The problem that’s trapped the Democratic Party in a political quagmire just 18 months after the Republican Party seemed to have been crippled for years to come is expressed well in a fundraising email sent out this morning by Vice President Joseph Biden. The email begins:
“President Obama said it best: You choose “D” to drive forward and “R” to go in reverse. In just a few weeks, America will choose a path. We will either continue forward, growing our economy and getting it out of the GOP-made ditch. Or we’ll take the road back to Bush-era policies that punished the middle class, gave tax breaks to billionaires, and brought our economy to its knees.”
It’s a clever little bit of wordplay to align the D of Democrat with drive and the R of Republican with reverse, and it fits the political vision of the Democratic Party, which recognizes only two possibilities: Democrats win, or Republicans win. So, Biden tells us that we are on a road, and can only choose to go forward or backwards. Strategically, Biden’s asking us to accept an extremely restricted choice, in which we’re either with the Republicans or we’re with the Democrats. It’s a cheap rhetorical trick.
The reality is that most Americans are tired of that old road. Most Americans have a negative perception of the Democratic Party and have a negative perception of the Republican Party as well.
Biden is wrong. Politics isn’t really restricted to just a one dimensional road that leads backwards and forwards. Politics exists in at least a three dimensional space, with possible choices leading in a huge variety of directions.
It’s clear now that Barack Obama, Joseph Biden and their friends in the Democratic Party leadership need us all to stay on the same old road where politics has been stuck for decades. It’s the corporate road, where we can only choose between the corporate Democrats and the corporate Republicans. It’s a toll road, and the corporations that run it are making a huge amount of money from keeping Americans pulling back and forth.
At this point, though, the road has become a huge mess. It’s muddy, full of ruts, and we’re spinning our wheels going nowhere while the donkey and the elephant in the front seat are arguing about directions.
Let’s get out of this vehicle. Let’s step off of the Democrat-Republican Highway. It’s time to find a fresh path.