It’s true what you have heard on podcasts and read across social media: the progressive movement is stronger. It’s managed to bring issues like health care, a green new deal, and economic inequality to the Democratic Party’s attention. We’re talking about progressive issues more openly because the progressive movement has forced them into mainstream dialogue.
Now more than ever, people are aware of how truly rigged and unsustainable our system is. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has highlighted the longstanding cracks in American society. The growing anger is overwhelming with 1% of America standing to become richer through this crisis, much like in 2008-09 while those on the bottom fight for the crumbs.
While there is plenty to reflect on with Bernie’s defeat, we also must take a sober look and be honest with ourselves. Biden will almost certainly be the nominee and he is bringing familiar faces with him: the same folks who got us into this mess to begin with. It further illustrates how out of touch the Biden campaign is to these turbulent times.
The Biden Brigade
There was the announcement of Larry Summer, a neoliberal economist recycled from Obama and Clinton administrations. Summers has found himself placed as an advisor to the Biden campaign on economic recovery from COVID-19 despite his weak response to guiding the Obama administration on The Great Recession. Not to mention the policies he engineered in the 90s with Clinton that helped create that economic nightmare.
It’s not a great look to progressives looking for more meaningful change, especially to the many who continue to see economic inequality soar.
He’s not the only scourge taken from the centrist waste bin. Biden has also brought on Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to former Obama Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and one of the architects of the Affordable Healthcare Act. He’s a doctor who has advocated that there isn’t much point to living past 75 and believes any single-payer plan undermines American individualism.
What’s the Next Step?
We need to take another bitter pill and ask ourselves what’s next if Democrats do win on election day, taking back the Senate and White House. Do they dare go bold, or do they settle back to what was 2015 normal? They held control before and only passed a flawed health care plan and couldn’t even bother to push to raise the minimum wage or address other plights of the working class. They instead worked on bailing out big banks and left many homeowners out to dry.
With pandemic killing citizens and stalling our economy, what are they going to do? Are they forced to finally confront the plights of people they claim to represent? History tells us otherwise.
The Democratic Party will seek to protect their donors at the peril of the average citizen. That means it is up to those that want a better future to build on the ashes of Bernie’s campaign. It means organizing new coalitions to take on the antiquated structures that continue to fail, even if that means abandoning the Democratic party in the long run.
We must continue our resolve while being aware of the painful truths that will be revealed in the coming years whether Biden or Trump wins come November. We can not pretend that everything will be great. Some will face health crises, some will face economic hardship, and the interests of capital will continue to reign over our society.
The cruel system of American capitalism is here to stay for a while longer without any meaningful challenge politically for the foreseeable future. For now we need to take our lumps, continue to hold those in power accountable, work with the tools we have at our disposal, and create alternative power structures to make an impact.