Have you heard “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem, featuring Rihanna? Chances are if you turned on the radio this summer, you couldn’t escape it. It’s a horrible song, and the video is probably worse, but the truth is it rings eerily true to our political reality. Progressive voters in November will have to decide between a Republican Party with no agenda and a Democratic Party that has failed them on every count. The real question of this election cycle will be, do progressive voters love the way Democrats lie?
It’s more than being angry that the Obama administration has compromised on every issue to the sacrifice of progressive goals while never capturing that elusive bipartisan unicorn. It’s not that voters like me are angry that compromise exists—we understand political realities. The real problem is that we’re not respected—our mandate doesn’t count. While Republicans proudly, and intelligently, pander to their base, Democrats openly flout their own. What do progressive/liberal voters get in return for their faithful votes? Why, they get the distinction of being “effing retarded,” according to Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. More amusing still, they get the Administration’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, publicly chastising them for apparently wishing to eliminate the Pentagon!
The Democrats’ election strategy is two-fold: First, come out and seem liberal. Interestingly enough, touting progressive policies such as healthcare reform and financial regulation is popular and wins elections. In the past month and a half, we’ve seen Obama in 2008 fury. He raises his hand, he yells, he uses cute metaphors about ditches and cars and Republicans sipping slurpies. All this is great politics, because it’s true: Republicans have put up unprecedented resistance to any legislation, even if partially crafted by their side. But in the face of disastrous and irrecoverable poll numbers, the Administration has taken another stance, one that has been a personal favorite of the president in every speech: slamming the progressive wing of his party. In a coordinated one-two, Biden first told us to “Buck up” and come out and vote, while the President himself called progressives “irresponsible” if they choose to sit this election out.
This leaves me with only one conclusion. The Administration has already raised the white flag; they’ve accepted losing and are scapegoating the left for its inexplicable losses. How a party that achieved a mandate so huge and overwhelming in 2008 could lose so pitifully to a party impervious to facts is dumbfounding. But the truth is Democrats will lose this November. Not because there are more Republicans or because the Tea Party is too strong or because Democrats have done too much in a center-right country. They will lose because both their base and Independents will not vote. Democrats have failed to deliver on the change they promised in 2006 and 2008. More importantly in American politics, the Administration has been the face of weakness on every single issue, and weakness in politics is suicide. Good policy is good politics when coupled with bold leadership and a continuous show of strength. The Democrats have failed on all counts and have set themselves up for failure. My only hope is that they learn their lesson (they won’t), because I believe the country already has—we’re done with the abuses of the Democratic party.
—Jonathan Rodrigues is a third-year in the College majoring in Latin American Studies.