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We Get It. Trump Is Awful. But Standard-Issue Democrats Are Not an Alternative.

| June 20, 2018

donald trump democrats alternative

His own red carpet. (White House)

By John Atcheson

Every morning the news is full of Trump’s latest antics, and the Republican Party’s complete surrender to his insanity, and the liberal and progressive outlets are the worst offenders.  They just can’t seem to tell us enough, what an idiot the man is.


Here’s the thing.  Those of us who know that Trump is completely unfit for the job, don’t need an endless stream of examples, we need an alternative. And those who don’t, aren’t reading, watching or listening to the news – they’re tuned into Fox, which is not news — it’s Trump’s version of Pravda, and it’s busy trying to instill fear and create conspiracies. Or maybe they’re listening to Clear Channel or Sinclair, which are even less about the news and more about propaganda.

So the constant bombardment of Trumpian tweets and other daily bits of foolishness is basically useless.  It amounts to a steady stream of singing to the choir. And giving a narcissist like Trump that kind of coverage is like feeding a malignancy.

Meanwhile, the news that matters – the Democrats’ abandonment of the middle class, and their sell-out to corporations and fat cats — goes virtually unreported in the mainstream media, and grossly underreported in the progressive press.

Now, with the release of the FBI’s Inspector General’s report, we’re also getting a steady diet of “the Russians made her lose,” non-news.  Look, let’s say it together, one more time: It was the content of the emails – the clear evidence that she’d supported the interests of Wall Street and big banks, over those of the people at a time when she was posing as a people’s progressive – that hurt her. They merely confirmed a duplicity that many saw or suspected all along, one that is hardwired into the party. People wanted a real progressive then and they still do, but the Democrats seem loth to give them one.

The mainstream media regularly treats us to opinion pieces by pundits who say the Democratic party is going too far to the left, and that this supposed drift will hurt them in the midterm elections. This, at a time when polls show that support for progressive issues like health care (especially single payer), social security, sane gun laws, stronger regulation of Wall Street and big banks, a living minimum wage, a commitment to get the money out of politics, and stronger environmental and climate policies, combined with a commitment to reverse the Republican’s tax cuts for the rich, would give Democrats an overwhelming advantage in the midterms and in 2020.

But the neoliberal establishment that runs the party holds fast to the very policies that are making it shrink into oblivion.  For example, the DCCC and DNC tried to get progressives out of primary races; they urged candidates to avoid specifics about gun control; and they endorsed center right candidates.  At the same time, Pelosi and Schumer’s big idea for the Party’s midterm run is a PayGo bill – a bow to austerity that is strictly center right.

The problem is, historically, Democrats were shaped by polls, while Republicans shaped them.  Democrats saw polls as a command; Republicans responded to them by plotting how to change opinions or distract folks from seeing they were representing the interests of corporations and the rich, at the expense of the rest of us. As a result, the whole country was dragged to the right. But the Occupy movement combined people’s increasingly grim economic reality to reveal the rotten, greedy core of modern conservatism and its pale doppelganger, neoliberalism. And now the people have moved to the left of center, but the Democratic leadership remains firmly in the center right because it gives them cover to continue representing their true constituents: corporations and rich campaign donors.

It’s this sellout by the Democratic party, and the collapse of any faith in government it has created, that allows a small minority of rabidly enraged voters to win elections.

If you examine the numbers, what you find is that the Republicans – still a minority party – consistently win with a minority of the eligible voters supporting them. With Trump in 2016, it was a mere 27 percent against Hillary’s 28 percent, with none-of-the-above the clear winner at just under 45 percent.

The evidence that people are fed up with politicians and parties is overwhelming.  Only 35 percent think the Democrats believe in anything.  And the Smith Project found that nearly 80 percent believe that both political parties “…are too beholden to special interests to create any meaningful change.”

But this kind of alienation goes virtually unreported.

Meanwhile, credible studies like the one conducted by Gilens and Page show that democracy is dead in the US and the country is effectively an oligarchy. This startling but well documented conclusion generated a round of consternation among the usual suspects in the MSM, but it quickly dropped off the media’s radar, replaced by the political horserace and Trump’s reality show Presidency.

But many people know it in their hearts.  That’s why too many stay home, ceding the election to an enraged, but uninformed minority that is calling the shots in America today.  And it doesn’t do much good for Democrats to scream at those who don’t vote, if they won’t run candidates worth voting for.

And for progressives to break though the din and win in numbers representative of the people’s preferences, the Democratic party has to adopt a national platform that both responds to and shapes what people want.

Meanwhile, the MSM gives us a steady diet of Trump’s latest brush with insanity, his latest distract and divide tweet, or the latest in the never-ending “Russia did it” non-news. Oh, of course we should do what we can to prevent meddling in elections, and we should prosecute Trump for his crimes – but he’s a symptom. 

The daily din should pale in comparison to the fact that the US has become an oligarchy, that neither party is representing the people’s interests, and that an equitable, just, free and prosperous society would be well within our grasp if the people were offered candidates who represented them, not the oligarchy.

John Atcheson is author of the novel “A Being Darkly Wise” and he has just completed a book on the 2016 elections titled “WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track.” available from Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson

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27 Responses for “We Get It. Trump Is Awful. But Standard-Issue Democrats Are Not an Alternative.”

  1. Lnzc says:

    Get over it demorats
    Trump must be smart to be president

  2. mausborn says:

    Donald Trump used the presidency to advance racism, incite violence, threaten war, and defend our enemies. He should have been removed from office a long time ago. Your Presidency will go down as the darkest moment in American history.

  3. Iva Had it says:

    LOL!!! Oh, you’re serious.

  4. Really says:

    We need to get over the Bi-Partisan bullshit and get things done in common. Any one else sick of the two Party polarization? Vote out long standing incumbents to end it

  5. Fernando Melendez says:

    Unfortunately its become a vicious cycle on attacking this president, democrats have fogged up the view so much that there is nothing he can do right in his presidency, which is sad because he has accomplished a lot.

  6. Charlie says:

    I WILL be voting for President Trump again !

  7. Steve Robinson says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that constant, unchallenged coverage of Trump’s lunatic ravings is “like feeding a malignancy.” But the major failing of “the media” (it is not a monolith) is its reluctance to explore honestly why this disgusting man is supported so fervently by so many. We are encouraged to “try to understand” the “disaffected” among us who have turned to this fraud to rescue their failed lives. This only serves to obscure the fact that this country is and always has been “infested” (to use Trump’s word) with racists and xenophobes who were ripe for the picking by this demagogue. It’s time to ask not how or why Trump got elected, but why he will most likely hold onto the House and get re-elected.

  8. knightwatch says:

    He isn’t smart. His followers are dumb.

  9. JohnX says:

    Putting on a pussy hate and saying Trump is insane and a criminal doesn’t exactly engender a huge amount of confidence in your mental stability either, Mr. Atcheson. You start off on the right track, but then you get distracted as a result of your Autistic Trump derangement syndrome. You know and I know and Peter Strozk knows, and everyone knows that if there was anything “there” he would not be walking around with the nuclear codes, negotiating world peace, signing bills, and being the dominant leader of the free world. Deal with it internally and externally in an adult way. Trump is playing the only cards he has to to keep China from completely destroying what little is left of the middle class, but not getting a lot of help from the rest of who you correctly note are sellouts. So stick to the issues and people will listen. If you don’t stick to the issues and sound crazy the people that don’t like Trump will continue to stay home for fear you are worse.

  10. atilla says:

    GO TRUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Agkistrodon says:

    Would you like some cheese with your whine…………..Getting old now. 1 million jobs added. Newest growth estimate is 5%. ISIS is defeated. Economy is booming. 401K’s rocking. Food stamps at record lows, which means people are working……..yeah it is really bad these days.

  12. Pogo says:

    @John Atcheson

    I’ve considered Common Dreams a daily must read since its founding. You’re always on the side of the angels, but with these results: Bush 43 and trump – aka Archie Bunker born to wealth.

    Instead of being an effing spoiler, goddamn it, fix the system.

    Rank Choice Voting
    http://www.fairvote.org/

    Rank Choice Voting
    https://www.rankedchoicevoting.org/

    The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact

  13. Steve Robinson says:

    The economy is simply continuing on an upward trajectory established under Obama. The stock market is strong because companies are taking their “tax breaks” and, instead of investing in r&d and giving raises to their workers, they are buying up their own stock. That’s called a “bubble,” and it will inevitably burst. All of this is a thin coat of paint on a house of cards that is being propped up by Trump’s pathetic and ugly racist appeals to his “base.”

  14. J3 says:

    For all the people who love Trump. please point to the legislation he has passed that has impacted your life? The economy was adding jobs before he got into office. 401K’s were already “rocking” from the recovery during the Obama Presidency.

    The tax cut passed but wages have not increased. Trump supporters may love his rhetoric which is a conversation for another day but as far as policy, he hasn’t done anything.

  15. Agkistrodon says:

    Actually wages have ALSO increased, but you keep up with your agenda.

  16. Makeitso1701 says:

    Let the kool aid drinkers believe that the economy is doing better because of trump. The economy was already in the upswing way before this idiot took office, and yes, anything will be better than this evil maniac.
    Keep watching your fake, I mean, Fox News channel.

  17. Richard says:

    Who are the “deplorable’s now”? ROTFLMAO

  18. kevin says:

    You want an alternative, no one who failed to speak out against and stand up to this Liar-in-Chief deserves a consideration. When this TrumpChump of Putin spoke ill of John McCain, equalized that America has done just as many bad things as Russia and called Kim Jong Un “honorable” and the Republicans in power cowered, it was the end of the Grand ole Party. Forget his reckless policies, forget his Russian inspired campaign to undermine the NATO alliance and insult our allies, forget his criticism of institutions of law and order in our country, his most recent actions of tearing children from their families and imprisoning them in cages has debased the moral character and leadership of America in the world. Instead of protecting our borders he has weakened America. He is corrupt to the core, lacks a soul and will be impeached when the day of reckoning occurs 11/6/18.

  19. mausborn says:

    At least 90% of tRump’s supporters are going to be shocked that while they are blessing his cruel and inhumane treatment of people at the border, the @GOP is dismantling health care, medicare, social security, snap, etc. Programs that most of his base are dependent upon.

    Trump Supporters Carry The Flags Of Defeated Enemies – Confederates and Nazis.

  20. mausborn says:

    People ask how does Trumps followers constantly believe everything he says despite seeing him lying on tv night after night but it’s like asking why did people follow David Koresh, or Hitler or Jim Jones. Just try to debate with one they’ll never give you a coherent argument they’ll just regurgitate everything Trump says and he just echoes everything that Fox says.

    You can’t reason with Crazy!!!

  21. mark101 says:

    “”You can’t reason with Crazy!!! and that’s why Hillary is NOT in office.

  22. Sherry says:

    The latest lies and down right ignorant BS from trump. . . this Fact Checking done by the Associated Press:

    https://www.apnews.com/d7c8c03a75374d808b1f1b79e117d447/AP-FACT-CHECK:-Trump's-skewed-claims-on-immigration,-economy

  23. Veteran says:

    You Trump haters have been brainwashed by the media.

  24. Sherry says:

    Yes! I plan to always continue being being “educated” by actual FACTS!

  25. mausborn says:

    This Nation Is Beginning to Realize the Full Extent of What It Did to Itself in November 2016.

  26. Anonymous says:

    “We are encouraged to “try to understand” the “disaffected” among us who have turned to this fraud to rescue their failed lives.”

    If anyone really wants to understand what’s wrong with the Democrats and liberals in generals read the above with particular attention given to the final two words. I would add that I have a great family, home and an income in the top 3 percent . If that’s failure then please give me a double dose of them dumplings!

  27. john says:

    If the election was held today he would probably still win. When you say “we get it” who is “we” ? that would be you democrats I presume,

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