– By Richardt Stormsgaard
My submission to the Democratic blog named “On Super-Pacs and Corporate Donations” received a response from Janine Rickard. It can still be seen on the Democratic blog and I would like to respond to her comments. We need to have an honest dialogue, occasionally uncomfortable, between the different factions of our party, and I appreciate her comments because it is a conversation we need to have. I personally like Bernie Sanders, I like a lot of his views, but our democracy is under serious attack and we need to come together and at least accept our different views, and find a way forward with candidates that appeal to different voter groups.
Hillary beat Bernie with more than 3.5 million Democratic primary voters, 56% to 43%. She also beat Donald Trump by almost 3 million counted votes, and I believe based on clear circumstantial evidence that millions more attempted to vote for her but were prevented from doing so because of the massive voter restrictions in Republican states made possible by the scuttling of the Voting Rights Acts in 2013. Had the rules from 2012 still been in place she would have likely surpassed Obama’s winning numbers from 2012 when he beat Romney by more than 5 million votes. In other words the 2016 election was stolen as fortunately many Democratic action groups are realizing.
Hillary Clinton is indeed a progressive politician that has been receiving corporate donations throughout her career. She was also one of the first important politicians to address the looming financial crisis in 2008. In March, 2007, she gave specific proposals addressing sub-prime mortgages, expanding the role of FHA, more borrowing options for the underprivileged and first-time home buyers, safeguards against predatory lending practices, and policies to prevent foreclosures. In August she proposed establishing national standards, registration of brokers, and regulations on lenders. In September, 2007, she sponsored a bill to implement these policies. Wall Street complained mightily about all the governmental red tape and restrictions in general on their ways of conducting business, and the bill did not pass Congress. Still, shortly thereafter Wall Street donated $60 millions to the Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket in 2008 versus $40 millions to the McCain-Palin ticket. When she ran in 2016 Wall Street donated $64 millions to the Clinton campaign. This is Hillary Clinton standing up to her donors, working to protect her constituents against corporate interests. She clearly was not in their pocket, and they respected her enough to continue supporting her financially. Good and decent politicians are capable of rejecting pressure from corporate donors even in the very imperfect and generally corrupting reality of corporate donations, unlike the Republican politicians as we are now seeing.
Bernie Sanders blamed his initial political loss in 1988 on the Gun Lobby hostility, but then decided to radically alter his political philosophy just two years later and has since then kept winning his Vermont seat in part due to the support of the Gun Lobby. https://bluenationreview.com/nra-spent-thousands-to-get-bernie-elected/.
Ms Rickard’s claims of Bernie’s Sanders popularity are in large part based on high Democratic primary numbers in very conservative states where voters very rarely vote Democratic in a national election. In fact, Sanders was praised daily by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News as the “other” Democrat, the one that would be their easy target because of his admitted Socialist pedigree. Even Donald Trump praised Bernie Sanders. The fact is that he received a great deal of positive press as the antithesis to Hillary Clinton, who has been under coordinated character-assassination campaigns from the right-wing for two decades.
Leading Democrats like the Clintons, Obama, Feinstein, Daschle, and Pelosi have fought to their best ability against the waves of right-wing propaganda and an increasingly right-wing Republican Party. Blaming these elected Democrats because voters have voted for increasingly right-wing Republicans is way off the mark, and one of the most effective false narratives benefiting the right-wing.
Beginning with the Reagan and Southern Democrats millions of voters began to believe the myth of trickle-down-economics. They voted for lower wages, poorer working conditions, and international trade-deals to be written for the benefit of multinational corporations to their own detriment. They voted election after election for Conservative politicians who now are in the process of dismantling our social safety net, the voting rights and/or civil rights of “less-worthy” groups like women, blacks, Latinos, immigrants and the LGBT community, and the decimation of environmental regulations for clean air and water, and much of our infrastructure.
Ms Rickard seems to claim that if only Democrats had been more leftist throughout our recent history we would have avoided our current crisis when in fact the evidence is overwhelming that voters have been punishing Democrats for being too leftist of a party beginning about a half century ago. 60% of Americans currently believe that we have too much government, and that it needs to be curbed. This is the underlying lie behind the right-wing ascendancy, hoping to replace government for the benefit of all with an oligarchy owning the majority of politicians, agreeing to decimate policies and protections for average Americans to give permanent total control to a small elite of very wealthy individuals.
Elections this year are strong indications that voters are now finally realizing that medicare, medicaid, social security, clean air and water regulations are on the chopping block. The deep right-wing hostility toward women and minorities is the other main reason for hope in future elections. These are much more powerful messages than relying on the Occupy section of the Democratic Party that we already have seen easily fizzle once as a major political force just a few years ago. Let us not jeopardize our current window of opportunity by concentrating on single issues that are of lesser importance to most voting groups, and will give the right-wing an opportunity to divert attention from the real issues by once again crying about encroaching socialism in the form of the Democratic Party.
I urge everybody to read “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer which gives the plausible explanation of how and why we are the one democratic nation on earth where voters (beginning during the time when the American working class was much better off than anywhere else in the world) have been voluntarily and eagerly jeopardizing their own opportunities and chances of a better future by voting against their own interests through systematic campaigns of misinformation and outright falsehoods for more than half a century.