The Democratic Party, like the democratic form of government in Amerika, lies in ashes around us. Dead. The Trump election victory did not kill the party; it killed itself when it nominated Clinton. Yesterday’s vote was merely the last nail in its casket.
Something calling itself the Democratic Party will probably continue to exist in name for a while, home to the zombies of Clintonism.
Something calling itself “democracy” will probably be on display in Trump’s Washington, but like Trump himself, it will be a chimera. The people who elected him will call themselves patriots, populists, defenders of liberty, etc. but they are in fact believers in and supporters of virtually all that is antithetical to genuine democracy.
What horrors will this country reap from their success and his governance?
Probably the worst will be what he does to the Supreme Court. These are lifetime appointments. He has said he will appoint justices who are as much like the late Antonin Scalia as possible. Scalia was, arguably, the worst ideological force on SCOTUS in many generations. When more Scalias are adjudicating our great issues, there can be no hope for a decent country with “liberty and justice for all.”
Can the United States ever become again a decent place for people, not corporations?
Only if it can find strong leadership within the remnants of its political left. I expect that its battered and tattered progressive elements will align themselves with Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution movement. Out of this may come a new, liberal political party. Followers of Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold , Jill Stein and Elizabeth Warren would naturally gravitate there, especially now, having learned how it must feel to lose a war.
It must begin today to seek out those leaders. It must begin today to build itself into a genuine movement. By next week it must have begun to develop lists of candidates for city councils, school boards, state legislatures. People like Mary Gourdoux, of El Paso, TX, who ran as a Green and lost, and Jeff Steinborn, of Las Cruces, NM, who has stood on progressive ground in successful elections to the state legislature and now, as of yesterday, to the state senate. In a bastion of conservatism even among Democrats, he soundly defeated a Trumpish incumbent lout, proving that progressive seeds can flourish in the arid right wing earth.
The American left must do for itself what the right did after its Goldwater humiliation: build from the ground up.It must take control of the vocabulary of the debate, expose the demons of the other side’s ideology, make inclusiveness the norm and divisiveness the evil, empower the poor and the female and the hispanic and the black and the LGBT and the physically disabled, curb militarism, rein in the over-armed police, take fearsome weapons out of the hands of private individuals, make corporations and oligarchs pay their fair share of taxes, make adequate health care a cost-free right for every citizen, take big money out of politics . . . the list goes on and on.
The obverse of these democratic principles will have been more hardened and more deeply embedded in the American fabric after one term of Trump; utterly impossible to overturn after two. So the rebirth of freedom led by the left must move fast, faster than the right wing resurgence after Goldwater.
Already, so much harm has been done under decades of mis-rule by both Republicans and Democrats, that our children may never know what it’s like to live in a genuine democracy, a government that is truly “of the people, by the people and for the people.” But perhaps a burgeoning New Left can make this country a better place for our grandchildren and their children.
Or perhaps not. But as John Kennedy said, “Let us begin.”