As I watch the new Senate and House of Representative begin a new session, I can’t help noting the fact that America was never a democracy at its founding and is not a democracy now.
I am listening to Paul Ryan talking about a peaceful transfer of power. The problem is that while the transfer has been peaceful, how we got here has nothing to do with peace and democracy. What we have is a Republican Party that worked very hard to win and a weak Democratic Party whose leadership betrayed many of their constituents with their silence and inaction.
Republicans used the court system to aid voter suppression and deny Americans health care coverage through the Medicaid Expansion to Obamacare. They used economic angst to promote racial, xenophobic, ethnic, and gender polarization to divide and conquer. They effectively stole a Supreme Court justice.
Democrats saved the economy and provided healthcare and many other good programs. However, they did so timidly. They refused to, and continue to refuse to play hardball. Why didn’t Obama recess appoint a Supreme Court Justice when he could? It was his appointment to give.
When Democrats had the opportunity to show what full progressivism could deliver, they punted. The titans of finance threw the country into a financial crisis. The country was ready for bold action. But Democrats, specifically Blue Dog Democrats half-stepped. They did not deliver enough change to cauterize the change in the psyche of a more sizable portion of the population.
Americans needed a single-payer health care system or at minimum a public option to Obamacare. Americans needed a much bigger stimulus that reached all corners of the country. And yes we could have afforded it just like we paid for wars and bailouts for the military industrial complex and the titans of finance respectively. But somehow we can always find the money to help the plutocracy but not the poor and the middle-class.
Hillary Clinton vowed to provide many of the programs to aid the poor and the middle-class. But many did not believe she meant it, most did, but many behind the Blue Wall didn’t. Forget about the racist and xenophobic component. This race should not have been close enough for that to play the effect that it likely did. Establishment Democrats are viewed as weak, not willing to fight, and too darn close to the plutocracy as well.
Bottom line, even as Democrats could have done more, they did enough to win the presidency and the Senate in the popular vote. They lost the house in the popular vote by less than 1.4 million votes.
Paul Ryan just claimed that Americans gave Republicans a unified government, an all-Republican government. Technically speaking, they did not. More people voted for the progressive ideology than the conservative ideology. Here are the numbers.
Democrats won the popular vote for the presidency. Hillary Clinton received 2,865,075 more votes than Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the popular vote 48% to 46%.
The popular vote in the Senate is even more lopsided. Some will say that the map favored Democrats. That is immaterial given this spread. Democrats won the popular vote in the Senate by over 11,093,892.
Republicans barely won the House of Representatives popular vote. They won by just 1,377,169 votes. That is a 1% difference. And yet they hold a 10% advantage in the House.
There is now a unified government in the United States of America. America did not vote for it. Republicans orchestrated it using a defective constitution where real democracy was never its principal tenet. Given the indoctrination by enough Americans of our forefather’s virtual infallibility, it is unlikely any amendment to mitigate this failure would be forthcoming in the near term.
In the short term, we must work like hell to convince those whose condition predisposes them to fall for the fallacies of the Right. We should all support the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact by convincing our state legislatures to pass it into law. We can reclaim our democracy in spite of our constitution’s roadblocks.