Monday, February 27, 2017

And the new Head is...

Its time to meet the new boss, same as the old boss, more or less. So, Saturday the DNC elected a new chairperson. Tom Perez, is his name, and his former gig was Labor Secretary from President Obama. It shows a few things, so lets get started shall we?
First, those on the DemEnter side of things are gaining traction slowly, or at the very least, my cynical mind is screaming, getting some lip service. I say this given that the voting was fairly close by reports with Perez taking 235 of the 435 votes cast. Thirty-five people voting for Ellison and he would have won, that is very close in terms of votes, so close, yet so far away. This coming on the heels of just about every DNC Chairperson vote being nearly unanimous or otherwise vote for one person as a formality. A good sign, maybe, given that the first step taken by Perez was to make Ellison his deputy chair, his right hand man, the SiC (Second in Command).

Second, that Democratic Party is still severely divided. Directly after Perez was elected to the head of the DNC, many in attendance, shouted down the former head of the DNC screaming “Party of the People, not big money.” At that time Perez named Ellison his deputy chairman, and Ellison told supporters that we couldn't leave that room divided. I admire a man who is willing to take a hit for the greater good, one that calls for unity, in most cases anyway. In this case, I find myself frustrated, and without polling my peers who call themselves progressive, or my peers in general who are Democrat leaning, the man is liberal, but not progressive.

Third, Perez is actually quite moderate in terms of where the party needs to go according to us progressives. Sure, he is stated to want a $15 minimum wage, and that some of the problem in the Democratic Party in this last election was ignoring rural voters, something that many progressive want, and something progressives pointed out in Clinton's loss to Trump. The hitch, he is for the TPP and globalization. Granted, at times he appears to be a lukewarm supporter of such, with comments about the genie of globalization having been “Let out of the bottle.” he still supports it, something that progressives and hardliner tea party members agree is a bad idea. Both far sides of the debate, depending on what you call the hardliner stance, agree that free trade agreements are pretty bad for everyone involved in terms of economics. We may or may not agree about that genie being let out of the bottle, but on the ground, we see what it is doing to the least among us, and those who are siting in a tenuous position economically.

Okay, so what are the knocks on Perez. Well, outside of being for TPP, he has a record of being soft on banks, he believes that we should accommodate bad policy decisions in the government, to be accountable for those things we don't have much control over. Even if that means working longer, at lower pay rates, at jobs that are “traditionally for those in high school.” Here is how I see it. If you want to help the problems with tons of low paying, part-time jobs that pay minimum wage, ensure that everyone has a sound retirement package, that cannot be laid to waste by unethical investment groups, who have no qualm destroying the economy if it makes them a ton of money. As I have mentioned otherwise, lower the retirement age, so people can get out of a job earlier, do all those things that you are supposed to do in your golden years, before you are too crippled up to do them. While we might not be able to put the genie back in the bottle, make sure that the genie has a good leash on it, and that when it is doing its thing, that it is doing what it is supposed to, that it does its job on all fronts, but lets be honest, it never will, it in its very nature to not do those things.

On a side note, we also need to start looking at doing those other things that have long since been abandoned. We really need to get on that economic bill of rights, you know, the right to a home, decent transportation, health insurance (I know we still have the PPACA, but until everyone has insurance, its not working as it should), a solid retirement that affords more than eating cat food because it pays out so little, a living wage that affords people the opportunity to actually live without needing to work two or more jobs. So how do we do this, Medicare for all, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, and a Universal Basic Income all are a good start. Those three programs would actually take care of a lot of problems we see today. More on this later.

As it stands, the establishment centrist politics that we have seen over the last three or four decades years will continue, and come 2018 I don't see many things changing in terms of prospects. I doubt the Democrats will be able to change their political fortunes, unless something major happens. Their constant insistence that people really don't want change to be disheartening, to say the least. But, I just said unless something major happens, things will not change their political fortunes. What would be major? The first major thing I see is, Perez is actually reverses course, becomes some super progressive, or at the least, legitimately stands for the progressive platform, or gives them real attention, really listens to their political calls, and makes real efforts to get others in the Democratic Party to listen. Otherwise, if the party does not change, it will require something far, far worse. In order for the Democratic Party to take major wins in 2018, it would require that Trump and the GOP destroy the economy, and probably destroy much of the nation. The sad thing is, the latter will likely happen before the former.