Friday, March 28, 2014

Give Democratic Voters Something to Vote For

Not being the repug isn't enough anymore. 

Yes, the environment in Congress is "toxic." But that's a vague and meaningless term. It's certainly acrimonious on Capitol Hill. But the problem isn't that voters are frustrated that nothing gets done in Washington. Voters are frustrated that nothing good is possible in Washington. Those are two very different things.

Right now the conversation on healthcare is between one side that wants slightly less expensive corporate healthcare, and one side that wants much more expensive corporate healthcare. It's between one side that wants to cut Social Security and Medicare just a little bit, and another that wants to cut it a lot. It's between one side that wants to implement some very gradual climate change policies that won't stop us from crossing runaway greenhouse barriers, and another side that doesn't believe in climate change at all. It's between one side that wants a very slow, painful set of immigration reforms, and another side that wants no reforms at all. It's between one side that wants to raise the minimum wage to something that still doesn't meet what it was back in the 1970s, and another side that wants to eliminate it.

For a young voter or voter of color, voting for Democrats isn't a matter of hope for a better future. It's basically a defensive crouch to prevent the insane sociopaths from taking over. To provide real hope, Democrats would have to start pushing for a $15 minimum wage, for basic universal income, for single-payer healthcare, for a green jobs Apollo Program, for student loan forgiveness, and similar policies.

As it is, there's no real reason for an infrequent Democratic voter to come to the polls. Sure, it's important to stop the likes of Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney from sitting in the White House, and appointing decent judges to the Supreme Court is nice.

But there's no way Democrats are going to solve their midterm problem without providing a real, positive vision for the country. If even hardcore activists like me see voting as a defensive rather than an offensive weapon, it's no surprise that many more apolitical people can scarcely be bothered to care.

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