It’s easy to think of liberal and conservative actions as being wholly separate. After all, how can nice, smart, and humane Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton and even begin to compare to the crude, idiotic, and cruel George W Bush and Donald Trump? But see, that’s an issue of personalities, which is partly why we’re in this clusterf*ck right now. Let’s take a moment to consider their actions.
As Ashon Crawley noted, Betsy Devos is the obvious culmination of the No Child Left Behind culture of not only Republicans, but Democratic Party incrementalism: Privatization and Christian homeschooling couched as “school choice” and presented as anti-racist. As if privatization isn’t destroying public education while enriching the financier class. If liberalism is indeed opposed to conservatism, Obama would have halted, dismantled or at least opposed this privatization and charterization movement, surely. But no, he merely tweaked it in spots and pushed it even further with his Race to the Top program, picking a Secretary of Education in Arne Duncan who had previously worked hard to destroy Chicago’s Public Schools from the inside and then championed the complete privatization of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Look at other broad political issues that materially and massively affect People of Color, women, trans people, People with Disabilities, and the poor: The Prison Industrial Complex, unaccountable and militarized police, ICE, the War on Terror and the Security State, the dismantling of Welfare. Usually, the Democrats merely sought to modify, never to nullify, these movements. Sometimes, as with Clinton and the dismantling of the welfare state and the establishment of the mass incarceration system, they went above and beyond their predecessors. Obama helped to militarize the border and led to the most deportations among presidents.
Currently, we are dealing with language from the president, his cabinet, and members of Congress hinting at or outright calling for genocide in the DPRK/North Korea. Yet, apparently, this is part of a fun American tradition that even Barack Obama has taken a part in.
We have abundant evidence of Democratic collusion with reactionaries and corporatists. If the Democratic Party is to actually be about democracy and people, then it needs to stop idolizing and praising incrementalism. Democrats need to end this moderation policy and take steps to abolishing prisons, to fully strengthen and fund public schools, to grant universal healthcare and a robust public policy that protects and encourages communities of color and eliminates poverty.
Or it can continue these racist, sexist, classist policies in such a way where it can brag about being ‘progressive’ even as it’s doing anything but, giving way to White Supremacist, Patriarchal Capitalism. I mean…