I am a Democrat. I wasn’t always a Democrat. I was born and raised in a Republican household in Atlanta, Ga. When I was old enough to vote I cast my first vote for Nixon’s second term. In 1976 I voted for Gerald Ford because I knew Jimmy Carter as governor of Georgia and I felt (and still feel) he was unqualified to be President. I wasn’t just voting on party but on merit as well. My last vote as a Republican was in 1980 when I was fool enough to believe in, and vote for, Ronald Reagan.
After four years of horror ushered in by the Regan administration, I tried to correct my mistake by voting for Walter Mondale in 1984, but we all know how that turned out. In 1988 I voted Dukakis, all for naught. It wasn’t until Bill Clinton that we finally got a Democrat as president, and I reveled in the satisfaction helping to make the first Bush a one-term president.
We got two terms with Clinton, until 2000, when the second Bush won by a squeaker here in Florida. Florida, the state of the hanging chads. For two more terms we put up with Bush #2 and 9/11 and its aftermath and the totally unnecessary Iraq war. We came out of that voting for Barack Obama, the best centrist Republican money could buy. Yes, I know he was a Democrat, but you couldn’t tell by many of his policies nor by some of his appointments. By far the worst appointment in my no so humble opinion was his choice of Attorney General, Eric Holder. Before Mr. Holder left office he’d prosecuted more people under so-called leaks (six), twice as many as all other prior administrations combined. His stance that journalists had no legal protection to maintain the confidentiality of their sources did more to damage press freedoms than anything done by the current administration. I do not hold Barack Obama, and in particular, Eric Holder, in high esteem.
I wasn’t particularly happy when Hillary was chosen as the 2016 presidential candidate, but she was far better than the alternative. Unfortunately, the entire Democratic apparatus sleep-walked the election cycle, lulled by the constant conventional wisdom about her winning and the polls showing how she was so much farther ahead and thus she was a shoe-in, until the election was held and she lost.
Now, after living the aftermath and watching what happened in 2018 and listening to the candidates, I have a deep and abiding fear the Democrats are going to fuck it up all over again and we’ll have another four years of that current idiot in the white house.
The folks that the Democrats need to win in 2020 don’t give a tinker’s damn about his moral turpitude or his gross ethical shortcomings. They’re focused on making a decent living, having an affordable roof over their heads, affordable food and clothing and healthcare; in other words, they want what we used to have through the first seven decades of the 20th century, a real middle-class life. Now, after the Great Recession and the attempt of the 1% to make the 99% even poorer, what used to be the middle class is in revolt against just about everybody in power, starting with the Democrats and slowly including many who voted Republican (although not the hard core, white Anglo-Saxon Evangelicals who wouldn’t know Christ if He sat down next to them).
Right now the Democrats are fighting amongst themselves. It’s the stodgy old time Democrats who hold power and who are still shell-shocked and cowered by Regan’s win in 1980, vs the newest members of the caucus who are mad as hell at the way things are and want to make desperately needed changes. I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but my support is with the newcomers. The Democratic Old Guard have really screwed things up, especially at the state level, where massively blatant gerrymandering by the Republicans have put them in power in nearly every state house in the Union. That’s the seat of power, and the Democrats can’t seem to get that through their thick skulls.
The Republicans played a decades-long game at the state level, and won handily over time by appealing to voters at the state level along with the gerrymandering. If the Democrats want to make a difference then they’re going to have to go back out into the states and really hustle to provide the kind of governance those voters need and want. That’s how they’ll win seats at the state level. Otherwise winning at the national level will be an infrequent fluke at best.
And the Democrat’s ineptitude will doom us all.