Small d democracy in the US is failing.

The Democratic Party should change, it should use its midterm power to elect a shadow cabinet and fill that cabinet with  a credible leader and her or his team.  READ MORE AT THE HILL

The Hill, a right wing news site, has a frightening view of the future of the Democrat Party.  I agree with The Hill.

This failure is not because of resurgence of populism as in the era of Trump’s beloved Andrew Jackson.  Americans do not want slavery, bible fanatics are not a majority, and few would want a fight to abolish the Federal Reserve or pick a war with Mexico to take away more land. Nor, despite the angst on the left, is this a recrudescence of McCarthy era hate mongering.   The failure is that the Democrats have no leader.

The failure is because small d democracy no longer works.The damage was done by American parties trying to transform themselves into small d democracies with leaders chosen “by the people.”  That idea has failed.

Scarred by the tumult following Watergate and Vietnam, American political parties have replaced the smoke-filled room that chose Presidents from Jefferson till Kennedy, with small d democracy.    Trump mastered small d democracy, he was “the people’s choice” in an era where media dominate.  Trump won at the ballot box using marketing much as his role model (or perhaps Steve Bannon’s role model?) Andrew Jackson won by selling his brand to a mass populace in the era where media meant newspapers and his opponents represented choices by an elite, what we have since called “the smoke-filled rooms.”

Jackson was the predecessor to Trump.  He changed the Democratic party of Jefferson into the debacle that eventually got us into the civil war.  While today’s Democrats celebrate  Jefferson-Jackson dinners, remembering  the masses of ordinary folks Jackson invited to party in the White House,  the man from Tennessee came close to bankrupting the US while his jingoism gave us the invasions of Florida, Texas and the rest of the territory conquered from Mexico. While we do not want to remember that era as imperialism, the similarity to Hitler’s use of “Lebensraum” is all too frightening in the era of Make American Great Again.

The era of Jackson ended with the election of Lincoln and the civil war.  It is important to remember that Lincoln was not a popular choice.   The man remembered as the great emancipator was the choice of Republican party bosses meeting in a smoke-filled room at a convention.  Today’s Democratic party is very much in need of a Lincoln. 

After Watergate we replaced the party bosses with democracy …  still with a small d.  The Berniecrats despise “super delegates,” believing that party regulars and elected leaders stole Bernie’s nomination.  Sadly, they do not understand that Bernie as well as Trump never represented “the people” they represented the result of media campaigns.   Today, as 2020 looms, the Democrats have as many as 30 candidates planning to run for President.  The problem this creates is that the party out of power, the Democrats,  have no leader.

Bill Phillips FACEBOOK “I don’t know what a ‘Democrat party’ is.” Great question. Who renamed the Dems? As I remember the word “Democrat” began as a pejorative way of Limbaugh and Fox naming the party. Now look what happens if you do a search!

There is another sinister player in this game … Putin.  While he may not now be a Communist, he has read Lenin.  Lenin understood very well that control of the media trumps … with a small T … democracy.  Roger Ailes proved that, Fox News is the fulfillment of Richard Nixon’s asking Ailes to create a Nixon controlled TV network.  Putin, with heritage of the Orwellian agitprop apparatus, is all too well prepared to use the new media and Fox has become great too.  Winning a media war cannot be done by a political party that chooses its leader in a popular election.  By then it is too late.  

Leaders matter.  Our small d system is not at all like other democracies where opposition parties are led not just by a leader, chosen by the smoke filled room, but by a shadow cabinet of politicians representing their party’s elites.  The most obvious difference is Great Britain where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is a credible alliterative to the flailing, post Brexit, Conservatives.  With no pressure to select a leader who can get elected, the face of the Democrats today are the wrinkled party bosses, Schumer and Pelosi, neither of whom anyone can imagine leading a national ticket. 

My answer?  The Democratic Party should change, it should use its midterm power to elect a shadow cabinet and fill that cabinet with  a credible leader and her or his team.

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