Sunday, February 9, 2020

Open Letter to the DNC From an American Centrist

Dear DNC officials:

I come from a long line of Democrats. My grandparents survived the Great Depression because of FDR’s New Deal, and both of my parents were loyal Democrats as well. In my adult lifetime, I proudly registered as a Democrat at age 18, in the 1990s. Since then, I have become extremely disillusioned, watching the Democratic Party become more and more corporate-funded and corporate-aligned to the point where I do not recognize it anymore.

What the corporate media calls left-wing is actually moderate, by any recent polling on these basic social issues.

Today, our centrist candidates, like Bernie Sanders, have been labeled and sidelined by the mainstream media as “radical,” “fringe,” and “extreme.” Should we trust this characterization given that the mainstream media is largely owned by giant corporations, whose key motives are protecting their own profits? Meanwhile, social and economic inequality has sky-rocketed in the United States and worldwide in recent decades. In 2020, the world’s billionaires control more wealth than the poorest 4.6 billion people combined. The middle class continues to shrink in the US, and many Americans are just struggling to survive. Under these conditions, proposals like maintaining social security, increasing the minimum wage, providing universal healthcare coverage, protecting the environment for future generations, and making college accessible to young people are not radical positions! These are centrist positions because a majority of Americans support them. These positions would have formed a basic policy platform for an FDR administration. What the corporate media calls left-wing is actually moderate, by any recent polling on these basic social issues. Americans have really not moved so far to the left in their support for Bernie Sanders. But the Democratic Party has moved consistently and unrelentingly to the corporate right. In its alliance with the corporate, neoliberal ruling-class, the Democratic Party is now hardly distinguishable from the Republican Party in its level of corporate corruption. It’s no wonder voter turnout rates in this country have been so pathetically low.

Thankfully, the US public is getting harder and harder to fool. Like millions of other Sanders supporters, I was awake during the 2016 presidential primaries. And I was enraged when the news came out that the DNC had colluded with various mainstream media outlets to smear and destroy the Sanders campaign. We watched… as the AP and these same mainstream media outlets, not the state of California, called the results of the Democratic Primary for HRC before California even finished counting its votes. We watched… as super-delegates cast their votes for Clinton in states like Colorado, after Sanders won the caucus by a wide margin. We watched… in disgust as Sanders delegates were sidelined at the Democratic Convention. We now understand the role the DNC has played in subverting democracy and pledging allegiance to the corporate elite.

And so it’s little surprise to read this last week that as Bernie Sanders gains momentum in towns and cities throughout this country, that the DNC is contemplating reversing the 2018 rule-change restricting super-delegate votesuntil the second ballot at the Democratic Convention. Or the fact that all of sudden, the debate rules have changed so that Billionaire Bloomberg can participate in the debates, when candidates of color like Julian Castroand Cory Booker were eliminated from the debate stage for not meeting polling requirements and small-donor thresholds that have now been suddenly eliminated after Bloomberg gave the DNC $300K. The corporate, profit-driven allegiance of the DNC is painfully clear. It’s also painfully clear that the DNC would much rather lose this election to Donald Trump than to support actual democracy in the USA.

We saw it play out in 2016. If the DNC reverts back to the 2016 rules, allowing super delegates to vote in the first round at the Democratic Convention, and the frontrunner is Bernie Sanders, these corporate party hacks will cast their vote for a more corporate candidate, making much less likely that Sanders is the party’s nominee. And even if Sanders has an overwhelming majority of pledged delegates, when the super delegates participate at the Convention, we can be sure the DNC will do everything possible to weaken the democratic-party platform so that party positions are more corporate friendly. In either case, the DNC is fighting against the public opinion of the majority. And we know what happens when there is a weak democratic nominee in a general election who fails to inspire a large voter turnout. It looks like 2016 all over again.

But today, the stakes are even higher. The American people are suffering under oppressive levels of poverty and lack of access to basic human rights. The climate crisis is on the brink of global catastrophe. People will live or die as a result of US presidential policy. Whatever progressive policies or candidates become weakened as a result of DNC manipulation, the blood is on your hands.

I respectfully encourage the DNC to abandon its corporate allegiance, re-configure its membership and shift into alignment with the will of the people. Abandon your corporate donors and get behind the rising tide of small “d” democracy in this country. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will forfeit any last shreds of its legitimacy.

Erin McCarley
Denver, Colorado

by Erin McCarley is an independent photojournalist and writer based in Denver, Colorado. With a master’s degree in photojournalism from UT Austin, her still photography, videos and writing have been published by the Westword, teleSUR English, Free Speech TV in Boulder, CO, KLRU TV in Austin, TX, CounterPunch, Yes! Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, the MIT Press, the Ford Foundation, Science Daily, The Daily Texan, and others.

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