Lift the Working Class to Save Democracy

Let’s just say it: Donald John Trump is a threat to democracy and to the Republic. You know in your heart that he is. The man has no respect for the rule of law, no respect for the will of the people, and no regard for the consequences of his actions. All he knows and cares about is how his decisions and the decisions of others affect him. This is typical of fascists throughout history, and a fascist is exactly what we should all call Trump.

Still, the truth that Trump is an aspiring tyrant should not be used as an excuse utilized by the Democratic Party to circumvent the needs of the people on their journey to reclaiming the reins of power. While the Party tries to convince the Democratic primary voters to “vote blue no matter who” they are conveniently dancing around the root causes of why we find ourselves on the cusp of authoritarian rule. Why is that? Because confronting what brought us here requires that the Party set their ire on the wealthy few who’ve financed the destruction of our democracy whilst also lining the pockets of just about as many Democrats as they have Republicans.

The great lie of the 2006 Midterm wave election wherein Democrats swept Republicans out of both houses of Congress was that it was billed as a rejection of the “Culture of Corruption”. Yes, many corrupt Republicans were ousted by the voters, but the wave left intact the equally democratically-corrosive oligarch servants in the Democratic Caucus. This was because the Democrats managed to frame the campaign as an indictment of Bush’s policy failures (primarily the war in Iraq) as well as capitalize on the headlines about scandals from various sex scandals to statewide stories of corruption like the Jack Abramoff scandal which brought down a slew of Republicans in my home state of Ohio.

What the Democrats went out of their way to avoid talking about was the revolving door between corporate America and most members of both parties. Instead, they offered empty promises of holding Bush accountable and even hinted at bringing an end to the war/occupation. Long story short, the Party did neither when they actually regained control. Almost immediately after it became clear that Pelosi would take the gavel she shot down any hopes of impeaching Bush for any of his crimes – chief among which was the illegal war he led us into – and we soon saw the party hedge on any efforts to end the occupation, as they voted each time to continue supporting the funding thereof. So, in light of the fact that they practically refused to do what they promised to do, it is no surprise that they made hardly any serious effort to truly deal with the source of our actual “culture of corruption”.

Money in politics did not magically become an issue with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. The very wealthy have been employing elected and appointed government officials to do their bidding for decades, centuries even. In fact, it is one of the reasons why Karl Marx regarded governments as little more than protectors of the few, the so-called “bourgeoisie”. In the opinion of Marx, the only way to rectify the class war was by giving power to the working class; thereby establishing a democratic regime, what he called the “dictatorship of the proletariat”.

Is it controversial to revisit what Marx said about society and the blueprint he offered for achieving justice for all? It is only controversial if you have allowed yourself to be blinded by the long-standing anti-”leftist” propaganda financed by the ruling class. What Marx opposed was a system which exploited the working class – which he refers to as the “proletariat” – and which masqueraded as a democracy while it actually acted like an oligarchy with a false choice between two or more versions of authoritarian alternatives. It may anger many to read this, but we’ve all been living in a lie that we have any allies amongst the dueling armies of the elites. Marx saw right through the veil of tyranny and was aiming to tear it down so that we all could see the truth and come together to upend the system.

Throughout our history and human history as a whole, change has not come from the charitable spirit of our leaders, but rather it has been compelled in response to the collective’s organized mass movements. The lesson here is that the ruling class can NEVER be trusted to do what’s right. We – the people – must ALWAYS be prepared to push for action. This is because democracy, true democracy, requires relentless and constant feedback from the people which starts with the ballot box and continues through with demonstrations, public speaking, labor strikes, and regular constituent communication. If we care about saving democracy and stopping fascism then we must look beyond Trump, we have to organize to lift up the working class and empower them like never before.

So, yes, defeating Trump is absolutely essential to saving the Republic and even saving democracy overall. Yet, if we only focus on defeating Trump in 2020 then we are intentionally ignoring the societal cancer which caused his elective boil to rise to the surface. Trump won because our system is dying and while we may possibly defeat Trump by voting “blue no matter who”, the neglect of our collective welfare will only pave the way for further erosion and someone worse down the line. That is why this primary for the Democratic Presidential nomination is so crucial.

As participants of this broken already-weak-by-design democracy we have to carefully assess the limited choices before us. Democratic Primary voters ought to review all the policy proposals of the candidates paraded for our consideration and weigh not only who can defeat Donald Trump, but who can defeat Trumpism – that is, the policies he espouses and the cultural conditions which gave rise to such – once and for all. If you can not say with confidence that your candidate can accomplish both, then you must (for the greater good of all) rethink your choice. Trump could be defeated – in theory – by most of the candidates running, mostly because of his irredeemable character (still a mistake to underestimate him though), but ending the threat of fascism requires more than toppling a single buffoon.

We must mortally wound the fascist threat with an earth-shattering awakening of the people. Who, but Senator Bernie Sanders, has consistently – for DECADES – called for a people’s movement…a “revolution”? Who else repeatedly reminds the people that we can not count on even his election alone to get things done? Likewise, he does not hesitate to condemn the aforementioned culture of corruption which afflicts both major parties and which even infects our media. Bernie effectively reminds the people that we must never blindly trust any politician – himself included – to champion the causes of the working class. Bernie is the only one who clearly promotes democracy and whose goal goes beyond defeating Trump, but Trumpism as well.

I predicted in 2015 – and I am saddened to say I was right – that the only way to stop Donald Trump’s fascism (false populism) was with a genuine populist like Bernie Sanders. As of this moment I am convinced that this remains true in 2020, not because Bernie is some perfect saint, but because he has demonstrated throughout his life’s work that he gets it; there is a class war, the working class has been losing, democracy has been failing as a result, and the only way to save democracy is by handing the reins of power back to us all. Anything short of this will gamble the fate of the 2020 election as well as the future both of this nation and the world. So, are you willing to roll the dice, or is it time to flip the damn table?

Daniel H. Crawford III

Daniel Crawford is the proud father of Austin (born in 2006) and Madison (born in 2008), uncle to seven nieces and nephews, brother to three younger siblings, and the surviving son of his late-mother – Starla Kay Hunter -, whom passed away at the age of 49 in 2012 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Government with Minor Degrees in History and Public Administration in 2013 from Ashford University. A long-time activist, Daniel first got involved in politics when he was 18 in 2003 by frequently contributing to a progressive blog called Democrats.com under the pseudonym “dem4christ04”. In 2005, he created his own blog through Xanga at http://democratforchrist2020.xanga.com/ and still contributes to such from time to time. In 2004, Daniel began volunteering with his local Democratic Party in Licking County, Ohio and soon thereafter helped to build the Licking County Democratic Club; in which he later served as the Club’s Second Vice President in 2016. From 2006-2008, Daniel was a vocal advocate for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney for their numerous offenses, giving numerous, lengthy speeches at his local City Council meetings in promoting a resolution to pressure his members of Congress to hold the administration accountable. In 2014, Daniel again saw the need to advocate for impeachment, but this time for President Obama, for his overreaching use of executive powers, as well as a perceived continuation of many abuses under George W. Bush, warning that the continued circumvention of Congress – regardless of the intent - was a usurpation of legislative powers and a dangerous precedent for the separation of powers. In 2011, Daniel formed a local chapter of “Occupy” called the “99% of Newark and East Central Ohio”. The group’s members came together for numerous reasons, but soon concentrated on the issue of money in politics as the foundational issue which needed to be addressed first. From 2014 through 2016, the group’s small membership managed to make history in Newark by successfully placing a citizen’s initiative on the ballot to create an educational event – called “Democracy Day” - centered around the money in politics issue with special emphasis on the Citizens United ruling. The initiative – which narrowly failed, sadly – would have created this event and would have demanded that our members of Congress support a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United. In 2017, despite the failure of that initiative, the group – which became a subgroup of the Licking County Progressives, an organization formed in the wake of the 2016 Election – hosted our first “Democracy Day” event, seeing that we needed to do more to educate the public on the matter. Also in 2016, Daniel was appointed to the Board of the Freedom School of Licking County – a nonprofit which promotes education for the purpose of empowering average Americans in society and the workplace -, and was elected to a term as its Chairman that summer. Daniel has also authored a number of books – created and published through an Amazon service called “CreateSpace” -: a manifesto entitled “The Pillars of Unitism” and a novel entitled “The Politician: Crisis” (the latter is the first part of a planned trilogy). His undying devotion to the cause of empowering the people via a strengthened democracy is what drives him each and every day. While his children inspire the bulk of his determination to build a better world, he learned to be indiscriminately compassionate from his mother, as she sought – through to her dying day – to see every mouth fed, every back clothed, and everybody housed…so long as she could help it. Why – it must be asked – is this compassionate vision for the world so controversial in the first place? In Daniel’s mind, challenging the status quo of rugged individualism and inspiring the rejuvenation of a collective spirit is his life’s work.

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