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February 26, 2020

Democratic elites

Opinion

February 26, 2020

The events of the past week – beginning with the TV debates of the candidates on February 19 and culminating in the Nevada Democrat Party caucus in Nevada on February 22 this past Saturday – show a growing desperation in the ranks of the Democratic Party’s corporate-driven leadership as the Sanders campaign has assumed a clear lead in the race for the Democratic Party nomination.

Having ascended in the late 1980s to a controlling role of the party through the Democrat Leadership Conference (DLC) faction, the Democratic Party’s leadership now sees itself at a critical juncture. If it has not yet crossed the political ‘Rubicon’, it at least has arrived at its opposite shore and is preparing to do so.

The choice the leadership faces is whether to transform itself into a Trump-like party, openly run by oligarchs and billionaires; or to return to a pre-1990 Democrat party – before the DLC faction takeover – and allow Bernie Sanders to become its presidential candidate.

The party leadership’s current actions clearly show it now leans heavily toward the former. Its plan is to unite itself around Bloomberg, rather than return to former, more democratic roots with Sanders.

In the worst case scenario, some of the wealthiest of the Democrat Party’s backers – like former Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein ( a big financial backer of Hillary and Obama campaigns) – are even suggesting a third way. They have begun to say privately, and even publicly, they would vote for Trump instead of Sanders in November. They’ve done that before: When progressive grass roots forces coalesced around the party’s nominee, George McGovern, in 1972 and the leadership turned to support Richard Nixon. And before that in 1956 to some extent, when Adlai Stevenson was the nominee.

In other words, there’s a long standing history in the Democratic Party of the corporate wing sabotaging its candidate in a presidential election by supporting the Republican party’s candidate, either indirectly or directly.

Just as the traditional Republican party imploded in 2016 and thereafter became the Party of Trump – so too is a similar fundamental transformation now underway in the Democrat party.

It was a grassroots social movement that enabled the Republican Party’s transformation. It’s no less a grass roots movement in the Democrat Party today driving the transformation, the final outcome yet to be determined. And in both cases, Democrat party leaders were (and are) unable to understand movement dynamics: in 2016 they couldn’t understand (or predict) why Trump won. And today, in 2020, they can’t understand how and why Sanders is gaining growing support within their party’s ranks.

Just take a look at the Democratic Party at present: Neither of the leading candidates to date are really ‘Democrats’: there’s Bernie Sanders, the independent running under the banner of the Democrat Party; and there’s Mike Bloomberg, a republican billionaire running in the primaries after having ‘bought his way into’ the debates and primaries by contributing tens of millions of dollars to the Democrat National Committee (DNC). The DNC was more than glad to change the rules to allow Bloomberg to jump into the middle of the pack in exchange for Bloomberg’s millions in last minute party contributions

As Joe Biden, the prior ‘chose one’ has faded, and continues to fade, the DNC-corporate moneybag wing of the party has clearly opted for Mike Bloomberg. And, at the same time, are intensifying their attacks on Sanders.

The Sanders vs Bloomberg contest represents the fundamental contest in the primaries. The rest is overlay. That primary two-candidate contest will become even clearer after Super Tuesday primaries are concluded in early March. And by the end of March, the lesser candidates will have been effectively cleared from the field.

What all this represents is a collapse of the traditional Democratic Party center, in favor of the two ‘outliers’ (Sanders & Bloomberg). The ‘outlier effect’ in turn reflects the fact that voters have little confidence in the leaderships’ various centrist choices to date – ie Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, etc. The voters have lost confidence in the leadership’s political proposals and programs – ie the policies that have been pushed and promoted by the corporate wing for the past three decades since the late 1980s, when the corporate wing rallied around the faction called the Democratic Leadership Caucus (DLC) and took over the party and its policies.

Those policies pushed free trade treaties, allowed Reagan-George W Bush multi-trillion dollar corporate-investor tax cuts to continue, bailed out bankers but not Main St. after 2009, refused to restore Union rights in organizing and bargaining, offered token minimalist market solutions to the healthcare crisis, allowed the government to rip off students by imposing interest rates on student loans even higher than private lenders, allowed pensions and retirement security to collapse, provided a tepid response to police brutality, failed to stop widespread Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression at the states level that’s given Trump and the radical right a near ‘lock-hold’ on the so-called red states in national elections. That’s just a short list.

Voters sense that these neoliberal policies of the mainstream Democrat Party leadership have not, and cannot, reverse or resolve the growing economic – and now political – crises now deepening within the core of America.

As the party leaders’ former favorite, Joe Biden, fades at the polls and in the primaries, party campaign operatives – both former and current – are now being unleashed by party leaders to go after Sanders with gusto.

Meanwhile, across the country, more local party officials (mayors, party brokers, state legislators, governors, ie those folks comprising the majority of the so-called Special Delegates to the Democrat Party Convention) are busy increasingly endorsing publicly Bloomberg.The ‘Get Sanders’ crowd includes some of the big names of the corporate wing of the party:

Excerpted from: ‘The Nevada Caucus and the Desperation of Democrat Elites’.

Courtesy: Counterpunch.org