JAMES CALABRESI ’20
Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court has already fueled far speculation as to Chief Justice Roberts’ new role in his court’s tenure. Donald Trump’s two nominees have shifted the court solidly to the right and established Roberts as a swing vote on most cases. The court will be hearing important issues soon and it is sure to start its continued erosion of worker and environmental rights started early this year with the AFSCME vs US ruling. While some expect Roberts to stand up, like Anthony Kennedy once would, for the benefit of the left, there shouldn’t be much good faith accepted by liberals except to hope for some minor progress on social issues. Count on Roberts to keep Obergefell, but diminish settled protections of LGBTQI+ peoples; remember, Roberts and Alito were confirmed in the Bush administration, a hostile and homophobic time. We can also count on this Court to totally screw over unions and re-litigate old labor rights cases. Only a true country-wide political revolution can put pressure back on the right. A Democratic President shouldn’t necessarily propose packing the court, as many have advocated, but instead should build a true grassroots movement on the left and keep them constantly energized through midterms and off years. My personal hope as Democratic Nominee in 2020 would be Elizabeth Warren, who I belive could keep power for two terms and then use a well-liked runner-up as a baton hand-off. Then, if this goes to plan, and left-wing state legislatures aren’t fully decimated by right-wing backlashes, and so long as gerrymandering has been outlawed, finally after 12 years (and Breyer and RBG long gone) Clarence Thomas might retire or pass away and the court will swing back left. Obama’s greatest failure was in letting the DNC and Democrats at large collapse once he got to his second term. This has translated into a record amount of spending by small donors into campaigns, with far fewer resources being dropped straight into the DNC’s coffers. This isn’t necessarily a bad development, though Democrats should hope to keep the enthusiasm up among their base and keep interest between core constituents and quality candidates to a maximum in years such as 2022 and 2024.
It is also essential that Democrats realize they need to keep power and populism alive and extensive enough to beat nationalism. A leftist, anti-corruption administration, complete with destroying the current criminal justice system, lowering prices of drugs by letting Medicaid trade across state lines and letting Medicare trade across country lines for would do wonders to cement power and popularity on the left as real solutions are presented to real problems. An infrastructure bill vastly de-carbonizing and reworking our National Grid would also be vital. Reducing Medicare age requirement and allowing a buy-in at 50 years of age will help with old stubborn voters while abolishing student debt by nationalizing the industry and lending new debt interest-free will attract young voters. Abolishing ICE and reworking our criminal justice system will give the backbone of the party- people of Color- a long deserved victory. Additionally, instituting a Democratic Party rule to appoint at least 50% women in any Presidential administration would likewise be unprecedented and make administrations more representative of the party.
These actions actually gain democrats political power which they can spend. In the short term, foreign policy should alienate or entirely cut off Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen. I also believe that Democrats should open their selection of their Senate leader to the people- like the Brit’s do for their party’s leader in parliament.
Focusing on anti-corruption, Medicare, student loans, and pharmaceutical companies are all incredibly popular and Democrats need to focus on them. On top of that, Democrats should advocate for a universal jobs guarantee and higher minimum wages all around (yes we can do better than 15).
While the court casts a long shadow, there is so much potential for new international leftist coalition. Pointing out the insane corruption in Trump’s administration, hounding their flagrant nation, and defeating big money in politics and gerrymandering is a great place to start. Followed up with the true harnessing of Democrats’ potential in rural communities, encouraging the coastal base to be more willing to test Medicare for all, Universal Basic Income, or housing programs would be the steps toward Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy. There is bound to be a perfect combination that rural Democrats can run on encompassing red-for-ed, housing, and internet connectivity that can sweep through some red states, proving again why progressivism is essential to any country.
While I am hopeful, I hear the despair, and the old saying sure rings true this time- “The night is always darkest before the dawn”.