I just received an email from Joe Biden’s SuperPac urging me to resist the disastrous Republican tax bill by donating to Biden to help defeat the Republicans in 2020.
It’s one of several solicitations I’ve received from Democratic candidates and Party-affiliated organizations asking for money to fight the tax bill after it already passed the House and Senate and seems well on the way to final passage. (I hope there’s an outside chance that changes in the Conference Committee could turn 2 Republican Senators to ultimately vote it down.)
All the while, the resistance to the tax bill by Congressional Democrats has been timid and tepid, nothing like the full-court press against repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Chris Mathews, one of the more centrist and moderate MSNBC hosts, has suggested that the Democratic Congressional leadership may not be that upset if the Republican tax scam passes and becomes law. It will give them a big issue to run on against the Republicans in 2018 and 2020: That the Republican tax bill takes money from the middle class and the poor and hands it over to corporations, billionaires and millionaires.
I would add that the Democratic Congressional leadership is indebted to much of the same donor class that supports the Republicans and their corporate tax cuts.
So making noise to its voters about the horribleness of the Republican tax bill, while not giving their all to stop it, may be a wink and nod to the bipartisan donor class by the Democratic leadership.
For example, former Goldman Sachs President and CEO and current head of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors Gary Cohn (net worth close to $600 million) was one of the main designer of the regressive Republican tax plan that will do much for Goldman’s and Cohn’s wealth while screwing the little guy.
Goldman has donated relatively equally to Democrats and Republicans. So Chuck and Nancy and the Democratic Congressional leadership may not be troubled to send them smoke signals that Congressional Democrats didn’t make too big an effort to stop massive tax breaks to Goldman, Cohn, and their ilk.
Compare the meager effort of Congressional Democrats to stop the Republican tax bill to their efforts to stop repeal of the ACA (which will now be undermined by the tax bill) or on gun violence. Sure, they’ve given speeches and press conferences opposing the tax bill.
But last spring Congressional Democrats staged an all-night illegal sit-in on the House floor to call for modest gun control legislation. And in the fight over repeal of the ACA, Democrats seemed everywhere, joining with Indivisible and other resistance groups in an ultimately successful full-court press.
Why didn’t Congressional Democrats stage a sit-in and other demonstrations to protest the massive giveaway to the rich?
Why didn’t they use every available parliamentary trick to slow the process so the resistance could build.
Why weren’t large numbers of Democratic Senators and Representatives showing up at protests organized by Indivisible and other parts of the resistance?
Why didn’t they target ads and demonstrations at wavering Republicans like Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Dean Heller to flip two more votes which could defeat the bill?
It’s hard not to conclude that Congressional Democrats weren’t that determined to see the Republican tax bill go down like the ACA repeal did.
There’s still a little bit of time for the Resistance to focus pressure on on a handful of Republican Senators to vote against the final bill that comes out of Conference, and is likely to be even more regressive than the initial House and Senate bills. And there’s still time for Congressional Democrats to join them in a massive show of resistance.
But the lesson is that it’s not enough just to elect the same old Democrats in 2018 and 2020. By then, the corporate tax cuts will be baked in the cake and will be very difficult to overturn, even if the Democrats are able to take the Presidency and a majority in the House and Senate (despite voter suppression, gerrymandering, and money in politics.)
The Democratic party needs to be reshaped. The tired, old Schumer-Pelosi-Clinton leadership needs to be replaced. The party organizations like the DNC needs to be revamped by a younger, more progressive generation. Progressive candidates who will fight the oligarchy need to replace the same old corporate Democrats, by primary challenges, if necessary.
Yes, little could be worse for the country than a President Trump and Republican Congressional majorities. But replacing them with the same old corporate Democrats is insufficient to bring the type of change that the country needs so badly.
A good place to start would be a massive campaign to pressure Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to appoint Keith Ellison as Al Franken's replacement in the US Senate, making Ellison only the 11th African American and the first Muslim Senator in history.