Monday, October 18, 2010

Democrats Start Speaking My Language

As we pull into the home stretch of the midterm campaigns, it's refreshing to hear the Democrats finally gaining their voice. Because let's be honest, their previous argument ("Things are bad, but they would have been much worse under Republicans."), though true, was pretty lame. That was never going to energize the base, bring the winning 2008 coalition back together, and drive voters to the polls.

Enter the new strategy: Cast the Republicans as puppets of megacorporations. What makes this an easy sell to voters is that everyone basically already knows it. We just don't talk about it much in campaigns.

For most of last week the message coming from Obama and national Democrats was about the huge amounts of corporate money being funneled into Republican attack ads and races. To sharpen it a little more, they pointed out that a lot of the campaign money being spent by the Chamber of Commerce, the premier lobbying group for big business, is coming directly from foreign corporations. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Frankfurt, Zurich. In a political system where corporate money knows no borders (but of course people still do), these are now centers of Republican power. The Chamber's response to all of this being exposed (essentially a shrug of the shoulders) makes it clear they think the bad PR is a small price to pay. It's well worth it if it means bringing even more money to bear upon smashing the progressive movement in America.

There's little the American people can do other than expose what's happening, make a lot of noise about it, and organize against it. And that's what Democrats from the president on down and progressives have been doing. I was happy to see last week throw their weight behind this. (Check out their satirical RepubliCorp, the result of the complete merger of the Republican Party and Multinational Corporations.) It's true there's little else we can do other than agitate, educate, and organize against the corporate tidal wave sweeping these elections, but that's all we'd need to do, if we did it right.

I'm glad to see Democrats following this line of attack. Make this election--and every election--a choice between Republicans, transnational corporations, and the rich vs. Democrats, workers, and the middle class. (Virtually all of the contradictions to that dichotomy would be cases where Democratic elites join Republican elites and big money against the peoples' interests. So for now, yes, the Democratic party is too "conservative" to make this "choice" 100% accurate. Still, it's pretty good.) The problem is, you can't simply pull this out every October of an even-numbered year to fire up your base for get-out-the-vote efforts. Democrats shouldn't just campaign like this; they should govern like this. This should be the basic organizing principle and the foundation of the Democratic coalition. One party offers more power for the powerful, excuses for why corporations should run roughshod over the Earth, and the other party offers a real chance at democracy, peace, and a sustainable future. This should not be merely campaign rhetoric. It should be part of our national subconscious.

That's all for now. I plan to write a couple more posts on the upcoming midterms, so stay tuned.

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