Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Robert Reich on a new Democratic party

Reich explains Why We Need a New Democratic Party. He says we need:

  • We need a New Democratic Party capable of organizing and mobilizing Americans in opposition to Donald Trump’s Republican party, which is about to take over all three branches of the U.S. government.

  • A New Democratic Party that will turn millions of people into an activist army to peacefully resist what is about to happen – providing them with daily explanations of what is occurring in Trump’s administration, along with tasks that individuals and groups can do to stop or mitigate their harmful effects.

  • A party that will protect vulnerable populations from harassment and exclusion – including undocumented young people, recent immigrants, people of color, and women.

  • A party that will recruit a new generation of progressive candidates to run at the local, state, and national levels in 2018 and beyond, including a leader to take on Trump in 2020.

  • A party that will do everything possible to advance the progressive agenda at state and local levels – getting big money out of politics, reversing widening inequality, expanding health care, reversing climate change, ending the militarization of our police and the mass incarceration of our people, and stopping interminable and open-ended warfare.

Here is why.

What happened in America on Election Day should not be seen as a victory for hatefulness over decency. It is more accurately understood as a repudiation of the American power structure, including the old Democratic Party.

Median family income is lower now than it was 16 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Workers without college degrees – the old working class – have fallen furthest.

Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top. These gains have translated into political power to elicit bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, favorable trade deals and increasing market power without interference by anti-monopoly enforcement – all of which have further reduced wages and pulled up profits.

The Democratic Party once represented the working class. But over the last three decades the party stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class – failing to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violate them, or help workers form unions with simple up-or-down votes.

Partly as a result, union membership sank from 22% of all workers when Bill Clinton was elected president to less than 12% today, and the working class lost bargaining leverage to get a share of the economy’s gains.

Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements without providing millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.

Democrats also allowed antitrust enforcement to ossify – with the result that large corporations have grown far larger, and major industries more concentrated.

We need a New Democratic Party that will help Americans resist what is about to occur, and rebuild our future.

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