Yesterday I decided to quit sending money to the Democratic Party. It felt weird, I have to say. I donated more money for the 2020 election than at any other time in my life and fully expected to continue, mostly because I want to defy Ben Franklin and keep our republic.
For personal reasons I won’t go into, I can’t be a foot soldier activist anymore. I can’t go door-to-door, attend rallies, and so on. For the 2020 election, I wrote letters and made phone calls, but mostly, I gave money I really should have kept—modest amounts, but it was a lot for me—to candidates in races I thought could be won.
Despite the polls, despite party and independent enthusiasm, despite unconscionable antics by the other side, and despite raising obscene amounts of money, my party pretty much lost. Sure, it won the presidency—a stroke of luck, because Covid kept Biden off a physically grueling campaign trail—but it lost seats in the House. It gained a virtual tie in the Senate, Trump having turned off Republican and independent voters in Georgia enough to make them stay home.
Too many good candidates lost races they should have won. And no one in the Party said why in a definitive way, but worse, no one took responsibility and no one was held accountable. That really, really pissed me off. But would I please please please send money?
Now, despite the economy igniting, Covid in retreat (at least before vaccination refuseniks greased the skids for Delta), the war in Afghanistan winding down, and huge infrastructure legislation being on the cusp of becoming law, the Democrats are floundering. Or so it seems. I’m not even sure you can say they’re merely floundering as the President’s positives go down and his negatives up.
It’s not so much that the party can’t seem to get its message out as it is that no one seems to be trying. They’re not just bringing a knife to a gun fight, they’re bringing position papers that no one cares about. The result is that the Insurrectionist Party, who’s pretty much been unable to make negative flak stick to Biden, is still leading the conversation and winning in the media, and, possibly, the polls.
I can’t recall the least time I saw the January 6 videos of thugs pounding the Capitol. Those should be plastered all over the place every day with a reminder that Republicans own the Insurrection, and the riot should be mentioned in every media appearance. Where’s the daily outrage over the prairie fire aka the Delta variant sweeping the country because the Insurrectionists won’t get vaccinated? Right-wing southern states didn’t just make an unforced error over mishandling Covid, they gift wrapped it in foil and handed to the Democrats who…did nothing. No daily news stories of disinformed people and their children dying because they wouldn’t wear masks or wouldn’t get vaccinated, courtesy of their elected leaders.
A leading news story yesterday morning on NPR was of a new Gold Star father giving President Biden a piece of his mind over the death of the father’s son in Afghanistan. I get that, and I’d be just as livid as that dad. Furious. I don’t blame him a bit and not only empathize with him, I want to underscore over and over how that Marine sacrificed his life so others could be free.
That notwithstanding, it was a story of a casualty in a dangerous combat mission, which isn’t all that unusual. But the Democrats have ceded the conversation to perverse Republican talking points manufactured from clickbait media stories on the Afghanistan withdrawal. The tragic incident of a despondent father and his young Marine son became a signifier for the Biden administration’s “failure” of evacuating 116,000 people in two weeks from an airport with a single runway under fire.
This screed isn’t to take anything away from extraordinary reporting by, say, CNN’s Clarissa Ward, NBC’s Richard Engel, PBS’s Jane Ferguson, and others whose names I can’t immediately pull but whose astonishing work is Pulitzer-worthy. And CNN’s Jake Tapper has done the best he could for years to keep wars and soldiers in the public consciousness. No, it’s not about that—it’s about the way the Insurrectionist Party has co-opted the conversation. Is it any surprise that Republican politicians are appearing on CNN and MSNBC shows more often in the last two weeks than in the last four years?
And what are Democrats talking about? Not an administration handling a war termination, a pandemic, an economic re-boot, and a Cat 4 hurricane all at the same time. Not a Congressional panel investigating sedition and possible treason. Oh—the progressive wing wants to get rid of the Fed chair because, well, whatever it was he did. Or didn’t.
Yet my emails from Act Blue warn that their candidate du jour is dangerously close to missing her monthly fundraising deadline and imply that it’s all my fault.
While my interest here is partisan, my political leanings take a distant back seat to my conviction that the American republic is in existential trouble because of the Insurrectionist Party and its Fox Pravdaganda.
But my party doesn’t seem to care. Why should I care about the party?