The Georgia Sixth

by Mark Lause, editorial board member on June 22, 2017

Tuesday’s special election in the Georgia Sixth broke all records for spending on Congressional races. The estimated $55,000,000 more than doubles what national elections cost half a century ago. This was not because of Citizens United or any other single cause, but because it represents a bipartisan agreement between the Democrats and Republicans as to how election campaigns and political decisions should be made.  The Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff campaigned with a standard Chamber of Commerce message about development, and the main argument of the Republican Karen Handel was that Ossoff was actually a cat’s paw for out of state liberals.

After all that money, time and effort, we are told, thoughtful Democratic leaders are going back to the drawing board . . .  . Well, actually not.

One would have thought that the abysmal failures of 2016 would have fostered some creative rethinking, but their corporate orientation has survived greater and greater disasters over decades, so we shouldn’t be too surprised to find them facing 2017 with their usual well-studied obliviousness.

The professional managers of the Democratic Party and the masters of obliviousness in the so-called “liberal” media are struggling to recast their defeat as a defeat of the “progressive” “liberal” approach rather than yet another demonstration of the utter bankruptcy of their own approach.  They are blaming Ossoff’s defeat on the “marchers” and those citizens who go to town hall meetings to confront their congressmen.  Noisy citizens trying to have an impact are not behaving like good little orderly civic consumers.

Don’t be surprised to hear them blaming Ralph Nader.

The Democrats did find a way to offer a kind of symbolic nod the direction of the excluded.  Unthreatened by this, the Republicans have responded with figures such as Ms Handel in Georgia now hailed for  breaking another glass ceiling, being the first woman elected to Congress from that state.  If this provides little substance in terms of changing the lives of most women, it actually differed little from what the Democrats had presented nationally with Hillary Clinton.  And, in response to the election of Barrack Obama, Republicans have hired, trained and dispatched a growing little coterie of professional African American Republican analysts and commentators on tour of the cable TV circuit.

Common sense should have Democrats looking to shift the nature of the electorate and change the rules of the game they’ve not been winning.   Roughly half of the qualified voters sit out elections and most of those who do vote hold their noses when they do so.  Mobilizing the unmobilized would be a real formula for changing how politics work in the U.S.  The downside of this, of course, would be that such voters would actually want something–maybe a serious agenda that could transform their lives.  Their concerns about things like jobs and health care–and, yes, the climate they will pass on to later generations–would distracts from what they see as the key issue: that their party can be most helpful to banks, Big Pharma, insurance, energy trusts, and–always, always, always–the international arms manufacturers based in the U.S. who contribute so much to making the world what it is.

What’s evident in the aftermath of the election in Georgia’s Sixth is that the Democrats are quite content with any alternative that will avoid that.  The lords and masters of the party have made their choices and the sales personnel of their non-agenda are presented a 24/7 rationalizion for that non-agenda across the news.  The only thing these people are liberal about is the blame they case on everybody but their own bankrupt politics.  On one level, of course, these people are actual beneficiaries of the position they advocate.

The “progressives” who respond to such disasters by shouting all the louder and all the more insistently that we have no alternative but to follow the Democrats wherever the corporate interests lead them are usually not really beneficiaries of the party’s course.   At this point, they have become mere dogmatists.





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