Title is intended to get your attention. But I am becoming convinced that Hillary Clinton really is delivering what voters are indicating they want. I am becoming convinced that those of us here don’t have a clue about what America is all about…or, more accurately, what the American people are all about.
I am becoming convinced that America WANTS Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman…they WANT either Lite Republicans or Republican Lite. You and I are either wrong or we are doing a really lousy job of getting the word out. All of this is coming to me thanks to yesterday’s really abysmally boring NYC primary election.
Years ago, before Bill Clinton’s presidency, I think, a Pulitzer Prize winning (and recently deceased) journalist, David Shaw of the L.A. Times, wrote a piece he called “The Greying of American Politics.” He was not referring to AARP’s power. He was referring to a phenomenon whereby in the national arena (specifically Presidential politics) no candidate with any unusual ideas, characteristics or positions would make it through the grueling process of a national election. Since America is so big and diverse in ideas, only the most boring candidates can survive the process. No exciting bright colors…only boring, grey politics as usual. Americans like non-threatening candidates who make them feel like everything is okay…fine…go back to watching TV.
David Shaw was talking about presidential politics, but I am convinced that this phenomenon is starting to apply at all levels of politics, including Brooklyn, NY.
People here love to hate Hillary Clinton. Many say “Hillary does not represent me…” or “Hillary is not a true Democrat.” Usually I defend her based on her overall voting record, but truth be told, despite my frequent defense of people like Clinton and Biden, they don’t represent me either. But let us look at the message that voters send them. Look at the Democratic primary in NYC (the most liberal part of NY State)…and look at the mayoral polls.
Yesterday NYC chose a boring, pro-business, do-nothing incumbent Public Advocate over a dynamic, strongly pro-Civil Liberties challenger. The incumbent won handily. The Democrats of the liberal city of NYC spoke loud and clear that they wanted calm, boring, non-threatening politics as usual. So they re-elected Betsy Gotbaum, the Public Advocate that disappeared from public view after her election. They chose the candidate that Mayor Bloomberg supported. They chose the candidate that has never stood up for the public. And they solidly rejected the progressive, interesting candidate, Norm Siegel, who had been head of the NY Civil Liberties Union for 15 years.
The clear message from yesterday is that NYC wants boring politicians who don’t stand up for anything.
In the Brooklyn DA’s race it was even worse. The most solidly progressive, most honest and most pro-Civil Liberties candidate, Paul Wooten, never even made it to the distant second that Norm Siegel did in the Public Advocates race. Paul Wooten dropped out, claiming lack of support. The second most progressive candidate, Arnie Kriss, came in dead last yesterday. The THIRD most progressive candidate, Mark Peters who tried to buy the race with his family’s money, came in distant third. The person who won was a thuggish, corrupt incumbent who looks like he is from a mafia flick and who says all is well and we need to stay the course. The person who came in second was the even more corrupt, equally thuggish machine candidate. The progressives barely made an imact on the race even though they had two, maybe three, good candidates.
Again, NYC wants business as usual–either the incumbent or the machine. We accept corruption as long as nothing too radical disturbs our quiet existence.
Finally let’s look at the polls for mayor. The Republican mayor Bloomberg looks way ahead in the polls. NYC voters seem to want a boring, pro-business Republican running the show.
This is the message voters are sending politicians–be boring. Be pro-business. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t disturb our TV viewing time. Be Lite.
WHY SHOULD HILLARY CLINTON OR JOE BIDEN DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT BE BORING AND PRO-BUSINESS? Hillary Clinton has to play to NYC and to upstate. NYC is the more liberal part of that equation. And we vote for Mayor Bloomberg, Betsy Gotbaum and Joe Hynes…We vote for incumbents. We vote for pro-business. We vote “stay the course.” We are telling Hillary Clinton that she should by no means be more liberal than mayor Bloomberg, no more exciting than Betsy “do nothing” Gotbaum, no more progressive than Joe Hynes.
Hillary Clinton does what the voters say she should do. She represents those who elected her…and Bloomberg…and Hynes…and Gotbaum. She doesn’t represent you and me because you and I barely show up as tiny blips in an election. You and I and all our progressive ilk are nothing in American politics. That is the lesson I learned yesterday in NYC.
Why is it this way? Do most Americans REALLY want it this way? Do we here at dKos REALLY represent only a tiny minority of voters even in NYC? Or are we, the left, so divided, so ineffective and so lazy that the good candidates don’t go anywhere because we don’t get out there and fight for them?
I don’t know. I do know that until we prove ourselves to be effective and active within the Democratic Party, there is no reason for any politician to buck the boring, pro-business trend. Because boring and pro-business wins the day, even in NYC.
I have no solution. I have tried throwing myself into the depths of local politics and organize and inspire my fellow progressives and get them busy. Nothing… No effect on yesterday’s election. Zero.
We here at dKos made something of a splash in OH-2. We still lost, but we made a splash. But here’s the thing. We didn’t make a splash in NYC yesterday. We were nothing. If all we can do is an occasional, single district near miss like OH-2, we really won’t be cutting it. If that is all we can manage (and maybe it really is all we can manage!) then you and I won’t even be a footnote in history.
Folks, prove me wrong here. But I think Bush America at worst, or, at best, Biden America is here to stay and you and I here on dKos, Booman, My Left Wing, etc. are nothing but a lonely, ignored minority.