Writing in the wee hours of the night, Jonathan Allen penned a piece for NBC yesterday, Bannon Fires Up 'Shock Troops' For Next GOP White House. Yesterday, we looked at how political violence and domestic terrorism are becoming more and more integral to the Republican Party. They are central tenets of fascism, which is certainly Bannon's-- and his financiers, the Mercer family's-- ideology. This is what fascists use to undermine confidence in government so they can take over in elections just prior to abolishing democracy.
Allen reported that "Scores of former Trump political appointees gathered at a GOP social club [the Association of Republican Presidential Appointees] Wednesday night to hear Steve Bannon detail how they could help the next Republican president reconfigure government. 'If you’re going to take over the administrative state and deconstruct it then you have to have shock troops prepared to take it over immediately,' Bannon said in a telephone interview with NBC News. 'I gave 'em fire and brimstone.'... [He complained] that Trump's agenda was delayed by the challenges of quickly filling roughly 4,000 slots for presidential appointees at federal agencies and the steep learning curve for political officials who were new to Washington."
"We’re going to have a sweeping victory in 2022 and that’s just the preamble to a sweeping victory in 2024, and this time we’re going to be ready-- and have a MAGA perspective, MAGA policies, not the standard Republican policies," he said, referring to Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan and describing a 2024 electoral victory as a "second term."
The launch party Wednesday drew a crowd of roughly 200 former officials from multiple Republican administrations-- though mostly Trump appointees-- according to a person who attended and is not one of the organizers of the group.
Shapiro said organizers are still trying to determine who will lead the association, but he said the need for institutional memory is apparent.
"What we’re hoping to do is build a base of people that can be available as a support system for political appointees who are coming in for the first time," he said. "It’s easy, if you know the rules, to accomplish your objective."
A few days ago John Nichols penned a very different kind of story at The Nation, one whose premise that will figure very prominently in determining whether or not Bannon's "shock troops" get their chance at a takeover: When Democrats Go Small, They Lose Big. Nichols understands exactly what's at stake if congressional Democrats lose to Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Josh Gottheimer, Lou Correa, Stephanie Murphy, Ed Case, Kurt Schrader and the rest of the corrupt conservative cabal inside their own ranks working with the banksters and Republicans. FDR, he explained "taught Democrats how to keep power by enacting bold programs that spoke to the pressing needs of working-class Americans. Unfortunately, the heirs to what is still referred to as 'the party of FDR' have spent the better part of 75 years trying to unlearn that lesson. This week, as Democrats toy with the politics of compromise and concession in a high-profile fight over spending priorities, they are once again breaking faith with what was best about FDR’s approach. At the same time, they are setting themselves up for another in a long string of devastating midterm election defeats."
Roosevelt never lost a presidential election. Nor did the Democratic Party of the longest-serving president in US history ever lose control of Congress. FDR’s strategy was simple. In hard times and good, in peace and war, he kept proposing bigger and bolder responses to the challenges facing working families.
When he was preparing to seek his fourth and final term, Roosevelt laid out his plan for the next leap forward, and for maintaining the Democratic Party’s winning streak: an “Economic Bill of Rights” that promised work and fair wages, health care, education, and housing as a right. The 1944 election was framed by his vision for a post–World War II reckoning with the unmet promises of America. In addition to winning reelection, FDR’s Democratic Party held the Senate and substantially increased its majority in the House.
It looked as if the party was prepared to establish the social-welfare state that Americans needed-- and that comparable countries around the world were at the time forging. Then President Roosevelt died and Democrats started compromising with the very interests that FDR had battled. President Harry Truman dialed back the talk of economic rights, chased away the New Dealers, and steered the Democratic Party onto a more cautious course.
That course led into the abyss of midterm obliteration, year after year.
In 1946, for the first time since 1930, Democrats lost both the House and the Senate. Republicans’ moves to dismantle the New Deal, advanced in cooperation with Southern segregationist Democrats, began immediately. The Republican Congress quickly overrode Truman’s veto of the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act, implementing it along with a host of schemes to abandon regulation and strengthen the hand of multinational corporations. Truman and the Democrats clawed their way back to power in 1948, only to lose five Senate seats and 28 House seats in a 1950 election that would empower a conservative coalition to block progressive policies for the final years of Truman’s term.
...Years of rebuilding brought Democrats back to full power in 1992. But Bill Clinton was a “New Democrat” who worked with Wall Street to implement free-trade deals, preached that “the era of big government is over,” and ultimately dismantled New Deal protections such as the Glass-Steagall Act. In 1994, Republicans picked up eight seats in the Senate and 54 seats in the House, gaining complete control of Congress for the first time since 1952. Clinton spent the next six years deferring to House Speaker Newt Gingrich and increasingly conservative Republicans. Then, in 2000, the Democrats lost the presidency.
The Democrats fought their way back during the disastrous Bush-Cheney years and by 2008 controlled the presidency and Congress. But a tepid response to a housing crisis and mass unemployment during the Great Recession gave Republicans a 2010 midterm opening to gain 63 seats in the House and take control of the chamber. By 2014, the Senate had flipped as well, and Barack Obama finished his presidency in a circumstance so diminished that he could not get a hearing for his final Supreme Court nominee. More than a decade after the 2010 debacle, veteran political analyst Jeff Greenfield wrote: “The votes that year changed the political dynamics in Washington and in states from one end of the country to the other; they led to a conservative conquest of the federal bench that will endure for a generation; and they are why the 2024 campaign will be fought with rules that will make it materially harder for the Democratic presidential candidate to prevail, no matter what the voters say.”
Which brings us to now.
A Washington Post headline this week announced, “Democrats face a defining test of their governing power in the Biden era.”
True enough. For Democrats to prevail in 2022 and 2024, they need to run as the party of meaningful change for the better in the lives of working-class Americans.
But if Democrats repeat the errors of the past eight decades-- by conceding, compromising, and going small-- the record suggests that they will lose not just the battle but the war. The voters that Democrats need will be disenchanted, frustrated, and angry. Few will actually vote Republican, but many will stay home. If history is an indicator, Democrats will lose control of Congress and Joe Biden will finish his presidency as a lame duck.
What a miserable prospect for “the party of FDR”-- and for the country that desperately needs a new New Deal.
Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin and the Blue Dogs from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party are not FDR Democrats. They are Democraps. Which of these do the conservative Democrats-- as well as every single Republican in Congress-- want to delete from the Build Back Better plan? Adding dental, vision and hearing to Medicare, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, child care benefit for working families, Universal Pre-K, Federal paid and medical leave benefit, expanding the child tax credit, free community college for2 years, enhancing and extending the Affordable Care Act subsidies, combating climate change, investing more in infrastructure and jobs...? They never say, do they? What they really oppose is making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes.
Orange County progressive, Mike Ortega, is facing one of these reactionary Blue Dogs in a congressional primary next year, Lou Correa. "Not only will we lose in 2022 & 2024-- just as Democrats did in 2010 when they bailed out Wall St. and didn’t meet the moment that the crisis demanded-- but," he told me last night, "working people will continue to be exploited at this outrageous level in just about every metric you can think of. I applaud the CPC fighting with the current administration on the climate change, housing, and healthcare provisions in the Build Back Better act. These are tangible things that will improve people’s lives. Without these improvements to systems largely controlled by corporations and their bottom-line, we will continue to slide. And that slide means more and more of our people lose loved ones. It’s that serious-- that’s why our campaign is running against an incumbent that’s in bed with the pharmaceutical industry."
I also ran this by Washington progressive Jason Call, duking it out with former healthcare industry lobbyist Rick Larsen. "Nichols is absolutely right," he said. "Go big or get sent home. The fact that the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is unwilling, unable, un-whatever-the-case-may-be to recognize the pattern of weak social spending equals big midterm losses is a testament to the moneyed corruption that drives the Democratic establishment. We can’t reasonably call them 'centrists' or 'moderates' either. They are corporate extremists willing to let the planet burn, willing to let people go homeless and hungry and have their labor exploited, willing to let marginalized communities have their civil and human rights violated for the purposes of ensuring the corporate hegemony of the status quo. We need to keep saying it. I’m running against one of this crowd myself. Corporate incumbent Rick Larsen in WA-02 is steeped in industry money; whether fossil fuel, military industrial complex, healthcare, banking, even tobacco money-- his corporate ownership comes through clearly in his voting record over the last 20 years. Continued support of fossil fuel extraction (through indigenous lands, in precarious offshore environments, and in the pristine Arctic, Rick will drill anywhere and vote to protect the industry from liability). Continued support of bloated military budgets. Continued support of for-profit healthcare. We also see the deceptive messaging that these corporate owned Democrats are putting forward: we’re grassroots! We’re progressive! We’re bold and FDR-like. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The spending proposal of the House Transportation Committee (the INVEST Act) falls far short of any reasonable effort to change our methods of travel and transportation to meet both the needs of the working class and the environment. But it doesn’t matter to the corporate extremists so long as they retain their seats and retain power for industries. They are quite willing to lie about their motivations. They’ll even take a chance on losing seats to Republicans through redistricting progressive district (like WA-02) to be more conservative, so long as they prevent an actual progressive from winning. We can’t keep falling back on saying 'Democrats are better than Republicans'
if the only reason to vote for them is that they’re not actually Republicans. People aren’t falling for that line anymore, and the youth who know they are going to be forced to endure the future hellscape they are being set up for certainly aren’t. Go big or go home. We don’t have time for any more malarkey."
Kentucky progressive and chemistry teacher Chris Preece isn't facing a conservative Democrat in a primary; he's facing a conservative Republican-- and in Kentucky's only swing district. He told me that Congress needs to go big for the sake of working families. "We need big laws to help our country survive and thrive for right now, and in the future. If ALL the Democrats can't pull together to get done what they can while they can now, it's going to hurt us all. There is now more good will to be lent from people who have family members die in flash floods due to climate change, or single parents working eighty hours a week just to barely make it, or from folks going bankrupt from medical debt. Generally, I am a person who assumes other people I am dealing with are good faith actors, but when I look at many of the people running our government they make me question my assumptions. Politicians who are not good faith actors poison the well for everyone, this enduring pandemic with over 700,000 US deaths is one glaring example. We must elect people that are FOR THE PEOPLE, not for themselves, not for corporations, and not for the 1%. I know there are a lot of us out there scattered across this great Nation who know this and have the fire in your belly, and passion in your heart to push back against these bad faith actors. It takes everyday people like you, and myself, to stand up. Join me in this moment and make our government represent the people."
If you agree with Mike, Jason and Chris and would like to see them in Congress instead of the conservatives who are opposing them, please click on the Blue America 2022 congressional thermometer above and contribute what you can to their campaigns. None of them are raising corporate money, just money from the grassroots. It's the beginning of the final quarter of 2021; please be generous to these three if you can-- and if you agree we need more Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democrats, not a Congress run by a coalition around Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Joe Manchin and Josh Gottheimer's Wall Street donors.