The Democratic Way Back

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As a Democrat who loyally voted 95% for Democrats, I had a weird reaction to last week’s midterm election.  While I was not happy, I had the sense of watching a close friend struggling with addiction finally bottoming out because life had brought my friend to the precipe.  Rehab is now in order for the Democratic Party.

If the Republicans are better at governing the US House and Senate in the next two years, the Democrats will be the ghosts of Jimmy Carter in 1980.  They must return to the economic center before the Republicans.

The Progressive wing of the party is the conscience of the party that should remind us of the plight of the workingman and his family and to some lesser extent the plight of the middle class.  But it has never successfully delivered a strong economy, because it is fundamentally anti-capitalist.  After President Carter and President Obama it is obvious Progressives are ideologically incapable of economic leadership other than in the immediate moments of crisis.

Markets work because they self correct. Or said another way, when the economy booms not only the rich but the rest of society accumulates relative wealth.  When the economy stagnates markets force companies to shed workers and capital spending until the market can expand again on increased demand.  And while in a crisis all Democrats heading the tutelage of FDR favor intervention, it is the centrist wing of the party that traditionally seeks to end that intervention as the market recovers.

The recession ended in late 2009 and early 2010. What has all the Progressive intervention of the last 4 years years with Senator Warren’s and her compatriots relentless anti-capitalist rhetoric yielded?  More wealth for the rich who can always find their way.  And a drab grey world of stagnation for the working men and women of this country.

Governor Hickenlooper here in Colorado was re-elected in a year in which he should have lost because he believes in markets, smiles when he talks about business people, and is a relentlessly positive campaigner.  He was an entrepreneur that understands the long term power of the economy comes from innovation not government intervention.

And that’s why Democrats were drubbed last week.  Working people are not stupid.  The do not need an elitist from Harvard or Yale explaining to them the evils of capitalism, then droning on about abortion and climate change.  They understand it viscerally just as they understand the merits of capitalism.

I remember listening to a report of a shop steward explaining to the union members in one of our plants why we had to automate and reconfigure a manufacturing line.  He knew the numbers in the plant and the numbers in the plants of our competitors.  We either innovated which would cost some jobs or the plant would go out of business and the government could not change that.

Democrats must:

  1. Promote business and stop speaking evil of business people;
  2. Republicans won Hispanics in Texas statewide or lost narrowly, because Texas Hispanics are often more conservative or moderate than Democratic propaganda.  The entire premise that Democrats will eventually win Texas and other states in the South because of Hispanics is mildly racist.  Instead promote the economy so Hispanics have jobs that generate the tax base for better schools;
  3. Climate change is real.  But dramatic change can occur only after dealing with the vast worker displacement that comes from the Progressive gentry’s desire to shut down coal and associated industries. Stop ignoring the UN IPCC’s call for re-invigorating the nuclear industry to blunt climate change.  Stop cherry picking the science and policy to suit billionaire donors at the expense of working men and women.

You get my point.  Democrats must become the party of pro-capitalism not anti-capitalism.  They must never press a policy position that harms working class jobs without a pro-capitalist solution for the working class.

There are two models in the Democratic Party.  Governor Hickenlooper’s or Senator Warren’s Progressive fantasy.  One works well in a law school classroom and one works in the real world.  And only one will reverse the Democratic Party’s downward spiral into a gloomy Carteresque hole of anti-capitalist electoral defeats.

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