THE NEWSLETTER FROM THE NATION dated November 5, 2015, had an article titled, “Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism.” This was a good teaser for me, as I am too far gone to the left to consider myself aligned with much of the so-called mainstream Democratic Party except perhaps through default.
I have no problem with being labeled a bleeding-heart-liberal-commie-pinko-fag. Hell’s Belles, I’ve even endured being called a bloody progressive! But this article offered me an alternative! Now of course I favor Bernie Sanders, but it seems rather obvious that Clinton is going to be the 44th person sworn into the highest office in the land in 2017. 1
But that wasn’t what got me from there to here. No more than it was the black & white photo that headed the article (below).
Nor was it the eye-catching sub-title: “They know that Bernie Sanders is advocating an old American tradition—in fact, Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism by 12 percentage points.”
I wasn’t aware of that particular fact, although I have been aware of polls taken over the years that show that more than 70% of Americans consistently ‘vote’ democratic when given options in the polling questions that are devoid of the usual partisan coloring that makes them not slanted in either party’s direction. 2
But that wasn’t what got me from there to here.
It wasn’t the black and white photo of FDR’s good friend and Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas in Milwaukee during a campaign appearance in September 1932. While I am a sucker for a good black & white image, that wasn’t what got me from there to here either.
The question is about electability
I started reading the article is by John Nichols and got as far as the following paragraph, which I copied and transferred to my Facebook page with a link to this article. It was while editing the content for Facebook that I caught myself thinking about a term in the paragraph:
“As CNN’s Anderson Cooper noted in this year’s first Democratic debate, a small Northern European country might not be the best metaphor for America. Cooper, though he may not have known it, was engaging in the latest political craze: explaining to Bernie Sanders the best way to promote democratic socialism to American voters.
After so many years of neglect and misstatement, there’s a lot of pent-up energy among democratic socialists as well as small-‘d’ democrats who want to open up the political discourse to include serious alternatives to the crony-capitalist status quo.
Sanders himself fits into both camps—and he is smart enough to recognize that if his presidential candidacy doesn’t frame that debate, the debate will frame his candidacy, probably to his detriment. Indeed, as Cooper argued during the debate when democratic socialism is the topic, ‘the question is really about electability.’ ” 3
I love it! As stated, I am too far gone west (politically left when looking at most geographic maps) to be a large-D Democrat, but acknowledging myself as a small-‘d’ democrat sounds so . . . democratic! Anyway, a little bit of research via Google led to “I’m a proud and unapologetic (small d) democrat” by homing on the DailyKos website. This piece opens with a broadside:
“I believe in ‘we, the people.’ I believe in ‘from many, one.’ I believe in ‘a more perfect union.’ I believe in the wisdom of crowds. I believe in the suffragettes. I believe in the progressive era. I believe in the freedom riders. I believe that if you’re old enough to die for your country, you’re old enough to vote.
I believe that corporations are not people. I believe that money is not speech. I believe that there are forces that want to subvert democracy, and those forces must be fought, with the strength of unity, and the power of the people’s voice.”
The thing about the crowds I have problems with, but what the hey!—the rest sounds just like me. (And, coincidentally, I am writing another piece concurrently with this one that I based partially on The Argumentative Theory and how we humans may need each other to make sense of ourselves as reasoning creatures.) And I now quote more Humong:
“It’s probably easy for you to agree with all of the above. But there’s one more thing I believe about democracy, that you weren’t taught in elementary school, that hasn’t been wrapped in stirring phrases for hundreds of years.
I believe that every vote counts. That may sound just as commonplace as the other statements above, but that is one promise our country is failing, badly, and it’s part of why we’re fighting here.
If every vote really counted, the ‘proud idealists’ and the ‘proud Democrats’ here could see each other as allies more, and as enemies less. But in an important sense, our current voting system is built on the threat of throwing away your vote, and that is part of what is dividing this site.”
And Humong then explains his statement, and he makes it easy by providing a link to a cute easily digested video called “What Is Approval Voting?” I recommend that you take 2:28 out of your day and watch it now.
You may just find it very common-sensical and attractive in a rather small-‘d’ democrat way. And yes, the 965 words preceding this paragraph were written to entice you to see the video . . .
HEADER IMAGE: The caricature of Bernie Sanders as President of the United States of America is by an artist who signs his work DonkeyHotey. I found it at the jobsanger website, which brags that it is “a progressive voice from the Llano Estacado.”
1 When speaking, the epithet “bleeding-heart, liberal, commie, pinko fag” is said as one word: bleedingheartlibrullcommiepinkofag. Just thought you might want to get that one correct the net time you use it for yourself or another.
2 The last poll that I saw was 72%, but I am not going to search for it on the Internet at this time. On the other hand, several surveys and investigations by various individuals and organizations (John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience from 2006 is an example) have found that 20-25% of Americans are so rightwingnut that they would vote for Hitler if there was a way to resurrect him.
3 The three indented paragraphs were copied and pasted from the source, where they stand as one paragraph in the article—long, ungainly paragraphs apparently in with contemporary non-fiction websites—and I couldn’t help but chuckle that the writer or the typesetter (is there such a thing on the ‘Net?) wrote “small-‘d’ democrats” instead of small-d democrats.