Democrats are unique in their willingness to sabotage their own legislative priorities in order to win seats.
A question was recently asked on Quora as to why there were no Republican candidates who supported Medicare for All, free college, ending the wars, green energy, etc.
There are no Republicans that are running on any of these wildly popular policies. Nowhere. Not even in the so-called “blue” districts and States, where one might think that such policies would help them.
Which begs the question: why don’t Republicans, like Democrats, modify their platform and policy positions to better appeal to the specific political preferences of the population in their District or State? After all, the Democrats are famous for saying that they “have a big tent” and that “what works in one District may not work in another” — and so on.
Indeed, Democrats are never short on excuses for running conservative candidates. The DCCC, the DSCC and the DNC itself are known to lavishly fund and support such candidates. They even have a name for such conservative Dems — they are called “Blue Dogs” and they have a very powerful and rich coalition in the Congress and the Senate.
So why don’t Republicans have their own version of Blue Dogs?
There is no GOP version of the Blue Dogs because while both parties serve the same corporate and Wall Street donors, only the Democrats need to pretend to work for the people and the working class.
This means that, to find the answer, we must once more go back to the Root Of All Evil, MONEY — and the way that Mammon took over the Democratic Party back in the 1990’s under Bill Clinton — who was himself a conservative Democrat from conservative Arkansas.
Clinton and his conservative DLC hijacked the Democratic Party and turned it into Republican Lite, that is to say, a corporate-friendly, center-right party that was funded by, and did the bidding of, Wall Street and Corporate America, but one which was also OK with abortion and civil rights. The great change that Clinton and the DLC brought to the Democrats was essentially to absorb so-called “moderate Republicans” into the Democratic Party, and to turn the Party leadership into moderate Republicans themselves, leaving the GOP to spin-off to the extreme Right Wing.
The problem that the Democrats had, however, was that they still had their “legacy” base to please — namely, workers and young people. This “traditional” Democratic cohort wanted more progressive policies, like under FDR’s New Deal. They wanted the Party to be more pro-working class, less pro-corporate and more anti-war.
In short, the Democrats had decided to support (and take money from) Management, but in order to win they still needed to convince Labor that the Party was on their side, too. I know this seems ridiculous and impossible — but Clinton and the Establishment Democrats had a cunning plan.
Enter the Blue Dogs and their key role in making this huge deception work.
The Blue Dogs are an elite, well-funded force that fights against the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party. They do this by aggressively opposing progressive legislation and policies that the vast majority of the Democratic base wants, but which the Party’s Donors oppose.
For example, Obama had run on giving Americans a so-called “Public Option” by letting people buy into Medicare. This option would have been much cheaper and better than what the for-profit insurance companies were offering, and so the Democratic leadership — which received millions in funding and campaign contributions from the Insurance Industry — had to find a way to renege on Obama’s promise, to “kill the public option” and keep those Donors happy, while not inflaming their progressive base.
This was where the Blue Dogs saved the day by refusing to vote for the Affordable Care Act if it included the Public Option — an option that most people — including the vast majority of Democrats in the Blue Dogs’ own Districts — wanted and expected.
The Blue Dogs’ raison d’être is to kill progressive legislation while providing “cover” for the rest of the Democratic Caucus. The ACA was a perfect example. Obama and the Democratic leadership could have pressured the Blue Dogs to submit, but they didn’t really want the Public Option either. Still, Obama and the Democrats were given a pass, because everyone could understand that they just could not get the ACA passed unless they had the Blue Dogs on board.
Why the Blue Dogs are making a big comeback in 2018.
As most people are aware, Progressive Democrats are working hard to make Medicare for All, tuition-free college, a living wage, etc. all major planks in the Democratic platform. But Pelosi, Schumer, Perez and the rest of the Democratic Leadership are having none of it. They oppose Medicare for All for the same reasons that they opposed the Public Option — their Donors.That is why the DCCC and other arms of the Democratic Party aggressively recruited Blue Dog Democrats to run in 2018. Many of these conservative Democrats are ex-military and ex-National Security and CIA officers, so their conservative votes on wars and the military will be assured.
Moreover, the Party broke all precedent by actually getting involved in Primary races to ensure that the Blue Dog candidates won over the more progressive ones.
Now the Blue Dog Coalition leaders are giddy and arrogant, knowing that they will play a major role in the “Blue Wave” of 2018, and that they will occupy a very special and powerful position in the new Democratic House. Pelosi and the Democratic Establishment will rely on the Blue Dogs to defeat the attempts by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and other progressives to push for popular legislation that actual Democrats overwhelmingly support.
And when challenged or criticized for not proposing such popular legislation, Pelosi et. al. can simply point to their Blue Dog allies and say, “we wanted to, but they would not let us.”
So the answer to this question is clear: the two corrupt Parties who serve the same donors have now become what Ann Coulter rightly calls the “Uniparty” — and as such they really only need ONE version of the Blue Dogs in order to defeat progressive policies like Medicare for All, free college, ending the wars and green energy. And by defeating these policies, the Donors to both Parties will be placated and the money will continue to flow.
In other words, it’s win-win for the DC Elites, and lose-lose for everyone else.
Note: a version of this article was originally posted on Quora
EuroYankee is a dual citizen, US-EU. He travels around Europe, writing on politics, culture and such. He pays his US taxes so he gets to weigh in on what is happening in the States.