by Elijah Lutz, Web Editor
When he was elected Senate Minority Leader back in November, Sen. Chuck Schumer made the comment: “I am going to wake up every single day focused on how Senate Democrats can effectively fight for America ‘s middle class and those struggling to join it.” Though this was an admirable comment, much of the work we have seen so far has been sub-par to this goal. Not just in the Senate caucus, but in the entirety of the party as well. Though changes like Schumer ‘s election as leader, or party insider and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez ‘s election as DNC Chair, are played off as major changes, they are not.
The Road to 2018, and a hopeful recovery from their stunning loss in 2016, is paved with more than just vague promises and political spin. The Democratic Party is going to need serious re-evaluation followed by evident and successful action to reclaim the long-held title they lost to the Republicans last year: the party of the everyday American. Anymore, it seems, the party is only focused on the legacy it will have rather than the representation of working class Americans. Hence the election of Schumer and Perez, two establishment Democrats who now lead a party in much need of grassroots action. All that I have seen this year has only led to more frustration.
Much of this frustration is aimed at the Democrats in Congress. First and foremost, we have seen a defiant effort to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This is being done not because Judge Gorsuch is unqualified, but seemingly in retaliation for the Republicans blocking the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland made by President Obama last year. Sort of an “eye for an eye” doctrine. But, in similar fashion, some Democrats responded with hostility to reports of the Trump transition team purging their electronics in anticipation for a subpoena to come in the investigation of Russian interference. Many Democrats, and Clinton supporters, jumped on the offensive faster than you can say “deleted emails.”
Since when, for Democrats, did being in the opposition mean only taking cheap political shots and hypocritically adopting the tactics used by Republicans while they were in opposition? Why is it that “working for the American people” is seen as playing politics, using us as an excuse for brownie points to be gained from the media?
I’m not saying that all work has been like this. The defeat of the American Health Care Act was a success to be relished in. The ACHA was a lack-luster bill, and millions of Americans insured by the Affordable Care Act would lose their coverage. This was an action that helped lower class Americans. So what should they do now to make it better? Simple: admit the problems of the ACA and work together with Republicans to find common ground and fix the problems with it, without millions of Americans losing their coverage.
There is hope for the Party ‘s vision to change for the better: DNC Chair Perez, just last week, asked for the resignation of all DNC staffers. This shakeup, though it is somewhat unclear currently what it ‘s goal is, could signal a major change of course for the party. The question of what it truly means, however, still remains. Could Democrats just stay the sup-par course they have been going, only with new people? Could they be adopting the more progressive left ideals of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Kieth Ellison? Or could they actually be shifting their focus back to working Americans, and rebuilding a grassroots party that represents everyday Americans again? The party needs concrete goals, ideas, beliefs and values. They can ‘t just be the party of not-Trump, they can ‘t campaign on just anti-GOPism. We saw how that went in November: losing the White House and both houses of Congress. Without returning to the working class, they will only be met with more failure.