If Democrats seize the moment, it will be because the determination of a new generation of activists, and the uniqueness of the party’s current makeup, has compelled them to do so. In the 1870s—and up through the 1960s—the American population was close to 90 percent white. Today it is 76 percent white. The growing diversity of the United States—and the Republican Party’s embrace of white identity politics in response—has created a large constituency in the Democratic Party with a direct stake in the achievement of racial equality.
There has never been an anti-racist majority in American history; there may be one today in the racially and socioeconomically diverse coalition of voters radicalized by the abrupt transition from the hope of the Obama era to the cruelty of the Trump age. All political coalitions are eventually torn apart by their contradictions, but America has never seen a coalition quite like this.
History teaches that awakenings such as this one are rare. If a new president, and a new Congress, do not act before the American people’s demand for justice gives way to complacency or is eclipsed by backlash, the next opportunity will be long in coming. But in these moments, great strides toward the unfulfilled promises of the founding are possible. It would be unexpected if a demagogue wielding the power of the presidency in the name of white man’s government inspired Americans to recommit to defending the inalienable rights of their countrymen. But it would not be the first time.
“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” ~~Guy McPherson, May 29, 2009
TWEET OF THE DAY
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—Why the public option matters:
To be clear: I’m not advocating throwing weight around for the sake of throwing weight around. I’m saying that the fight for the public option is about more than just enacting into law a good and a popular idea opposed primarily by conservative ideologues and established corporate interests, it’s also about showing that progressives can hold their ground and are a political force to be reckoned with.
In large part because the public option is such a no-brainer, almost all the arguments raised against it are either circular (Democrats like Kent Conrad saying that they don’t support the public option because Democrats like Kent Conrad don’t support the public option) or based in fantasy (the public option is a government takeover of health care).
Even liberal policy pundits who are willing to abandon the public option (like Ezra Klein or Steven Pearlstein) concede that it is a good idea. It’s true that they aren’t as enthusiastic about it as advocates like Paul Krugman or Robert Reich, but they still think it would be better to have than not.
Where the Kleins and Pearlsteins of the world go wrong is in assuming that it would not be possible to get a public option. Obviously, it will be hard. But nobody has demonstrated that it is impossible. It would be one thing if they were saying that the public option isn’t a good idea, or if it really were a choice between reform without a public option and no reform at all. But that’s not the scenario we face.