People's World - February 20, 2020
"After more than a century of being inundated by intense anti-socialist and anti-communist propaganda, it’s little wonder that the label still makes some uncomfortable. For the most part, a lot of people still don’t have a really good idea of what socialism even means. But what they do know is that when Sanders talks about health care for all, reversing tax cuts for the super-rich, canceling student loans, fighting climate change, and cutting military spending, they like what they hear."
Wall Street Democrats’ worst nightmare seems to be coming true: The momentum of a self-declared socialist who threatens to make health care accessible to every American and pledges to combat climate change while creating green, union jobs is looking increasingly unstoppable. Scroll through the Twitter feed of “centrist think tank” Third Way these days and you’ll get the sense that doomsday is fast approaching.
He’s “the definition of unelectable.” Covering everyone’s health care costs through Medicare for All is a “toxic” idea. We have to “beware the ‘pixie dust’” that the way to win is by increasing turnout among people of color and youth. There is “nothing more scary” than nominating a socialist for president.
And who is the angel heralding an impending apocalypse of greater equality and progress? Sen. Bernie Sanders, of course.
Third Way is the place where the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party takes institutional form. In an earlier life, its supporters were known as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the outfit which dominated policy during the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s. They’re the ones who brought us “welfare reform,” government downsizing of the liberal variety, the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill, and NAFTA.
A short while ago, Third Way was crowing that “nothing would be more disastrous” than going down the populist path of wealth taxes and bank regulation that was being trumpeted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren. They’re part of the same milieu of big money that has said they’d back Trump before they’ll support the left. But now, with Sanders the undisputed front-runner, all fire is focused on him.
“He has made it his mission to either get the nomination or to remake the party in his image as a democratic socialist. That is an existential threat to the future of the Democratic Party,” Third Way president and co-founder Jon Cowan toldThe Guardiannewspaper recently. Former Bill Clinton strategist James Carville was a bit more explicit when speaking toPolitico: “Having him for president of the United States? Are you f*cking kidding me?”
The biggest challenge for the Wall Street Dems, however, has been that there remains no single moderate for them to rally around who really excites all that many people. There is no Bill Clinton equivalent these days. Their great hope to block Bernie, former Vice President Joe Biden, has so far bombed in the early nomination contests. Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a strong showing in Iowa, but given his significant challenges with Black voters who question his past criminal justice and other policies, the road looks tougher as the primaries of bigger, more diverse states approach. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was a possibility, but her appeal outside the Midwest is apparently a concern. ...
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