Resistance, Revolution, Reform and an End Game
As a member of The Resistance and a soldier in Our Revolution, I am worried that the movement doesn't have clearer goals, a progressive series of goals, a greater focus on the core causal factors that create the dysfunctions affecting a plethora of policy issues and an appropriate vision of the end game.
The Resistance was born in part as a backlash to Donald Trump becoming President. Trump is merely the face, the poster-child and a symptom of deeper systemic problems within our political systems. While some are focused on Trump with hopes of impeachment, I fear that his replacement could be just as bad if not worse.
The Resistance and Our Revolution both are focused on winning seats for the Democratic Party and on reforming the party from within. Those are certainly worthwhile goals and I join in the effort to the best of my abilities but I am aware that there are now more unaffiliated registered voters than either Democrats or Republicans and even more people who would like to see a viable third party in American politics. Also, focusing on Democratic gains in legislatures ignores the vitally important task of reforming the Republican party.
How can The People overcome the corruptive influence of the oligarch's money when just three people in this country have more wealth than the bottom 90% in this post-Citizens United age? How do we overcome the influence of corporate mass media (owned mainly by and controlled by the oligarchs) to manufacture consent and suppress the important information necessary for an adequately informed citizenry? How do we overcome the gerrymandering that creates disproportional representation and drastically exasperates hyper-partisanship?
How can we shift from a defensive strategy to an offensive movement?
The following is an outline of a plan, suggestions for addressing some of the issues expressed above.
First, is the formation of a Reform Party or a reform caucus, focused on the core foundational systemic problems that affect a range of policies. The core problem is essentially the corruption of our political systems and although the corruption manifests in a variety of forms that many if not most Americans are al least somewhat familiar with. Before outlining the vectors of corruption and pointing to remedies, let me address the formation of a reform party.
The Reform Party does not have to be a real and viable (registered) third political party. The Tea Party demonstrated the power and effectiveness of a party that isn't and wasn't a political party at all, but functioned as a caucus within the Republican party. The Progressive caucus is now roughly the equivalent within the Democratic party. While many on the political left fear the formation of a new liberal political party, as advocated by Nick Brenna, because of the risks that it could split the more liberal voters thereby functioning to the advantage of the Republicans, a reform caucus could and would welcome members from any political party. This distinction could help to shift the entire political spectrum to the left which, one could say, is a return to a sane middle. A reform caucus could be just the thing to ignite the fires of real reform within the Republican party.
Secondly is the matter of fundamental core reforms that can counter the corruption within the American political body. The most basic form of corruption in the political body is money influencing elections and policy formation. The following is a brief summary of the various methods used to corrupt our elected representatives.
Campaign contributions = legalized bribery that occurs prior to officials obtaining office, while in office and after leaving office.
Thanks to legislation from the judicial bench in a series of rulings, spending money in unlimited amounts to dramatically influence the outcomes of elections is now considered a constitutionally protected first amendment right as a freedom of expression. (1) This enabled the Koch brothers to commit nearly one billion dollars to affect outcomes in the 2016 elections. If you're one of those people who think elections don't matter anymore because the two major political parties are too similar, you might want to reconsider your position. Take a look at these super-rich people (oligarchs?, plutocrats?, kleptocrats? or kekocrats?) who backed the GOP presidential hopefuls in 2016.
Once in office, paid lobbyists effectively purchase face time with elected representatives and contribute money for their upcoming re-election campaign and for their political party. Elected representatives are supposed to represent the constituents, but this system ensures that entire industries are given favor above The People. That's why incumbents win roughly 90% of the time and the candidate who spends the most money in their election campaign wins about 95% of the time.
When representatives leave office they are often repaid for their service to industry and land jobs that pay a hell of a lot better than the one they had and so do their staffers. The best documentation can be found at open secrets/revolving doors. Lots of people are under the impression that voting an incumbent out of office or threatening to do so will somehow serve as a punishment when all too often it does them a favor enabling them to make lots more money in an easier position shielded from public scrutiny.