Mike Huckabee has said many offensive things and has stood (quite literally) with people who refuse to accept our changing times. In the midst of an incredibly racist diatribe about black people and culture on the Daily Show a few years ago, Huckabee actually made an insightful point about living in a bubble, saying “there’s a real culture clash between the people who live in cities and those who live in rural-America.”
That truth rings loudly when it comes to economics. As automation and bad trade continue to wind their way through American factories, mills and plants in small towns, rural America is shrinking rapidly and getting older. Even with a record number of consecutive months of job-growth, wages remain relatively stagnant (something that unionizing or a universal basic income might fix).
I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary and I love his calls for a political revolution in the context of American politics. I’m supporting Keith Ellison for DNC Chair and I appreciate his calls for unity and a new direction for the left. But I still think the two of them are missing the larger context of what a revolution should look like within the Democratic Party and America itself that could ameliorate this culture shift and bring about a better future for our nation.
I believe the Democratic Party doesn’t just need to change its persona, I believe it needs to change its purpose. I believe it needs to take its expansive funding and invest it in job-training programs rather than television ads. I believe it needs to stand on the picket lines with workers who are fighting for their livelihoods, rather than just asking for their votes and support union drives in workplaces to the fullest extent. I believe that instead of spending millions on direct mail pieces it should staff every county to constantly engage the community so they can be fundamentally responsive to their needs, rather than offering lip service. A prime example of this is saying the party tentatively will listen to the concerns of Black Lives Matter and nothing more. Then, even after a tragic event occurs in a largely Democratic state, not backing it up with legislation to regulate police conduct and punish criminal behavior by law enforcement.
In 2016, the messaging, the candidate, the FBI, the campaign operations, fake news, Russia and many other excuses were offered from the left to explain away their catastrophe. All of these are symptoms of a larger root-failure of the DNC and Democratic Party to adapt into a body that helps people in their day-to-day lives and addresses the education, income and civic participation gap that comes with systematic and institutional racism in addition to getting candidates elected.
And for goodness sake, can the party of the people actually have its national leadership voted on by the people? I get that the party officials are elected locally, but when they move upward from the community level, the rank-and-file members of the Democratic Party don’t seem to get a vote in who they want elected to leadership at the national level.
People are more engaged in the political process on the left when they’re more educated, have more money and have principles that should be enacted for progress. If the Democratic Party can’t eventually address these issues at their root by actually helping people obtain the aforementioned, I think they’ll continue to find new nadirs in American politics. If they do, I think the results will be magnificent for the party and for democracy as a whole.
Progress isn’t easy and I hope liberals won’t resist these changes. A shift in thinking could weave a beautiful new quilt into the fabric of our society.