fresh voices from the front lines of change







I just received an email from Joe Biden’s SuperPac urging me to resist the disastrous Republican tax bill by donating to Biden to help defeat the Republicans in 2020.

It’s one of several solicitations I’ve received from Democratic candidates and Party-affiliated organizations asking for money to fight the tax bill after it already passed the House and Senate, and seems well on the way to final passage. I hope there’s an outside chance that changes in the Conference Committee can persuade two Republican Senators to ultimately vote it down.

And yet resistance to the tax bill by Congressional Democrats has seemed timid and tepid, when compared their full-court press against repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Chris Mathews, one of the more centrist and moderate MSNBC hosts, has suggested that the Democratic Congressional leadership may not be that upset if the Republican tax scam passes and becomes law. It will give them a big issue to run on against the Republicans in 2018 and 2020: That the Republican tax plan takes money from the middle class and the poor and hands it over to corporations, billionaires and millionaires.

Mathews may be right, but I would add that the Democratic Congressional leadership is indebted to much of the same donor class that supports the Republicans and their corporate tax cuts. So making noise to its voters about the horribleness of the Republican tax bill, while not giving their all to stop it, may be a wink and nod to the bipartisan donor class by the Democratic leadership.

Goldman's Way

Gary Cohn, the current head of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors, has a net worth close to $600 million. He's also the former President and CEO of Goldman Sachs, and was one of the main designers of the regressive Republican tax plan that will do much for his own wealth and Goldman's, while screwing the little guy.

Goldman has donated relatively equally to Democrats and Republicans.  So is it too far of a stretch to think Democratic Congressional leadership may be sending the donor class smoke signals that they didn’t make too big of an effort to stop massive tax breaks for corporations and the rich?

Compare Congressional Democrats' efforts to stop the Republican tax bill to their efforts to stop repeal of the ACA. In the fight to save the ACA, Democrats seemed everywhere, joining with Indivisible and other Resistance groups in an ultimately successful full-court press.

Sure, they’ve given speeches and press conferences opposing the tax bill, there's not a lot of heroism. And all that work to save the ACA will be undercut by the tax bill if it passes.

And last spring, Congressional Democrats staged an all-night illegal sit-in on the House floor to call for modest gun control legislation.  Why didn’t Congressional Democrats stage a sit-in and other demonstrations to protest this massive giveaway to the  rich?

Why haven't they used every available parliamentary trick to slow the process so the resistance could build?

Why didn't large numbers of Democratic  Senators and Representatives show up at protests organized by Indivisible and other parts of the resistance?

Why didn’t they target ads and demonstrations at wavering Republicans like Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Dean Heller to flip two more votes which could defeat the bill?

It’s hard not to conclude that Congressional Democrats haven't been as determined to see the Republican tax bill go down like the ACA repeal did.

There's Still Time

There’s still a little bit of time for the Resistance to focus pressure on Republican Senators to vote against the final bill that comes out of Conference, which is likely to be even more regressive than the initial House and Senate bills. And there’s still time for Congressional Democrats to join them in a massive show of resistance.

But the takeaway is that that it's not enough just to elect the same old Democrats in 2018 and 2020. By then, the corporate tax cuts will be baked into the cake, and will be very difficult to overturn, even if Democrats do manage -despite voter suppression, gerrymandering, and big money - to take the Presidency and majorities in the House and Senate.

The Democratic party needs  to be reshaped.  The tired, old Schumer-Pelosi-Clinton leadership needs to be replaced.  Party organizations like the DNC needs to be revamped by a younger, more progressive generation.  Progressive candidates who will fight the oligarchy need to replace the same old corporate Democrats, by primary challenges, if necessary.

Yes, little could be worse for the country than the current trifecta of a President Trump and Republican Congressional majorities. But replacing them with the same old corporate Democrats is insufficient to bring the type of change that the country needs so badly.

A good place to start would be a massive campaign to pressure Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to appoint Keith Ellison as Al Franken's replacement in the U.S. Senate, making Ellison only the 11th African American and the first Muslim Senator in history.

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