Biden Thinks He Won Because Of Himself, Rather Than Because Trump Lost
Alan Grayson launched his congressional campaign on Tuesday with a message to votes who probably remember what he accomplished for them the last time he was the congressman for the Orlando area. "It’s obvious that people are overwhelmed with both concern and real pain over inflation," he said in media interviews after the announcement, "and that many people are deeply concerned by gun violence and the threat to the right to choose. And this is against a background of long-term suffering regarding inequality, debt, unfair taxation, and limited healthcare and education. People want and need action, not a sympathetic ear." Grayson is campaigning on the same general theme he has campaigned on-- and delivered on-- in the past: "I'm here for you." Like this:
Yesterday Jim Hightower implored what's-his-name-the-president to spend "a bit more time flying, driving or even whistle-stopping to such places [like Texas and South Carolina], where many hard-hit working-class families are feeling ignored by the national Democratic Party? They'd like to see President Joe fight for and repair ties with them. In fairness," he continued, "Biden came through for such families early in his tenure, and his proposals to do more have been deliberately gummed up by such congressional blobs of do-nothingism as Sens. Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin. But blaming them isn't winning any points for him-- or helping the families now struggling with baby formula shortages, $5 gasoline, continuing farm and factory depression, housing evictions, etc."
Instead of blame or surrender, more of former President Harry Truman's feisty, can-do spirit is called for, going straight to the people with an urgent program of Big Actions that people need and want. To hell with placating McConnell and Manchin-- come on, Joe; you're president, not them. And you're not powerless to help people! Want to DO something about corporate price spikes on food and fuel? Rep. Ro Khanna points out that you can and should use the government's emergency authority to do "preemptive buying" on the open market. This would quickly and dramatically cut what consumers now pay, plus the authority is already on the books, so no need to kiss McConnell's butt-- just take direct presidential action for ordinary Americans.
This is the difference between giving speeches telling voters you're on their side... and actually being there, so they can see it for themselves. It's honest politics. And it would do a lot to mitigate the cries of "It's over" and "Biden numbers are in the ditch" and "Democrats are doomed."
And these are Democrats talking! Even before November's congressional elections are run, too many conventional-thinking Democratic operatives are surrendering to a presumed Republican sweep. You don't need a political science degree to know that if you start out announcing that you'll lose, chances are you will. After all, who wants to vote for a party that shows no fighting spirit, no confidence in the appeal of its own ideas?
A major reason for pessimism about the party's November chances is that its top leaders have decided their candidates can't win in rural areas and smaller factory cities-- so they've quit trying. Worse, they blame the voters, claiming that Trumpism, Fox News BS and culture war conspiracy nonsense have poisoned the minds of people "out there." Thus, they've abandoned the countryside to go all out in big urban areas. Democratic congressional leaders even killed their rural outreach programs, and the former Party chairman officially abandoned the turf in 2018, meekly declaring: "You can't door-knock in rural America."
Actually, sir, you can. And if you choose to abandon this whole working-class constituency-- surprise!-- it will abandon you. And the cold fact is that national Democrats didn't just quit going down the dirt roads and factory streets, they've actively been working for several years against families living there-- the trade scams that sucked out union jobs; the shameful bailout of Wall Street bankers who crashed our real economy, while ignoring millions of devastated workaday people; protecting drug profiteers who caused the brutal opioid epidemic; doing nothing about the corporate-caused farm depression still ripping across our land; and so many other vivid examples of top Democrats not hearing, seeing or responding to this vital, FDR-ish constituency of millions that they now blithely dismiss as irredeemable.
Did party poobahs think voters wouldn't notice or care how they're being treated? If we want them back on our side, then go to them... and get back on their side!
"I wish I could be more optimistic about the Biden administration," Washington state progressive candidate Jason Call told me last night, "but the stark reality is that he’s exactly as effective as he was intended to be. This is what the Bernie movement was shanked in favor of. Hightower is correct, of course-- Biden should be appealing to the American people-- however he’s bumbling, incoherent, and all he’s been offering the struggling American people is passing the buck. He can’t even get the whole of the Democratic Senate on his side, and for Pete’s sake that’s what he was supposed to be able to do after 40+ years in government. In my daily work I meet people all over my district, all over my state, and the average person all along the political spectrum is hurting economically. We’ve got gas over $6 in many places in Washington. An average 3-br home in and average neighborhood is renting for $3,000, selling for $800,000. Wages aren’t keeping up with basic needs-- and it’s not basic inflation, it’s driven by corporate greed, siphoning labor productivity into the pockets of investors and out of communities. We have needed a radical redistribution of power and wealth in this country since we were robbed in 2008, but as someone told me a few days ago as we were discussing this very thing-- Joe Biden was not the man for this moment."
Bernie has a really different way of looking at things than the Democratic Party establishment does. This week, he's doing rallies in Chicago and in small cities in Wisconsin and Iowa. He isn't running for anything. But he explained why he's going. "The political future of our country rests upon one very simple principle. The need for working people to stand up and fight back against corporate greed, and create an economy that works for all of us, and not just billionaires and large corporations. On Thursday night I will be in Chicago to attend a rally called "The Working Class: Fighting Back Against Corporate Greed." I will be joined at that rally by the new president of the Teamsters, Sean O’Brien, and the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, Sara Nelson. These are two of the most progressive labor leaders in the country and I’m pleased to stand with them and their members. On Friday I will travel to Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin and Burlington, Iowa to stand with UAW workers who are on strike. These workers make agriculture and construction equipment at CNH Industrial plants. They went on strike in early May to demand decent wages and working conditions. It is not acceptable that these workers regularly put in 12-hour days and nearly 60-hour weeks, and work up to 17 hours per week of forced overtime. And if that’s not bad enough CNH, which made over $1.7 billion in profits last year, proposed unaffordable health benefits and an average annual raise of just $1.33 per hour for the lowest paid workers, resulting in a substantial pay cut for many after adjusting for inflation and the massive new health benefit costs."
"The great political challenge our country faces is whether Progressives are able to bring working people-- Black, White, Latino, Native American and Asian American-- together around an agenda that works for all, or whether ultra-wealthy individuals and large corporations will continue to put us on a path toward outrageous levels of income and wealth inequality. Will we be successful in implementing policies based on justice and hope that address the needs of our people, or will we have an oligarchy based on outrageous greed in which a small number of individuals control our political and economic systems? That's what these rallies are about... What history has always taught us is that real change never takes place from the top on down. It always occurs from the bottom on up. That is the history of the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the environmental movement and the gay rights movement. That is the history of every effort that has brought about transformational change in our society. That is the struggle we must intensify today. We must bring our people together around a progressive agenda. We must educate, organize and build an unstoppable grassroots movement that helps create the kind of nation and world we know we can become. One that is based on the principles of justice and compassion, not greed and oligarchy."
Can you imagine hearing that kind of message from Schumer or Pelosi. let alone pathetic Wall Street puppets like Sean Patrick Maloney and Hakeem Jeffries who are busy this very moment trying to defeat progressives in congressional races? It's why no one gives a damn about the Democratic Party unless they're frightened of the Republicans and they see the Democrats as the "lesser evil." And that is pretty much the only way Democrats even fight elections any longer: "Yeah, we suck, but the Republicans are worse." The Republicans are worse, but they have their own communications channels, from Fox, hate talk radio and OAN to Newsmax and the evangelical churches.