LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Democrats: It is time for us to grow a backbone

I cried. I know many people did, so I’m not ashamed to admit it at this point. I started out simply scared, clutching my phone with white knuckles as I frantically refreshed Fivethirtyeight.com. The predictions coming in were increasingly bad for us Democrats, and I started cursing out Nate Silver and lamenting each state that turned red. I thought this might happen — I’d feared that they had underestimated the white working class vote — but my suspicions were confirmed as that nightmarish red bled across the electoral map.

I still didn’t cry at that point. But then, I thought of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton, a dedicated public servant who had sacrificed 30 years of her life for public service; Hillary Clinton, who was forced to sand off any offending quirks in her personality to appease the American voter — and then was told she was too “robotic”; Hillary Clinton, who had worked so hard for the United States and then had to sit there as she was told that America had preferred a virulently xenophobic tangerine moron to her. Then, I cried — out of anger, out of a profound sense of loss.

Except the truth is that most of that America did not prefer a screaming misogynist yam. Instead, the white working class in a few key swing states, after decades of shooting themselves in the foot by voting for the Republican Party, decided to do it one more time. Once everything is counted, Clinton is expected to win the popular vote by a sizeable margin — but thanks to the Electoral College, we end up with a silenced majority and a fascist Home Depot bucket sitting in the Oval Office.

To make a gross understatement, we lost. We don’t have a lot of options left to us: we have lost the House of Representatives, and we’re two or three seats away from Senate control. All that’s left now is the filibuster, which is not as comforting as it seems. And so, we find ourselves asking how we got here.

Think pieces will pick over the carcass of the campaign in the coming months, but they’re not entirely relevant now. We Democrats have some serious systemic issues that we have yet to resolve, and which would have continued regardless of a Hillary Clinton presidency. So here we are: ruled by quite possibly a madman, who pursues Vladimir Putin’s affection like a lovestruck schoolgirl, and a Congress that will blindly rubber-stamp his every notion. It is in a system like this that we will face our greatest challenge: we will have to learn to have backbone.

Democrats have become a party of compromise, a party of bowing to Republican pressure. We’ve refused to stand our ground, gutting vital pieces of legislation such as the Affordable Care Act, and letting the Republican Party run roughshod over our government. We’ve allowed them to be obstructionist and demanding, and we’ve suffered. This defeat is a culmination of that: not pushing our social programs, not defending unions, ignoring immigration reform. All of these hurt us, and may continue to hurt us unless we show some integrity.

The stakes are much higher here: women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants, journalists even — all of these people stand to get crushed under Trump’s ill-fitting boot. We have to encourage our lawmakers to fight back and stand tall against Trump’s fascist disregard for our Constitution and our values. We have to hold the upcoming administration accountable, and we have to stop the media from normalizing this deplorable melted marshmallow.

Standing up for our ideals will be our survival tactic for the time being. We can’t afford to take a “wait and see” approach here, and we can’t afford an extended grieving period for our nation.

Don’t get sad. Get mad. And we’ll see what changes come in 2018.

Noah Suárez-Sikes

B.A. History ’19

2 replies
  1. Carolyn Webb
    Carolyn Webb says:

    In 2008 I worked with millions of other democrats to help get Pres. Obama elected and to help him win majorities in both house and senate as well as helping the democrat party win as many state governor seats as posdible so we could take our country back from 12 years of REAGAN-BUSH and another 8 years of BUSH-CHENEY extreme right wing abuse and damage to the economy and the shipping of Anerican working class jobs to 3rd world countries!

    We won big in November 2008 and I was hoping that the American people would be smart enough to never again let CON MEN FASCIST extreme right wing people like REAGAN and BOTH BUSHES and their whole now FASCIST Republican Party ever hijack this country again! I WAS WRONG!

    In August of 2008, the republicans unleashed a vicious army of brutally RACIST TEA PARTY FOOT SOLDIERS who ran wild all over America, maliciously smashing up and destroying every single town hall meeting that President Obama set up all over this country to explain his healthcare agenda to the public. When that happened I BEGGED the democrats to grow a backbone and fight back against the damn Tea Baggers because failure to do so would destroy everything we worked so hard for, a new government with a better future for the millions of us who are NOT filthy rich! Money for affordable healthcare, affordable housing and education and the return of manufacturing jobs and union benefits to THIS country!

    But all I ever got from the DNC was a single e-mail telling me that the Tea Party Republicans were nothing more than a nasty little bunch of HARMLESS crackpots who would surely go away if we “Good” Democrats just IGNORED them! WRONG!

    Bullies must be fought back against or else they will become even more harmful and just as I feared, the tea party bullies used their SCOTUS majority to ram Citizens United down our throats as well as getting the five horrible men on the Supreme Court to destroy the voter protection law of 1964.

    Again I begged the democrats to fight back. I warned them that failure to do so would cause the House and Senate majorities to be lost!

    They did NOT fight back! Yet they kept sending me emails and letters requesting donations from me to KEEP THE HOUSE AND SENATE BLUE. I sent them back letters and emails telling them that if they wanted donations from me they had better grow a backbone and fight back instead of shamefully allowing the republican Bullies to stomp all over them!

    They did NOT fight back so I refused to give them even one penny!

    Just as I feared the democrats not only shamefully LOST both house and senate in 2010 and 2014 because their base voters, the real progressive people just HATE COWARDS who shamefully allow republican bullies to stomp all over them and they will NOT come out on election day to vote for COWARDS! The result is LOW VOTER Turnout which is all the republican bullies need to seize power!

    They still don’t get it!

    The loss of the senate has had terrible consequences now for every single democratic PERSON in this country! It has enabled MITCH McCONNELL, a horrible man just as bad as DONALD TRUMP to DESTROY President Obama’s constitutional right to have his nominated man, a decent judge, MERRICK GARLAND given a fair hearing and probable confirmation to the Supreme Court! Now that TRUMP the FASCIST has seized power the supreme court will get a horrible religious fanatic added to it who WILL see to it that BOTH planned parenthood and LEGAL safe abortions are destroyed and the only birth control that women in this country will have is COAT HANGER ABORTIONS!

    Evil flourishes because good people turn COWARDLY instead of fighting back!

    And the democrats should have also realized that in today’s political atmosphere which is hostile to progressive people that the playing field between democrat and republican candidates, especially in presidential races is NOT FAIR AND EQUAL like it was in the days BEFORE REAGAN.

    Republican candidates can be as malicious and despicable and corrupt as they like and even he guilty of committing all kinds of horrible crimes and still WIN ELECTIONS!

    But if a democrat candidate has even the ghost of a minor scandal connected to him or her they get full blown Viciosly DEMONIZED and CRUCIFIED by the news media even when what they are accused of are LIES

    Because they don’t seem to know how to properly fight back!

    Democrats can only win when they nominate candidates who are SCANDAL FREE and have a high popularity rating among both progressives as well as centrist democrats and independent voters! Barack Obama had those qualities

    Bernie sanders had those qualities and could have won

    Hillary Clinton was well qualified to be president but could NOT get rid of the BENGHAZI or the email scandals and she did NOT have the necessary high
    Popularity rating that Bernie Sanders has! She could NOT win in today’s FASCIST POISON ATMOSPHERE!

    And now thanks to both the horrible Christo-Fascist corporate greedy re-THUG-Lican hijacking of this country all over again I AM sorry to have to say this but I am absolutely sure that FASCIST DONALD TRUMP and the whole brown shirted THUG FASCIST Republican Party in the house, senate and SCOTUS definitely WILL VERY SOON TURN AMERICA into the same nightmare GERMANY was in 1933-1945 because the “Democrats” turned COWARDLY instead of FIGHTING BACK against the Neo-Nazi Republicans when they should have,’BACK in AUGUST of 2009.

    Now it’s TOO LATE

  2. Roger Jones
    Roger Jones says:

    You discussed nothing about the many issues within the democratic party and essentially used this to bash trump.

    Grow a backbone and look in the mirror

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