By Ralph Nader / Nader.org
In nature, monocultures are not so resilient to predators or other ravages that exploit their inherent vulnerabilities. Farmers have known this characteristic of monocultures forever. (Agribusiness doesn’t care as much, given its short-term profit outlook.)
Democratic voters are at risk from the increasing political monocultures that are weakening resistance to the GOP and Big Business demands.
There are four such groups that are exhibiting similar monoculture symptoms of deteriorating power.
1. The Democratic Party itself is led by pathetic sinecurists controlling its formal national, state, and local Party structures. At the top is the PAC-greased Democratic National Committee (DNC) whose chief strategists, over decades, have steadily written off half of the nation (the Red States), and abandoned their Parties there down the line. When, for example, the Party gave up on five mountain states in the West that used to send Democrats to Congress, it started out with a deficit of ten in the Senate. It is hard to recover from such an abdication. The Party will spend far more on a Pennsylvania Senate race than on Senate races in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and the Dakotas combined. There are no local Democratic Committees in 30 of 32 counties in Wyoming.
Today, the Party raises record amounts of money and finds ways to set records in blowing it. Senator Chuck Schumer directed the spending of over $200 million in two big-time losing Senate races against Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina). The loser in South Carolina was promoted to head the DNC where he has declared himself to be part of the Democratic Party machine – a mere functionary instead of a galvanizer.
The Democratic Party doesn’t have the energy possessed by the GOP and right-wing groups that fight each other, but have managed to win many national and statewide elections that they should have lost badly. This is due to lassitude and blunders by the Dems in the gerrymandering struggle and indenturing itself to corporate campaign money that has blocked its former New Deal agenda of standing, in all the states, for working families while the GOP banded with Wall Street.
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After avoidable election losses, the Dems don’t force the responsible officials out and clean house with more vigorous people. Recall the historic blunder in New York State in 2022 – dominated by the Democratic Party – that gave away four winnable Congressional seats, and failed to defeat the media-exposed charlatan George Santos (R-NY). Despite this dismal performance, the Democratic Party retained its State Chairperson.
A monoculture is resistant to outside criticism and advice, no matter how credible and pragmatic (See: winningamerica.net). Its officials on Capitol Hill and within the party apparatus rarely return calls if they don’t involve campaign donors. Ruled at the top nationally by half a dozen control freaks, it demands sycophancy from its leading organized allies, thus turning them into monocultures.
2. The AFL-CIO and national labor unions unconditionally endorse Democratic candidates long before election day. They make no action demands, such as card checks, championing a $15 national minimum wage (from the present $7.25 per hour), breaking statutory chains on organizing unions, or getting serious about workplace health, safety and one-sided limitations on contractual workers’ rights.
The main headquarters of the AFL-CIO looks out at the White House, and the AFL-CIO leadership gives Democratic presidents a blank check. A GOP president has little to fear from organized labor that is hamstrung by suffocating labor laws and global corporate extortionists. It has been decades since vigorous and feisty labor leaders were national figures.
3. The trial lawyers – an automatic honeypot for Democrats – who have lost for years in their efforts to preserve the law of wrongful injuries due to “tort law deform” – can’t even muster the will to repeal any of the handcuffs that block injured people from full access to the courts. They give the Dems a blank check and it responds by not even making the insurance industry’s atrocity a major campaign issue. The result is our constitutional right to have our day in court and trial by jury continues to be undermined and obstructed.
The long-time head of the national trial lawyer association works hard not to make news and declines to give visibility to the American Museum of Tort Law (AMTL), which we founded, to educate people about the legitimate use of tort law for the vast majority of wrongfully injured people left by the wayside. ATML’s exhibits help mobilize citizens and educate lawmakers about the importance of tort law, a pillar of our democracy. (See, tortmuseum.org).
4. Then there are some national citizen groups that used to challenge in court sweetheart settlements by plaintiffs’ attorneys, used to take Democratic politicians to task publicly, and used to expose some labor union corruption, which resulted in reforms. No more. Many national groups are willing to accommodate the corporate-infested Democratic Party and few are willing to challenge the smug, scapegoating of progressive Third Parties that historically were first to champion fundamental reforms in our country.
The Democratic Party should be landsliding the most corrupt, vicious, bigoted, chronically lying, voter suppressing, anti-labor, anti-consumer and anti-environment GOP since its creation in 1854. The GOP’s off-the-wall positions against children’s well-being, women’s rights, and the willful aiding of massive tax evasions by the corporate super-rich and by starving the IRS’s enforcement budget should make it easy for the Dems to defeat the out-of-touch Republicans. But not when the Party is dialing for the same corporate campaign cash as the GOP.
Unfortunately, mutually reinforcing monocultures produce an inability to expand serious action agendas to wage peace over military Empire, to support communities over avaricious corporations, and climate protection over Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al. Further, the Democratic Party stubbornly refuses to look itself in the mirror to renew and reinvent itself in the light of the visible onrushing omnicides confronting the nation and the world.
Instead, in 2022, it celebrated its big losses to the mad dog Republicans because those losses were less than some polls predicted.
It is not enough that the Democratic Party tells its duopoly-encircled critics to shut up and get in line saying, “Don’t you realize how terrible the Republicans are?” Now Democratic Party leaders want no primary debates by Democratic presidential candidates. They want to leave the stage in the exclusive possession of President Joe Biden. The contentious GOP must be laughing about the ways the Dems suppress their own vote by spearheading a dull, scripted coronation.
Loyal critics of your immolating Democratic Party, emerge from your lairs and speak up. You have nothing to lose but more election defeats on the horizon in 2024.
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney noted for his involvement in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform causes. The son of Lebanese immigrants to the United States, Nader attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School.