Know Thine Enemy

A response to those who insist that we speak no ill of other Democrats because of the pressing need to unify behind whoever emerges from next year’s primary scrum: I don’t view the Democrats as the “good side” and the Republicans as the “bad side.” There are plenty of Democrats who are on the bad side, although there are precious few Republicans on the good side.

The good side is true progressive populists – like Bernie and Elizabeth Warren (on a good day). The bad side is corporatists and militarists and populist neo-fascist demagogues. Bush/Cheney, Hillary, and Barack Obama (on a bad day) fall into the 1st two camps. Trump fits more comfortably in the 1st and 3rd ones.

I absolutely agree that we need to engage with people with whom we disagree. But to do this effectively, we also have to find areas of agreement. So, with struggling working-class folks in the heartland who find aspects of Trump’s message appealing, I’d probably talk more about Medicare-for-all and smart trade policy. With coastal elites, I would put a greater stress on the need to combat climate change and corporadems’ reliance on contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

Our democracy has been dying since the 1970s. It reached an apotheosis in the mid-1960s with Civil Rights legislation and the Great Society and has been sliding downhill ever since with a few bright spots here and there. Trump is not a tumor in an otherwise healthy body. He is a particularly hideous boil on a patient with metastasizing cancer.

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