Clueless Congressional Democrats

Admittedly, that’s a ‘dog bites man’ headline, but this juxtaposition is pretty amazing, even by the witless standards of your typical Democratic political operative (boldface mine):

Politico reports that Bernie Sanders was booed by House Democrats in a private meeting today on Capitol Hill. Apparently they were irked with Sanders for withholding his endorsement of Clinton, and reacted badly after he said this: “The goal isn’t to win elections. The goal is to transform America.” One Dem even accused Sanders of “squandering” his movement.

But if Sanders is squandering his movement, it is odd that he continues to rack up meaningful victories in the battle to transform the Democratic agenda, if not the country.

Today Hillary Clinton announced that she was moving dramatically in the direction of one of the most important pillars of Bernie’s agenda. She substantially expanded her proposal for improving access to a college education so it ensures that families below a certain income level will not pay tuition at in-state public colleges and universities.

This, taken with other recent Sanders victories, basically means that Sanders’s movement is succeeding. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will continue to succeed. We don’t know whether it will meaningfully impact Clinton’s presidency, should she win. We don’t know if it will transform itself into a vehicle that can successfully advance its causes in Congress or on the level of the states, or produce any major policy victories down the road. That remains to be seen. But right now, it actually is succeeding, in a way that bears some preliminary parallels to previous progressive movements throughout American history.

That’s right: the same day Congressional Democrats accuse Sanders of squandering his movement, Clinton …embraces…yet…another…Sanders…goal. As the kids used to say, boom.

But Sanders should have conceded and stepped aside months ago anyway, because that way he would have achieved his goals…. wait a minute…

This division within the Democratic Party, one based on The Identity That Shall Not Be Named™ isn’t going away either (boldface mine):

This wrinkle is the fact that the “99%” actually has multiple classes within it. The main division is between the “upper middle” class and various “lower” classes.

At about 10–15% of the population, the upper middle class is made up of doctors, lawyers, university professors, various skilled professionals, and owners of successful local businesses around the country. These people don’t need universal health care, they just need their excellent employer provided health care to have its cost increases managed and they need to not be dropped from health care rolls for preexisting conditions. Their kids don’t need tuition free college, they just need manageable interest rates for their financial aid. They get generous amounts of paid vacation, they don’t need it provided on a mandatory basis. The Democratic Party, in all its incrementalism, tweaking the status quo with modest policy adjustments, represents this class.

Then there are the lower classes. Making up 85–90% percent of the population, this group is the true “working class.” This is the most diverse group in the country, it ranges from “middle class” semi-skilled office workers to truly “lower class” day laborers. While some members live more comfortably than others, this group, by and large, exchanges its labor for just enough money to get by. Their jobs have few, if any, benefits. These people would greatly benefit from policies like universal health care, tuition free public college, mandatory paid time off, and many of the other worker-empowering policies, funded by progressive tax rates, that are standard procedure for most of the developed world outside of the United States. This class has no political party.

The divide between the top 1% and the top 10% makes our political system look competitive, and there are legitimate diverging interests between those two classes. That said, in practice, our two political parties split the vote for the working class, then both ignore it in favor of their primary constituencies. The simple reality of this dynamic is that the majority of the population’s interests go unrepresented.

(Note: what the author calls the upper-middle class, I’ve called the gentry class)

Regrettably, too many professional Democrats are so stupid they can’t understand there is a massive political opportunity here–a huge unserved political constituency. Leaving aside that ignoring the middle class (and below) is bad policy, one would think they would comprehend their own political self-interest.

On the other hand, advocating those policies might jeopardize the Congressional Retirement Plan™. But money isn’t corrupting, so that can’t be it….

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5 Responses to Clueless Congressional Democrats

  1. Net Denizen says:

    The flip side of this argument is that “This class has no political party”. If the Ds and Rs weren’t so busy being “we’re not them” maybe people on the lower end could get something out of government. There are plenty of 3rd parties willing to represent those people but the two main parties rig the system so that only *THEY* may participate.

  2. kurtzs says:

    Suggest that you check the average incomes of college profs and sanitation workers (garbagemen) See:

    Neither looks upper-middle to me.

  3. Correction: Ignoring the white male middle class and below. You know, the constituency that everyone other than Hillary Clinton panders to. Some of us think it’s best not to ignore the growing minority population and their needs and interests. Or women.

  4. Rick Cooley says:

    Reblogged this on Rcooley123's Blog and commented:
    Who does the Democratic Party really represent these days?

  5. BroadBlogs says:

    Money in politics puts tremendous pressure on candidates to do what moneyed interests want. Those who stay out of that game don’t get reelected because too many voters get their news from political ads.

    That said, there’s still a difference between Democrats and Republicans, with Democrats much more supportive of issues like income inequality and climate change.

    I meet with members of Congress on poverty and climate issues, like these:

    . Charge carbon companies a fee which would be redistributed to American citizens.
    . Workers shouldn’t work full-time and still be in poverty — expand EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit — which brings income up to or over the poverty line).
    . Early childhood education = more college graduates, less teen pregnancy, less crime

    Dems support everything we want. Republicans mostly block everything. (Though some are coming around to seeing merit in the EITC and a carbon tax.)

    And Democratic Supreme Court nominees have voted to decreased the power of big money in politics, while Republicans have voted to make it stronger.

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