Caleb Nauman

Staff Writer

The Democratic Party has been in shambles for well over a decade and maybe even longer with politicians like Bill Clinton moving the party further and further away from its roots, but its problems became much more apparent with Bernie’s devastating loss in 2016 primary and Trump’s “unexpected” win in the 2016 general election. In late 2015 a war broke out in the Democratic Party between Progressives who wanted to create policies that favored middle-class and working-class Americans and Corporatists who wanted to keep the party focused on Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Lobbyists. The mainstream Democrats also are known as Corporate or Establishment Democrats want gradual change in a time where drastic change is needed. They believe in slightly improving Obamacare when Medicare For All is desperately needed.

The head of the Progressive wing in 2016 was Senator Bernie Sanders and the Establishment was represented by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hillary was favored by party insiders and leadership such as the Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Mrs. Schultz had to resign in the summer of 2016 after it was revealed in leaked emails from WikiLeaks that the party had favored Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Sanders. At the time the media focused on who leaked the emails and not their content. The corruption wasn’t fully revealed until well over a year later when Interim D.N.C. Chair Donna Brazile published an article titled “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the D.N.C.”

The race between Bernie and Hillary was long and hard fought with Bernie receiving virtually no media coverage and the D.N.C. cutting the number of debates and attempting to schedule debates in time slots when the audience viewership would be low. There was also suspected voter suppression with young Democrats by having their voter registration changed from Democrat to Independent and many states including P.A. running closed primaries. Closed primaries meant that voters who were registered as independent or no affiliation could not participate in either the Republican or Democratic Primary. In the end, Hillary Clinton won the nomination and Bernie despite knowing about the corruption in the D.N.C. decided to throw his weight behind her in order to defeat a much greater evil, Donald Trump.

Trump won that November in part due to racism, bigotry, misogyny, and voter suppression, but he mainly was able to defeat Hillary due to a misleading populist message that resonated with a majority of Americans who haven’t seen a substantial pay raise in well over 40 years. He railed against a corrupt Establishment that sold out our country and the disastrous trade deals such the North American Free Trade Agreement (N.A.F.T.A.), Central America Free Trade Agreement (C.A.F.T.A.), and Permeant Normal Trade Relations (P.N.T.R.) with China that shipped many good paying union jobs overseas. He also criticized Obama for fast-tracking a new trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.). He promised to drain the swamp, cover all Americans with health care, and return America to the people.

However, those promises where complete lies. His populism was fake and instead of blaming the issues on the 1% and Wall Street’s unregulated greed, he blamed our issues on undocumented immigrants and Muslims. Donald Trump was just as corrupt and probably more so than his running mate Hillary Clinton. In contrast, Clinton running on the message of #imwithher and the rhetoric of “America is already great” was unable to connect with a majority of Americans and failed to win the election. She was the epitome of corruption and pay to play politics with her speeches to Goldman Sachs. She was unable to bring out the numbers Obama saw in 2008 and despite winning the popular vote, she was unable to capture the electoral college.  

Since then Donald Trump has been hard at work relaxing regulations the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) oversees and he is currently trying to increase the duration of time companies can wait to check pipelines for leaks and the amount of time required to fix those leaks. He also reduced the burden of taxes mainly on the wealthiest in our county, put unqualified leaders in the executive branch such as Betsey DeVos, and is reintroducing the T.P.P. in the renegotiations of N.A.F.T.A. In addition, a little over a week ago he took funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) and put those funds into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) while hurricane Florence was headed to our coast. He has also tried to “reform” health care by attempting to eliminate the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) in Congress which would take health care away from millions of Americans and when that failed he signed its death sentence with several executive orders. The destruction of Obamacare will leave 22 million more Americans uninsured when it finally collapses. Moreover, Trump just like Obama was able to increase the number of jobs, but still faced the same issues of creating full time and fulfilling jobs instead of part-time ones. The issue of underemployment remains a big issue facing the vast majority of Americans. The Democrats have been pushing back with #resist and constant messages of the unstableness of Trump’s administration.

Yet, the Democratic Party is still just as unpopular as Trump and that reveals the underlying problem of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party and the #resistance in the Corporate faction of the Democratic and Republican party inside the White House do not care about actual policy that effects the average American. Instead, they can’t stand the lack of “decorum” and “politeness” of the president. They focus on scandals such as Stormy Daniels and Russia collusion and yet support policies such as an intervention in Syria. They call Trump unhinged and yet support politicians like former Senator John McCain who voted over 80% of the time with Trump according to FiveThirtyEight and was a major war hawk. One of McCain’s “biggest accomplishments” in the recent years was not voting to repeal Obamacare, but this was merely due to personal issues between him and the president. Moreover, Corporate Democrats are now trying to rehabilitate the image of the war criminal, President George W. Bush. They long for a day when both parties could agree on intervention in a country, Iraq, that did not attack us. In 2002 29 out of 50 Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.   

The Nightly News and multiple reporters in the mainstream media including Brian Williams said Trump was “Finally being presidential” after he decided to drop bombs in Syria. The Democrats will not see a “Blue Wave” which is a meaningless term when their central message is oppose Trump at all cost and yet still support intervention overseas and policies that will not help the American people. When push comes to shove the Democrats support a large majority of Trump’s agenda. Chuck Schumer has been instrumental in getting Trump’s lower court nominations through the Senate and several Democrats supported some of Trump’s most incompetent cabinet members. In fact, Elizabeth Warren has supported Ben Carson for the office of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.).  

This cowardliness in the Democratic Party can be seen in their fossil fuel money ban which was reversed after a little more than two months. The corrupt D.N.C. could not even give up a fraction of the corporate donations for longer than two months. Climate groups such as Sunrise Movement who are working to end the influence of fossil fuel money were quick to react and protested at the D.N.C. In order for Democrats to win in November, they need to acknowledge the past corruption in the 2016 election and the current corruption with the use of coded messages of “unity.” “Unity” for mainstream Democratic leaders typically means rallying behind the Establishment leaders.

Corruption in the D.N.C, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (D.C.C.C.), and the Democratic party is well known with the Establishment picking sides before primaries. This bias was captured on audio when the House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer was caught pressuring a Progressive Democrat out of the race before the primary. Hoyer told Levi Tillemann that leadership in the Democratic Party was endorsing his opponent and funneling funds into his campaign. In addition, the party tends not to unify behind Progressives when they win primaries. This happened in New York where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated longtime incumbent Joe Crowley. Likewise, the D.C.C.C. will not fund Progressives in races and in some cases, they will put out a scorched-earth campaign against Progressive candidates. A blatant example of this behavior was exhibited in a Texas primary with Laura Moser. Democrats need to stop picking winners before primaries and practice what they preach and unify behind Progressives when they win primaries.  

Second, Democrats need stop #resisting Trump on a mere surface level. They need to focus on policy issues where Trump is detrimental to the United States and stop giving bipartisan support to policies that will harm our country. Most importantly they need to propose a bold vision for the future that helps all Americans such as Medicare For All, a $15-dollar minimum wage, College For All, and other policies supported by the majority of the American people. It is time that Democrats refuse all corporate Political Action Committee (P.A.C.) money and only take small-dollar donations from average Americans. Democrats cannot win on fake #resistance and Republican light policies. Democrats need to fight Donald Trump’s fake populism with real populism that helps all Americans. We cannot allow more Corporate Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Joe Biden to hold back progress.

Luckily not all hope is lost for the American people and the Democratic Party. Since the 2016 election, there has been a faction of the Democratic Party called Justice Democrats who have run on a bold platform to support the American people. Other groups such as Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, End Citizen’s United, and local groups such as Lancaster Stands Up have sprung up and are working to push Democrats to adopt policies like Medicare For All which will cover all Americans with better and cheaper healthcare. This policy has been analyzed and supported even by the Mercatus study which is funded by the Libertarian-leaning Koch brothers. The Mercatus study showed Medicare For All would save trillions over the next decade if implemented and drastically reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Currently, Medicare For All is supported by 70 percent of all Americans with 85 percent of Democrats support and 52 percent of Republicans. Lancaster County and Millersville are lucky enough to have a Justice Democrat running in the 11th Congressional district. Her name is Jess King and she is showing Democrats how to run an uncompromised campaign.

Jess supports policies that supersede party lines in a district that typically leans heavily towards a Republican politician. Her Congressional race is now a tossup which gives her a 50/50 chance of winning. A few months ago, it looked as if a Democratic win would be impossible. Jess supports Medicare For All, reducing the burden of college, ending our unnecessary wars overseas, finally updating our aging infrastructure, and reining-in the greed of Wall Street. She also supports a women’s right to choose and is making abortion a bipartisan issue. Not to mention, she wants to end corporate welfare where companies get tax breaks and yet do pay their employees a living wage which forces them to seek government assistance. Most importantly she has not taken a dime in corporate P.A.C. and super P.A.C. donations. This is enormous because she will not be sold out to any industry like most politicians such as Corey Booker who took money from Drug Lobbyists and then opposed drug pricing reform. Her average donation exemplifies this principle of focusing her campaign on people and it is $42. In a similar manner, Jess is travelling all throughout Lancaster and southern York county and is holding town halls to hear the ills of our community. In one weekend was able to participate in 11 town halls.  Moreover, Jess grew up in this area and helped run A.S.S.E.T.S which was a non-profit company that helped local folks start their own small businesses. Therefore, it is more important than ever to register to vote at Millersville and vote for Jess King. Groups like College Progressives are doing voter registration during every common hour up until the voter registration deadline. She is a perfect example of how to run a campaign and Democrats looking to win in the 2018 midterms and a shot at the 2020 presidential election must follow her lead or our country will be facing a Republican majority in the second half of Trump’s term and a second term in 2020.