The Great Recession Sure Was Fun, Right Guys?: I remember the day the Great Recession started. I was living in Chicago at the time, getting ready to head to class, but I was frozen in front of the TV watching the Dow Jones plummet a hundred points at a time. It was a surreal thing to watch happen, though the real damage would come later as jobs and wages evaporated. In the wake of this catastrophe, the Dodd-Frank was passed in an effort to prevent such a meltdown from ever happening again. Thing is, Dodd-Frank restricts what the financial sector can do, so the Republicans don’t like it. In fact, they’ve moved a plan through the House to repeal it. Because the banks have proven they can be trustworthy, right?
This sort of move shows once again the kind of callous disregard the Republican party has for the people. I’m sure they’ll claim this bill “increases freedom” or some bullshit- yeah, the freedom of the banks to fleece the people without consequence. And they’re doing this under cover of the Comey testimony and Trump’s usual attention-grabbing idiocy. Don’t fall for it. When you call your Senators today, remind them that you oppose anything remotely resembling the Financial Choice Act.
A Coward’s Punt: Speaking of things the GOP were trying to do while you’re distracted, a pair of “Moderate” Republicans have said that they’re willing to scrap the permanence of the Medicaid Expansion. Their plan wouldn’t take effect for seven years, though. Why? Because they probably won’t have to deal with the consequences of their vote by that point. This is a common tactic for the GOP: make a horrendous change, but delay its impact beyond the next election cycle. Voters forget who did what by that point and the politician gets off scott free. And if these two “moderates” are behind such an effort, you can be sure there’s more momentum behind this plan than those two alone.
The Berning Question: I want to devote the rest of today’s Vigil to this story. The question of whether the American Left ought to try and influence the Democratic Party from within, or whether it should break off and form its own 3rd Party, has been simmering for some time. Apparently, in the lead-up to the People’s Summit this weekend, that push has grown to a rolling boil. And I imagine that Britain’s snap election last night- which saw a stunning victory of Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing Labour Party- will feature into the Summit’s narrative. Twitter is already abuzz with what will likely be a key message: “If we stop pandering to an insipid ideal of Centrism, and boldly show people how Progressivism can solve their problems, the ‘Center’ will move to us”.
And I have to admit, the idea is extremely tempting, if for no other reason than I’m already sick of dragging neoliberal Democrats into supporting positions they should have championed years ago. I get that politicians are self-interested to some degree but Jesus Christ can we get some fucking leadership here? Maybe if the Democrats had catered to the needs of the people, and not to their donors, more of them woulda kept their seats. Blasphemy, right?
That said, I do see extreme danger here. If Bernie (or the Left in general) forms a legitimate 3rd Party, the idea of reuniting with the Democrats is done. And Corbyn’s gains in the British Parliament notwithstanding, I don’t know how comfortable I am with having that kind of rift form just before the 2018 Midterms. Remember that while Corbyn’s victories were stunning, they did not get him enough seats to be Prime Minister, and it looks as though Theresa May will be forming a coalition government to retain her own leadership seat.
Personally, I’d wait to see the outcome of 2018. If the Democrats stay whole until then, but somehow botch the election- then yep, I’m 110% on board, start a new party and burn the fucking ships behind us. If the Dems win 2018 and continue their path of hand-wringing neoliberalism? Again, I’m done with them at that point.
But although this may get me kicked out of the cool kids’ table for a time, I’ll come out and say it: I don’t think trying to form a 3rd party right this second is a good idea. I fear the rifts would be too great, Republicans would defend the House, and Trump (and his masters’ agenda) would be ascendant.