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Democrats’ greatest challenge is their own party

Many a pundit has opined that the greatest challenge the Democrats face is Democrats. Over many decades of observation, I concur. No group is more likely to engage in a circular firing squad than Democrats.

Compare the parties’ approaches and you will quickly see that Republicans are great at unifying their position, even if their positions are as apologists for feces-smearing seditionists, white supremacists, authoritarians, big corporations’ abuses, anti-democratic voting laws, homophobia, the uber-wealthy, the Big Lie, and the unhinged ramblings of a disgraced and felonious Donald Trump.


When a Republican official privately disagrees with one of these positions (which is quite often) they simply go silent, meekly claiming that they lack information to form an opinion. They don’t lack information. They lack courage to speak their minds lest they be black-balled by the GOP club like the honorable Liz Cheney.

Meanwhile, those loose-lipped Democrats who cling to the notion that loyalty to a party does not include giving up one’s conscience, individuality or patriotism, will criticize each other. This tendency is unfortunately present when the complaint is about getting some but not everything a member wants from a piece of legislation. How can Democrats gain the gratitude of the American public when they don’t exhibit it themselves for what is achieved?

While a host of things have passed that benefit America due to the Democratically controlled Congress, amazingly these victories are often lost in the din of Democratic nitpicking. D-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comments following the State of the Union speech sounded like the worst kind of sour grapes, throwing cold water on the President’s comments.

So, let’s review what has happened in the last 15 months, aka the Biden Administration. Through the use of mandates, free testing, free vaccines, public information, and unparalleled support from the Administration, the worst of the pandemic appears to be behind us. Given the number of sick and dead, this achievement in just over a year is worth every laurel.

Finally, the federal government has passed an anti-lynching law, making such hate crimes a federal crime. The law has been 50 years (or more) in the making. Its passage speaks volumes against racism and bigotry of all kinds.

Congress has also re-established the Violence Against Women Act to protect persons from domestic violence. To obtain needed Republican votes, Democrats had to delete a portion which would have kept guns out of the hands of known stalkers and abusers. I will let someone from the polluted NRA explain to their wives and daughters why that was necessary.

The relief bill to bail out a quickly sinking economy due to the pandemic saved millions of households from homelessness, hunger, and unemployment is a signature achievement for Democrats and President Biden. Businesses stopped shuttering and payroll relief saved the income and dignity of millions of Americans.

The Republicans, with Trump at the helm, could not get an infrastructure bill passed despite repeated efforts. The Biden Administration and a Democratic Congress got it done and the benefits of passage will be enjoyed for decades as improved transportation and quality employment flow from that bill.

Meanwhile, Republicans have been focused on (1) increasing voter suppression in efforts to make elections “white only” again; (2) turning citizens into vigilantes to sue persons participating in abortion; (3) whitewashing the January 6th insurrection; (4) improperly attacking Ketanji Brown-Jackson; (5) enacting the Big Lie; (6) rejecting any effort to reasonably regulate gun ownership; and (7) screaming like sissies about mask mandates.

Despite the fair comparison of the parties’ achievements, and not even taking into account President Biden’s stupendous achievement in uniting dozens of countries, the EU and NATO against Russia’s war crimes in the Ukraine, Biden’s approval ratings are under 50%.

How is this possible?

Inflation, in part due to pumping necessary money into American’s pockets in response to the pandemic to save American lives and families, made so much worse by corporate profiteering? The messy withdrawal from Afghanistan? Both came with predictable, high costs, but the costs were far higher in not acting. So with courage and conviction President Biden did what was necessary, leaving others to nitpick and find fault.

It’s easy to complain, criticize, and scoff. Those cost nothing and require zero courage. But for Dems, perhaps that activity should be left to those who think Putin pal, Tucker Carlson, is not one of the most reprehensible racists on the planet. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress and the White House unite in taking your bows! Without them you will not hear the applause of American voters.

Robert Schwaninger lives in Alton and can be reached at rhschwaninger@gmail.com.

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