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The Democrats Can’t Save Us

Photo by DonkeyHotey | CC BY 2.0

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

— Isaiah 11:6

Things are looking up for the Democrats. They keep winning special elections. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania is the latest victor. These are only a few election results and it will mean little if the Republicans have success in the upcoming midterms. Still, all signs point to the Democrats winning in the near future. The number one thing that they have going for them is that Donald Trump is not a Democrat (at least, not anymore). The funny thing is that the number one thing that Donald has going for him is that he is not a Democrat. As long as Donald remains this dreadful, count this dynamic as a win for the Democrats.

It is obvious that the Democrats will provide some relief to a disturbed populace. This relief will be largely symbolic, but not wholly. Conor Lamb is not a particularly inspiring case as he champions death by guns (owned by the military, police or citizens) or coal (climate change will eventually kill all the kids who ducked the bloodbath of a public school system). But he apparently also sees women’s right to choose as murder, and in these cases alone, he is opposed to such an act. Bernie Bots will be right to grumble about Lamb but Trump has inspired Cold War cowards in all of us. It is likely that even those disillusioned with the Democratic Party will swallow their pride (or is it dignity?) and vote for the Democrats in 2018. Lamb said a few nice things about unions and trade. It will likely be this hodgepodge of a few Sanders sentiments and many more Clinton sentiments that will work out fine for congressional hopefuls.

For this reason alone I wish Trump would have lost. We are now back to square one: believing that the Democratic Party can save us. Connor Lamb may look like a harmless lamb, but he is laying (and lying) with the wolves of the Republican Party, who are led by a disturbed child named Donald Trump. A bipartisan agreement is the most dangerous thing in Washington.

I am being told that this 2018 midterm election is the most important election ever in the United States. To that I say, sure it is! Has there ever been a worse President than Donald Trump? Has there ever been a more heartless group than the current Republican establishment?

For some reason though we are supposed to believe that the Democratic Party is the opposite of the Republican Party rather than its often eager and always complicit partner. Let’s keep in mind that the only reason Republicans can get elected at all is that they are not Democrats. Donald Trump was only elected because people voted to stop Hillary Clinton. Trump’s approval rating has never been very high. Although I am frightened by how high it remains.

We will elect more Democrats who do nothing to help poor people. Once we realize they have done nothing we will then elect Republicans who do nothing to help poor people. Then we will rejoice when the pendulum swings blue again. This is how the process works. We swing back and forth between our two failed parties. To think that the Democrats are somehow stopping the Republicans or that the Republicans are somehow stopping the Democrats would be insane. They are both extremely unpopular and they only win because the other one exists.

The differences between the two parties are rhetorical and cultural mostly and for those of us paying attention there are certainly some political and ideological differences as well. But such a difference, to the extent it exists at all, matters little when we consider that the Democrats of today are the Republicans of yesterday and that the Republicans of today are the Democrats of tomorrow. In other words, both parties, as long as they remain intact, will continue shifting to the right. What we are defending as liberal today will be seen as socialist soon enough and what we are criticizing as conservative will soon becomes liberal enough for the Democrats. Just look at the rehabilitation of the pathetic character George W. Bush to see how quickly people forget their principles.

The Democrats and Republicans are not two sides of different political ideologies working to reach a consensus as we are supposed to believe. For one, the Republicans don’t compromise and the Democrats do. It was comical (and surely racist) how the Republicans blocked so many of Barack Obama’s plans, even though he was so often proposing their ideas. The Republicans gerrymander elections and use voter suppression tactics. The Democrats only do this in their own primaries to squash more left candidates. The Democrats want bipartisan and the Republicans want their way. If a compromise is reached it favors the Republicans. Oh, and the last thing is that both parties answer to their rich financial backers rather than the people they represent.

I disagree with all those who are holding on tight to the Second Amendment and a libertarian definition of freedom. It is not the government that we need to overthrow. It is the people who are shrinking and undermining it. Governments exist to protect the interest of a society over the interests of individuals. And when they are not corrupted by capitalism, they do this job well enough to benefit a society. Democrats stink right now because they are shrinking government and stripping protections from people and the environment.

As long as the two party system remains intact it will be the rich who set the agenda for this country. Creating a third party under this system does seem rather hopeless and that goes to show that we need to change a lot more than electoral politics to make real change. That being said a third party, even if it is not radical enough on its own, is met with scorn by most people in this country. Most everyone agrees that the two party system stinks but how many of us are really ready to jump ship?

The Democrats have engaged in the deregulation of the economy. They have attacked unions. They have cut funding for public schools and replaced them with prisons. They have promoted pipelines and wars for oil. They have supported vicious trade deals that hurt workers and destroy the environment.

If the world was to run as is with Democrats in place of Republicans we would still become extinct in the near future. If not by nuclear annihilation, then by climate change. Inequality would continue to grow. War, police and prisons would continue to increase. Millions of refugees would still be left to die. Our entire ecosystem and our means to live would still crumble. The other animals within this ecosystem would still be defined by the profit they can create for the human race.

We all know this. Every best selling novel these days is about the apocalypse or the post-apocalypse. Have we any choice but to ditch the Democrats? Or is it really true that most of us have just given up? The mainstream liberal hotheads may still believe in the Democrats, but the bigger problem for most of us is that there is just no way forward beyond the Democrats. The Democrats have captured our airwaves, our energy, our wealth and our imagination.

The fear of Republicans remains a primary obstacle to us creating a party we want, rather than a party that owns us. With this all important 2018 midterm election on the horizon we have more reason than ever to fear the Republicans. But what exactly are we waiting for? Do we really believe that the Republicans will get any better? When exactly will they not be scary? There will never be a good time to ditch the Democrats. But if we keep waiting for the Republicans to become less foul there will be no time left for us at all.

How useful are the Democrats if they only inspire a fifth of the population to vote for them on Presidential years, and less than that on other years? How useful are they if when they do win control of Congress and the Presidency they do nothing but bail out Wall St.? (Thanks, Obama) W.E.B. DuBois did say when talking about slavery that voting was an act of self-defense. Indeed it was, and indeed, it is. For the foreseeable future the hopeless Democrats will drag on because of this. It does beg the question though: who is to protect us from the Democrats?

 

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Nick Pemberton is a student at Gustavus Adolphus College. He is currently employed by Gustavus Dining Services. Nick was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. He can be reached at pemberton.nick@gmail.com

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