Part 1 of this essay concluded without my delving into its second question: Are the Democrats still a political party?
This question begs to be initially answered by Will Rogers’s famous observation: “I’m not a member of any organized political party…I’m a Democrat.”
Funny line. Still sadly true 85 years after he died.
Democrats are not a party. Webster’s Dictionary defines a party as “a group of people working together to establish, promote, or gain acceptance for some kind of government, cause or theory which they hold in common; ….” (italics added).
A Long Way From FDR
The current Democratic “Party” is the opposite of everything in that definition. FDR’s New Deal party was a party fighting and succeeding in the common goal of bringing workers, farmers, the poor and distressed out of the Great Depression and into some semblance of an economically secure life.
LBJ’s Great Society party was a party working together to improve the health of the elderly and poor, and begin the ongoing process of codifying the human rights of all Americans. But that Great Society party was the last Democratic Party. Vietnam tore it apart; the ‘68 election closed the coffin. There has not been a national Democratic Party since then.
If the Democratic “Party” becomes the party of Bloomberg, it will have chosen a leader who closed child-care centers (which he did as NYC Mayor and which NOBODY has spoken of thus far!), terrorized innocent minority youth with stop-and-frisk, and tried to buy elections (this year’s presidential, and term limits repeal in NYC (2008-09). It will have chosen a candidate who, as noted in a NY Times chart on Social Security on 2/9/20, has no announced position on how to protect and strengthen Social Security—the gem of FDR’s New Deal and the bedrock issue of what has been the Democratic Party.
Not announcing a position on major issues usually means one has a bad position on that issue.
If Bloomberg is the nominee, shame on labor for not stopping him. If Bloomberg is the nominee of the Democratic Party, there is no Democratic Party!
Labor Must Assert Itself
But this does not have to be. Labor can again become a movement and push the “party” for one or more candidates who truly support workers.
I know everyone is panicked about beating Trump. But there is an old and sage saying in politics: you can’t beat somebody with nobody. Picking a candidate only because we think he can beat Trump is picking nobody. Standing for nothing but wealth accumulation and the status quo is standing for nothing. And dismissing a woman because she “can’t win,” or trashing someone else whose self-description is not to your complete liking, is depriving the voters of a somebody who may be able to defeat somebody!
So the Democratic Party is in shambles and the only other institution (Labor) capable of leading this effort to produce the best possible candidate is not taking that lead. It’s time for labor to act like a movement and “move” the Democrats into being a party again. Wag that dog, Labor. Wag that dog.
We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our publication strong and independent. Join us.