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Progressives are Skeptical of Politicians? Good. That Might Save Democracy

Drew Angerer/Getty Images, REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The continuous loop that is the Presidential campaign cycle is generating a steady stream of controversy. No, it’s not about discussions of affirmative ideas, vision, or policies that escape cable news punditry. Vigorous dialogue about such matters make everyone smarter but that doesn’t promote ratings.

Instead, the horrific developments revolve around how the Intellectual Left refuses to immediately bend their knees to the next wave of rising stars of the Democratic Party.

What would motivate the Intellectual Left to denounce the legitimate heirs to the Iron Throne and attack them so relentlessly? This skepticism for stars of Democratic Party seems to be sourced from nefarious intentions and character flaws. Must be racism. After all, they rejected Hillary after voting for Obama….twice. Oh, wait.  That doesn’t make sense.

Clearly, they’re all sexists because they can’t handle powerful women like Nina Turner, Jill Stein, Natalie Jackson, or Susan Sarandon.

Oh, sorry, it’s gotta be that Russian disinformation campaign that no one can quite prove exists but they’re certain that it infiltrates brains and programs them into purity. And nothing can possibly stop Putin’s robots from manipulating the Intellectual Left into questioning the Progressive credentials of the next wave of young, diverse, relatable, and highly intersectional pragmatists hand-picked by the Democratic Party wizards because they know how to make change!

Why does the Intellectual Left constantly demand to look behind the neatly sculpted package and scrutinize under the hood?  All politics is identity politics, d*mn it, and if they’d just toe the party line then we’d have Representative Ossoff writing a bill to end racism that President Clinton would proudly sign into law. But, no, the Intellectual Left had to spoil everything for women, children, African-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQs, and Muslims by viciously attacking the diverse imagery meticulously produced by The Party.

Thankfully, #TheResistance is courageously fighting back against the Kamala Deza campaign and Putin is now surrounded by modern day McCarthy warriors in pink knit hats. Victory must be at hand because Putin never responds to their mean tweets directly – that coward sets up sock accounts; he’s not fooling anyone. The #PutinBot movement has achieved critical mass and Putin will need to find another platform to wage his WAR! They’ve all mass reported Putin and probably even reported him for SPAM! And they’re far too Patriotic and wise to let Louise Mensch exploit their irrational fears of the rise of Soviet Yugoslavia by grifting them more than a few times.

But, hold on, maybe it wasn’t the Russians, after all, who mind-melded the Intellectual Left into their skepticism of candidates seeking to represent them in their Government? This anti-American “make politicians earn your vote” movement seems to predate Putin’s evil campaign to make Hillary lose the election.

The genesis of the idea of scrutinizing candidates for elected office before you pledge your vote was at the Founding of the United States of America.  

The Founders believed that a well-informed electorate preserves our fragile democracy and benefits American society as a whole. William H. Cabell asserted in 1808 that education “constitutes one of the great pillars on which the civil liberties of a nation depend” and Pulitzer Prize winner Alan Taylor contends that “uneducated voters make us vulnerable to reckless demagogues.” Damn, according to the guys who pioneered Democracy, it seems that Democracy may not have been stolen by Putin but by those who demand that you vote for their party’s candidates without skepticism. Yikes!

More recently, Vice President Joe Biden, a man of high integrity and every Dem’s Favorite Uncle, indicated that it’s our duty as citizens to look deep within the details of a politician’s platform to understand what they value. It’s hard to look deeper than one’s budget:

“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value!”

— Joe Biden

This is quite a departure from “Vote Blue….no matter who.”

And then there’s this from candidate Hillary Clinton who, in 2015, deadpanned “‘I’m hitting the road to earn your vote!” Actually, it looks like she was dead serious at the time but we all know that her GPS must’ve routed her around I-70, I-80, and I-90 because she missed the Midwest. Regardless, it’s important to note that she does concur with our Founders and the Vice President that voters SHOULD be skeptical of candidates for elected office to preserve our Democracy and that she would EARN our votes. And she underscored her support for informed voting late in the campaign by demanding that we all Vote our Consciences.

So let’s circle back to Kamala Harris and Cory Booker for a moment. Quick Google searches indicate that Senator Harris does have a problematic past in her time as Attorney General of California and Senator of California:

  • She failed to support Single Payer (a key issue for Progressives) in California
  • She refused to prosecute bank criminals for mortgage fraud – settling for an optical win with a fine that amounted to lunch money.
  • She never explained why she failed to prosecute Steve Mnuchin despite catching him red-handed wrongly seizing homes from 80,000 Californians. Instead of doing time, Mnuchin is now our Treasury Secretary
  • She supports expanding civil asset forfeiture for drug offenders and those awaiting charges for other crimes. This makes her “tough on crime” like the most authoritarian of Republicans.
  • She fought hard to restrict transgender rights.

Now, let’s look at Senator Cory Booker. It certainly appears that there are solid reasons to scrutinize Sen. Booker as a candidate for President of the United States:

  • Only Mitch McConnell received more campaign cash from Wall Street. Now Wall Street isn’t an inherently evil institution. But we don’t need them directing our politicians. 
  • He inexplicably voted against a bill to lower the cost of medicine by importing it from Canada –blaming substandard drug regulation in Canada. But there is no indication that Canadian drug regulation is any more dangerous than that of the USA. His ties to Big Pharma are well documented.
  • He called criticism of Private Equity’s role in Government “nauseating.”
  • He is a legend as Mayor of Newark by constantly tweeting with citizens about cats stuck in trees, potholes, and snow plowing. But many legitimate questions remain unanswered.

Skepticism of potential candidates for public office is, indeed, healthy. In recent months, Senator Booker has backed Bernie Sanders’s drug importation bill, introduced a bill for national marijuana legalization, and promised to put a “pause” on fundraising from Big Pharma. Positive responses to critical feedback from a potential employee is a very positive trait. I salute Cory for this, hope he holds to his evolved positions, and I’d like to see other politicians follow suit – perhaps even Senator Harris.

However, many in the Democratic Party establishment consider these points of contention to be unwarranted “attacks” on the infallible due to the nefarious intent of racists, sexists, Russians, and other evil elements of society. But no one is without flaws. And when somebody applies for a job, a thorough background check is necessary before making the hiring decision. We don’t consider stress interviews, reference checks, criminal background checks, and even drug screening to be unfair by a potential employer. The intrusiveness of screening applicants increases dramatically as the position becomes more senior. No position is more senior than President.  

As I said before, in order to preserve our democracy, we all need to rise above the politics of personality and challenge those who seek to represent our place at the table on the issues. Don’t let anyone lecture you that how telling a politician what you want is a “purity test” that enables the other side. If you don’t tell a politician what you want, then they won’t know.

I am a long way from deciding on a candidate in any upcoming election. My criticisms are meant to spark vigorous dialogue on the issues and this makes everyone smarter. I look forward to Senator Harris, Senator Booker, or anyone one else planning on tossing their hat in the ring to persuade me that they are the right choice.

You have this backward, Brian Fallon. Voters scrutinizing politicians is the solution. You are the problem.

My vote is valuable.  Earn it!  


This article was originally published on Medium.

Written by X. Class

X. Class

Remarkably ordinary guy. I get decidedly mixed reviews. Follow him on Twitter @TheXclass4Ever.

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Joe McCarthy
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Trying to give Kamala the benefit of the doubt. I donated a small amount to her campaign, but the OneWest critique troubles me. She has been sending some pretty progressive signals on other issues, which is overall a good thing. At best we should remain cautiously optimistic, but let our guard down? Not a chance. Keep a spotlight on all valid criticism. Keep it in context. But don’t start playing apologist for political-types.

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Progressives are Skeptical of Politicians? Good. That Might Save Democracy