The Collapse of the Dems Continues

Progressives Learned Nothing in the Elections of 2010

There are four things to recognize about the Democrats’ well-deserved drubbing on Tuesday.   First, the real news of the election was writ in the primaries weeks before.  The voting there showed that the defeat of 2010 is part of a continuing and unremitting Democratic Party descent over decades.  As I wrote two weeks before the election:

Since 1970, the turnout in Democratic primaries has been dropping inexorably as the Democrats piled betrayal upon betrayal. And this year, according to data compiled by American University, the “average percentage of eligible citizens who voted in Democratic primaries was the lowest ever.. … Democratic turnout was 8.3 percent of the eligible electorate, lower than the 8.7 percent of the electorate who voted during this period in 2006 and continuing [an] almost linear descent in Democratic primary turnout since 20.7 percent voted in the party’s primaries in 1966.” Why? It is a simple reflection of reality. In his 2008 campaign, Ralph Nader patiently and exhaustively documented how the Democrats have become more and more like the Republicans with each passing year, and so it is not strange that the response of the electorate to both parties has ranged from disinterest to disdain.

And so the plunge continues.  Every year fewer and fewer people participate in the Dem primaries.

Second, Obama has quickly gone from Messiah to Pariah as far as the left-leaning segment of his base – or former base – is concerned.  They elected him to deliver peace and he gave them more wars than Bush.  They cried out for economic relief and he ignored them while giving munificent succur to the banksters.  They elected him to cut military spending and they got a glut of military spending.  They supported him in 2008 to end the assault on liberties at home and abroad, but the secret renditions and domestic spying and harassment of peace activists continue apace.  They longed for single payer, and they got the stranglehold of the insurers on their health codified into law.  And more – much more.  Perfidy does not carry the weight of what was done to them by their Messiah.

Third, the leaders of the progressive forces continued to pimp for the Dems right through the election.  Unlike some on the Right who joined the Tea Party and ripped into the Republican establishment as best they could, the “leaders” of the liberal “Left” meekly followed Obama.   These submissive sheep hardly let out a bleat of complaint as Obama betrayed them again and again while the rank and file Dems at least ran the other way.  But neither had the ovaries of the conservatives who assailed the Republican bosses and attempted to organize an alternative.

Fourth, these same pathetic leaders of the liberal “Leftists,” best exemplified by the “Progressive” Democrats of American (“P”DA), continue their usual empty rhetoric today, the day after the election.  They see nothing wrong with what they have been doing. Do not expect them to take action when Obama bombs Iran or expands the war on Pakistan.   They will only talk but they will not punish him.   As an example, Norman Solomon makes vague cries for “grassroots” organizing by which he certainly means supporting his organization “P”DA which is so pathetically loyal to Obama and Party over principle.  The slogan of many in the Tea Party, “Principle over Party,” is one that Solomon and company might cogitate upon.  One of the candidates that Solomon offered up for our consideration in the weeks before the election was not even a single-payer advocate!  And the Congressional “P”DA affiliates, like the forked tongue Rep. James McGovern routinely vote for war funding – as routinely, in fact, as “P”DA supports them, as it did this time around!

In the same vein there is the call of a prominent pwog journal today to “stand and fight.”  For Dems, of course.  The very cover of this same journal endorsed John Kerry in his prowar campaign for Pres in 2004; promised  impeachment hearings from its poster boy for that, John Conyers, in 2006; backed the prowar, Wall St. funded Obama in 2008; and called for the election of Dems who voted for war funding in 2010.  What does this journal want us to fight for?  When will it stand and fight for principle rather than for Dems?  The answer I fear is never.  This rag is too far gone now.

Equally tiring is to hear these pwogs complain that their Dems were defeated by big money.  Look at Jerry Brown as a counter example.  Money ain’t everything.  And in 2008 Barry and Joe had more money than John and Sarah.  If there is a party or movement in whom the masses of people can trust, then they will surely put in the work and contribute the funds to guarantee victory.  But the Dems are not that party.  They long ago ceased to be anything even close it.   They are not even a lesser evil – even when the standards for that are painfully low.  It is good that Obama and the Dems were punished in the elections.  They deserve worse.  Now it is time to move on to something decent.

John V. Walsh, @JohnWal97469920, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for several independent media. Read other articles by John V..

2 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. kanomi said on November 4th, 2010 at 12:28pm #

    Here is another cogent analysis of what happened. Thanks to this site for bringing out and publicizing these alternate voices.

    My only quibble would be I would never use the term “Progressive” interchangeably with “Liberal” – to my mind no one who votes for a straight Democratic ticket (outside a local election here and there) is a “Progressive;” if you vote for the “Lesser Evil” you are a party loyalist, a follower, subservient to a national political machine that actively colludes with their Republican theatrical partners to keep genuine Progressives marginalized.

    Real progressives are the likes of Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader. Actual progressives want an end to usury, imperialism, and the fiction of corporate personhood. Genuine progressives are not satisfied with bumper stickers and speeches professing hope and change.

    If there is any doubt in the minds of clear-thinking individuals, ask yourself why if the Democrats had two years with the Presidency and control of the Senate and the House, they did nothing but continue the previous Administration’s policy of giving money to banks and waging war without end?

    Dennis Kucinich may be a token progressive in the byzantine corridors of the Democratic Party, just as Ron Paul is a token libertarian in the cold steel machinery of the Republicans, but to think either of these parties, these amalgamations of corporate interests will ever represent anything but greed and death is catastrophic folly.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on November 5th, 2010 at 2:02am #

    I recommend Walter Karp’s ‘Indispensable Enemies’ first published in the 1970s. I picked it up by chance, and it opened my eyes to the reality of US politics. Karp’s been dead since 1989, and I believe that current developments would have amazed, although surely not surprised, him. The Demopublicans and the Repubnicrats remain the two wings of the one, Rightwing, pro-business ruling party, utterly beholden to the hereditary oligarchy, whose sole task is to ‘keep the rabble in line’, in the US and abroad, but the level of internecine hatred stirred by the election of the confidence-man Obama, plainly rooted in racism and the desire to have the biggest and best ‘neck-tie party’ in history (preferably on the White House lawn) shows just how viscerally imperial overstretch and decline has stricken Yankee arrogance and Messianic certainty since the 1970s.
    Moreover, I can imagine that certain aspects of the US system today might have bemused him somewhat. First,of course, is the sheer stupidity of the process, the relentless dumbing down of debate, the Orwellian duplicity and presumption of the Rupert Moloch apparatus, and the level of imbecilic rhetoric and arrogant ignorance displayed by the robopaths, both those in power and those who put them there. The sheer viciousness of political ‘discourse’ might also surprise and dismay him. And I suspect that he might find the total, absolute, control of US politics and the mass media, by the worst elements of one tiny tribe, the Jews, representing 2% of the population, a sign of hard times coming.