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Snippets from a Social Democrat

Robin Alexander

Posted on August 11, 2018 18:50

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Maybe we’re seeing the beginnings not of a blue wave, but of a progressive wave. Inspired by an activist Jew who could have been an AARP member since 1991, this movement has been taken up by women and men of all ethnicities, religions, ages and experience. And I’m thinking that maybe I belong here after all.

Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District has generated lots of comment, partly because it’s still too close to call.  Here’s what I see:

1.       With Republican Troy Balderson ahead by 1750 votes, “Officials in Franklin County found 588 previously uncounted votes from suburban Columbus precincts, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.” This helped to close the gap for Democrat Danny O’Connor giving him a net gain of 190 votes. But I can’t get past the fact that 588 votes were “found” after the initial count. Why is our voting process still so inefficient and haphazard? (There are still absentee/provisional ballots to count).

2.      Many O’Connor votes come from residential Columbus precincts where Trump won by 11 points. This is one reason why MSNBC was able to report that white suburban women are not voting Republican as much. Hallelulah.

3.      This was followed by a pundit’s declaration that Democratic voters need to forget about “rigid ideologies” and elect the party who fights for the working class! A hearty laugh is always welcome. Mainstream Democrats haven’t fought for the working class in decades. This was a perfect example of corporate centrist neo-liberalism giving lip-service to the New Deal, while functioning as the government arm of the American oligarchy. I can visualize the after-show call to her Wall Street donor: “I had to say that; don’t worry; I’m still in your pocket. We have to keep telling the voters that Democrats are for workers; it keeps them confused.”

4.      Republicans are befuddled and mainstream Democrats are scared that populists actually appeal to the majority of Americans, even in the Midwest, once the message is clearly delineated. One year ago a Harvard-Harris poll revealed Bernie Sanders to be the most popular U.S. politician. I see no signs of this popularity diminishing; in fact “Sanders socialism” seems to be making headway, even among Trump supporters. My personal strategy: in the primary, vote populist wherever possible. In the general, vote Democrat. I just don’t know how long dear RBG can keep going.

In Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, Rashida Tlaib beat out a gaggle of Democrats. Since she is running unopposed in November she will most likely be the first Muslim woman in Congress … a Palestinian Arab Muslim.

1.      I usually avoid identity politics, but during a time when you know who pushed for a Muslim ban, I find her win significant. In fact she is one of 90 Muslims running for office across the country. I much prefer a Muslim who keeps her religion personal and understated, to say …Mike Pence?

2.      Even more significant is the fact that Tlaib is a progressive, just like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who beat out a prominent Democrat and mentions FDR!

As CNN wrote: If you squint, it's possible to see Tlaib's campaign as the confluence of two midterm meta-narratives: the surge of Muslim democrats running for office meets the year of the women, a perfect storm of progressive anti-Trumpism.

How delightful.

Robin Alexander

Posted on August 11, 2018 18:50

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Source: Politico
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Voters rushed to the polls Tuesday to decide the final House special election before the midterms, with Republicans pouring...

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