A Saturday Afternoon Rant
July 27, 2014 § 1 Comment
Today I spent five or six hours at a “Summit Meeting” of activists and organizers working for Wendy Davis’s campaign. I thoroughly enjoyed it; met some interesting people; learned some digital tricks about political organizing and listened to some very smart, articulate youngsters present some very smart ideas about how to prepare for and execute an effective get-out-the-vote [GOTV to the cognoscenti] program.
Wendy Davis attended the meeting and made a rousing speech.
The organizers convinced me they have an amazing database of potential supporters, complete with voting histories and other clues to the likelihood that, if they vote, they will or will not probably vote for Wendy Davis. Those who issued the invitations to this meeting presumably had access to this database. [I was invited because I have done some phone-banking and hobbled around a neighborhood one Saturday afternoon with a third-year political science major from Harvard who is spending the summer doing some field work with Battleground Texas.]
My problem is: I looked over the audience, probably about 150 people from Harris, Ft. Bend and Montgomery counties, and saw only four or five Chicanos, none in leadership positions. When Wendy spoke, she said nothing about the migrant children flooding our Mexican border or the vicious and callous reaction of the Tea Party-dominated Texas Republican Party. Here is a link with some information that apparently has been overlooked by the Davis campaign. Chronicle
The irony of the experience, at least for me, was that the meeting was held in the Ironworkers union hall on Dahlia street in the East End of Houston. The route to that location is along Lawndale, a major street in that part of town, where the signs on the shops and restaurants are in Spanish and the area is obviously a Hispanic neighborhood.
I made my pitch to a couple of the organizing staff and they listened politely. I, of course, have no credentials to be giving advice to political organizers, but I do so anyway. I am very tired of living in Texas under the domination of jackasses like Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick. And it seems obvious to me that, unless Wendy Davis can interest Chicanos in her campaign and can overcome their notorious failure to vote in off-year elections, she cannot be elected.
Well, enough about that. My friend, Dave Shapiro, who constantly shops the Cloud for pertinent political commentary and generously emails his finds to his friends, sent me an article in Politico Magazine, written by Doug Sosnik, a political consultant and former adviser to President Bill Clinton. Here is a link: Sosnik
In this article, Sosnik sounds the alarm that the Democratic Party is in danger of being “taken over” by liberals. He writes that the Blue Dogs are being replaced by “populists” who may even be able to force Hillary to move leftward. Horrors! He apparently believes that the days of “triangulation” and the DLC may be gone forever.
Sosnik cites polls showing that Americans have lost faith in their government. He concludes, based on this evidence, that the “big government” policies of political liberals may be a doomsday prescription for the Democratic Party unless the leftists can “reconcile” their ideology with less government.
I think this reasoning is nonsense. Working class Americans have every reason to distrust government based on the policies of Sosnik’s old boss and the Bush policies that took over where Clinton left off. Thomas Pikkety has furnished a boatload of data to show that unregulated or inadequately regulated capitalism leads to steadily increasing degrees of wealth inequality that enriches the few at the expense of the many. Clinton’s repeal of Glass-Steagall was the exact wrong way to prevent Pikkety’s nightmare scenario. His reckless facilitation of NAFTA style globalization only added to the destruction of American working class economic health. Here is a link to an article that catalogs some of that story: Glass-Steagall [I have written about this at some length in a post entitled “The Bankenstein Fiends”.]
Economic justice in America will not be restored by weakening government. It will be restored by government policies designed to benefit the ninety-nine percent who don’t have tax loopholes and 15% capital gains rates, whose taxes are withheld from their wages without benefit of clever accounting tricks and overseas hiding places. It will be restored by pro-union policies that protect the right to organize and bargain collectively with company ownership. It will be restored by programs that hire workers to rebuild infrastructure. That will not happen if economic policy is left in the hands of private corporations and billionaires and politicians beholden to them.
In other words, government will be trusted when it becomes trustworthy. And that doesn’t equate with indifference to the plight of ordinary Americans.