UPDATE: I changed the title because apparently I'm the only one that appreciates nerd humor. Alas....
A common refrain from the Purity Left is that the Democratic Party is hopelessly corrupt and pure evil. In fact, they're controlled by the very same billionaires and corporations that control the GOP! Both parties are the same and something something "revolution!"
Curiously, though, the Purity Left is also outraged that Trump and the Republicans are rolling back so many industry regulations:
In several instances, the administration is dropping rules aimed at tightening worker safety standards or omitting species the government had pledged to protect under the Endangered Species Act. In other cases, it is proposing new regulations that provide employers with more leeway in how they run their businesses or report their activities to federal officials.
The Trump administration said it was pulling or suspending 860 pending regulations. Of those, 469 were being completely withdrawn. Another 391 were being set aside or reevaluated. These proposed regulations could be revisited at some point or dropped altogether.
Trump and the GOP are also hard at work undermining the ACA to justify repealing the "broken" law, ending investigations into racist police departments, gearing up to deport the Dreamers, attempting to end Net Neutrality, preparing to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the list goes on for a very long time.
It's perfectly natural for the Purity Left, along with the rest of us, to be furious. These regulations and programs save lives. They protect the average American from the depredations of corporations. They protect our civil rights. They make the economy a little less lopsided in favor of the 1%. An attack on them is an attack on everything we hold dear.
But who, exactly, put those regulations in place and created those programs? The logic of the Purity Left dictates that they spontaneously came into existence. After all, the Democratic Party is just as corrupt and owned by the corporations as the GOP dismantling our government at the behest of the 1%, right? It wouldn't make any sense for the Democrats to put restrictions on the industries that own them and then have the GOP undo them later. That's billions in needlessly lost revenue. It's a ridiculous idea.
And yet, that appears to be what the Purity Left believes. In their mind, the Democratic Party can do no good. Ever. #Demexit is still an enormously popular hashtag. They've deliberately misinterpreted a court case against the DNC as "proving" the primary was rigged even though it's screamingly obvious that is not what the ruling says. They're already demanding a Bernie 2020 run and will latch onto anyone that says they're anti-establishment when he doesn't. The Democratic Party is the embodiment of all evil in the world.
But if that's the case, why is the Purity Left so upset about the regulations and programs being demolished? They can't possibly be good because, horror of horrors, they were put into place by the wicked and sinful Democrats.
Schrodinger's Democratic Party
Capable of doing nothing good under any circumstances while simultaneously being responsible for all of the much-needed regulations Trump and the GOP are destroying.
I know I'm laying it on thick but the visceral hatred of the Democratic Party by the Purity Left is hard to overstate and it's a problem, especially because we dare not speak its name lest we "split the left." But that presumes the Purity Left is interested in unification which, with pretty much every word they utter, they clearly are not. You cannot tell everyone in earshot that the Democratic Party is the spawn of Satan and then claim you want to unite the left. They are mutually exclusive statements.
At some point, the Bernie wing is going to have to deal with the Purity wing instead of protecting them. Talk to a Bernie supporter that voted for Hillary and they will insist we need to unite. Mention the ongoing scorched earth war of the Purity Left, however, and those calls for unity evaporate. In their place is a storm of resentment and grievances that "establishment" Democrats are attacking Bernie Sanders even if you've never mentioned his name and have no idea why they're bringing him up. It's an underhanded rhetorical tactic to shut down honest debate. It's easier to let the Purity Left hammer the rest of us into submission and complain loudly when it doesn't work.
The bottom line is that the Bernie wing doesn't seem to grasp that "unity" is not the same as "total capitulation." They demand that we earn their vote but earning their vote apparently can only be done if they get total control of the party despite being Johnny-com-latelies and a minority of the party's base. That's not to say they're a small minority but they are still a minority (for now, at least). In essence, they're saying that the majority of the Democratic base who has been there for decades, blacks, Latinos, LGBTs, etc., have to sit down and shut up, which, perversely, is what the Bernie wing says the Democrats demand of them.
It's not clear how adopting most of their platform equates to telling them to sit down and shut up but what do I know? I'm just some stupid neoliberal sellout trying to divide the left. Or so I'm told almost on a daily basis by people who still insist the Democratic Party is poison. The lack of self-awareness is tragic.
My growing concern is that the Purity Left will find a new anti-establishment "hero" to rally around for 2020. He or she will run in the Democratic primary on a platform of how awful the Democrats are. This will, once again, turn off southern black voters and the new "hero" will promptly lose (you do not become the nominee without them). And that's when the howls of "Rigged!" will start up again, aided by a judicious injection of Russian made memes. By refusing to acknowledge the dynamic that played out in 2016 and continues today, we're looking at a repeat with even more disastrous consequences.
If the Purity Left can't stop painting the only party that can stop the Republicans from stripping us of everything we hold dear as equally monstrous, it's up to the rest of Bernie's supporters to call them on their toxic rhetoric. That doesn't mean "no criticism" because keeping our elected officials honest(ish) is necessary, but there's a not-at-all fine line between constructive criticism and what the Purity Left is doing. They don't have to love the Democratic Party but they can't lament all of the good they've done being unraveled by Republicans while denying the Democrats have done any good at all. It's lazy and unworthy of the standards of intellectual honesty the left is supposed to hold itself to.
Bernie's wing needs to police their own or stop pretending they give a single damn about unity because the hypocrisy is getting stale and we have a fascist in the White House to deal with.
There are 425 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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