The old stereotype of the staid, inflexible, conservative Republican was shattered with the BIG Goldwater loss in 64. Republicans learned the sad lesson and made two important changes that culminated in the Regain presidency a scant 16 years later...
They stopped their single issue bickering and united behind a solid platform and they began an unparalleled grassroots organizing to take every public office from dog catcher, to school board member, to state and national Congressional seats.
I wish the Democrats could learn. Before their defeat in 68 they had a chance to actually, successfully run against their OWN war. Instead they bucked the rising antiwar sentiment and doubled down. People believed Nixon's promise to end the war. Not only had Nixon lied (he had no 'secret plan' to end the war), but he had been negotiating through back channels to sabotage the Paris Peace talks that would likely have ended the war BEFORE the election. Johnson eventually admitted he knew of these dirty dealings but did nothing.
Since 68 we have seen a gradual slide to the right on the part of the Democrat Party culminating in the sellout large portions of their voting base (the poor, blacks, and labor) During the eight years under Bill Clinton.. Countless commentators have pointed out that the Democrat Party is now exclusively the party of the professional class, the wealthy, the managers, and the elites, in short the oligarchy.
This popular backlash against an out of touch Party was certainly reflected in the huge groundswell of the Progressives for Bernie Sanders as well as Trump. It was not just racism, sexism, and homophobia that swelled Trump's ranks it was, as Michael Moore pointed out, a reaction to the fact that both Parties had sold the people out.
Instead of smelling the coffee, Democrats doubled down, stole the election from the candidate who could have truly led the popular ground swell, and nominated arguably the most problematic candidate in Amerikan history. It left Trump as the only candidate to capitalize on the popular revulsion with BOTH Parties.
Now, as after the defeat in 68, the Democrats still refuse to learn the lessons of their demise. Remember it was not just the presidency that was lost to them this time; it was the Congress as well. That should be screaming at them in banner headlines: "BABY, BABY, BABY, YOUR'E OUT OF TOUCH!” Instead they seem bent on a blame game that only reveals how far from political, social, and ideological reality they remain.
Bernie thinks (against all common sense) that the Party can be reformed from within. Cornel West thinks the whole Party must be scrapped and a new coalition of populists, the young left, and Progressives must form a new Party.
Only time will tell if the rising tide of popular disgust with the stupidity, the failures and the malevolence of the new administration will generate enough horror to coalesce a new, popular, Progressive movement or whether is will just be the same old same old corrupt Democrat Party trying to out Right Wing the Republicans aided and abetted by a compliant press.
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|Allen L. Jasson|