(CNN) There is only one silver lining in yesterday's election results, which will allow a con man, a pathological liar, a bold racist and a s*xual predator to succeed the first African-American president.
We can now launch a difficult but urgent mission — shaking the Democratic Party down to its foundation, ejecting the failed Bill/Hillary Clinton economic and global worldview and standing up for a set of populist, sound economic and foreign policy principles that could earn majority support.
On the surface, it's astounding that a man who ripped off thousands of people who worked for him became the champion of the regular Joe. But, as Bernie Sanders reiterated in a recent podcast with me, the problem is that people have ceased to see a difference between the parties, particularly on economic issues. I'll briefly cite a few examples.
Starting out with NAFTA, Bill Clinton forced "free trade" upon the party. I warned multiple times during the election that Trump would make inroads with voters in the Rust Belt unless Democrats made a clean break from corporate trade deals. Around the globe, these deals are a key tool to drive down wages, exploit workers and prosecute global class warfare. But, the current president still serves up the malarkey about the benefits of these deals.
Bill Clinton's broader economic agenda was even more corrosive. During Clinton's so-called "good economy," the decline of organized labor continued. The president, and his secretary of labor, Robert Reich, did very little to arrest the decline. No Democratic president was more focused on letting business interests off the leash. He gave more power to media companies, triggering consolidation and a powerful wave of concentration of the media into a few hands. The average person, not steeped in policy, understood this every time he or she opened their skyrocketing cable bills.
Hand-in-glove with Wall Street, Clinton got rid of Glass Steagall Act, which removed the separation between commercial banks, insurers and investment banks, allowing the self-dealing manipulation of mortgages and interests rates and accelerating the shifting of huge wealth into the hands of a few.
Again, the average person, just trying to make ends meet, eventually got the sharpest end of that spear when millions of people lost their homes, jobs and retirement in the thundering collapse known as the Great Recession, which, for many, has been a depression.
There is so much more: A planet dying because for years fossil fuel interests were coddled. Welfare reform. Mass incarceration of people of color, which had both racial and economic consequences. The praise of the Clinton years, and red-faced defense by its leader, was always couched in contrast to the Reagan and two Bush Administrations. Great.
Feeding off the Clinton machine, the Democratic Party has become riddled with lobbyists, billionaires, and hustlers who pocket huge sums of money by running either nonprofit "think tanks" or election-cycle networks, and politicians who, indeed, are focused mostly on reelection. Surrounding the party are extremely well-paid non-profit leaders, who end up defending the status quo.
Chief component of the Clinton machine in recent years, the Clinton Foundation operated somewhat out of sight.
The big donations streaming from anti-union powerhouses like Wal-Mart or big financial entities like Bank of America not only whitewashed the policies of interests directly opposed to what the Democratic Party should stand for, but they also clouded the deeper systemic crisis within the party. We can only address climate change, poverty and global inequality by axing the very system benefiting many of the donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Fast forward to the 2016 election. There is no doubt in my mind that Bernie Sanders would have defeated Trump. His authenticity would have pierced through Trump's fraudulent appeal. His concise, point-by-point evisceration of a failed economic model and aggressive, blundering foreign policy was entirely understandable to voters.
As one of Sen. Sanders' national surrogates, I went to dozens of his rallies. At each one, he took to the stage, a big sheaf of papers in his hands, and, treating people as adults not just backdrops for TV ads, he conducted a seminar on America and the globe. People are quite familiar with Sanders' economic agenda, including higher taxes on the wealthy, expanding Social Security and a single-payer, Medicare for All system. All of which were sound economically, not to mention morally urgent.
Posted By: Jeni Fa
Wednesday, November 9th 2016 at 7:55PM
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