“What Happens Next?” by Ralph Remington

What happens next? What happens if Senator Barack Obama wins most of the elected delegates, most of the states and most of the popular votes but is denied the Democratic nomination because Senator Hillary Clinton wins on superdelegates? I say that it’s then time for all progressives, liberals and African-Americans everywhere to consider leaving the Democratic Party.

We’ve changed party affiliations before. The Republican Party was “the Party of Lincoln” and hence enjoyed the support of the majority of African-American voters.

Then the Party morphed into an association for the rich, ushering in “The Gilded Age”.

African-Americans then bolted the Republican Party for the Democratic Party when FDR and his wife welcomed us with open arms and progressive policy proposals. Since then, the Democratic Party has enjoyed the black vote and immensely taken it for granted.

The Democratic Party has, at times, seemed just as interested in maintaining the corporatocracy and the status quo as the Republican Party. They give lip service to promoting Affirmative Action policies in their platforms and platitudes, promising to promote and support more candidates of color and grassroots populists but in the final analysis tend to go with “the old boy” way of doing things. The Democratic leadership in recent years seemed to be in competition with Republicans to discover who could be the most palatable conservative. Remember, it was the Democrats who capitulated to the southern wing of the Party during the Truman era and voted down single payer universal health care because “the Dixiecrats” didn’t want to share a hospital with black folks. African-Americans were largely among the disenfranchised when Florida was stolen in 2000 and the Democrats rolled over like trash talkin’ punks. The Boondocks cartoonist Aaron Magruder said it best, “The Democrats are punks and the Republicans are gangsters”. Where was the outrage in 2000? Why weren’t we in the streets all across America? Why did we let this idiot named Bush steal an election right out from under us?

And then we come to the Clintons. President Bill Clinton, while being the best President in my adult lifetime, was still a Republican in sheep’s clothing. Let’s interrogate the record. When Bill Clinton changed “welfare as we know it”, he threw more single African-American and white women with children into poverty than any president in the history of the modern era. “Don’t ask don’t tell”, was a bigoted, homophobic travesty. He fired U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, a black woman, after being pressured by Republicans because she spoke positively about masturbation. He withdrew black candidate Lani Guiniers’ name for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights after Republican pressure as well. He turned back multitudes of Haitian refugees. It seemed that Bill Clinton just couldn’t understand why Repubs didn’t love him and he was going to keep trying things until they did. But they were never going to love him.

Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” tells us that Clinton ignored the genocide of millions of Africans in Rwanda, literally turning a blind eye to black men, women and children being butchered. The richest 1 percent of the country had gained over $1 trillion in the 80’s and 90’s as a result of tax breaks. Military intervention was a first resort, as witnessed in Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq, etc. Instead of offering contracts to military contractors, Clinton could’ve offered them to non-profits and profits to rebuild our infrastructure and clean up the environment while promoting the arts and sciences. Think Franklin Roosevelt and the WPA.

While all of this was going on, our cities and urban centers were festering with an undereducated, underemployed, drug addled and ridiculously armed civilian population. The black infant mortality rate was higher than ever and 1 in every 4 black males was a product of the criminal justice system. Clinton’s solution was to build more prisons and execute more criminals. By the end of this administration, the United States had more of its population in prison per capita than any other country in the world.

Clinton supported a draconian immigrant policy that allowed deportation of any immigrant ever convicted of a crime, no matter how long ago or how serious. Lawful permanent residents who had married Americans and had children were not exempt.

All of this to say, why on Earth, if Hillary Clinton doesn’t measure up, would Democrats select her as our nominee? Especially since the foundation of her “street cred” lies in her marriage and apprenticeship to Bill Clinton and his administration. It now appears that Hillary may even be trying to seat Michigan and Florida delegates at the convention after agreeing earlier with the other Democratic candidates to ignore those races.

So here’s what I intend to do. If this election is given to Hillary Clinton even if Barack outscores her in every measurable capacity, I may leave the Democratic Party. Because what good is it? The Democrats take African-American and all progressive votes for granted. It’s as if they say, “Where else are you gonna go?”

Don’t get me wrong. If Hillary Clinton earns the nomination I will be proud and loud in my support of her. God knows, she will be a far better improvement over what we’ve had to endure the past 8 years, or the current alternative, in “100 years war” McCain.

I love the Democratic Party but sometimes I wonder if they love me. If this election is stolen by a backroom deal, I think that concerned citizens should seriously examine the formation of a Progressive Party. Because if the Democrats give the nomination to an undeserving Hillary Clinton, after rolling over to Republicans during the Clinton years and giving the election to George W. Bush in 2000, without so much as a fight, what good are they? What good are they indeed?!

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