1. Seems to me what we saw in the W.PA. election was broad people’s unity and action, stretching from dissatisfied Republicans to former Trump supporters to labor to anti-Trump activists and organizations to women, and to some, if not all, of the left. In such a politically sprawling coalition not everyone, it is fair to say, was on the same political page. But whatever the differences were, they obviously didn’t rise to the point where they eclipsed the urgency of electing Conor Lamb and repudiating Trump.
Isn’t a similar, that is, expansive and flexible, approach in order this fall, if Democrats are to become the majority party in Washington and in state governments across the country? I would think so.
Bear in mind two things. First, the outcome of the elections won’t be decided in cities like Berkeley or Cambridge or San Francisco or Los Angeles or New York, were liberal-progressive politics are ascendant and Democratic seats are secure. But elsewhere in suburban and small town-rural districts from one end of the country to the other where the politics tend to be more moderate, but fluid and trending in a Democratic, anti-Trump direction. I live in one of those districts. The biggest city is just over 20,000, includes smaller towns and rural communities, and is currently represented by a very beatable Republican.
Second, a Democratic Party victory would be a body blow against a threat that is historically unprecedented and politically palpable — the authoritarian mindset and practices of the Trump White House and its Republican enablers.
In these circumstances, can the accent be on any thing other than unity across the democratic movement and within the Democratic Party this fall? You know what I think. Struggle over differences doesn’t disappear, but in present conditions, it shouldn’t be the maim thing.
2. In an oped in the Guardian, Bernie Sanders writes that the mass media has been reluctant to address the exploding inequality and the rising oligarchic capitalist class that increasingly structures day to day life and closes off opportunities for hundreds of millions across the globe.
No quarrel here. But when he adds in his critique of the mass media this observation, we part company,
“Instead, day after day, 24/7, we’re inundated (from the mass media) with the relentless dramas of the Trump White House, Stormy Daniels, and the latest piece of political gossip.”
That Bernie would reduce what the media is doing to shed light on the authoritarian, undemocratic, and indecent nature of the Trump administration to “relentless dramas” — and I have to guess in his mind of little import to the American people — astounds me. What’s the purpose of this framing? Why, in effect, counterpose one to the other? After all, as I read it anyway, the authoritarian threat to our country’s democracy is growing at this moment, not receding, deserving more coverage, not less. Witness Trump’s tweets over the weekend against Andrew McCabe and Robert Mueller.
And yet as astounding to me as Bernie’s take is, it doesn’t really surprise me. I have thought for some time that in Bernie’s world, class and class struggle, albeit, and unfortunately, narrowly constructed, back bench, sometimes take out of the field of vision entirely, the struggle for democratic and constitutional norms, rights, and boundaries.
And that is the case here.
3. I don’t know about you, but my March Madness bracket is in anemic health at this point. Maddening!