State of the Left: An Exercise in Exasperation

Editor’s Note: This piece by Steve is part of a series on the state of the Democratic Party and “The Left”. Our writers were given a series of questions for a “Panel Discussion” style response piece. 

What are your feelings about the political left following the 2016 Election?

If I’m being completely honest with you and our readers, the political left is well-fucked over and far from home. It’s an organism with multiple personality disorder where each identity is singularly brilliant, focused, and determined while being singularly myopic, selfish, and self-serving. And these are my peoples. Because the political left barely exists at the federal level. So during the primaries and especially during the general election, we had established, politically left groups like the Democratic Socialists and the Greens butting heads with every start-up third party in the country. And they(we) were butting heads with registered dems who leaned left, center, and TeamClinton. What we did manage to do was at least sort of settle on who we generally trust with getting our news from. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a progressive/lefty in the country right now who doesn’t have a favorable opinion of the Young Turks, Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp and his crew, Tim Black…you know. First hand experience with the Progressive Independent Party and dealing with other startups last year brought me to the realization that unless progressives can unite around three to five core concepts and run as a voting bloc on those, they’ll all continue to get trampled as individual parties fighting over nomenclature, semantics, and ego in some Quixotic, demented spiral to see who can fade into oblivion wearing the coolest homemade tshirt the fastest.

How do you feel the Democratic Party failed in the 2016 Election?

In terms of simply running a campaign or campaigns with the desired outcome being “win”, they failed miserably on every conceivable level. They ignored key Rust Belt states, abandoned the left entirely- sending Bernie out to beg everyone to play nice only worked with people who are now profiting personally by bowing their necks and working for the party machine. For the last two decades, the Democrats have made it perfectly clear to everyone- well, except their fucking constituents, that they gave up on the working class and will only “represent” professional, moneyed liberals and suburban conservatives. And they don’t stand for shit. There’s tons of tape on this- Democrats being asked what they stand for. And what they say is empty bullshit, idiotic, insulting slogans like “stronger together” with no fucking meaning, and “good jobs” with no reference to what those good jobs are, how people will automatically be able to transition into this new “good job” workforce, and no talk whatsoever about a goddamn union, living wage or $15/h minimum, or god-for-fucking-bid a Green New Deal. But if you believe folks like Cenk Uguyr, they didn’t really fail. The Owner Class needs strong republicans and weak democrats to keep this economic fascism alive. And the consultants got paid Oprah money. So now the Dems get to do what they do best- be the opposition party with no power and no backbone. And Americans will fork over tons of cash to them so they can take photo ops acting tough. Then blame Susan Sarandon when they lose the 2018 midterms.

What do you think the Democratic Party should do to improve their position at this point and what are your thoughts on what they’ve done so far in 2017?

Fuck…I dunno. Here’s the thing: the party- and by that I mean it’s leadership, candidates, media surrogates…those guys- they only think there was something wrong with the brand marketing strategy. They’re fucked in general because their whole business model can only support them as a regional option for affluent professionals with sort of a social conscience. Half the country is poor or in poverty and neither political party has any intention of representing them. The Democrats could gain and stay in power for a generation if they said “we stand for single payer healthcare, a green New Deal, publicly financed elections, and a living wage”. But they’re incapable of making that statement, because it runs counter-intuitive to what they actually stand for as a party. Which is why they haven’t done a fucking thing in 2017. The only actions taken to staunch the bleeding the Bannon Administration has done have come from NGOs like the ACLU or 9th Circuit judges who don’t necessarily need to worry about reelection. Every cabinet nominee who made it to a vote passed, more often than not with help from Democrats. Chuck Schumer is talking about letting the Ryan Bill go through without filibuster. They won’t pass the “Stop Funding Terrorists Act”. All the Dems are doing is puffing up Cory Booker’s 2020 run and Red-Baiting us into another Cold War.

What is the future of The Left in U.S. Politics?

Shit…I hate to sound cynical, but I am, so that’s how it’s going to come out. I think we’re creating a new generation of heroes in journalists, writers, artists, performers. You know, our voices. And those lucky few deserve any and all veneration they get, man. But where does that leave the rest of us who aren’t being represented on any level of significance by a political party? The sad fucking fact is that unless progressives can find a way to, just for ten fucking seconds, stop rocketing down the rabbit hole in any policy discussion and focus on very simple, very agreeable platform positions (single payer, green energy, basic human and civil rights, overturning Citizens United, and tuition-free education- just those) and figure out how to best represent each individual marginalized group once the political capital has been gained instead of along the way- then we’re where progressives have always been. Out in the wilderness, screaming God’s Own Truth As She Wrote It at the walls of Babylon.

The United States government, as it currently exists, is nothing more than the public relations firm for the corporate interests that retain them. Which means one of two things as I see it: progressives can either unite around some core concepts and figure the rest out once they’re in power- giving us the opportunity and ability to join the rest of the industrialized world in terms of health care, energy, education, and civil liberties, or…or…by default the libertarians were right. Due to the system of economic fascism we have in the US, there is very little the government itself can do for its citizenry and we should focus our efforts on private, non-governmental entities as the only logical course of action available to a country who’s populace has been largely abandoned by a gelatinous mass of bureaucrats and lawyers.

In the meantime, well, grow your own food, learn how to shoot, and let your children listen to Bad Religion, Zach De La Rocha, Gang Starr, and Frank Zappa.

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