Tune into your average talking head show on a major cable news network and you’ll find a host of media voices giving a not-so-subtle warning to Democrats about the danger of pushing too far left in response to Trump.
What these pundits conveniently forget is that Trump only got elected because he voiced a populist message during his campaign that contained a lot of traditionally left-wing positions with a white nationalist flavor. Several well-written articles during the 2016 election even went so far as to reference polling showing that Trump’s voters wanted Bernie’s America, but just for them.
Indeed, if you look at polls on major issues such as single payer and immigration, Americans are surprisingly, or not so, if you’ve been paying attention, far more left than either party. So, why does the media try to move the political goalpost farther to the right?
The answer is donors. Both major parties at their highest levels are not controlled by voters or even elected politicians. They are run by the money that is given to them and interests who control it. These forces are the very Wall Street bankers Bernie Sanders stood against in his failed primary run. They love the status quo and tend toward moderate conservatism. They are OK with perpetual warfare. As long as they keep making money and the party leaders do their bidding, why would we need a drastic shift to align with voters? We’ll just have to take what they give us.
No clearer was this message delivered than in the deliberate tipping of the scales for Hillary Clinton by the DNC. Even when polls consistently showed she could lose to Trump, the donors and their allies in the media elite plodded on. Even when Donna Brazile finally came forward in 2017 with verified proof that we had been taken for a ride, the narrative was quickly diverted away from a full admission and those who had finally come out admitting that the 2016 primary was rigged recanted soon after as a result of obvious pressure from party leaders.
This all goes to the core of the problem in not just the Democratic Party, but the Republicans as well. The machinery of our two major political parties has become fundamentally disconnected from the electorate of this country.
The pendulum swings and frustrated voters keep hitting the reset button, but nothing happens. That is unless you happen to be naive enough to believe Trump actually cares about poor white voters as he gives them lip service and then brags to his rich friends that he just made them all a lot wealthier. Continue that delusion at your own peril.
The truth is that voters have been ready for change, real substantive change, since we had record turnout that swept Barack Obama into office in 2008; change which he disappointingly failed to deliver upon.
According to all metrics and polls, the United States is ready to move left. However, our susceptibility to the contrived dichotomy painted by our corporate media, run by the same money that operates the political machinery, is an illusory, yet ominously real obstacle we must overcome to at last put our self interests at the heart of our political will.
Until we are ready to be the change we want to see in this country, the dramatic progressive reformation we all know needs to happen will remain the unrealistic dream the oligarchs who truly run this country want you to believe it is.
Timothy Havener lives in Mill Hall.