January 26, 2016 by islandersvoice1
Although not nearly as contentious as the Republcan primary, the Democratic primary also has the potential to deteriorate as we move closer to the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28 in Philadelphia. The author below argues for Democratic Party unity in the November 8 presidential elections because of the serious consequences if any division leads to a victory by the scary likes of a Trump or a Cruz.
Call for Democratic Unity by Pat Miller, San Juan Island
I believe deeply in a lot of progressive ideas. I think Obamacare should be expanded so that every single citizen has access to healthcare. I believe that the social safety net should be strengthened in a variety of ways. I believe that more should be done to ensure that greed and avarice in the financial sector do not precipitate another Great Recession. In case that doesn’t pin it down for you clearly enough, most people would describe me as pretty liberal, and – Bernie Sanders’ platform being what I would consider the most progressive – I will in all likelihood vote for him when the time comes. However, the purpose of this article is NOT to convince you to do the same. Far from it.
It’s already clear that the Democratic primary will be contentious. There will be hardball politics on both sides and feelings will inevitably be bruised. Democrats will call each other names usually reserved for conservative talk radio hosts and their acolytes. As a result, some Democrats will be inclined to cast a protest vote if the candidate of their choice does not get the nomination, particularly if they perceive that their candidate was somehow slighted or treated unfairly in the process. In other words, they will either not vote at all for the office of President in the general election, or worse, they will cast a “protest vote” for some obscure party or write in a name that will appear nowhere other than on lists of whacky votes people have cast.
The purpose of this article is to urge those inclined to vote Democrat NOT to fall into this trap and by so doing possibly hand the election of the highest office in the land to a candidate likely to inflict considerable damage on the country in general and the middle class in particular.
Donald Trump. Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio.
One of these men will probably be the Democrats’ opponent at the top of the ticket. All of them have espoused policies and used language that should make every American shudder at the very thought that such a person could ever even get close to being elected. Even if the Republican process goes off the rails and they nominate someone else, none of the potential alternatives (Ryan, Kasich) are substantially mPore appealing. Or – in this case – substantially less threatening.
Let me give you give four quick reasons why this is so important:
- Supreme Court. By the time the next president takes office, four of the sitting justices will be 77 or older (Ginsburg, Scalia, Kennedy and Breyer). That president is likely to appoint at least two and possibly as many as four new justices. None of the Republican presidential candidates is likely to nominate candidates in any way palatable to Democrats. This would mean that a solid conservative – perhaps even “whacky” – majority would likely hold sway on the Court for decades. Such a prospect has frightening implications for issues critical to Democrats, including how money affects elections, women’s reproductive rights, civil and gay rights, gun control, criminal justice reform and energy policy – just to name a few.
- Legislative agenda. If a Republican is elected President, it may well mean we’ve experienced a “wave” election, like 2010, wherein Republicans took control of both houses of Congress, not to mention a majority of state legislatures. In any case, wave election or not, Republicans are almost certain to retain the House, and Democrats are by no means shoe-ins to retake the Senate. In such a case – Republican President and Congress – there will be few checks on a Republican agenda. Do I need to explain what Republicans really “mean” when they say, “entitlement reform?” I’ll give you a hint: It DOESN’T mean they’re going to “fix it.”
- Some progressives are convinced that the best thing that could happen to their cause is to elect a “bad” conservative president. Such an event, they theorize, would lead to a massive backlash, usher in a period of liberal hegemony and, of course, the Age of Aquarius. You only need to look at recent history to see that this is a complete pipe dream. Ronald Reagan was the first president to make the U.S. a net debtor nation and his policies marked the beginning of the declines of the American middle class and of the U.S. educational system, just to name a few. A Democrat who presided over these would be a pariah, but Reagan is revered above all but the holiest of names. George W. Bush gave us the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the Republic and the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Both of these men WERE bad conservative presidents, but all we got after them were the tiniest of progressive “bumps.” Lesson: political change in America is a long, hard slog, best built by taking and holding those tiniest of bumps.
- As I mentioned before, Democrats are unlikely to take, much less hold for long the House of Representatives. So, unless you somehow believe Republicans will magically be more courteous and conciliatory for President Clinton or Sanders, you can rest assured that the gridlock we have all come to know and love (NOT) will remain a fixture of our political reality for the foreseeable future. This means that the next president will have to rule like Obama has, by administrative wit and grit rather than bi-partisan legislation, as there won’t BE any of that, for all practical purposes. No, if Bernie is elected, there won’t be any meaningful consolidation of myriad healthcare systems, just as there won’t be any signature Hillary legislation should she be elected, either. The Republicans have no incentive whatsoever to cooperate on that.
So, think about the impacts of: entitlement “reform,” rampant (even legislated) xenophobia, abolition of the Federal Reserve and IRS, five-to-seven “conservative” members on the Supreme Court. The fact that these frighteningly real, potential outcomes hang in the balance should easily sway Democrats to vote for their candidate at the top of the ticket, regardless of whom that turns out to be. To do otherwise is cutting off your ideological nose to spite your face.