A party divided

Despite a daily stream of racially charged nativism, misogynistic fascism, and a rise in the normalization of othering anyone who isn’t a white, homo/trans-phobic, gun-loving, Evangelical Christian, anti-choice, science-denying, flag-waving jingoist, the feckless leadership of the Democratic Party has failed miserably to counter the rising tide of hatred unleashed by President Trump.  The events of the past week demonstrate how out-of-touch Democratic Party orthodoxy is under the weak leadership of Nancy Pelosi in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate.

But, I hear you object thoughtful reader, Speaker Pelosi defended the so-called “Squad” against the president’s vicious, ignorant, racist Twitter attacks.  Not so fast.  Keep your eye on the ball.  Before that,  Speaker Pelosi patronizingly dismissed the Squad (Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar) in an interview with The New York Times; you see, the far Left-wing representatives had expressed their moral outrage towards the Trump administration’s grotesque border policies, voting against a leadership-backed appropriations bill that included funding for them.

Donald Trump

President Trump’s grotesque and ignorant attacks on the Squad, which were echoed and amplified — with his approval — by his fellow racists at a campaign rally in North Carolina, obscured this from America’s short attention span; Speaker Pelosi, showing what a fair-weather leader she has become, immediately flip-flopped and began defending the Squad.  Zach Carter at The Huffington Post described it like this:

Divided over how to oppose Trump and his agenda, party leadership attempted to purge its own ranks, and only eased up when the president himself attacked the same members that leadership had been blasting for weeks.

Saddest of all to me as a lifelong Democrat, Democratic leadership in Congress often exhibits more fire-in-the-belly and greater purpose in opposing challenges to party orthodoxy that preserves its privileged perch than it does in opposing the Republican Party, underscoring a structural flaw in our governing structure dominated by a duopoly the Left side of which is increasingly co-opted by boardroom progressives with just enough liberalism on social issues to differentiate it from the rabid culture warriors of the Right.  Gone the radical vision of Johnson’s Great Society or the courage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, replaced with the pandering of Clinton-esque bipartisanship, a cowardice that produced, among other things, illiberal laws like The Defense of Marriage Act, and wholesale surrenders in the name of appeasement like the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the armed forces.  It would take over a decade to undue these harmful affronts to a reliably Democratic voting bloc — queer Americans.

Repubs crushing Dems

By openly challenging the leadership of the Democratic Party, the Squad has become a symbol of the activist Left, demonstrating how a once great bastion of liberal/progressive vision has been reduced to a pathetic, lumbering political machine driven by centrists and funded by corporate money, and how impotent it has been in confronting an increasingly rabid, reactionary, and emboldened far-Right.

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