Thu, 13 September 2018
Two Thirds of "Progressive" Democratic Congressional Candidates Are Silent on Foreign Policy. Why? Don't They Trust Democratic Voters?
There are serious obstacles to a Democratic sweep of the House in November. But what will we get in the event it does happen? Most of the progressives are entirely silent on foreign policy. What does that mean?
We’re told there’s a blue wave coming in November that may sweep a Democratic majority into the House of Representatives. How likely is that, and if it happens what will we be getting?
To achieve a Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives Democrats must overcome the result of two decades of relentless Republican gerrymandering in state legislatures. Traditionally the maps from which congressional representatives were elected were only drawn once a decade based on census results, but beginning in the 1990s Republicans asserted and won the right to re-draw legislative maps pretty much whenever they feel the need. Their technique is to concentrate Democratic voters into a relatively small number of districts where Democrats reliably win by enormous margins, while spreading out the Republican vote to a greater number of districts in which Republicans reliably win with much smaller margins. This is how Republicans are able to elect dozens more congressional representatives with a million or two fewer votes than Democrats.
Democrats could have fought this on the federal and the state level, in the courts, in the legislatures and the streets beginning when they still had the upper hand in the 1990s. But they did not. And so they, and we are where we are.
Unlike the right to possess a gun, the right to vote is not guaranteed in the US Constitution. So any state or county city official can block or obstruct or take away your right to vote, with a new law or with an administrative decision. The omission of this right from the Constitution, the absence of any mass movement demanding voting rights, and the laziness of Democratic party honchos has allowed a veritable briar patch of laws and regulations calculated to disenfranchise Democrat leaning voters, making it harder to register, more difficult to vote, and allowing their votes under some circumstances not to be counted.
Throughout the 70s, 80s and into the 90s, Democrats had many, many chances to introduce laws, to campaign, to generate street heat in support of voting rights, even to campaign to amend the Constitution and make local interference with voting rights impossible. They didn’t, and so again they, and we are where we are.
When Republican officials threw out tens of thousands of Detroit votes, more than the margin by which Trump won Michigan, Hillary Clinton refused to fight for her own vote, refused to raise a public objection. A similar thing happened in Wisconsin. It fell to Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate to file lawsuits demanding recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to expose the fundamental level on which US elections are rigged and gamed. A Michigan judge eventually ruled that the public had no right to an audit of the vote.
Late in the Obama era and continuing into the reign of Trump, there were selective and malicious criminal prosecution of organizations and their members conducting voter registration, early voting, and absentee ballot drives. From Mississippi to Michigan activists have been victimized by police raids and had spurious criminal cases manufactured against them for voter registration and GOTV activities which were never criminal matters before. There have also been also deliberate purges in multiple states of voter rolls designed to throw hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters off the rolls. In Georgia where I live, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is a right wing extremist named Brian Kemp who’s also Georgia’s Secretary of State has been in court this year defending an attempt to purge some 50,000 voters from the state’s rolls.
So once again we are where we are, and Democrats have a far steeper uphill climb than they ought to thanks to two generations of their own laziness and misleadership.
So what will we get when and if a 2018 blue wave sweeps a Democratic majority into Congress?
Let’s take a look at some of the organized forces fielding and assisting Democratic candidates this year.
There are the CIA Democrats backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee...
The World Socialist Web Site, wsws.org, one of the web outlets which along with Black Agenda Report was deemed a tool of the Russians, and which like Black Agenda Report has been suppressed by Google ever since, published a 3 part article on March 8, 9 and 10 called The CIA Democrats. In it, Patrick Martin named more than 30 former CIA and State Department officials, military death squad and kidnapping – uhh maybe I mean “extraordinary rendition” operatives and their civilian bosses who were running in Democratic congressional primaries. The only good news in that article is that some of the spooks, military types and bloody handed civilian and military officials were running against each other. A little more than half of them lost. But 19 of those CIA Democrats named by Martin survived Democratic congressional primaries in their respective states to face Republicans in November, many of them in vulnerable districts.
They have the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official deep pocket of the party through which bribes – I mean campaign contributions are funneled from corporations, wealthy individuals and anonymous sources to deserving congressional candidates.
For the record, their names and districts are in the print version of this article. Some of them will certainly win, and every one that does will make the world, our world, a little worse.
And there are the allegedly progressive Democrats
There are 3 national outfits providing techincal and fundraising assistance, expert personnel and endorsements to supposedly progressive Democrats. They are Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress, and Our Revolution. They had a big hand in the victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in New York, and dozens of congressional, state level and local Democratic primary campaigns.
31 congressional candidates endorsed by one or more of these progressive outfits survived the Democratic primary to face Republicans in November. Black Agenda Report took a quick look at the web sites of those 31 progressive candidates for congress. You can find the list with links to their web sites and issue positions at the end of the print version of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.
All but one or two say they support Medicare For All, though it’s not clear whether they mean the straight no chaser version or the watered down one full of exceptions now pushed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Just about all say they’re refusing corporate bribes – damn I mean contributions. More than half say reforming the criminal justice to provide education and job training for inmates system is among their top priorities, and have something to say about net neutrality. Nearly all embrace more pro-active and sensible measures to address climate change, to uphold the rights of women and LBGTQ people, and immigrants, and more. Most have something to say about gun violence, but it’s a safe bet that none of them are educating anybody about the fact that the 2nd amendment of the US was enacted to facilitate slave patrolling, land stealing and the genocide of indigenous people.
What stands out in the web sites of these progressive Democrats is that 21 out of 31 have absolutely NOTHING to say to voters about war or peace, about the military budget which consumes roughly a trillion dollars a year. And that’s not counting the two candidates whose sole mention of the world outside the United States was opining that we should fully fund the State Department in one case, or put more emphasis on diplomacy in another.
9 or 10 out of 31want to help the vets, respect the vets, listen to the vets and the active duty military, improve medical care and job opportunities and such, though one outlier, ER physician Matt Morgan in Michigan wants to privatize the VA into some kind of nonprofit. Only a couple of those candidates who list veterans affairs among their priorities have anything to say about the use to which veterans are put. Only one or two of the “respect the veterans” progressives come anywhere near mentioning what you can hear at the beginning of most NFL games, that there are hundreds of thousands of US troops in more than a hundred foreign countries, with aircraft, satellites, and warships over, on and beneath all the seven seas, and more than 800 military bases outside the US on every continent except Antarctica.
Sometimes what you leave unsaid is more eloquent and damning than what you say. For 21 out of 31 so-called progressive Democratic candidates, the world outside the US, the American global empire, and the globally integrated capitalist economy either do not exist at all, or just don’t make their top ten or top twelve list of priority issues. How do we explain that?
These are not young people trying to find their feet. They’re not running for library board or water commissioner, they’re running for Congress, the ONLY federal elected offices that exist apart from the president and vice president. Most have been in public life a good while, about a third have served as state legislators or other local elected officials. These are boys and girls who know how to ride, and this ain’t their first rodeo. They are relatively smart and savvy people with other smart and savvy people working with and for them, folks who carefully weigh and calculate and consider every word that appears on their web sites as well as everything they leave out.
There are only two possibilities. Either two thirds of our progressive Democrats running for Congress this year really are true believers in the US right to make up its own facts, to declare offshore law free zones like Guantanamo, to invade other countries at will, killing millions and wreaking incalculable havoc upon their infrastructure, societies and ecologies like in Southeast Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and just don’t want to say it out loud, or our progressive Democrats don’t believe it but imagine they need to remain silent and pretend to be true believers in the US empire to get elected. Either way, two thirds of the new blue wave of progressive Dem congressional candidates believe they can get away with silence on foreign affairs.
This would make the supposed progressive new wave of Democrats about as effective at opposing the empire as the old Democrats already in office. As we pointed out a month or two ago, a solid majority of House Democrats didn’t just vote for Trump’s record military budget. They raised it tens of billions above Trump’s initial proposal to show military contractors, who gave more to Hillary than they did to Trump that they, not Republicans were better friends than Trump’s party. Even a majority of the House Progressive Caucus voted for it. Ultimately the increase alone in the 2019 military budget is more the entire military budget of the Russian federation.
This is also why Democrats, not the other US government party revived the century old tradition of American hostility toward Russia, adopting the evidence-free fabrication of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, and deploying the same intelligence agencies which assured us that Iraq had poison gas and nukes to tell us the Russians gamed the election. Not one of the progressive Democrat candidate supported by Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats or Our Revolution has the principles or the courage to question the cynical RussiaGate hoax.
For what it’s worth, if you check out the foreign policy positions of Justice Democrats and Our Revolution they are pretty sketchy. Brand New Congress goes a bit further, actually mentioning the current intervention in Syria and the ridiculous military budget. When it comes to empire, all of three are on board or largely silent. So it’s no surprise that the candidates they bring us will have the same views. That’s what it is to be a progressive Democrat these days.
Like the CIA Democrats, some of them will certainly win. But whether they will make the Congress any more productive for raising wages, protecting peoples rights to education, health care, housing and the like, to ending wars and making the world better is an open question. And most are unwilling to talk to us about war and peace.
For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com where you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter delivering to your inbox all the content we publish each week. Since the Washington Post has accused us of carrying the Russian line Google has suppressed the appearance of our content in search results, and some other corporate social media have done similar things. So the only way you can guarantee you’re getting fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left every week is via dark social media – which is what the marketing consultants call dark social media because they cannot trace it.
You can find our audio podcasts, Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher and wherever else you get your podcasts. If it’s iTunes don’t forget to leave us a glowing review, because that’s how other people find out about us.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party, which is legislated off the ballot in that state by the two government parties. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.