Staff Writer Savin Matozzi analyzes the current state of the Democratic party and criticizes their shortcomings.
Our nation has undergone a political transformation throughout the past few years. More and more citizens have become disillusioned with a political system that does not care for or represent its constituency. People are challenging the status quo and want to see change.
Donald Trump won the election, in part, by claiming that he cared for working class people, specifically rural working class people. This group of people has been neglected for so long, by both parties, that any attention it received from someone who claimed to care about its interests, was appreciated. Trump gave these people the attention that had been denied to them for so long. And not only that, but he also gave them a scapegoat on which he would blame all of their problems: minorities and the “liberal agenda.” They took the bait and believed what he had to say. Why not? It’s not like anybody else was giving them an alternative.
The Democratic Party has let down the very people it pledged it would help. It can claim that it believes in the working class all it wants, that working class people are “valued” and are an integral part of this country, but when the legislation systematically ignores them, the party can’t be surprised that they voted for someone else. All Trump did was show them a little attention. Imagine how different the outcome of the election could have been if the Democrats actually stuck to their party’s promises.
That is where the Democratic Party has failed. The party claims to serve in the interest of progress and equality for all but has conveniently forgotten about the working classes. It is so far separated from its roots that it did not even give these people a second look. Bernie Sanders was the only candidate who expressed a real and genuine interest in the working class, including the rural working class, but the DNC chose to stick to the status quo once again and nominate Hillary Clinton instead.
There is nobody else in the Democratic Party at this point who has the momentum to move the party forward. The party, as seen by the disillusioned, is comprised of rich, old, white people who occasionally prevent horrible legislation by the Republicans from passing. The “party of progress” hasn’t been such in decades, and if it continues on this path, it won’t be in the foreseeable future.
Having the platform of one’s party be “at least we’re not Trump” is the equivalent of saying to a sick person “This pill won’t make you feel better, but at least it won’t give you dysentery.” Claiming to be better than something horrible is not progress, it’s mediocrity. At this point in our history, mediocrity should not be tolerated, never mind being the goal of a party.
The Democratic Party has not been a party for the people for decades. It has become a party for the banks and the corporations. If the party wants to see any success in the future, it is going to have to completely revamp its policy, goals and most importantly, its politicians. The U.S. does not look like what it did 40 years ago, and the face of the party needs to change to represent that. It needs young, diverse and ambitious people to push forward on challenging topics of race, socioeconomic inequality, climate change and a changing international stage.
The party needs to invest in its future by recognizing where its shortcomings have been, and changing to show that it has the potential to truly be a party of progress. If it stays on the current path of reelecting failing candidates, empty promises and recycling the same old, politicians who have no new ideas except blocking some catastrophe the Republicans try to push through, then the party has nowhere to go except the ground.
Savin Mattozzi is a senior international studies major and staff writer for the Newswire from Portland, Maine.