A New (and DIFFERENT) Democratic Party Platform
I am watching the Democratic party racing toward defeat. The Democrats are going to be defeated in the Senate when they try to convict Donald Trump on a Bill of Impeachment. They are going to be defeated in the Supreme Court when they try to use the legal system to thwart the Republican party’s voter suppression efforts. They are going to be defeated in the state legislatures when they fail to get the necessary number of states to approve The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact because they don’t have control of enough state legislatures to pass the bills approving the Compact. And then they are going to be defeated at the polls in 2020 because the 24 or 25 candidates who are or might be in the ring, (depending on what Hillary Clinton decides to do) will have so thoroughly discredited each other in the primaries that they won’t have a viable candidate left.
The existing Democratic party platform is old and out of date. It doesn’t reflect the consensus of opinion in the electorate, which is why people stayed away in droves in 2016 and didn’t give the Senate to the Democrats in 2018.
In the meantime, however, the morons who are running for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination process and the even bigger morons who are running things behind the scenes are painting themselves into a corner with an implied platform that is simply not what the people want.
The platform that is evolving out of the debates (because that’s how the platforms really get written by taking note of what the people thought were good ideas) has something for everyone: Medicare for All, increased Social Security stipends, minimum guaranteed monthly incomes for everyone, reparations for the descendants of former slaves, reparations for the descendants of Native peoples who have been screwed out of their own lands, open borders and so on and so forth.
That sounds like a great platform. It has something for everyone because just about everyone in America will get something out of it. Unfortunately, this platform also has something for everyone to hate.
MY PLATFORM FOR 2020
If you are really listening to people — ordinary everyday people out there in the real world, not pundits, pollsters, or Facebook buddies— this is what they want to hear:
- END STUPID FOREIGN WARS: They want an end to our foreign military adventures. They are sick and tired of being sent off to fight in unwinnable wars or having their children sent off to fight unwinnable wars.
- CAP MILITARY SPENDING: They want a realistic cap on military spending. We have to keep pace with our potential enemies but we don’t have to outspend the rest of the developed world.
- UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE: They want Medicare For All. In other words, they want the same health care plan that their retired parents and grandparents are getting, full coverage for everything at a cost that averages around $150 per month….but they don’t want to be forced to give up their existing company or union health plans. What they want is a choice that will allow them to keep their current plans or buy into Medicare for All. I understand the logic around mandatory Medicare for All; there’s no other easy way to pay for it. Do it anyway. This is basically the same health care plan that members of Congress and their employees get. (No, Congress does not get free health care. That’s another myth.)
- MORE SOLID SOCIAL SECURITY: They want a cast iron, solid gold guarantee that Social Security will be there for them when they retire…and they want to retire at 55 or 60, the way most Europeans do, with full benefits instead of seeing the fully vested retirement age increase each year by one year.
- INCOME TAX EQUITY: They want the ultra-rich to pay their fair share once again, rolling back the tax giveaways for the rich that have cost working-class Americans billions of dollars.
- IMMEDIATE DRASTIC ACTION ON CO2 EMISSIONS: This means immediate, drastic action to reduce greenhouse gases, cutting back on fossil fuels and launching a full-press effort to develop alternative energy sources.
- PROTECTION FROM FOREIGN ELECTION MANIPULATION: Whether you want to believe it or not, the evidence indicates that the Russians did fuck with the 2016 election. We can’t undo that…but we can prevent it from happening again by tightening our campaign funding rules and shoring up our internet defense systems.
- RESTRUCTURING OF STUDENT LOANS: We can’t simply write off $1.5 trillion worth of student loans…but we can restructure them by extending the payment period to 40 years and decreasing interest rates. How? Buy back all of the non-federal student loans by floating federally underwritten Education Bonds. We should also allow student loans to be written off through bankruptcy if they are not paid off within 15 years.
- A NATIONAL RE-EDUCATION INITIATIVE: We have to reduce the cost of college and post-graduate education while making sure that students aren’t duped into bullshit programs that offer no hope of future employment once you graduate with thousands of dollars of student loans hanging over your head.
- IMMIGRATION REFORM: It is time to reform our existing immigration rules to make it easier for people to come to the United States legally so that they don’t come in illegally. This doesn’t mean opening the borders. It means doing what we have always done….opening the doors.
WHAT’S NOT ON THIS PLATFORM AND WHY
- GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION: You want to lose an election? Campaign on a platform that includes draconian gun control measures. There are many people out there who don’t even own guns but who will vote against a gun control platform…and they don’t belong to the NRA They are simply able to read history and they know that a disarmed population is a prescription for enslavement. End of story.
- A WOMAN’S RIGHTS PLANK: This has been done already. We won. Women have legal equality in most things and where they don’t have legal equality there are legal mechanisms in place that will allow them to get it. Many women will be outraged by this. They are not paying attention. Women’s issues are a red flag for many voters who would otherwise vote Democratic. This isn’t because they oppose women’s rights. It is because they realize that government cannot control social behavior without becoming a dictatorship. I know: abortion or a woman’s right to choose. Campaign on that and you will lose. Wait until you win and then address it. Yes. Lie. They do it all the time.
- GAY RIGHTS PLANK: The same logic applies to Gay Rights. The Supreme Court has spoken. Laws are in place. The concerns about discrimination against LGBTQ communities are legitimate and troublesome…but they are another red flag for conservative voters who would love to get rid of Trump but who won’t vote for a party that is pushing gay rights. This is called political reality. You cannot legislate morality, no matter how hard you try, and promising to do so is simply evil.
- UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME PLANK: Some candidates are pushing a $1,000 per month basic stipend for all Americans. Of course, they only intended to give that money to people at or below the poverty line, but that is clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional. We would end up with an obligation to pay 325 million Americans $12,000 a year. That comes to $3.9 TRILLION which is more than the entire federal budget for 2018. Fiscal conservatives will vote against this plank. Social conservatives will vote against it. I would vote against it because it is very stupid…and I would probably be a beneficiary of this plank if it were ever enacted.
- REPARATIONS FOR DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES: The same logic applies to this campaign promise being voiced by some declared candidates. You can’t simply give money to one group on the basis of a questionable racial identification because it is discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. It is also virtually impossible to define who is a Black person. Is someone with one black grandparent black or white? What about someone with one great grandparent who was black? Where do you draw the line…and who decides. Some estimates indicate that more than 50 percent of white Americans have some black genes in their genetic history. Besides, not all slaves were black, something that is frequently overlooked.
- REPARATIONS FOR NATIVE PEOPLE: Unfortunately (because I supposedly have some native blood in my genes although my cousin will probably disagree with that) the same logic applies to Native People as to Black people. You really can’t give reparations to Black people without giving reparations to Native People…but then we would also owe reparations to the Mexican people from whom we stole California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado.
- CALLS TO END THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM: This requires a Constitutional Amendment. The Democrats do not — and will not — have the votes required for Congress to propose a Constitutional Amendment to the States. Even if they did, the Democrats do not have the votes in the state legislatures to get such an amendment approved by the states because the Republicans have a 32 to 18 edge in the state legislatures. The Republicans are where they are today because of the Electoral College. Without the Electoral College, we would have had a President Gore instead of a President Bush and another President Clinton instead of a President Trump, so don’t expect any state legislatures to sign off on this one. Don’t campaign on a pledge that you will never be able to honor.
- THE NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE PLANK: This one is really way out in left field. The states that have endorsed the National Popular Vote movement believe that they can circumvent the Electoral College by agreeing together in advance that they will award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote. The big problem with this initiative is that it is clearly a DEMOCRATIC PARTY attempt to circumvent the Electoral College, with 11 of the 12 states that have joined the compact being solidly Democratic.
Together, these 12 states, with the District of Columbia, have 180 electoral votes, which leaves them 90 votes shy of the 270 they need to execute their plan…and that’s where the buck stops. An analysis of the remaining state legislatures shows that, while there are five Red or Gray states that have approved such a motion in one house of the legislature, they do not have nearly enough votes to get it passed in the other houses of those legislatures.
There are good legal scholars who have argued either side of the Constitutionality of this measure…but those arguments don’t matter because this is never going to happen. Imagine this: the Democrats manage to recruit the requisite number of states to implement the compact and, in the next election, the Republican candidate wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote…but they have to give the Republican their electoral votes anyway.
And Absolutely No One will Pay Attention because they all know that they know how to win elections…or do they?
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