When I was preparing to come over to the UK for a mini-tour a week ago, I did an interview to promote them with the Independent, a center left national newspaper here. Most of our chat was jolly and drag-related, but at the end the interviewer asked me this: “You’re taking this show to quite a few countries. How does it feel to travel abroad with someone like Trump as your president?”
I told him it was embarrassing, but only a bit more embarrassing than other GOP presidents whose terms I’d lived through. I then told him that I’m not in the habit of weighing up different GOP presidents or trying to convince GOP voters of anything since my values are so different from theirs. I’m more concerned with why Dems offered a candidate in 2016 who lost to Trump. And very concerned that Democrats are pushing similar candidates in 2020, using the threat of Trump to get us to cave on any demands Democratic voters might otherwise make of their candidates, to reflect the huge progressive swell within their party. Common wisdom dictates that we must Vote Blue No Matter Who, which removes all leverage for any demands voters have. Most will Vote Blue No Matter Who anyway, but to admit that now is to let Democrats know that they need not offer us anything since we’re so terrified.
This way of thinking means we must completely cave on anything from abortion rights to affordable college to action on climate change. We must ignore the majority of Dem voters who support Medicare for All. In some polls, a majority of GOP voters support it, too. And Joe Biden, the current frontrunner, is such a centrist that he actually tried to cut Social Security 3 times. No Democrat does that. (Well, no Democrat except Obama, who tried to cut it once via chained CPI cuts.) Biden also waffled on abortion rights, sided with credit card companies over consumers, represented a state where businesses can set up shop without paying much taxes, and authored the 1994 crime bill responsible for the mass incarceration which devastated communities of color. Greenpeace just gave Joe a grade of D- at a time when scientists say we have just 12 years to act before we see the worst of climate change. This is dire.
I heard the interviewer hem and haw a little and then our chat was abruptly over. The piece never ran, because the mainstream media is desperate to keep our heads in the sand with their foolish narrative that Trump is our only problem. Campaigning on a platform of I’m not Trump is one of many reasons the centrist Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. And if the media is still shying away from the truth in 2019 in a drag queen’s interview, I hope we aren’t hit by a hard dose of the truth again once those polls close in 2020. The failed neoliberal policies of Bill Clinton and Obama have hurt working Americans and turned much of the middle class into the working poor, just like Republican policy has. Choosing between a gay neoliberal, a black female neoliberal, a black male neoliberal, a white female neoliberal or Obama’s former neoliberal VP will not address that economic pain. Neoliberal Democrats helped cause that pain when their collusion with banks crashed the economy and housing market. To see Democrats embrace Joe Biden as a savior is to say we’ve learned precisely nothing from 2016. How could he possibly save us from problems he helped to create? I’m not sharing a barrage of articles about how American families can’t make ends meet, how people can’t afford housing and how millennials are living with credit card debt to merely post a barrage of statistics. I’m praying that some will realize how bad things are for too many Americans and how we got here.
Neoliberals are just Democrats who side with big businesses and put profits over people. So they don’t want to regulate the banks, support unions, raise wages, stop the oil or stop the eternal wars. But we already have Republicans–we don’t need for the only other major US political party mimicking them on so many big ticket policy items.