Fred Stafford’s article in the Jacobin “How Trump Got His Right-Wing New Deal Victory” provides much of the fodder for this week’s Founder’s Corner. Excluding the slights and backhanded compliments directed at “yours truly,” his commentary is best summed up in these words:
- For the IT workers at the TVA — and all others who’ve seen management outsource their jobs to H-1B–dependent contractors — it was proof that there’s power in a union. But that, when it came to all this talk about a rising socialist left in America, they were still very much on their own.”
Yep, when it came to sticking-up for good, middle class, union jobs, it wasn’t the politically left of center masses waiting patiently to be told how to interpret speeches from this week’s Democratic National Convention. Rather, it was a basket of deplorables shouting “America First”! At least, that’s what Stafford would have you believe.
What he fails to realize and would have learned had he bothered to speak to me, is that the citizenry is no longer being held hostage to party politics. Left of center, right of center, socialist, capitalist, are terms quickly losing their relevance. More and more people are choosing to focus on issues; bread and butter issues that impact their jobs and quality of life.
In this new normal, the Democratic Party, once the workers party no longer satisfies the needs and expectations of the productive class. In fact, much of their trade and industrial policy appears to be far more hurtful than any Republican actions. Remember, It was Bill Clinton who signed trade deals like NAFTA, GATT and the WTO. It was Barrack Obama who increased the period of time for OPT from 17 to 29 months and encouraged USCIS to “expand the degree programs eligible for OPT.
Moreover, the strangely esoteric, fringe and decadent ideas the party now shrouds itself in seem to be doing more to alienate versus grow its base. At its core, the party fails to realize that identity politics is anathema to the solidarity required to beat back and win against the corporatocracy.
Watching the parade of septuagenarians at the Democratic National Convention further illustrates my point. They are woefully out of touch with workers. And even though the party is still very powerful, I warn you, it’s a quick jump from irrelevance to disintegration. As the ancient military strategist Sun Tzu taught, disintegration is when subordinates no longer respond to orders and look to do their own thing. Or as the English poet Yeats wrote in The Second Coming, “the falcon can no longer hear the falconer.”
Say what you will about Republicans, in 2016 they decapitated the party leadership and took a gamble on Donald Trump. The question Democrats face today is, are they prepared to do the same? If they don’t, what party will rise and take-up their mantle? Hint? It will be a party that puts the needs of American workers, first!