22 September 2022

My Five Points for What Democrats Stand For (and will do their damndest to get done if we get the votes)

With all the obsessive attention to the Failed Former Guy and his legal troubles, we Democrats need to focus, focus, focus on the midterms, where we simply must pick up two "normal" Democrats in the Senate, and keep the House majority. We know from recent history that long, "Federalist Paper" style considerations of policy issues and platforms don't really penetrate the electoral consciousness and don't help much to win elections. But, on the other hand, I think people who are not very political and don't really see and understand the extent to which politics in America has become a struggle between (ironically) the small-r republican faction, which has roughly 60% support of the public, and what I like to call the "Big-fat-F Fascist faction." Which, of course, is what the big-R Republican party has become. And polling for the past few months puts their fraction of consistent support at about 34%, possibly less. To convince the wobblier cohort of the 60% I'm calling small-r Rs, and at least some of the "inexplicable remainder," the remaining 6% that is either so tuned out of politics or so stupid that they can't decide whether they want to live in a republic or a fascist dictatorship, I think Democrats, and those likely to vote Democratic who may have formerly been Republicans, definitely need to cohere as a movement and party and stand for something. Say, explicitly, clearly, and unifiedly, what it is we stand for, in bold and simple form. Our policy, agenda, manifesto, platform, whatever you want to call it. I suggest simply calling it "What Democrats Stand For and will do their damndest to get done if you give us your vote!"

And, modestly, here is my proposal. Trying to limit it to just five memorable but crucial points. Of course there are lots and lots of things progressives would like to see get done, but if we can achieve two years of legislative control, we have a real opportunity to make enormous positive changes in our country, and we owe it to the future to define the broad outlines of what we stand for and to highlight the most important goals. Of course we have struggles within our own party, but sometimes clearly stating what you stand for can help defeat special interests from within as well as in the opposition. 

Having a platform is no substitute for political work, meaning GOTV, voter outreach, etc., but it is part of what's necessary to "win hearts and souls" to a broadly unifying political framework that is consistent with the constitutional framework of our country. At a time when what the opposition offers is no plan, no program, just the destruction of democracy and the substitution of oligarchic authoritarianism. This threat is very real, and yet we know from history that potential fascists are often very, very good at manipulating the public, so as obvious to those broadly on the "left" as it may be, there is a large cohort of the population that is at least somewhat deaf to the clarion warnings of possible dictatorship, and lulled by the appeals to tribal cohesion that the Right does so well. 

So, here is my Platform for America, in Five Points: 
  • Restore integrity to our democracy and keep elections secure, safe, fair, and available to all citizens, and work to make our institutions more democratic, not less
  • Continue the buildout of smart, safe and renewable infrastructure to make all Americans more prosperous and ensure a safe and livable environment for ourselves and our posterity
  • Ensure reproductive and other critical human rights against incursion from those who would take them away
  • Work to ensure that everyone in America can get a good job, has decent comprehensive health care, can get a good education, has access to a decent place to live, and has enough to eat -- because it's the RIGHT THING TO DO. 
  • Work to ensure that at all levels of government, and in workplace and business regulation, essential fairness is the watchword, so everyone gets a fair shake and no one is above the law or specially privileged 
I welcome comments on this. 

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