top of page

Which Side Is Biden On-- Which Side Is The Democratic Party On

Bernie wrote a good OpEd for The Guardian yesterday, How do we avoid future authoritarians? Winning back the working class is key. Like everyone I know, Bernie breathed a sigh of relief that Trump was voted out of office but is concerned that "Trump received 11 million more votes than he did in 2016, increasing his support in many distressed communities-- where unemployment and poverty are high, healthcare and childcare are inadequate, and people are hurting the most. For a president who lies all the time, perhaps Donald Trump’s most outlandish lie is that he and his administration are friends of the working class in our country. The truth is that Trump put more billionaires into his administration than any president in history; he appointed vehemently anti-labor members to the National Relations Labor Board (NLRB) and he gave huge tax breaks to the very rich and large corporations while proposing massive cuts to education, housing and nutrition programs. Trump has tried to throw up to 32 million people off the healthcare they have and has produced budgets that called for tens of billions in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and social security. Yet, a certain segment of the working class in our country still believe Donald Trump is on their side."

He warned Democrats that they must find "the courage to take on the powerful special interests who have been at war with the working class of this country for decades. I’m talking about Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance industry, the fossil fuel industry, the military industrial complex, the private prison industrial complex and many profitable corporations who continue to exploit their employees. If the Democratic party cannot demonstrate that it will stand up to these powerful institutions and aggressively fight for the working families of this country-- Black, White, Latino, Asian American and Native American-- we will pave the way for another rightwing authoritarian to be elected in 2024. And that president could be even worse than Trump... "Which Side Are You On?" was a folk song written by Florence Reece, the wife of an organizer with the United Mine Workers when the union went on strike in Kentucky in 1931. Democrats need to make it absolutely clear whose side they are on.

One side is for ending starvation wages and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. One side is not.
One side is for expanding unions. One side is not.
One side is for creating millions of good paying jobs by combating climate change and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. One side is not.
One side is for expanding healthcare. One side is not.
One side is for lowering the cost of prescription drugs. One side is not.
One side is for paid family and medical leave. One side is not.
One side is for universal pre-K for every three- and four-year-old in America. One side is not.
One side is for expanding social security. One side is not.
One side is for making public colleges and universities tuition-free for working families, and eliminating student debt. One side is not.
One side is for ending a broken and racist criminal justice system, and investing in our young people in jobs and education. One side is not.
One side is for reforming and making our immigration system fair and humane. One side is not.

Bernie thinks Biden [and his circle-- think ultra-Austerity hack Bruce Reed?] are on the right side. I disagree. Biden's on the same side as the Republicans-- the status quo establishment side. Bernie never joined the Democratic Party for a reason.

Ben Davis electoral analysis, also in yesterday's The Guardian, stands almost like a companion piece for Bernie's OpEd: The 10 swing state counties that tell the story of the 2020 election. Let me give you two example, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania and Mahoning County, Ohio. "Lackawanna county is the home of Scranton, Joe Biden’s home town, and is a longtime working-class Democratic stronghold. Lackawanna tells two stories in 2020: one of Biden doing just enough for victory and another of a permanent realignment of historic Democratic working-class areas away from the party. Lackawanna voted for Biden by eight points, a five-point swing towards native son Biden that helped push him just over the top in Pennsylvania. Biden was able to recapture enough support in north-east Pennsylvania and places like it in the midwest and north-east, combined with his increased support in the suburbs, meant that he was able to recapture the states Trump so surprisingly captured in 2016. But under the surface, the result in Lackawanna shows a long-term realignment brought about by decades of neoliberalism and declining union density and accelerated by Donald Trump. Obama was able to win Lackawanna twice by over 25 points. The 2020 result is a swing of nearly 20 point since the Obama era, despite Biden's local connections. is clear that many working-class regions have permanently moved away from solid Democratic status."

It's worse in Ohio. "Mahoning county, home of Youngstown, is maybe the most powerful symbol of Democratic loss in the working-class midwest. After voting Democratic by enormous margins for decades, Mahoning went to Trump this year, the first time a Republicans has won it since Nixon in 1972. Mahoning went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Obama by over 25 points twice, and even Michael Dukakis by over 25 points. Biden’s shocking loss this year shows a combination of further erosion among white working-class voters and among black voters. Mahoning represents perhaps the final nail in the coffin of the class-based New Deal coalition that has shaped American politics since 1932."

Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel interviewed Rep. Matt Cartwright, the progressive Democrat who was reelected in the northeast Pennsylvania district Trump won in 2016 and again this year. Matt beat back wealthy Trumpist Republican Jim Bognet, 178,442 (51.8%) to 166,229 (48.2%). Cartwright ran 5 points ahead of Biden in the district.

Weigel quickly got to the reason he wanted to talk with Cartwright: "Since the election, your win's been cited as proof that Democrats can run and win on Medicare-for-all. Do you agree with that?" Cartwright, who has an A from ProgressivePunch in an R+1 district, didn't want to be as black-and-white as Weigel might have liked. "There's a fancy Latin phrase for that kind of thinking. It's called post hoc ergo propter hoc, okay? I've been on Fox News talking about Medicare-for-all. I'm not afraid to talk about it. But people don't run up to me and ask me: 'What is this Medicare-for-all about? Have you taken leave of your senses?' It just doesn't come up like that. Somebody might be saying, 'He won because of that thing that he said that I liked.' Fine. But I very well may have won despite that. People have all sorts of different reasons for voting for or against a candidate."

1 Comment

Arthur Kaufman
Arthur Kaufman
Sep 26, 2021

Hi nnice reading your post

bottom of page