The election of Republican Scott Brown to the US Senate is the first real indicator that sections of a longstanding liberal electorate have lost belief in the Democratic Party's version of "hope" and "change" and instead need concrete solutions to the real problems of joblessness, healthcare and home foreclosures (Feature, Socialist Review, January 2010).
The Republican victory, in the longstanding Democratic state of Massachusetts, held for almost half a century by Ted Kennedy, has the White House and Democratic Party leaders scrambling on key issues such as healthcare, clean energy and banking regulations.
Relying on facile political maths rather than solutions to the real issues, the Democrats are shocked to find themselves with no real footing on major issues after this single loss. Believing only the powerful and wealthy are able to enact change, the Democratic Party machine is not planning to gear up real support from voters across the nation who have overwhelmingly indicated their desire for true healthcare reform. We instead see ourselves being prepared for capitulation.
In a recent interview, Barack Obama cautioned, "I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on."
The "people" referred to by the president do not include the millions of working people who voted for him, but the country's Republican elite. The watered-down version of the healthcare package no longer includes, among other core goals, universal coverage.
And anyway, following a pattern that the Democrats have never been able to pick up, Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell showed no willingness to collaborate with the Democrats and show "bi-partisan support". In fact the only area of policy that McConnell praised was Obama's strategy in Afghanistan.
Until elected leaders begin to put their faith in the people to actually get things done, rather than the handful of competitors on the other side of the aisle, true reform will be held back. Independent people's movements must keep forging ahead to bring the change that was once promised.
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