Democrats Have Found the Enemy if They Would Only Look

(Hint: It's that perennially false panacea, Money)

The Republicans are up to their usual shenanigans. There they are again, sitting on the Right. Don’t like it, Democrats? At least we (and they) know who they are. Posing the question as Pete Townshend did years ago, we must ask of the Blue Team: “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?”

Prior to the election and on these very ‘pages’, I argued how neither American party can reasonably be called Moderate Right, never mind Centrist or Left. I even suggested (with perhaps a dash of tongue-in-cheek) that a Trump-Sanders anti-TPP, labor-management ticket would provide the populist groundswell necessary to topple the Duopoly of Stasis once and for all.

Far and away, the Great Political Train Robbery of the last quarter-century was Clintonism which, in shouldering up just to the left of the Republicans, created a hostage crisis for the Center and Left that has never been defused.

Year ago, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a pro-Democratic Party institution that fostered and encouraged Clintonism, defined the latter as standing for, “economic growth and opportunity; for fiscal responsibility; for work, not welfare; for preventing crime and punishing criminals; and for non-bureaucratic, empowering government”. That all sounds like perfectly benign banner-fodder (who’s for crime?) except that it could just as easily have festooned a Barry Goldwater banner.

So what gives, yon Party of FDR?

Clintonism created no real daylight between the two parties. That was its diabolical genius. If you think you see daylight, it’s because you’re told day and night by a corporate-captured media that there is. Organized political spectrum in America can be comfortably situated on the head of a pin.

Clintonism trapped progressives (and moderates) forevermore in a lesser-of-two-evils calculus. Three-quarters of the political spectrum was foreclosed upon, never to see the sound-stage light of Fox or MSNBC again.

Their political energies effectively sidelined, the dispossessed multitudes could still be counted upon to vote for the infinitesimally more palatable Democrats. After all Civics class taught them voting was their sacred duty. This shearing of the spectrum freed the party duopoly to develop a market-carving strategy where each could partake of their share of big corporate bucks. That’s how the pigs came to look like men and the men, pigs.

When Democrats failed to come out of their chairs after Clinton stole the nomination from Sanders –choosing instead to play the increasingly frayed lesser of two evils card yet again– (because, you know, the REAL THREAT was Trump), it was further evidence their moral capacities had, after a quarter-century of capture, succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome.

True inter-party competitiveness is at least one battle away. First, the Dems must undertake the painful task of unwinding their Faustian Bargain with corporate America. This is nothing the well-heeled party apparatchiks and consultants want to hear. After all, the corporate teat is their livelihood and no one can be reasonably argued away from their paycheck.

Another way of saying this, which Dems are going to hate, is that the first-order enemy of the Democratic Party (or should we say of traditional Democratic constituencies?) is neither Trump nor establishment Republicans, but Clintonism and Third Way politics. There is no historic parallel for the corrosive effect this Power Couple wielded over a nation’s political landscape — and the real dirt hasn’t even begun to surface. Stay tuned.

This is why DNC Chair Tom Perez is having such a hard time raising money. Putting bucks before soul is like asking a carriage to pull a horse. Money-centrism is myopia. Sanders proved the passion is out there in millions of $20 donations.

Of course, the normalized drumbeat is to defeat the Republicans in the mid-terms (what else?). Lesser evils and all that rot.

The real elephant in the room is not the elephant. It’s the existential fog that continues to beset the Democratic Party.

Know thyself or die trying.

Norman Ball can be reached at Visit his blog Full-Spectum Domino to keep abreast. An excerpt of his latest book Between River and Rock: How I Resolved Television in Six Easy Payments is available at the Museum of American Poetics (MAP). He also has an eBook out on the impending currency reset Eye Am Eye Press, 2015. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Norman.