The ‘new face’ of Democrats

Published 10:06 am Friday, December 2, 2016

Following the recent shellackings of the Democratic Party, not only in 2016, but in 2014, can Democrats avoid some reflective time examining where they went wrong?

Republicans now hold a majority of state governerships and legislatures, the majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and the presidency. If Democrats lose further they will become, instead of the loyal opposition, the silent opposition.

Congratulations to the Republicans who spent decades as the minority party, waiting only for a Ronald Reagan presidency to erase the false start of Nixon years. Since Reagan, Republicans have ebbed and flowed, but now certainly seem to be the rising tide of political dominance.

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As for the Democrats, well, to be generous, they have forgotten their roots, forgotten who they once were, what crucial part they have played in American politics. The Democratic Party has always been the Big Tent party, the place where true American Exceptionalism lived and thrived through both identity politics and the embracement of individual rights.

Democrats fought for unions, civil rights, equal pay, justice before the courts, better schools, better pay, fairer taxes and, most of all, for the American Dream. Until they forgot. Until they forgot that the American banking system became predatory and they did nothing; until they forgot that American corporations cared more about their stock prices than their workers, and Democrats did nothing; until health care became more about profit than care, and Democrats did nothing; until automation and globalization took American jobs, and democrats did nothing.

But it is not too late for democrats to remember, not too late for Democrats to find the passion to once again fight for all of us, the American people, the families, the seniors, the children, the disabled, the different, even the unique.

Democrats need only to draw the lines of difference clearly with their Republican opponents. If you want to be for everyday Americans, then fight for a fair minimum wage across the nation, rather $10 or $12 or $15 an hour, make work pay workers fairly.

Fight for the overtime rights of so many administrative jobs that are so classified only to permit overtime work without compensation. Demand the Trump administration prove its commitment to American workers with this essential fairness of pay.

Democrats must remember that all that stands between the destruction of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security is the Democratic Party. Today, House Speaker Ryan has a plan to undermine this essential security that protects all of us eventually. Who would insure anyone over 65 today without impossibly high premiums and crippling limitations of coverage?

Democrats must remember that it was the American school system that elevated the American worker above workers across the globe, and insure that advanced education is always affordable and available, if not free, for everyone. College and trade schools are the new high school in a global economy. We must stand beside Americans fighting for new careers in a changing economy.

The Democratic Party must remember that cutting corporate taxes simply increases corporate profits to shareholders, and undermines the American economy by taking needed revenues from the tax base.

Democrats must insist that cutting taxes to the global corporations and the wealthy does nothing but increase the debt and the deficit, and must resist these measures that steal from the poor to give to the rich.

Most importantly, Democrats must always remember that the Democratic Party has been, is, and always will be, the voice of the Little Guy; the small farmer, the shop owner, the newest citizen, the oldest grandparent, and all who just need a fair chance to build a good life here.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.