Routing the progressive movement back into the establishment parties for decades is what got us into this mess. “Playing it safe” turned out to be extremely dangerous.
THE CASE FOR A PEOPLE’S PARTY
From Resistance to Revolution
Americans are Progressive and Want a New Party
❖ Issue polls show that the majority of Americans are progressive. They want single-payer health care, money out of politics, free public college, and much more.
❖ The majority of Americans want a major new party: 57% to 37%. In the 2016 general election, 55% of Americans wanted a major third party option on the ballot.
❖ Affiliation with the Democratic and Republican parties has been declining for a decade and is near historic lows. Democrats account for 28% of the country, Republicans for 29%, and independents for 40%. Gallup projects that 50% of Americans will be independents by 2020.
❖ Gallup figures reveal an alarming trend: since the 2016 general election, affiliation with the Democratic Party is declining while the Republican Party is holding steady, even growing slightly. The Democratic Party is losing supporters at the time when it should be growing most. Despite Trump’s attacks on working people and Bernie’s monumental efforts to bring people into the Democratic Party, more and more Democrats are becoming independents. […]
❖ The political revolution has already been won in the hearts and minds of the next generation. Millennials almost universally reject the status quo and the parties that enforce it. 91% of people under 29 wanted a major third party option on the ballot in 2016. People under 29 have a much more favorable view of socialism than capitalism.
❖ The electorate is rapidly becoming even more progressive. As of 2016, Millennials are the largest age-group voting bloc. Four years of highly-progressive Millennials will replace four years of Silent Generation conservatives in the electorate by 2020.
The Democratic Party Remains Firmly in Neoliberal Control […]
❖ Americans have a less favorable view of the Democratic Party than they have of Trump and the Republican Party. Two-thirds of Americans say that the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of most people. More Americans believe that Trump and the Republican Party are in touch with their concerns.
❖ In a poll of swing voters who supported Obama and then supported Trump, twice as many people said that the Democratic Party favors the wealthy versus the Republican Party. The Democratic Party’s brand is destroyed. Working people have no confidence in it. […]
Sanders can Create a Party for the Progressive Majority
❖ Bernie is the most popular politician in the country and has an 80% favorability rating among Democrats and 57% favorability among independents. His appeal with conservatives would attract many anti-establishment Republicans to the new party as well.
❖ A new party that attracts just half of the Democrats and half of the independents would be the largest party in America by far.
❖ If Bernie starts a new party, we would begin with at least half of the Democratic Party. Then we would add independents, young voters, anti-establishment voters, the white working class, people of color, third party voters, people who have given up on voting, and many conservatives who have a favorable impression of Bernie. This would make the party significantly larger than what remains of the Democratic Party.
❖ The spoiler effect leads voters to consolidate around two major parties, one on the left and one on the right. Our new party will be the largest party on the left, leading whatever remains of the Democratic Party to consolidate around us. The spoiler effect will accelerate rather than hinder the new party’s growth, as the progressive majority and everyone opposed to Trump gathers around the largest opposition party. […]
Only a New Party Can Defeat Trump and his Agenda
❖ This past November, we witnessed a spectacular failure of an attempt to defeat Trump and authoritarianism from a neoliberal party. Since November, the Democratic Party has only exacerbated the conditions that depressed turnout and led Americans to support Trump in the first place.
❖ Republicans are decimating Democrats because the country is growing more progressive on the issues. As Americans grow more progressive, they realize that
the Democratic Party doesn’t represent them and are not inspired to turn out. The more progressive the country gets, the less motivated voters are to support a corporate party.
❖ The people who need to vote in Democratic Primaries for progressives to win are leaving the party and becoming independents, or not voting at all. The party’s declining affiliation and favorability numbers are reiterating what we learned in 2016: opposing Trump without offering a populist alternative is the path to failure. The Democrats are poised to continue losing and our progressive country will continue moving to the right. An arrangement that suits the corporations and billionaires who fund both establishment parties. […]
Americans are Progressive
Issue polls show that a large majority of Americans are progressive. They would overwhelmingly support the new party’s platform. All figures are percentages.
Equal pay for men and women 93%
Overhaul campaign finance system 85%
Money has too much influence on campaigns 84%
Paid family and medical leave 82%
Some corporations don’t pay their fair share 82%
Some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share 79%
Allow government to negotiate drug prices 79%
Increase financial regulation 79%
Expand Social Security benefits by taxing the wealthy 72%
Infrastructure jobs program 71%
Close offshore corporate tax loopholes 70%
Raise the minimum wage to $15 63%
The current distribution of wealth is unfair 63%
Free public college 62%
Require special prosecutor for police killings 61%
Ensure net neutrality 61%
Ban the revolving door for corporate executives in government 59%
Replace the ACA with single payer health care 58%
Break up the big banks 58%
Government should do more to solve problems 57%
Public banking at post offices 56%
10 thoughts on “We’re Ready For Democracy”
The US today is little more than a plutocracy pretending to be a democracy. There is no relation between what the bottom 90% want and what gets into policy.
It’s a remarkably bad situation, but large swaths of the population remain deceived.
What irritates me to an extreme is when the US is portrayed as an example of failed democracy. This is then used as a reason why we should have even less democracy. It makes me want to smack the person upside the head, just to see if I can knock some sense into them.
I don’t if such arguments are intentional deception or if the people making such arguments really are that stupid. I wonder if most people even know what democracy is for it seems that it has become yet another empty word. How could anyone confuse plutocracy and democracy?
Another question. Whose side is the middle class on?
It’s a serious question we need to discuss.
Also, who exactly is the supposed middle class? As is pointed out, 9 out of 10 Americans self-identify as middle class. That obviously isn’t true. Most Americans thinking of themselves as middle class really are working class. And that upper middle class isn’t really middle class at all, as they are far above the majority of Americans. The actual middle class is a thin slice of the population, maybe so thin as to be irrelevant to the larger class divide between the upper classes and lower classes.
If there was much of a middle class as was the case in the past, we’d see more evenly and widely distributed wealth.
This is why there is so little socioeconomic mobility while wages have been stagnating and dropping for most Americans — along with loss of job security, good benefits, reliable pensions, quality healthcare, affordable education, etc. And this is why most wealth in the US is inherited. But as the video makes clear, it’s privileges, opportunities and resources that are inherited as well.
The point is that mainstream class labels simply make no sense of the reality of the American social order and obfuscates the lived experience of American society. Because of deindustrialization, the old working class jobs are disappearing, from factories to mining. Yet it would be dishonest to say that the jobs that have replaced these are genuinely middle class. Most Americans are stuck in a limbo state with no clear prospects for them and their children.
I suppose the middle class refers to those in the middle 60% of the income spectrum.
The bottom 20% is clearly the less well off. The lower section of the middle class, say 20-40% could be described as working class.
Then there’s the upper 20%, who seem to have aligned their interests with the rich.
But most in that middle 60% are economically struggling with little economic security and often only a paycheck, an accident, or health incident away from bankruptcy, foreclosure, poverty, welfare, and possibly homelessness. A large number are maintaining their lifestyle through debt or barely hovering above debt. They think of themselves as middle class as to comfort themselves by ignoring how bad off they really are.
I know many of these people. My sister-in-law who is a highly educated teacher at the university has accumulated so much debt trying to maintain a middle class lifestyle that it has now led to divorce, which will leave my brother economically strapped with no retirement even with a college degree and good government job. My other brother also is college educated with a good government job, but with one kid and trying to maintain a house he barely pays the bills and puts little into savings.
In reality, such people only make enough to live a working class lifestyle. My factory-working grandfather used to make more money and had better benefits than most supposedly middle class people these days. The present middle class is a mirage.
Yes it is a mirage.
The problem is that the middle class has often voted in a manner to screw over the working class, namely the 2o percent on the bottom.
The tragedy is that apart from screwing people over, it was also screwing itself over.
Another compelling question is the upper middle class. The upper middle class – the rich, but not super rich.
Whose side are they on? They often supported Clinton over Sanders because they benefited from the status quo.
We should stop calling them the upper middle class. They are simply the rich. There is some value in distinguishing between the rich and super-rich. But it is even more important to make a distinction between the rich and everyone else, including between the rich and the middle class.
This is how I’d think about it. The rich are those who are economically secure enough that they never will have to worry about much of anything. Their socioeconomic position is guaranteed within the social order. These are the people who professional politicians listen to.
The middle class, on the other hand, are defined by their economic mobility in that they just as easily or maybe more easily could go down the economic ladder than up it. The middle class maybe comfortable to some extent, but they aren’t secure. It is this insecurity that has often made them so fearful and reactionary, as shown in their being the strongest supporters of Trump.