“Nothing Would Fundamentally Change”

W.J. Astore

“Nothing would fundamentally change” when he’s elected. Promise kept.

Joe Biden is keeping one campaign promise: that nothing would fundamentally change in his administration. So, for example, Americans are not getting single-payer (and much more affordable) health care for all. (Biden, one must admit, promised nothing more than Obamacare with perhaps more funding for those struggling to afford it.) American workers are not getting a $15 minimum wage, despite Biden’s (broken) promise of supporting the same. And Biden is not cutting defense spending — at all. Instead, the Pentagon budget is to be “flatlined” at the near-record high levels reached under the Trump administration. So much for forcing the military to cut wonky wasteful weapons. It’s business as usual at the Pentagon, with an emphasis on business and profit at the expense of the American taxpayer.

What is to be done? Many Democrats argue that Joe Biden has to be the sensible centrist, constrained as he allegedly is by conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin. But of course Joe Biden himself is a conservative pro-business president who sees Manchin as a sympathetic senator and supporter. Meanwhile, Republicans, still in thrall to Trump, refuse to play along with bipartisan malarkey, except when it comes to maintaining massive military budgets. Again, under these conditions, nothing will fundamentally change.

The American people want affordable health care and support a single-payer system run by the federal government. They also support a $15 minimum wage for full-time workers. They’re getting neither. And this is by design. Not to rehash the 2020 Democratic primaries, but Joe Biden didn’t win by appealing to voters; he won because party heavyweights like Obama threw their support to him. Biden didn’t win the nomination; it was handed to him. Because the owners and donors know Joe, and they know Joe hasn’t a liberal bone in his body, let alone a progressive one. The same is true of Kamala Harris, his vice president, a thoroughly conventional and predictable conservative.

As my Uncle Gino would have said, Biden and Harris are spineless jellyfish. (No offense to jellyfish.) They float around in the swamp of DC assuming any shape and form they need to take to conform to the pressures and interests around them. And their lack of spine leaves open the possibility of Trump or some other wannabe demagogue emerging in 2024. Because more than a few people prefer an incompetent ass like Trump to insincere hacks like Biden and Harris, if only because Trump shows some spine, even if his policies are often even worse for America than those of the spineless Democrats.

Democracy, real democracy, isn’t about a “choice” between two parties, each of which refuses to listen to workers or to serve the interests of sanity and peace. Americans need real choice, including a party that would truly fight for health care for all, truly fight for a $15 minimum wage, and truly fight for peace and against colossal military spending. Only then will America have a semblance of real democracy. Right now, we have a sham democracy, a sham that is well on its way to leaving most of America in shambles.

17 thoughts on ““Nothing Would Fundamentally Change”

  1. I don’t think we’ll have to wait for 2024 to see T***p redux. The way it’s going, the Dems will get clobbered next year. Unless they do a 180 and seriously up their game , they’re going to lose the Senate and maybe the House during the mid-terms.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fearful,Feeble, Frightened, Gutless, impotent, inadequate, ineffective, ineffectual, weak, invertebrate, amoeba-like, irresolute, lily-livered , weak-kneed, yellow-bellied, squeamish, and vacillating. The thesaurus said so….
    Not much of a return for your labor and tax dollars. So much less than impressive….


  3. may i object to your referring to one of our most distinguished and pluripotent invertebrates in a pejorative aspect? jellies are scyphozoans, not fish of course [fish are vertebrates w/ indurated backbones]. our jellies should not be villified given that their very fungibility is one of the most successful traits evolutionary dynamics has managed to engineer… w/ the concomitant aid and micro-inputs of our prokaryote architects. the dems should be honoured by the comparison to our ‘incomparable’ jellies!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw where Nancy P. & Chuck S. were celebrating passage of a form of Covid relief package. Like a couple of cheerleaders at a Junior Varsity basketball game, my take is that they see it as a big “win” for the Democrats – after 4 years of getting their butts kicked. It certainly wasn’t a win for the American people (which I’m guessing the Dems are hoping the proles won’t notice in the afterglow of receiving that $1,400 check) . I’m sure they can rationalize it and may already have. But they remain gutless, self-serving and intellectually bankrupt, without a reliable “base” of voters and in two years they’ll get their butts kicked in the mid-term elections after which they can go back to being “the loyal opposition” and blame “the voters” for not doing their job, which is to keep Democrats – the party of the people, after all – in office.
    No, I’m not in a good mood this afternoon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My question is, are the rank-and-file elected Dems really that blind and/or stupid that they don’t understand why they get their butts kicked in the mid-terms, as happened in 2010? Are they so deluded by the DNC that they actually believe they effect positive change, and the problem is that the voters are simply ungrateful or disloyal, or….? In short, are they truly caught up in their party’s hype, or do they see clearly? And which would be worse?


      1. We the people are constantly misled and smacked down. Biden is the result of a rigged and dishonest process. So too is Kamala Harris, a Hillary acolyte who has no principles. But Dems are told to support her since she’s a “diverse” woman of color. So our likely choice in 2024 is Harris versus Trump, which really should make us all weep.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree with your assessment, Professor, but I’m wondering about elected representatives who are below Nancy and Chuck on the totem pole. I guess my question is a rhetorical one, regarding the toeing of the party line—ideological, or cynical and opportunistic? Surely, the majority of Dems can’t be oblivious enough to NOT get what their party is doing…


  5. From Caitlin Johnstone:

    There’s a large faction of self-identified leftists who insist that the only path toward progress in the US is to continue slowly turning the Democratic Party into a leftist party. This is pushing on a fake fire exit painted on the wall in a burning building. That door will never open. This faction is joined by another functionally identical faction which in theory advocates voting Democrat to minimize damage while undertaking direct action to push real change, but in practice only ever does the voting Democrat part.

    Continuing to advocate pushing on the fake fire exit door is guaranteeing that you’ll never escape from the burning building. There are other escape routes, they’re just harder than pretending you can use a counter-revolutionary party to advance revolutionary agendas.

    “Using the Democratic Party is the easiest way to effect real change” is like the old joke about the man searching for his lost keys under the streetlight, then when asked if that’s where he actually lost his keys replies “No, but this is where the light is”. It seems like the easiest solution, but there are no actual solutions in that easiness.

    Corporate Democrats are not freakish aberrations in the party, they are the party. An entire global empire is built on their continuing to do what they do, with a proportionate amount of power going into keeping that happening. The few progressives in the Democratic Party are just garnish on a turd.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Noam Chomsky said something to the effect that power maintains itself by limiting the range of what is allowed, limiting the discourse, and then exaggerating that limited range to make it appear as the full spectrum of possibility.

    My analogy: make it impossible for prisoners to escape the prison then encourage them to freely discuss in any depth, at any length and down to any detail what can be done to make things better in the prison exercise yard.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Tom Engelhardt posts many of my Bracing Views pieces at TomDispatch Facebook, and I’m always fascinated by the comments. One person suggested I’m on the far right — by attacking Biden from the left!
    It does surprise me how people are so willing to defend Biden, as if he’s too weak to fight and get a higher minimum wage.  We know from his record that Biden has rarely fought for workers.  He’s been corporate Joe forever.

    Anyhow, if you do Facebook, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/tomdispatch

    And then scroll down. Another point: So many Americans expect very little from their government. And when you have low expectations, and you make few if any demands, is it any wonder we get so little?

    What speaks in American politics is money and votes. If you don’t have lots of money and can’t deliver (or deny) lots of votes, politicians don’t listen to you. And that’s a sham democracy.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The thesaurus that spoke at the top of the page says “press replay “
        I will add ….
        “ bought and paid for at humanities expense, in so many despicable ways”
        Ye gods, indeed!!!! Freaked me out for sure.

        Liked by 2 people

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