June 25 2017 - The Democratic Party is at its lowest ebb in the memory of everyone now alive. It’s lost the White House and both houses of Congress. On the state level it’s weaker than at any time since 1920. And so far in 2017 Democrats have gone 0 for 4 in special elections to replace Republican members of Congress who joined the Trump administration.
How did it come to this? One person the Democratic Party is not going to ask, but perhaps should, is legendary consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Nader, . . has been been based in Washington, D.C. for over fifty years . . . and his organizations collaborated with congressional Democrats to pass a flurry of landmark laws protecting the environment, consumers and whistleblowers. . . . Meanwhile, the 1971 “Powell Memo,” which laid the groundwork for the resurgence of the corporate right, named him as a key enemy of “the system,” . . .
. . it’s now undeniable that the Democratic Party has significant problems that can’t be blamed on Ralph Nader in 2000. In a recent interview, Nader provided his deeply-informed, decades-long perspective on how U.S. politics got to this point:
. . . RALPH NADER: Do you want me to go through the history of the decline and decadence of the Democratic Party? I’m going to give you millstones around the Democratic Party neck that are milestones.
. . . 1979. Tony Coelho, who was a congressman from California,. . . convinced the Democrats that they should bid for corporate money, . . . (then) ... they lost the election to Reagan. And then they started getting weaker in the Congress.
. .The second millstone is that they didn’t know how to deal with Reagan. And the Republicans took note. . . .
. . . Raising money from Wall Street, from the drug companies, from health insurance companies, the energy companies, kept [Democrats] from their main contrasting advantage over the Republicans, which is, in FDR’s parlance, “The Democratic Party is the party of working families, Republicans are the party of the rich.” That flipped it completely and left the Democrats extremely vulnerable. . .
The Democrats stopped running a 50-State campaign.
When they abandoned the red states, they abandoned five states in the Rocky Mountain area, and started out with a handicap of nine or ten senators. . . So they never had a veto-proof majority even at their peak in the Senate.
The third millstone -- campaign by slogans, instead of by policy.
-- Labor Unions lost their grassroots
-- Campaigning by how bad the Republicans are, instead of how good the Democrats are (see original article for examples of all the "millstones")
And this went right into the scapegoating of the last twenty years. “Oh, it’s Nader, oh, it’s the Koch Brothers, oh, it’s the electoral college, oh, it’s misogyny, oh, it’s redneck deplorables.” They never look at themselves in the mirror.
Republicans, when they lose they fight over ideas, . . . Tea Party ideas, libertarian ideas, staid Republican ideas. They fight. But the Democrats want uniformity, they want to shut people up. So they have the most deficient transition of all. They have the transition of Nancy Pelosi to Nancy Pelosi, four-time loser against the worst Republican Party in the Republican Party’s history.
. . extremist, cruel, vicious, Wall Street, militarist the Republican Party is. Which means that the Democrats should have landslided them. . . .
But no, it’s always the scapegoat. Maybe Jill Stein, the little Green Party, they took Pennsylvania and Michigan from Hillary the hawk.
[Another] millstone is they could never contrast themselves with the Republicans on military foreign policy – because they were like them. They never question the military budget, they never question the militarized foreign policy, like Hillary the hawk on Libya, who scared the generals and ran over [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates who opposed her going to the White House to [push for] toppling the regime, metastasizing violence in seven or eight African countries to this day. . .
[Another] millstone is: Nobody gets fired. They have defeat after defeat, and they can’t replace their defeated compadres with new, vigorous, energetic people. . . .
The last millstone is, they make sure by harassing progressive third parties that the third party never pushes them. . . They try to get them off the ballot. . . Whereas if (3rd parties) got 5percent, 6 percent of the vote they would be under great pressure to change their leadership and change their practice because there would be enough American voters who say to the Democrats, “We do have some place to go,” a viable third party. (Instead) They harass them, they violate civil liberties, they use their Democrat-appointed judges to get bad decisions or harassing depositions. . . .
Unfortunately, to put it in one phrase, the Democrats are unable to defend the United States of America from the most . . . . . . anti-consumer, anti-environment, anti-posterity [Republican Party] in history.