Commentary: It’s time for the Democratic Party to wake up
Lauren V. Burke
Photo by Glenn Fawcett/Wikimedia Commons
Everyone appears to have figured out that a dangerous, stupid fascist with no knowledge of how the federal government works is now the President of the United States.
Everyone, that is, except members of the Democratic Party, now serving in the 115th Congress.
You have to wonder how many dangerously incompetent, racist and blindly ideological decisions the executive branch have to make before the Democrats in the United States Congress, who are supposedly in the opposition party, wake up. What is the strategy? What is the plan? Trump’s careless staff couldn’t even spell the name of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom correctly on a press release. What makes anyone think they’ll be more detailed on other initiatives they plan such as an “investigation of voting fraud” or the selection of the next United States Supreme Court Justice?
Be certain to take note of the Democrats who vote in favor of Trump’s Cabinet nominees for Treasury, Education, Labor and Health and Human Services. If Democrats support Steve Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, Andrew Puzder and Rep. Tom Price, there is no resistance movement in the Democratic Party in Congress.
Senate Democrats have unified against exactly zero of Trump’s Cabinet nominees. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who is allegedly a progressive leader, voted in favor of Dr. Ben Carson to lead a department he has no qualifications to run. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who has great Instagram posts of food, voted with Republicans to raise prescription drug prices.
Senators who have no re-election fears whatsoever in 2018 are lying down and showing no signs of resisting Trump when the easiest show of resistance is a simple “thumbs down” on the Senate floor.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who took over as Democratic Leader from retired Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), so far, has decided to vote in favor of almost all of Trump’s nominees. What makes this even more confusing is that the messaging of Democratic leaders is the opposite of the action. The Democratic Party is at its lowest point in four decades in terms of seats held in the U.S. House of Representatives, governors’ houses and seats in state legislatures. With Trump’s arrival and no strategy to be seen, there has never been a better argument for younger and newer leadership.
The decision between Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez for Democratic National Committee Chair will be a crucial benchmark for the party.
Over a million people took to the streets to participate in marches around the world the day after Trump’s inauguration, which drew far lower numbers than President Obama’s historic inauguration in 2009. There were protests in the streets of Washington on inauguration day. Thousands figured out there needed to be resistance to Trump before he took office, but Democrats standing on the floor of the U.S. Senate and House remain asleep.
The last weekend in January, Trump signed an executive order that blocked entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and barred Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. indefinitely. The order also blocked entry to anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen— all Muslim majority countries. After confusion and protest at several major airports across the U.S., federal Judge Ann Donnelly granted a temporary stay so those in transit taken into custody could continue their travels. Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership.