Elizabeth Warren and the Trap for Black Voters

Summary: Just as with France’s Yellow Vests, Americans are becoming dissatisfied with their political parties. Articles in the Black Agenda Report, like this one, describe the Left’s unhappiness. This might be the first step to breaking the current alliances – and a new politics for America.

I must not question corporate rule

Freedom Rider: Elizabeth Warren and the Trap for Black Voters

By Margaret Kimberley, at the Black Agenda Report, 2 January 2018.

“Whether Democrats are openly obstructionist corporatists like Pelosi, or liberal sounding like Warren,
they will not consider any meaningful systemic reforms.”

The next presidential election in the United States is now just one year away. In January 2020 the process begins with the Iowa caucuses followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary and contests across the country. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is the first to officially announce the formation of a campaign exploratory committee.

The role of black voters in this process must be discussed before any more candidacy announcements are made. If not, black people will be no better off than when Donald Trump was elected. As the race begins let us remember that there is still a rock solid attachment to the Democratic Party and to all of its failures. The black misleaders have not been dislodged. The Democratic Party’s corrupt alliance with corporate interests led to their defeat and to the election of the openly racist Donald Trump. Unfortunately there has been little examination of the 2016 debacle and in fact Democrats have doubled down on all of their strategies which led to a Trump administration.

We need a second political party

“Warren signed on to Medicare For All legislation but also sponsored her own bill which undercuts that effort.”

Elizabeth Warren talks a good progressive game but her description of herself as “capitalist to my bones” is an indication that she will only go so far. She signed on to Medicare For All legislation but also sponsored her own bill which undercuts that effort. That stance isn’t surprising. Adherence to private sector control of the health care system is what capitalists do.

But Warren herself is not the only issue. She will be followed by others throwing their hats into the ring. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are all expected to follow suit. Texas congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke is the latest flavor of the month and favorite of corporate Democrats. O’Rourke has been called Obama 2.0, a pretty face with center right politics who is sold to voters as a progressive savior.

Black voters will again be the losers if there is no discussion or debate about how to make political demands. If there is no serious reflection about 2016 that will be the case even if a Democrat wins. We already see the meager benefits of Democratic control of Congress. Nancy Pelosi speaks of forcing Donald Trump to release his tax records but doesn’t discuss anything that will motivate new voters to come out or bring any benefits to the masses of people.

“Democrats have doubled down on all of their strategies which led to a Trump administration.”

Their choice is quite deliberate. Whether Democrats are openly obstructionist corporatists like Pelosi, or liberal sounding like Warren, they will not consider any meaningful systemic reforms. The Warrens of the world may in fact be equally dangerous. Instead of Medicare For All she proposes The Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act. This mouthful of a name is a plan to provide subsidies to pay for a system that is unnecessarily costly. Like Obamacare, it enshrines private sector control, which is the cause of all our health care problems.

Likewise, her Accountable Capitalism Act is a sleight of hand. Capitalism is inherently unaccountable to the people. It sounds good to include workers on corporate boards but Warren’s proposal would apply only to those valued at $1 billion or more. That loophole leaves out millions of people. Managing capitalism never works very well in any case. Warren and her ilk ought to be known for accepting the status quo and not for turning back the clock to regain what right wing Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama gave us: endless austerity and war.

“Like Obamacare, Warren’s bill enshrines private sector control, which is the cause of all our health care problems.”

Black people must take the lead before it is too late. Our reluctance to deviate even slightly from Democratic Party dogma has done us no favor. While the fear of Republican control silenced us, Democrats lost over 900 legislative seats across the country. Silence is not golden in the political arena.

The early primaries located in southern states will play a huge role in determining the eventual nominee. In the South, Democrat means black and those voters have every right to ask hard questions and make clear demands.Going along gave us nothing but NAFTA, the loss of the right to public assistance, bank bailouts, a right wing health care scheme and finally a Republican in the White House who embodied all of our worst fears.

Our plight will worsen if the people who failed so miserably are given undeserved trust yet again. The moment is ripe to oppose them, to assert our own political will, and to speak for true self-determination. That effort may lead to a split in the Democratic Party but that outcome should not be feared either. Up until now our political power has been wasted on fear, fear of the Republicans who have ended up in office anyway.

On election night in 2016 this columnist wrote, ”The destruction of the Democratic Party and creation of a truly progressive political movement is the only hope for black America.”That movement is stymied whenever a particular Democrat is examined for his or her worthiness. By now we know that is a loser’s game. The 2016 campaign must be the last one in which black voters played the role of loyal chumps.

——————————–

Two parties destroying America

Editor’s afterword

Today we choose a political party like cattle at the Chicago stockyards get to choose a chute. The cattle (being smarter than us) don’t bother with party identification. They don’t cheer the left pen, or admire the virtue of its prisoners, the beauty of the fence, the free food. Those in right pen don’t wear logos or bumper-stickers, or trumpet their superior intelligence over those in the other pen.

The system is stable so long as each tribe remains in its assigned place. Hating its assigned enemies, oblivious to the small rewards for their loyal service. But there are signs that these coalitions are changing. This is the true “awakening.” Articles like this foreshadow the future.

We can only guess at what comes next. All we know is that the first signs of change are always ignored (you won’t see it in the NY Times). It’s arrival will surprise our leaders and the media’s political experts. See more indications, straws in the wind …

Margaret Kimberley

About Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley lives in New York City. She is an editor at the Black Agenda Report and writes their weekly Freedom Rider column. See her articles at Common Dreams, her website, and her Twitter feed. Her articles are reposted widely.

Especially see these recent articles by her at the BAR …

Black Agenda Report

About the Black Agenda Report

Founded in 2006, Black Agenda Report is your source for news, commentary and analysis from the black left since 2006. Find their weekly Black Agenda Radio program on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Stitcher.

Their “About” page gives (impressive) bios of their key staff. Also see their Twitter feed. Google suppresses Black Agenda Report in search results. Subscribing to their email updates is the only guaranteed way to see them.

Click here to donate and support their work!

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about politics in America, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these…

  1. Polarization and hot rhetoric conceal two similar political parties. Will we ever notice?
  2. Our fears are unwarranted. America is in fact well-governed,
  3. The good news: America’s politics are neither polarized nor dysfunctional. That’s also the bad news.
  4. The secret reason for America’s white-hot political rhetoric.

Useful books explaining our America

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank.

The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted is Mike Lofgren.

"Listen, Liberal" by Thomas Frank
Available at Amazon.
"The Party is Over" by Mike Lofgren
Available at Amazon..

15 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren and the Trap for Black Voters

  1. It’s gonna be pretty hilarious to watch this blog pivot to deficit hawk nonsense if Bernie wins the 2020 Dem primary.

    1. Gaboo,

      It’s already pretty hilarious to see ignorant comments like yours. I’ve written about fiscal policy since 2007 (during 3 presidents), from a standard Keynesian perspective. Deficits are a powerful countercyclical tool. Run deficits as large as necessary during downturns (or during national emergencies), pay them down during expansions.

      Our biggest fiscal problem has been the GOP’s irresponsible tactical use of deficits: Reagan, Bush Jr., Trump. Tax cuts for the rich (and corps) financed by debt, continued during expansions – with the resulting debt given as a reason to cut social spending (the “starve the beast” strategy).

    1. Sven,

      Amen! The sad part is indeed: Whoever votes for whomever makes no bloody difference.

      Reasons? Likely many; here I present two, rarely mentioned:

      (1) Competition.
      The West Economic System (i.e. capitalism) has no attractive competition since the 1990’s and, therefore, no need to keep its proles happy.
      (As said: “Without competition, we would still run 100m dash just under a minute!”)

      (2) Optimization.
      It may have started with the can for Campbell soup (basically, the least material for the highest contents), it then made major advances during the Space Race and, with the advent of decent computers and software ending up in the operations/economics departments of corporations, investment banks etc., it profoundly affected the inner workings of the whole society. What we’ll see soon will be the ultimate result of a system tweaked up to its maximum efficiency: The 99% would work for food and shelter and the 1% would reap all the surplus.

      Not quite the “Brave New World” nor “1984,” but close enough.

      The problems with this combination will likely reflect in total decay of the 1% (as opposed to the BNW) and they will drag us all into an abyss, as the impoverished plebs will simply not have the ability to effectively revolt then. And then, we may just wake up in the “Han Century…”

      FM often said: the time for change is now! But how to go about it, in December of 1983?

      1. Jako,

        “Whoever votes for whomever makes no bloody difference.”

        That is not correct. Today we see ourselves as guests on a cruise ship, whining about the food and accommodations. The ship’s owners and officers see us as loud cargo. The Founders envisioned us as the crew. If we choose not to run the ship, we should stop whining about the conditions.

        When we get involved in politics, beyond voting on those on the menu, we’ll find that America has a more than adequate supply of good leaders.

      2. Larry,

        I’m sure you’re right in both premises! BUT, the former would be impossible — the guests don’t hate only the conditions, they hate each other! And the latter — to get these people into the Congress, not even mentioning WH, is very much an uphill battle. We’d need to change the “Legal Corruption aka Funding System”. That’s the first hurdle and then to keep the newly elected politicians accountable to the people is the next. Third, as many could guess, is to keep the new “good” president and the key Congressmen alive and well, so they can finally break apart the MISIC (Mil.Ind.Sec.Info.Cabal [me-sick] into, perhaps less than a thousand, pieces) and revert so many bad decisions of the last four decades…
        (BTW, I like the cruise ship parable.)

      3. Jako,

        “the guests don’t hate only the conditions, they hate each other!”

        Absurd. You need to get out more.

        “to get these people into the Congress, not even mentioning WH, is very much an uphill battle.”

        So we need to risk “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”? No, I don’t think so.

        “That’s the first hurdle and then to keep the newly elected politicians accountable to the people is the next.”

        Good news! Elections are held regularly.

      4. Larry, isn’t Jako’s statement “We’d need to change the “Legal Corruption aka Funding System”. ” incorrect?

        The nature of corporate or rich, whatever your bogeyman” cannot run the ship if we insist on being the actual crew. Money makes a difference, but my reading of history and economics is that if the mass uses their money, have sustainable goals, and good leaders they can overcome the money gap. It has been the need for coherent resolve, and good leadership more than money. This is my opinion from history of successful movements. The money will come if it comes by pennies.

      5. John,

        I agree. Jako gives the usual excuses. There is little evidence that money is decisive when opposed by an engaged citizenry.

        Nor does the best funded candidate always win. John Connolly (former gov of Texas) was best funded candidate in the 1980 GOP presidential primary race. He spent $11 million and got one delegate. In the 2016 race, Hillary outsent Trump almost 2 to 1 ($768 million to $398 million), with the Democratic National Committee and left-leaning outside groups also outspending their Republican counterparts by a big margin (see the WaPo). Bernie gave Hillary a scare while spending dimes, despite the DNC’s covert aid to HRC.

      6. Larry,

        “…they hate each other!” => “Absurd. You need to get out more.”

        When in parable mode, let’s stick to that — what could be meant: Identity politics…

      7. Jako,

        “they hate each other!”

        That looks like a factual statement, not a parable. The major groups in America do not “hate each other.” Despite the strong efforts by many American leaders to make it so.

        Diverse societies tend to have high levels of social tension. Different religions, races, ethnicities – all have been in conflict before and will again. But I’ve extensively traveled across America, rural and urban, for 40+ years. The degree of fellow-feeling is quire remarkable.

      8. Larry,

        “Nothing beats the fellow feeling!”
        First Point:
        I’ve been to South Africa and I must tell you, nowhere on this Earth I felt better at home than in Wilderness, West Cape, RSA. This may not be truth any longer, as I’d rather never venture to this country again.
        Second point:
        I suggest a reading: “Postcards from the End of America” by Linh Dinh.

      9. Jako,

        (1) South Africa is not America.

        (2) I speak from 40 years of traveling across America. I’ve talked at length with poor people in Appalachia, with inner city kids in California, with rural families in the West, and with many other kinds of Americas. I don’t need to read that book to know that Americans don’t hate each other.

  2. “Democrats have doubled down on all of their strategies which led to a Trump administration.”

    These words should be carved with holy fire into stone tablets and brought down from the mountaintop to instruct the unrighteous. The last time anyone did something like that, the unrighteous were not, at first, inclined to pay attention. (But the message eventually did them a world of good)

    It will come down to whether or not the Democrats talk about things that people in the real world care about. If they talk about health care, trade jobs, peace, and (Here it comes…) immigration, they’ll go through the GOP the way Sherman went through Georgia leaving nothing but howling and desolation behind.

    If they come selling identity politics, promising to invade the Middle East while America is invaded from the South. if they come promising to punish Putin and the white working class for denying Her Imperial Majesty the Crown, it won’t really matter who the GOP nominates. Trump, Pence, Haley, or whoever. (It won’t be Romney though.)

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