Arizona Senator John McCain died this week. Progressives and Democrats have been issuing a series of confusing statements talking about what a Great American McCain was. In embracing his distaste for Donald Trump, they seem to have forgotten his lack of support for all American workers, his willingness to bomb any country on Earth into submission, and numerous other unsavory, unforgivable and unforgettable aspects of his life, career and character.
This is not an essay on John McCain though. I mention McCain only to get to my opening statement to all on the Left and the Democratic Party in particular. “We HATE Trump” is not enough of a message to energize voters for any party.
It will NOT be the great tsunami of a blue wave either. Endlessly calling Trump a racist or white supremacist or homophobe only makes those insults hollow. Whatever his manifest weaknesses are, Trump has a long life of friendships with gays and people of every race, and a diverse workforce in the Trump organization. When we repeatedly use these insults on Trump, it just destroys the usefulness of the insult.
Pointing out that Trump is awful or corrupt isn’t doing anything for us either. Everyone knew Trump was corrupt when he got elected. He existed as a building developer in New York and Atlantic City. We know the oppressive laws there make it impossible to build anything without a campaign donation. Those of us who are Blue Collar, and struggle under the heft of oppressive governments just to work, celebrate his corruption while we despise the fact it’s necessary just to do any business. So does Trump.
Pointing out he is corrupt doesn’t help our cause, because his corruption exists because of the regulatory environment all builders chafe under. So attacking Trump for being the monster he had to become to survive in an overregulated environment doesn’t hurt him with those who wish they could get out from under that environment. That’s a VERY large segment of America.
Again, hating Donald Trump is not a way to win elections. Persecuting him through the courts is also a nonwinner – for all the reasons touched on above, and the fact that we all know Democrats have been taking untoward donations from other governments for decades. The whole Mueller business is also counterproductive. For those Americans not DNC partisans, this whole line of attack lands like a sack of potatoes on the ground. It’s not a lance through the heart.
The DNC and Coastal Leftists have been so busy sneering at the “Fly Over Zone” – the 40 noncoastal states full of farmers, agriculture and industrial workers, and the rural areas of even the ten states that are coastal – that they haven’t been listening. For 35 years they have talked down to these citizens, and sneered and jeered as national policy increased the suffering in those 40 states and rural areas in the other ten states. This also, by the way, is not an effective strategy to win elections.
What will win elections for Democrats or Progressives? We have to Repent and Rebuild.
First the Democratic Party, the nominally “progressive” party, must repent for its decades of Clintonian Blue Dog Corporatism. This allegiance to the wants of corporate shareholders has made the Democratic Party little more than Republican-not-so-very-light, a diet soda with 95 percent of the calories of regular, a bitter aftertaste and more than a few carcinogens.
It is a party that has betrayed workers at every turn. A party that ran on the healthcare issue giving Nancy Pelosi at one time Speakership of the House, and then in her first week as leader she and the party betrayed the voters, declaring “Single payer is off the table.” We must start by stripping Pelosi and her fellow Blue Dogs and oligarchs of every shred of leadership within the party. We have to look in the mirror honestly and ask, “Who are we? What do we stand for? OMG, What have we done?” Then we have to find our way home. I suggest home is a focus on Rebuilding America.
Rebuilding America? Is that some kind of crypto-racist talk for make Amerikkka WHITE again? Uh, NO. It’s a straight-up recognition that we have as a nation destroyed our economy for working people, allowed our infrastructure to rot in place for lower corporate tax rates and destroyed our ecology for higher quarterly profits. Rebuilding is the honest work of repentance. Here is a sample platform of rebuilding:
- Universal Coverage, Single Payer. Yes, it transfers healthcare onto the taxpayers, but the taxpayers pay anyway, both as individuals and as taxpayers paying for others. Universal Coverage Single Payer spreads costs throughout a lifetime, rather than making those costs catastrophic individual immediate fiscal events. If we implement it the way the rest of the industrialized world does, with controls on supplier costs, we can save 20 to 30 percent of the portion of GDP that presently goes into multiple overheads that do not generate product or service to patients.
- End the Empire. Since the end of WWII, the United States has taken on the cost of defending the World against itself, generally with little understanding of who was who, or anything like a why. Doing so has polluted our Republic’s psyche to that of an Empire, amazingly without most of the benefits of Empire and with most of the costs. The U.S. runs some 900 military bases around the world. We need to bring our troops and equipment home. If the locals don’t want us to leave, they can pay the cost of our protection.If they want us to leave or don’t want to pay our costs, they can protect themselves. Our overseas bases consume much of the nation’s petroleum and generate much of its carbon footprint. Reducing our worldwide military presence would reduce our carbon footprint, and lead to almost immediate energy independence. Better that the fiscal benefits would be the restoration of the American mind to that of an independent nonaligned Republic.
- Restore the Infrastructure. In 1980 one of the issues Ronald Reagan ran on was the fact that America’s bridges and roads were crumbling. Instead of addressing that issue once in office, he reduced the corporate tax rate. The Obama Administration made a small effort in 2009 as an economic stimulus, but most of those projects were beautification projects. The nation still has a generation-and-a-half-long backlog of crumbling bridges, roads and dams to repair. That’s if we started in the morning. SO, yes, we need to rebuild our built infrastructure and upgrade it.
- Ecology is our Biggest Infrastructure. As Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Nature is the only body of God we shall ever see.” Our topsoil is depleted in terms of depth and content. Our aquifers are pumped down. Our sewage plants overflow to the oceans when it rains. Our rivers are full of polluted runoff. We are fracking our water table and soil literally to death. We have polluted the ground. Our forests are depleted. These are all solvable issues. We know how to do this. We can. We should.
- Free University or Trade School. Most industrialized nations do this. The result is more trade schools, fewer universities and a society where trade school graduates are not looked upon as university failures. Universal adult education seems to result in a more respectful society with more of a salary broadband.
- Assisted Home Ownership. Young families should be able to buy a decent, small two-bedroom starter home. We should make these available as a result of trade school or national service building at a nominal cost.
- Bring Manufacturing Home and Tax Offshore Pollution. Corporations, rather than paying the cost to implement clean air and water standards in production, moved that production overseas to Latin America and Asia and reduced their ecological compliance, often to 19th century levels. This was a form of environmental racism, and Progressives got tricked into poisoning yellow and brown people and their countries by people saying, “Those are dirty jobs; we don’t want them here.”So we industrialized the world, polluting areas which, 30 years ago, were, if not pristine, in relative balance. Manufacturing either needs to come home and live up to our environmental and labor standards, or the manufacturing being done in other places unfairly competing with regulated American business and labor needs to be taxed for what the cost of the compliance would be, plus some kind of a penalty. If we make global ecological racism unprofitable, it will cease.
- Two Years of Universal Service for Every American. After high school every American should go to boot camp for six weeks and be fully trained as a soldier. This would put skin in the game of Empire for EVERY American family and end the “Poverty Draft.” Making every American have a two-year period where they are eligible to die in corporate wars of aggression will make those wars considerably less popular and entry into them far more carefully considered.
There are further purposes to Universal Service: Most people after boot camp will not be needed in a reduced Empire for immediate military service. Their Universal Service can consist of replanting forests, cleaning waterways, rebuilding bridges, roads, dams and campgrounds, building modest starter homes, and learning to respect other Americans.
One of the most interesting things I have noticed in my life is that Americans who have served in the military, no matter their race, are more respectful of other Americans’ views, more tolerant and, if minorities or from impoverished communities, seem to have less feeling of innate victimhood than their peers. Americans by all serving will all be equal, and will all EARN their adult education and their healthcare.
If we want to start winning elections, those elections have to be about something that moves the nation forward together, that binds us as ONE PEOPLE to a FUTURE that is better for EACH AND FOR ALL. A Progressive agenda like this one is what we need both to win and to make America the bright shining beacon on the hill we each and all dream it can be.