Here are the facts, Democrats. You have hemorrhaged seats in Congress to the point that there hasn’t been fewer Dems holding office since reconstruction — really. Democrats lost seats in 2010, 2014 and this year (2016). In 2012, they barely gained seats in the President’s election to a second term. Those are the facts. In any other area of life, there would be a call for major change. Unfortunately, the party leadership itself has maintained a status quo mentality and so far, the majority of the party has seemed to be o.k. with that. That, there, is the crux of the problem.
In the early 90s, Bill Clinton stood before Congress and declared that the ‘era of big government is over.’ It marked an end of the party being unfriendly to business, of ‘government being the solution for everything’ and a willingness to make government leaner and more efficient. Some of that was fine. We always should strive to do things in a more efficient manner. Government is not the solution for everything and a total animosity to all business isn’t healthy. At the same time, however, the Clintons became the de facto figureheads of the party. They have remained so since then. This, of course, all lead to Hillary Clinton’s nomination to be President. Mrs. Clinton went on to lose to the most unpopular candidate in history.
Along the way, The Clinton’s were very influential in who became viable everywhere from congressional races to congressional and party leadership. Countless people who now hold elective office are there now because of the Clintons, at least in part. People like Donna Brazille, Debbie Wassermann Schultz, and Harry Reid all Democrats who owe their promotions to Clinton support, at least in part — as does Nancy Pelosi.
Many of the people who they got elected are gone. Purged by the voters. Harry Reid is resigning. Brazille and Shultz have been removed from their DNC leadership positions. Nancy Pelosi still remains as minority leader.
The Senate decided on Chuck Schumer to be the next Senate leader of the party. A fine Senator, no doubt. But Schumer leads the league in Democratic Senators who have taken Money from Donald Trump. Schumer is another close Clinton ally. In other words, Schumer is more of what has been getting purged by the American People over the last six years. He IS the status quo.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton in the 90s, ‘the era of the Clintons is over.’
That is not to say they didn’t do great things and serve the country well. This election, however, should serve as the final bit of evidence upon a mountain of evidence that the people need something different from their Democratic Party. The party has strayed from the working people they represent. Somewhere along the way, the party got too friendly with Wall Street. Not that they need to be totally belligerent to the financial sector as they may have been ‘pre-Clinton’ but they got too friendly. Along the way, the Dems abandoned the working people, and in particular, union people. Democrats still give unions lip service and take their money.
Some in the party (not leadership) are still faithful to their union constituents. And ‘compared to the GOP’ the Dems are light years better on labor issues. But notice at the same time, things like ‘card check’ or any policies that are designed to increase union membership were non-existent in the national campaign.
Well, unless you were listening to Bernie Sanders. Sanders has supported unions stalwartly throughout his career and did so in the campaign. Sanders even stood (in person, actually going there) with Verizon employees who were on strike during the campaign. Chuck Schumer never showed up. Kristen Gillibrand never showed up. Hillary Clinton never showed up. Bunches of Clinton supporting congresspeople, state reps and city officials never showed up.
That’s a problem. It needs to be fixed. It is easy to show how the decline in wages and the decline in union membership are almost parallel and hardly a coincidence. As shown below;
Unfortunately, Sanders, while vowing to consider another run at President in 2020 probably is not the future of the party. Frankly, Sanders is nearing the end of his career. What the party needs, obviously, is new blood. Non ‘status-quo’ blood. Progressives who aren’t more concerned with shareholder returns than they are with their constituents being able to organize and make a better way for themselves.
That is just one example on where the party has strayed. That straying has cost the party dearly, especially in recent years as things dried up in many places across America. Now we are forced to fight for minimum wage increases. I bet if this country had a strong union presence, and good paying jobs were still out there via those unions, we wouldn’t be having such a battle there.
People want to blame immigration or trade deals as the pariah that has cost us those jobs. And granted, some of that has contributed. What has contributed more is a Democratic Party that abandoned unions for Wall Street and corporate America. They abandoned a loyal constituency for huge donations.
As I said before, most of the ‘old guard’ in the party has been vote out, fired or retired. There is one place Democrats can begin that change back to a ‘party of the people’ vs ‘party of the company.’ Nancy Pelosi needs to be re-elected as party leader by congressional democrats. Pelosi is hardly a union stalwart. Pelosi represents the overly politically correct, everyone should get a trophy wing of the party. She is a total Clintonite who likes the status quo, especially since it has her in a position of leadership and authority.
Enter Tim Ryan. Not Paul Ryan — Tim Ryan. He is a congressman from Youngstown, Ohio. When it comes to the rust belt, it doesn’t get any rustier. When it comes to being a supporter of the working person and the union member, he is what we need. Ryan announced this week that he will challenge Pelosi for that leadership position. Of course, after ignoring the challenge, when pressed, Pelosi basically laughed off Ryan — basically saying that the party will maintain that status quo she has benefitted from.
If Democrats really want to respond to what America has been screaming at them louder and louder over the past several years, this is a great place to start. Make Tim Ryan minority leader. He is not from the Clinton mold. He is an actual progressive like Sanders and Warren. He actually stands up and represents working people and union people. He’s not another 65-70 year old who the party feels ‘it is their turn’ in the hierarchical fashion that has lead to this disaster for the Democrats. He is that ‘new blood’ the party needs.
Before the loss on November 8th, many agreed, including Clinton herself, according to the platform she agreed to, that the party needs to veer more progressive in the future. After that defeat, it should be crystal clear that a more progressive course is vital. Ryan could be a great start in changing to that course.
But enough of my yapping … Check out Ryan himself making the case for changing leadership from Pelosi in the House below;
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com