The Democratic Office Boy Machine

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Of course the DNC will do it again. The fact that anyone considers that they will play fair is hopelessly out of touch with their history. They will try to thwart the will of their voters through continued reliance on 2nd vote superdelegates and the use of slanted support that will be extended to corporate friendly candidates. They did it the last time around, and less known……. they did it back in 1944 (more about this later). The only way this will stop is through a fear of becoming completely irrelevant and going the way of the Whigs. A new Progressive party that can command decency on the part of their candidates will be coming, whether it is going to be a revamped Democratic party or something else remains to be seen. My guess is the Democrats will try to steal the primary again for their corporate candidate who will lose, and the DNC will become bankrupt (fiscally after the moral) and a new party will have to rise. If the fascism continues on the right from a blown opportunity by the Democrats, these predictions become more weighted with terrifying possibilities.

Henry Wallace (no relation that I know of) was a bit of an anomaly. He was a left- leaning Iowa boy who hated imperialism. He absolutely loathed the British Empire and its abuses. He was able to understand the needs of and advance the rights of workers. He even went against the United Fruit mode of intervention in Latin America and was able to find common ground with the people there, all without the use of right-wing juntas. This may be a bit of a simplification, but overall, Henry Wallace was a friend to the working men and women across the globe. He served as FDR’s VP until a fateful convention in 1944. He had the backing of the voters—they appreciated that he had done more in that VP office than others before him and they felt he had a kinship with them—that he would work in their favor. He was not popular with southern conservative politicians  or the corporate factions and they wanted nothing of him and his common man appeal.

FDR made overtures and indicated that he was still behind Wallace being his VP. Eleanor was a staunch supporter as well……. but whether he was simply too ill by that time to exert his will or just plain feckless regarding Wallace, the Pendergast political machine of out Kansas City was able to insert their “office boy” as the VP.

Truman was a haberdasher from Kansas City (failed haberdasher, actually) and he came across the corrupt Pendergast group through that connection. Suits for brutes, I guess. Truman was encouraged to go into politics by the Pendergast political influencers and that he did, owing his start to this machine. It sounds like Truman struggled with the alliance having physical symptoms of stress from a bit of cognitive dissonance, but he never did anything that truly rocked their boat or made him a less of a favored candidate in their eyes. Truman was a natural to be handed the VP slot in 1944 as he looked to be the office boy of choice for the disparate factions that were not representing the progressive appeal of voters.

These things have consequences. We are now in an “anything but Trump” era. Older Democrats would probably vote for an Amazon delivery drone if it had the mark of the DNC on it in the general election because it feels right to vote against the melon hued Mussolini. Trump is of course, that calamitous of a human, but this lesser evil thing ends up with an effect. We need to not get to that point where your choice is not simply death by a malignant cancer like Trump versus a slow descent through dysentery, offered up by a centrist Democrat.

But back to Wallace. By August of 1945, it was clear that Japan had lost the war. The common refrain is that atomic bombs were dropped on two civilian cities because the US “was going to have to send our boys to invade”. But is this true? A land that had already lost needed to be invaded and/or nuclear bombed right away? What happened to a little patience and isolation? Internal Japanese factions would get sick of the isolation and most likely force a surrender, wanting to join the world again. They weren’t a threat to the US by that time. But even discussing this around the “greatest generation” members is dangerous. I know by experience. I had a friend in high school who wrote an opinion paper stating the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes. My parents didn’t even want her to come over to visit after they heard that! Strong feelings aside, there is even stronger indication that the real purpose of dropping the bombs was to scare Uncle Joe Stalin shitless with the death that could be meted out by the US. What would have been the harm to wait a bit for a full surrender? At least try for that? America solves everything with violence, or in this case violent science. The choice is framed as this: atomic bombs or every young man in America will be killed by Japanese grannies on their shore with weapons. This jingoistic framing should be a red flag to anyone that the truth is probably going to be a bit more nuanced.  Illogical horror descriptions that are built to scare should be analyzed for veracity. (Babies being thrown out of incubators etc.). Not that the world doesn’t have ample evil for certain, but don’t get played is what I’m saying. They are masters at this and always have been. Manufactured consent and all.

Another consideration: anyone who can think of the atomic bombing in sterile ways should be forced to read the accounts from survivors. But ”they” attacked Pearl Harbor…….I didn’t sodomize anyone at Abu Ghraib, but that line of thought brings you to retribution in ways you might not want to consider when you begin to view all civilians as being directly responsible for the actions of their “leaders” or their military. This is why old school anarchy considerations feel like common sense truth to me. How can you be responsible for what a psychopathic “leader” did? I wasn’t asked for my feedback. Not to mention a war that was for all purposes over—well, that’s the time these bombs were dropped! My circuitous thought is this: Truman was the office boy to do it. If Wallace had been VP, then he would have been our subsequent president when FDR died.  I don’t know what the end result would have been, but I have a hunch he wouldn’t have dropped bombs to scare someone. Patience and good judgment might have ruled the day. So the results would have been very different for the citizens of the US, multiple Japanese civilians, as well as perhaps not staining the US as the only nation to own that quote : “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” as  Oppenheimer famously repeated from the Bhagavad Gita . You can’t see yourself as the paragon of goodness when you knee-jerk use nuclear fission to solve your problems.

So we are pretty far down the destroyer of worlds path. Regime change are US. A drastic realignment is necessary. Characters like Biden and Cop Harris won’t cut it, and those types are the DNC favored candidates. When Warren becomes favored, you know her sell-out with the Sith lords is complete. These things sound like petty squabbles over a group of similars until you think about Strummer’s pregnant mention of an unwritten future. What consequences will come from the continued use of corporate office boys/girls for the job? Can we write a future that is better, that is decent?

There are a lot of individuals like me who find Bernie Sanders to be a compromise, not far enough to the left. But even his middle-of-the-road-in-Europe notions scare the crap out of the machinery. I was furious last time that he didn’t simply run as a third-party candidate. We won’t survive much more of this nonsense. The threats of being a spoiler…….well I say spoil it all. It’s rancid. That milk you put back in the fridge that smells isn’t going to rehabilitate itself. Trump won anyway–even with Bernie hitting the road for Clinton last time. And don’t get me started about her. Are they even trying to win? She was needlessly caustic, much like Biden. He has a huge problem with younger voters, so he goes on the road and when he is asked about environmental concerns by a young voter, he says Look at my record, CHILD!” to an adult woman! Is he even trying at all? Is he just campaigning so he can smell new shampoos around the country?

I don’t have high hopes that Bernie will fight back this time when they screw him over again. I hope I’m wrong or at least I hope his campaign leaves the threat of it there to create a known moral hazard for the DNC if this is the path they take. The younger voters are showing that they are basically a bit more decent than the “pragmatic” Boomers and X’ers. There is evidence that they have……empathy. I am so relieved by this and feel this is an indication that a progressive party can win because they have some massive numbers they could draw from. And there are X’ers like me as well as Boomers who aren’t totally evil. We kind of want the world to survive.  We will be there for this change. The tepid centrist Democrats will not help with this imperative.

Considering all this though, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to believe that to many corporate/centrist Dems, a loss to Trump is preferable to ceding to the progressive arm of the party. This is a moment like the situation with Wallace in 1944. If the party can’t get rid of things like superdelegates (the Republicans have even done that!) and they continue to use media connections to ignore the true state of support that candidates have (oh, oh, the excitement for Biden is palpable per CNN)……well, the party will vanish and sadly our descent into Republican style fascism will probably accelerate without a needed safety valve. A true change in the Democratic party would be required, a change to reflect the views of all the adults out there who came of age after things quit being better than their parents had it. A tree does get stronger in the wind (if it survives) and perhaps things were just too easy to breed strength for some of those with comfortable health care and a guaranteed retirement. It will take some strength of character for those older Americans to care about those coming after them and call for change accordingly even if they personally feel they are safe. But ultimately their support will not be required, time will march forward with or without them.  The decent thing to do is be part of the change.

The younger generations are especially suffering at the hands of unfettered capitalism. Our globe is even suffering. The middling better than Trump Obama types will not cut it. They will simply slow the descent and make it more comfortable for the well-heeled older centrists on the way down. They might be less overtly embarrassing than Trump, but that’s not enough, My elderly malignant narcissist mother who endorses aggressive nudity is less embarrassing than Trump. That’s a low bar.

What we have now, well–this is not just, and this is not good. To only care about your 401 K but not care about someone else’s DKA is a sign of being a shitty person (explainer: DKA is Diabetic Ketoacidosis. It’s what you get when you can’t afford your fucking insulin and it is killing young Type 1 Diabetics as we speak).

But Sanders can’t just bow down to Biden or Warren if that is who the machinery wants for the office position when the time comes. A new party and movement needs to be built at that moment with no hesitation because you can’t fight fascism and climate destruction with polite adherence to rules set up to keep you down.


Kathleen Wallace writes out of the US Midwest. Her writing is collected on her Substack page.