March 23, 2017

MALPASS | Toeing the Party Line

Print More

It’s not hard to find ways in which the Trump presidency is challenging the notion of a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Only a few months into the presidency and already the Affordable Care Act is on the chopping block, the Spanish version of the White House website along with pages devoted to LGBTQ+ rights and climate change (Chinese hoaxes, right?) have  been removed,  and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is alleged to be yet another part of the Trump team with Russian ties. Meanwhile, Melania Trump has been dragging her designer shoe-clad feet wasting taxpayer dollars simply because she doesn’t want to live in the White House.

But of course, let’s give credit where credit is due. The Republican Party in Congress has been instrumental in supporting Trump’s backward policies. They are the ones who voted to confirm Betsy Devos, a woman with no relevant experience in the field, as Secretary of Education. They are the ones who confirmed Scott Pruitt, a man who believes carbon dioxide is not really a factor in global warming (a statement the directly goes against all scientific evidence we possess) as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. And they are the ones who voted to confirm Jeff Sessions as attorney general, the same senator who was quoted as saying, jokingly or not, “I thought those guys were OK until I learned they smoke pot,” when questioned about none other than America’s most notorious hate/terrorist group: the Ku Klux Klan. These are the people who the Republican senators decided were top notch picks to lead the country.

 

It has certainly given the Democrats plenty of talking points, and they are very quick to point out how different they are from the GOP. Democrats love to position themselves as the champions of the downtrodden Yes, when it comes to social reform the Democrats tend to have a better track record than Republicans; women’s reproductive rights and environmental reform are at least platforms, but how much better will they do? Because while the Democrats have made strides in social reform (something that should never be trivialized), they have failed the working class.

 

Look how the Democrats handled the past election. Ever since Obama was elected president, they have been pushing the same Hillary 2016 agenda. There was never any choice in the matter, after Obama we were to have Clinton. End of discussion. The DNC actively worked against the Sanders campaign when he threatened to take away the nomination from Clinton and promote actual progressivism to the party. Moreover, Clinton, along with countless other democrats, claimed to support the downtrodden working class, but failed to actually address the concerns of rural American and continued to accept massive donations and speaking fees from Wall Street. The activities of the DNC demonstrate that the party is not interested in enacting any meaningful reform, only holding onto power.

Which is why, more than ever, we need to work to dismantle the two-party political system, because it is strangling our democracy. The GOP has shown that it is all too happy to go along with Trump and the alt right, while the Democrats continue to cling on to their own faux progressivism. Neither parties are enough to help the country’s 99 percent. Trump is a reaction to Obama, who was a reaction to Bush, who was a reaction to Clinton. I have no doubt that a Democrat will be next after Trump, but as long as there is the Democrat/Republican gridlock in Congress, nothing will get done.
So I urge you, if you’re affiliated with either the Democrats or Republicans and have been disappointed with them, drop the party and register with another one. It doesn’t matter with whom, so long as it is someone different. If you’re liberal, there’s absolutely no reason not to. In past years, the argument about the political dangers of splitting the party may have been valid, but what’s the point now? Breitbart is already in the White House, and the Democrats have failed to stop it. So, liberals can either keep supporting a party that failed to beat a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, or they can find an alternative that actually appeals to rural voters.

 

Soren Malpass is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at smalpass@cornellsun.com. Sorenity Now runs every other Thursday this semester.