corporatists.
It’s clear that if the Democrats want to win back some of the governorships and congressional seats they lost, as well as the White House, they can’t let a wealthy few control their platform. It’s not surprising that Harris despises those who wish to reform her party; she’s taken in thousands of dollars from Time Warner. She knows that when the ‘alt-Left’-ers get the numbers they need, her kind will be replaced by the “un-bought” candidates they’re currently running.
There is a myth in our culture that if Left-wing legislators attempt to appeal to the “purists”, they will lose voters. Harris claims that “you understand that you may not agree with 50% of their policy positions, but I can guarantee you will disagree with 100% of their replacements’ policy positions.”
This notion ignores the fact that much of the American populist argument is based on opposing the buying and selling of politicians’ agendas. We don’t want our legislators to give more thought to the whims of their corporate donors than to the needs of their constituents. Democrats like Harris believe that the party must take ‘unity’ to ridiculous lengths. If an NRA-loving, Earth-raping tool of the big banks came to power, as long as he/she has a ‘D’ next to their name, Harris, Pelosi, and the rest of these shills would be totally inclined to spit upon that person’s detractors, all in the name of the “big tent”.
The Clinton-Kaine campaign ignored the cries for change from the rust belt states, and they went Republican when it was time to vote. If the Democrats fail to speak out about the plight of the working class, they will lose to the guys who consistently succeed at pretending to care. These people need to stop kowtowing to the moneyed interests of our nation and quit trying to make their behavior look progressive.
If the “resistance” is only about resisting Trump, we’ve got a sizable pile of bullshit to dig through after he gets himself thrown out.
Ezra Kronfeld is an independent writer, poet, and journalist.