With the primaries over here in Florida, the midterm elections loom a little more than two months away. A poll shows Democratic and Republican candidates in a dead heat for elections to the Republican-dominated House. The Senate, now controlled by the Democrats, is in grave danger of falling to the Republicans, which would give the party total control of the legislature and make the job of a Democratic president even more daunting than it has been with a split legislature under Barack Obama. Here is the problem:
The vast majority of Americans are not wealthy. The Republican Party is often referred to as the GOP, for Grand Old Party, whereas the acronym would more accurately stand for Greedy Old Party. The GOP has made it
Political economist Robert Reich
The party of nothing
“Congressional Republicans won’t increase the minimum wage; they oppose extending unemployment benefits to the millions still without jobs; refuse to repair our crumbling infrastructure (a move that would put tens of thousands to work); won’t invest more in childcare, which working families desperately need; and won’t raise taxes on the top 1 percent even though 95 percent of all economic gains since the recovery have gone to the top. State Republicans won’t extend Medicaid to the working class, even though the federal government will pay the whole tab for three years and 90 percent thereafter.” Florida’s Republican Legislature is one of the states Reich was referring to in that last item.
Throw the bums out
So the best thing for everyone except the minuscule minority of enormously wealthy persons would be to get those Republicans out of office and allow the Democrats to act in behalf of the middle and lower economic classes. It’s a no-brainer for anyone to see his or her economic status is being harmed by the Republicans in office.
Yet, Reich said, “The silence is deafening.” American voters continue to elect into office those candidates who work against these voters’ self-interest. For anyone who isn’t blind, it is exasperating to watch. Reich put it this way:
“Despite all this, Democrats are in danger of losing the Senate in the midterm elections, and remaining a minority in the House. This is absurd. Labor Day must mark the start of an aggressive campaign by Democrats to show working Americans whose side they’re on, and whom the Republicans really represent. Otherwise, why have a Democratic party at all?”
Ay, there’s the rub. How do Republicans get people to vote for them even though they stand for an elite few, not the overwhelming majority of their constituents? Because they make more noise. And they’re more persuasive – expert at conning a mindlessly gullible electorate. People don’t read anymore – look at the huge decline in the newspaper business. Many listen to Fox News and swallow, hook, line and sinker the distorted, sometimes factually erroneous, palaver it spews. Or they’re taken in by the flamboyance of Rush Limbaugh’s fulminations and by other right-wing radio talk show hosts.
It’s up to Democrats to shout just as loudly, to show fearlessness in setting the record straight and revealing the bullies on the right for what they are. Timidity will not get the job done. They need to embrace President Obama and mount the pulpit as one in making clear to the public that he has prevailed in the face of 100 percent obstruction by the Republican Party, and that his policies are designed for the good of the people. Do folks really believe the Republican line that benefits to the rich will trickle down to the rest of us? Are they ignorant of the historical failure of that economic theory, foisted upon us by Ronald Reagan?
Sound off, Dems!
Instead, what we see is Democratic candidates distancing themselves from Obama. Hillary Clinton is the best example, what with her recent condemnation of the president’s foreign policy. Instead of running from Obama, they need to passionately, even angrily, plaster the print media and bombard the airwaves with the list of important accomplishments by this president, even as the Republicans worked relentlessly for his defeat instead of for the good of the country. Democrats need to be like Bernie Sanders, the vociferous Independent United States senator from Vermont, who said recently, “The Republicans are against every piece of legislation that would benefit working Americans. Why do they oppose raising the minimum wage, pay equity for women, ending our disastrous unfettered free trade policies, and expanding Social Security? Government is supposed to represent all Americans, not just the billionaire class.”
Senator Bernie Sanders
And the Dems need to be like Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and syndicated columnist who takes a lot of heat from the right, especially Wall Street types, for exposing the political motivations behind Republicans’ economic strategizing. He referred to a New York Times report that a vocal minority of the Federal Reserve Board is increasingly dissenting from its easy-money policies for fear of causing inflation. “Whether they know it or not,” Krugman said, that position “is essentially political rather than based on analysis.” Why? Because Republican conservatives have been “warning about soaring inflation more or less nonstop for six years,” and they keep it up even though inflation doesn’t occur. The refusal to change message despite the obvious error in their thinking reveals an unbending ideology.
Economist Paul Krugman
“When economic myths persist,” Krugman wrote, “the explanation usually lies in politics – and, in particular, in class interests. There is not a shred of evidence that cutting tax rates on the wealthy boosts the economy, but there’s no mystery about why leading Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan keep claiming that lower taxes on the rich are the secret to growth. Claims that we face an imminent fiscal crisis, that America will turn into Greece any day now, similarly serve a useful purpose for those seeking to dismantle social programs.”
We can only hope that Democratic candidates will have the gumption to tell it like it is in the next couple of months, instead of letting themselves be cowed by bulldozing Republicans.