The Fight Over the TPP Has Created a Dilemma For Democrats

When grassroots activists and union leaders threatened to withhold campaign donations from Democratic Congressmen who voted for Fast Track, it should have been a wake up call for all Democrats. If party members have been reduced to threatening representatives just to ensure voter interests are protected, then you know the party has lost its way. In essence, our leaders have become nothing more than leeches feeding off the public trough, and instead of representing our interests; they have gorged themselves on lobbyist bribes and campaign contributions, while leaving us to fend for ourselves -- without adequate representation in D.C.

And for many Democrats that presents a dilemma that can have only two solutions: Either we form a new political party, or we clean house and elect people who will be responsive to our needs.

Robert Kuttner:

It's about time that the Democratic rank and file rebelled against the corporate domination of the Democratic presidential party. Last week's events should ring down the curtain on the era of "trade" deals like NAFTA and TPP.

It's fine for Republicans and their corporate allies to promote this stuff. We expect it of them. But the 99 percent deserve a party of our own. If a Democratic White House doesn't get that, this steamrolling is well-deserved.

The problem is the White House gets it – and they know exactly whom they are isolating: but the president doesn’t care. He has consistently proved his disinterest in constituents from day one of his presidency, opting instead to cater to the needs of his campaign donors. For six years, voters at the bottom end of the political spectrum have been forced to watch Obama protect and reward the criminals who caused the 2007 global financial collapse. At the same time, millions of innocent Americans were victimized by the corruption that grew out of the resurrection of Wall Street. Even worse, the party that normally represented their financial interests turned its back on them, opting instead to choose personality over policy, and even going so far as to launch full-scale attacks against members of the base who had the temerity to protest.

Who could have imagined in 2008, when we pulled the lever for Obama, that six years later we would be watching him standing arm-in-arm with Paul Ryan, one of the most despicable, soulless members of the Republican Party, waging war against Democrats?

Bill Moyers and Bernard Weisberger described the Frankenstein relationship between Obama and the Republicans this way:

The unholy trio of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (who has vowed to keep any of Obama's nominees from being confirmed), Speaker of the House John Boehner (who has thwarted just about every Democratic legislative proposal of the past several years), and President Obama (a Democrat, in case you are having trouble remembering)…

We remember. In fact, we’ll never forget.

And the duplicity has made us so angry; we’re organizing, and we’re beginning to fight back.

But how did we lose our way? We had so much hope invested in Obama’s presidency; we believed it would usher in a new era of justice and prosperity; and yet, here we are, almost three years into his second term, mounting major grass roots campaigns to defeat the TPP, the most diabolical corporate funded crusade to turn our democracy into a global satellite in modern times. And the corporate figurehead leading the fight to screw the American people is also the head of the Democratic Party.

We are at a critical junction; if Democratic members do not put an end to Obama’s duplicity, then the growing division between Hillary supporters and Bernie backers will spill over into an open brawl at the 2016 Democratic Convention, and any effort to tamp down our anger through PR designed manipulation gimmicks will only increase its intensity.

For those of us who form the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders wing of the party, Hillary Clinton’s approach to healing the rift has only exacerbated the problem; we just don’t believe her. Most of us are old enough to have followed her career from its inception and we know the true Hillary too well to buy the new FDR/liberal/populist image she is projecting. That is the reason we love Bernie. His appeal is based on his ability to speak from his heart: not from a PR, poll driven script.

So, given the damage the breach in relations could inflict on the Democratic Party’s future, it is clear that either we find a solution to the problem, or we face having to go our separate ways.

And for the party to heal, the primary driver of populist anger needs to be addressed, and that is the use of triangulation to isolate liberals, the faction of the party that is normally responsible enough to keep party leaders in check. And it’s important to note the person who created this divisive tactic was also named Clinton.

Triangulation is the most cynical, cowardly method of getting your way if you are a politician. It is narcissistic in its intent – placing the interests of the politician above the needs of his or her constituents -- and it is incredibly cruel because it plays on the vulnerabilities of targeted demographics to create the division. And Obama has used triangulation masterfully. Shortly after taking office, he blindsided millions of progressives -- the people who had donated critical time and money to see him elected – by shutting them out of the White House. We were vilified, ridiculed, and then ostracized from the inner workings of the party, while Obama cajoled and manipulated four factions of the party to create a counter force to provide cover for implementing his Republican policies. It was a betrayal that shook the party to its core. And six years later, we’re still at each other’s throats. Except now, millions of Democrats, people who once were allies, have no interest in working together. The bullying, the insults, and the attempts at manipulation have exhausted us; in fact, we view the other side to be as much of an enemy as we do the Republicans.

And now, we are left without any consensus for moving forward. The centrist Democrats simply deny there is a problem, and the decision to ram Hillary’s candidacy down our throats without any allowance for discussion was a major mistake; and unfortunately, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Every attempt to promote her faux populist image only makes us more determined to resist her “inevitability.”

And Democrats need to shut down the OFA, or at least curtail its ability to organize and coordinate faux outrage attacks against other Democratic members. Their actions are the antithesis of traditional Democratic values, and their bullying campaigns resemble the tactics Sen. Joe McCarthy employed to silence his critics.

Unfortunately, for Obama and DNC leaders (and Hillary by default), most of the people ostracized were the members most likely to vote.
Consider this statement published by USA Today in 2012:

Senior citizens are much more likely than younger people to show up on election day to cast ballots. Nationwide, 61 percent of people age 65 and older voted in the 2010 election, compared to 46 percent of all citizens

And the huge crowds of older voters attending Bernie’s rallies illustrate how the current rift inside the Democratic Party doesn’t bode well for centrist Democrats and Hillary.

NOTE FOR ALL DEMOCRATIC LEADERS: During the upcoming, relevant elections, the following Democrats will have a huge voter target painted on their backs, and they will be be denied another term in office: Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Chris Coons (Del.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Warner (Va.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.).

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Big Al's picture

as usual. What we need is something that I'm seeing much more frequently in articles, an independent (from the two major
political parties) working class revolutionary movement. Whether that includes a third party or not is debatable but what isn't
debatable to many now is that working within the corrupted political party duopoly is a complete dead end and only perpetuates
the ruling class hold on all of us. Perhaps in the end, the Sanders supporters or the democratic wing of the democratic party as they
like to call themselves, will navigate toward that goal and join the millions of left wing radicals that want system change, not more

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mimi's picture

supports what you are saying. System change away from a two-party system. Of course I have not the specific and correct vocabulary or knowledge to express myself clearer, but it's on the same line of thinking.

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talking is silver, silence is golden

Big Al's picture

What I'm also seeing is most conclude that it needs to be an international workers movement. It's a global game now
and we're all in the same boat, controlled by the very rich, the corporations and the banks.

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Very thoughtful and eloquently stated.

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And I think it would be great if both parties went down in flames.

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Big Al's picture

on what's been going on in Greece with Syriza and in Spain with the Podemos. What starts out sounding good,
singing all the right tunes soon gets coopted and caused to play by ruling class rules. I think the ruling class is even
more entrenched in this country.
It's going to happen, but not before a long, hard struggle. We do however, as I've said before, have an opportunity
here if this election turns out to be a Clinton vs. Bush thing, which in a way I hope it does. The symbolism of that
matchup would be so glaring it could cause some major alternative actions.

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Shahryar's picture

Ok, I've got to stop listening to Thom Hartmann. Why do I ever? Because he's broadcast on a station that plays local music and he happens to be on occasionally when I go to that station. his new thing is that the Prez must be in a bubble where he doesn't have all the facts and is listening to his advisors on this TPP. Wow, Bush dead-ender! I mean, Obama dead-ender!

A woman called and laid it out for him. "You're too soft on him!" This is what Obama is, he likes bankers and corporations.

Hartmann "summarizes" her comments with this question, "So you think Obama is doing this to pay back the people who helped him get elected or to set himself up for a cushy job?"

No!!! Thom, come on! He's doing this because he believes in it! But Hartmann is enough of a 'bot apologist to think that even if Obama is doing something terrible he really doesn't want to.

I don't know how many of us there are but this Bush dead-endism is permanently alienating us.

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snoopydawg's picture

I guess he hasn't heard that Obama has been flying all over the globe for the last 6 years putting this piece of shit agreement together.
Or that 600 lobbyists are helping him write this bill.
The people over at kos that still call him the greatest president ever are so deluded.
I called out bbb on his support of Obama and the dems that are defending this and said that this goes against everything democrats used to stand for. He says that he's a democratic, but real democrats don't believe in shit like this.
Of course he came back and said that he IS a democrat. I let it go. There's no arguing with people who's minds are so closed to reality.
And they are the same people that are defending Hillary statement on the TPP and they laugh at us for rooting for Bernie. They really believe that if Hillary wins the nomination that we will wake up and see the light and vote for her.
I'm not voting for more war, more innocent people being murdered, more countries being invaded so they can install their puppet dictator.
Both she and Obama have done as much damage to Syria and Libya that Bush did to Iraq.
Obama has invaded 7-8 more countries with drones. That's a war crime, yet it seems that people don't care about innocent civilians being blown to bits for no reason I can see.
Obama helped create Isis. He funds and arms them.
He and Hillary over threw Hondorous and Ukraine and backed the neo nazis. Then had the balls to blame it on Putin.
Obama is building another base in Iraq with 1,000 soldiers for a war that everyone says that he end d.
Now he's sending troops into countries that border Russia. For what?
Best president ever my ass.
Worse than Bush, and that's saying something

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I really hadn’t anticipated the Senator from MBNA being this bad. I thought we had dodged the bullet with Hillary.

Voting is thoughts and prayers for liberals

lotlizard's picture

That speaks volumes about U.S. media right there.

(Tom Engelhardt and his colleagues post at the blog TomDispatch.)

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

when he referred to himself as being in the "Radical Middle," and broadcast from Vermont and Oregon.

Once he moved to D.C., he began to employ very partisan rhetoric, mostly excusing the actions of Dem pols as though everything (bad) was beyond their control. IOW, those dastardly Republicans made them do it!

"Every time I lose a dog, he takes a piece of my heart. Every new dog gifts me with a piece of his. Someday, my heart will be total dog, and maybe then I will be just as generous, loving, and forgiving."--Author Unknown
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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

I've gleaned from listening to Mason's daily reporters' roundtable/program, this Presidential election cycle will be like none other--very highly restricted, especially regarding the national debates.

For instance, just heard a couple days ago, Establishment/Iowa Repubs decided that there would be no Ames Iowa straw poll this year. Why? Because the Establishment candidate--Jeb Bush--doesn't stand a chance to even place, if one was held. (Not that they say that.)

Here's the piece, "Iowa GOP officially cancels straw poll."

Come 'hell or highwater,' the PtB intend for this race to between the two family dynasties.

They are busily doing to the Repub Base, what the DLC/corporatist Dems did to their Base decades ago--neutering their activist Base's voices.

Also, both parties are heavily cutting back on the numbers of debates, deliberately diminishing the capacity for there to be any meaningful national policy discussions from those candidates with dissenting opinions or policy prescriptions. The PtB seem to be petrified of a true populist movement (from either Party) catching fire.

I noticed that a couple of folks in your diary thread have expressed hope that Senator Sanders might consider running as an Independent (if FSC takes the nomination).

Well, the PtB seem to have accounted for that possibility, I'd say.

A new movement by the Aspen Institute/No Labels crowd, with former Repub Congressman, and current PR man Vince Webber leading the charge, is attempting to make sure that ONLY ONE "centrally selected" Independent candidate can possibly be allowed to participate in the Presidential Debates.

The bipartisan PtB are leaving nothing to chance. Hope the following comment that I posted a few weeks ago, makes sense without much further comment.

I fluctuate between being terrified that this recommendation will be adopted, to hoping that it is--if for no other reason than I believe that, then, it might become apparent to most folks that we no longer live in a democracy.

Change the Rule Exhibit IV -- The Petition for Rulemaking
filed with the FEC by Level the Playing Field.

. . . Petitioners have devised one such alternative. The new rule would work as follows:

On April 30 of an election year, any candidate, party, or nominating process with ballot access in states that collectively have at least 270 Electoral College votes would notify the CPD of that access. If there is more than one, then whoever has gathered the most signatures as part of the ballot access process will participate in the debates with the Democratic and Republican nominees.

This new rule builds on the existing legitimating function of the ballot access process. Ballot access laws reflect a state’s decision of the demonstrated level of support necessary to warrant the serious step of including a candidate among the choices citizens are given on Election Day.

The minimum number of signature s necessary to achieve ballot access in states comprising 270 electoral votes represents the collective and objective political judgment of who can qualify to run for President. Achieving that number alone is a significant mark of a candidate’s seriousness. . . .

IMO, this would allow the PtB to remove any semblance of 'popular will' (which polling represents) out of the decision as to "which single Independent candidate" would be allowed in Presidential Debates from this time forward.

IOW, which candidate (singular) could be allowed to participate in the national Presidential Debates would be based upon each candidate's ability to finance huge petitions drive.

This "model" is similar to the Americans Elect model of electioneering--which we've seen financed by billionaires over the past few years.

Have to wonder if all that was a 'dry run' before the bipartisan Party Establishment Poobahs decided to petition for this 'rule change.'

Note: "No Labels" has managed to elect scores of neoliberal/corporatist candidates--they came very close to electing two Governors this past cycle--both were former Republicans, converted to Dems, and "No Labelers"--Greg Orman, a financier from Kansas, and former (Republican) Governor Charlies Crist.

"No Labels" has already succeeded in electing former Maine Governor, "Independent" Angus King, who was elected to the US Senate, and immediately chose to caucus with Democrats. King is a member of the "No Labels" Problem Solvers Caucus.

BTW, King openly campaigned with Democrat Erskine Bowles, supporting the Bowles-Simpson austerity measures known as the 'Grand Bargain.' (So much for Maine being a blue state, LOL!)

Bottom line, I hope that the liberal/progressive blogging community will be willing to push back on attempts by this corporatist cabal to further limit our choice of Presidential candidates. As it is, the two legacy parties manipulate which candidates are likely to win the Dem and Repub nominations--we sure don't need this new rule.

"Every time I lose a dog, he takes a piece of my heart. Every new dog gifts me with a piece of his. Someday, my heart will be total dog, and maybe then I will be just as generous, loving, and forgiving."--Author Unknown
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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

joe shikspack's picture

and with $5 billion riding on it, the rich folks want a damned good show. also with all that money floating around, there's probably enough to crowd out any "deviant" messages trying to get through.

one thing that gives me hope, though, is that people's teevees have an off switch. if we wind up with the great dynastic election sham that seems to have been in the works for a couple of years now, people may just get tired of it and tune out, or better yet, search harder for alternatives.

i expect that jill stein, who is a fine candidate, in many ways superior to bernie sanders, will probably run again on the green ticket. the free and equal group that staged a 3rd party debate last cycle is likely to do so again - and if people are as disgusted by the choices on offer as one might suspect, they will probably pay attention. even if it runs on the russia today channel.

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

"Every time I lose a dog, he takes a piece of my heart. Every new dog gifts me with a piece of his. Someday, my heart will be total dog, and maybe then I will be just as generous, loving, and forgiving."--Author Unknown
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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

the one that started in the 1890's, was an anti-corruption movement first and foremost.
Corruption is the one thing that neither party is talking about, yet every voter in America (in both parties) is painfully aware of.

It sounds like an open opportunity.

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