Debbie Hall

The Democrats are failing America

Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.  Barely.  The panel of Democratic candidates was unfortunate.  No one stood out as a superstar and many were seen as too far left.  Out of the slate of candidates, Joe Biden was really the only candidate who had the ability to beat Trump.  Jim Clyburn rallied the Black voters of South Carolina, giving Biden his first big win and the desperately needed launching pad to clinch the nomination.  Clyburn wisely recognized that America already knew Biden, knew him to govern from the center left, and therefore, could beat Trump.  In Clyburn’s wisdom, he likely knew that disaffected Republicans would also be comfortable voting for a Democrat they felt would lead as a moderate.  Even if Republicans didn’t agree with Biden from a policy perspective, most knew Biden to be an honorable man with integrity and class.  Biden is the anti-Trump.

Despite the attempted coup on January 6, Biden’s inauguration brought us all hope.  The Democrats, to our delight, also had the majority in both Congressional houses.  Our shared anxiety diminished and we weren’t glued to social media waiting for the next Trump manufactured crisis.  We were tired of extremism and chaos, and ready for a leader who was a functional adult that could move the country out of the unmitigated mess that Trump made, with a like-minded Congressional majority paving the way.

That hope was short-lived.  In the wake of the attempted coup on January 6, we saw the Trump Republican extremists weren’t done.  Trump continued to promote the big lie and Trump-loyal state legislatures began passing terrifying laws giving the legislatures themselves the power to overrule local election results for any reason at all.  And under our current federal laws, they could get away with it.  Most of us realized that 2022 would be “won” by the Republicans under these circumstances, effectively castrating the Biden presidency, and putting an end to our democracy.

One would think that in light of this, the biggest priority for Congress and the Biden administration would be to combat this obvious continued coup attempt and pass legislation that would ensure our federal elections remained fair and accessible.  That would be a reasonable priority, right?

But that’s not what’s happening.  Do we need an infrastructure reboot to bring our roads, dams, and electrical grids into the 21st century to protect human life?  Of course.  Do most of us want to see initiatives that would improve the health and economic standing of the American people?  Of course.  And those things can and should be addressed in time.

A cross-section of the American people comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents voted for Joe Biden. Joe Biden promised the American public many things, but the theme of his campaign was unifying the country, a seemingly impossible task when faced with so much polarization. The unification of America actually began when Joe Biden brought people of all political persuasions together, convincing us to vote for a moderate, center-left politician that didn’t want to defund the police, didn’t want open borders, respected the military, stood against racism, stood against sexism and homophobia, championed the poor, and stood for America and Americans.  Biden was palatable to a majority of Democrats, and a majority of Americans, most of whom dwell near the center realm of the political spectrum.  Biden won the Democratic nomination, not Bernie Sanders.  And that’s why Democrats were able to win the White House and defeat Trump.

Biden was able to provide relief for weary Americans via the American Rescue Plan very quickly into his presidency.  It was passed by Congress less than two months after Biden’s inauguration, which was a huge win for Biden and the Democrats.  It put protections in place and money in the pockets of Americans suffering from the economic fall-out from the pandemic.  It was touted as the greatest relief bill ever passed for the American people providing social and economic relief in numerous ways.

As Congress was working to pass the American Rescue Plan, Trump and his loyalists continued their coup attempt and, as mentioned before, state after state passed bills that changed their election laws, primarily targeting communities of color, the very people who can be credited with giving Biden the nomination.  While economic protection from the devastation caused by Covid was the first priority, Biden and Congress had to address voting rights next.  Biden obviously came into his presidency with an agenda, and infrastructure is certainly important to tackle, but Trump’s actions required a detour from that agenda.  The Voting Rights Act was drawn up, but Biden was still hyperfocused on infrastructure.  He believed he could get bipartisan support for the infrastructure bill, and he succeeded in that, but the progressive wing of the Democratic Party decided to derail Biden’s momentum by holding the infrastructure bill hostage and petulantly demanding yet another giant social relief bill be passed first, and only then would they pass Biden’s infrastructure bill.  They even had the nerve to call their social relief bill the “Build Back Better” Act, taking Biden’s name for his agenda, injecting it with steroids, and making it theirs.  Their short-term strategy has been successful in getting Biden on board through coercion.  How could Biden work against a bill named after his own agenda?

But their shortsightedness in implementing this strategy has delayed the necessary focus on voting rights.  The far left wing of the Democratic Party is attempting a hostile takeover simply because they can, despite the fact that the mandate from the American public was for moderate leadership.  They wrongly believe that once they implement these changes, the American public will be so thrilled with the results, they’ll fall in line and embrace their philosophy.  They believe that the public will be so enamored with their policies that they’ll easily win in 2022.  What they fail to understand is that their push for quick and radical change will be matched by rightwing extremism, and because of the calculated movements on the far right, the far right will take Congress in 2022.  And the first thing a Republican-majority Congress will do is dismantle every single thing the progressives implement.

As Hilary Clinton once wisely stated, change has to be incremental to be lasting.  Obamacare hasn’t been repealed because it was an incremental change.  If Obama had gone all the way with Universal Healthcare, Trump likely would’ve been able to successfully repeal it.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is being fueled by well-funded and well-organized movements such as Justice Democrats, Momentum, and others who are training activists in how to take over political parties, as highlighted in this interview of Daniel Schlozman by Mark and Paul Engler. Paul Engler is one of the founders of Momentum, the Sunrise Movement, The Memory Fund, IfNotNow, and other groups that came out of the Anyi Institute, a community-organizing incubator he founded in 2012. Interestingly, each of these named organizations has been accused of fomenting antisemitism. Ironically, The Memory Fund exists to support indigenous communities. Meanwhile, the parent organization denies Jewish indigeneity to the Levant.

Paul’s older brother, Mark Engler, is a 1998 Harvard graduate with a degree in ethics with a focus on Liberation Theology and Human Rights theory (more on the antisemitism of Liberation Theology to come soon).  Mark Engler works as an analyst at Foreign Policy in Focus, writes for Jacobin, Huff Post, and other left-wing outlets, serves on the editorial boards of Dissent and Yes! Magazine, and has written a book titled, How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy.  Together the two brothers wrote, This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century.  Their other brother, Francis, lives in Los Angeles and works as a labor organizer.  Francis also ran for a delegate position with the Democratic Party in California Assembly District 51.  The three brothers grew up in a Catholic household in Des Moines, Iowa where their dad, Cyril, worked as a prison chaplain, and their mother, Joan, worked to house refugees.

The Englers have a massive amount of political clout in progressive circles, as do the founding members of Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress.  These progressive groups are all intertwined and obtain enormous funding from many of the same sources such as Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, who ironically achieved their wealth via the oil industry.

Another thing these movements share is a foundation in actual Marxist ideology, not a right-wing imagined Marxism, and they’re just as radical and disruptive as their far right counterparts.  Here is another article by the Engler brothers that lays out their objectives in “realigning” the Democratic Party.  The reason I’m diving into the machinations of these movements is to demonstrate the level of organization going on behind the scenes.  Both the far right Trumpers and the far left Justice Democrats are practitioners of populism and as Professor of History Federico Finchelstein has demonstrated in his writings, populism has historically led to authoritarianism.   Both left and right-wing populism thrive on chaos and both seek the dismantling of whatever current government they’re under.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is just as toxic as the Trump-wing of the Republican Party.  You can see this in progressives cum far rightists such as Naomi Wolf, Glenn Greenwald, and Rose McGowan, who gleefully campaigned for Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Larry Elder.  Both extremes are fatuous in their demands and unwavering in their positions.  Beyond their differences in policy, what distinguishes the two is that the Trump-wing are more strategic and better understand the psychology of the American voting public.  The progressives have the youth, but the Trumpers have the baby boomers, who were kids hiding under their desks during the “red scare” and who vote in much larger numbers than the youth.  And the youth eventually grow up, face reality and almost always move toward the political right as they age.  Elections are about math, not about policy, and the progressives in their ideological arrogance, consistently forget this point.  It’s why Bernie has never received a national nomination and never will.   It’s why Eric Adams won the Democratic nomination for the New York City mayoral race.  It’s why “defund the police” was so deeply rejected by most Americans.  It’s why sanctuary cities are not a popular platform among the nation’s poorest communities.   Progressives can’t reach the collective American soul because most Americans are not into revolution.  Americans want a safe, functional, and stable society where they can work hard, feed their families, buy a house, create generational wealth for their kids, and live happily ever after, and this is despite their nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or race.  It’s that simple.

In addition to the Voting Rights Act, Biden MUST speak to Merrick Garland and convince him to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate what the House Committee on January 6 is investigating.  As we’ve seen from the Trump allies’ responses to the Committee’s subpoenas, Congressional subpoenas have no teeth and it’s simply an exercise in political theater.  Trump’s civil complaints filed in an attempt to stop the process of the Committee’s investigation will successfully delay the outcome for months if not years.  This needs to be a criminal investigation that has teeth, not a civil/Congressional process.  January 6 was an attempted coup and all evidence points to the fact that Donald Trump, along with Steve Bannon, Ali Alexander, Roger Stone, Mike Flynn, Mike Lindell, Alex Jones, Enrique Tarrio, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Mark Meadows, and others, were all involved in plotting and planning what we saw occur on January 6th.

This has now been substantiated by at least two of the people involved in planning the event at The Ellipse, according to Rolling Stone’s, Hunter Walker.  Gallows don’t just spontaneously pop up at passion-ignited protests.  Chanting, “hang Mike Pence” isn’t something protesters came up with on their own.  I’m convinced that Trump’s goal was to have Pence and members of Congress murdered so he could impose the Insurrection Act, suspend Congress before the votes were certified (thus the delays via objections), and stay in power.  That was the goal of January 6.  He tried every other way to stay in power and this was his last resort.  If Trump is not held criminally liable for the crime of sedition, which is what I believe he committed, they will not fail in their next attempt.  Despite the Congressional testimony of anyone involved in the crimes that occurred on January 6, Congress has absolutely no power to prosecute them.  This is why a Special Prosecutor has to be appointed.

The only way Trump will run for President in 2024 is if he’s not prosecuted, and if the Republicans take Congress in 2022 and can control the outcome of the 2024 election via state legislatures.  Without Trump’s ability to use the state legislatures to his advantage, he would never run for office again.  The only way to prevent this scenario regarding Trump or any future Trump is for Congress, with its Democratic majority, to use its leverage to pass the Voting Rights Act.

The Biden administration received a mandate from the American public to govern from the center left.  While most Democrats actually support the items listed in the progressives’ social relief bill, we also understand that we have bigger priorities and that lasting, substantive change happens incrementally.  Strategic mistakes by leaders we’ve viewed as moderate Democrats in the past, such as Nancy Pelosi not removing Ilhan Omar from her committees for her antisemitism, and Chuck Schumer’s endorsement of Buffalo’s socialist mayoral candidate, India Walton, have given the Trump camp valuable ammunition to classify Democrats as socialists.  Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer MUST start leading the Party away from the progressives and bring the Democratic Party back toward the center.  2022 is only two months away.  These campaigns are already underway.  By giving so much credence and power to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the Biden administration, along with Pelosi and Schumer, are handing Congress to the Republicans in 2022, and by proxy, the White House back to Trump in 2024.  Right now is our only chance to protect our democracy.

About the Author
Debbie Hall is a writer and activist living in the diaspora.
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