While Americans around the country cope with the disastrous realities of Donald Trump’s administration, some Democrats are hard at work doing what they do best: trying to repackage and shovel the same policies voters have rejected right back at them.
Call it the “America is already great” soul-searching campaign. Despite the Democrats’ handing the White House to a former reality TV star who doesn’t grasp basic grammar, the party’s political industrial complex remains committed to the appearance of reinvention without actually making any policy concessions to the resurgent progressive wing of the party, typified by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
Sanders campaigned on a few key issues: Medicare for all, free community college, and taxing the very wealthy and the corporations they run at a rate that’s fair to pay for it all. These messages proved resoundingly popular with young people, young people of color, and independent voters. So of course, mainstream Democrats want nothing to do with any of those things.
A new story from the Los Angeles Times reports on centrist Democrats’ efforts to rebrand what the paper calls “Clintonomics” (read: neoliberal economic policies) by seeking out fresh faces in venues like a secret meeting this month in that notable haven of left-wing, working-class thought, Aspen, CO. In their desperation to find someone with “star power” to rival Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, they reject the notion that maybe people supporting Sanders because they really liked that he was selling.
But here’s the catch: according to the Times, organizers promised not to name any of the nationally-known politicians they’re courting, “lest they face harassment by the left for showing up.” Because nothing gives people confidence in their politicians like literally holding secret meetings for unaccountable elites.
The only person in the Times story who makes any sense is RoseAnn Demoro, executive director of the union National Nurses United, who said: “In any other place they would have fired the entire group of people and started from a different narrative after the last election.”
“Not the Democrats,” she continued. “They have lost a thousand seats in the last decade and they are still staying the course.”
She also offered an incisive prediction on how these efforts will go over: “This is how it reads to middle America: ‘They are smug, they are not listening, they are not capable of listening.’”
If that doesn’t ring true, I don’t know what does.