In so many critical arenas where Democrats were declared the “lesser evil”, such claims no longer pass the laugh test. This is not to say Republicans are better, but rather that both corporate parties are unacceptable, as they are each driving the existential crises we’re facing—from endless war to crushing inequality, climate collapse and the assault on democracy. So we urgently need political alternatives not serving oligarchy, empire, predatory capitalism or whatever you’d like to call it!
Here are a few of the glaring Democratic policy debacles that have made the “lesser evil” obsolete, and which compel our fight for independent politics.
As you probably know, we’re closer than ever to the nuclear brink, thanks to bipartisan militarism, in which Democrats are leading the charge in not one but two deadly cold wars. Consequently, the doomsday clock of the Bulletin of Nuclear Scientists is now a mere 90 seconds before midnight. President Biden’s proposed budget released last week escalates Pentagon spending to unprecedented extremes putting an astounding 2/3rds of discretionary spending into wars abroad and wars at home.(1) Never mind that the Pentagon has failed five consecutive audits,(2) or that additional vast quantities of Ukraine military aid are flowing not to the front lines but to the black market. A CBS documentary, for example, estimated a mere 30% of the military aid is reaching its intended destination. While this was taken down from the internet after prompting outrage from the Ukrainian government,(3) another source reported to CNN that the US has “almost zero” ability to track its military aid, which essentially “drops into a big black hole”.(4)
In a hearing reminiscent of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, Democrats led jaw-dropping personal attacks on journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger for revealing censorship and disinformation routinely practiced by Twitter. The publication of these Twitter files underscores not only the war on press freedom taking place within social media, but also the collaboration of Twitter with security agencies and political elites in the cause of blacklisting, cancel culture and outright information warfare against the American people. While these themes are not new to observers of the media landscape, the fury of the Democrats’ effort to discredit and censor their critics should destroy any illusion that the Democrats are defending our first amendment rights.(5)
Meanwhile the longstanding, bipartisan war on working people is playing out in East Palestine, Ohio. The dire health and financial consequences of the Norfolk Southern derailment to the residents of East Palestine is a direct result of regulatory inaction and backpedaling on safer braking systems. The line of responsibility stretched from Obama, who failed to fully implement the braking upgrade(6) to Trump who repealed Obama’s partial measures, to Biden who failed to reverse Trump’s dangerous deregulation. In addition, the recent bipartisan assault on the rail workers, while not directly related to the East Palestine disaster, put rail workers in grave jeopardy by denying their right to strike—their only means of compelling health and safety safeguards. In particular, the rail workers need protection against the inhumane “precision scheduling” that leaves workers exhausted, stressed and vulnerable to dangerous working conditions.
Finally, war in Ukraine—led by the Democratic Biden administration—has deadly consequences for the climate as well as for peace and security. The fossil fuel shortages, resulting from war and sanctions against Russia, are driving huge inflation of energy and electricity costs in Europe and the US. This has been used to justify a massive expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and has provided a field day for fossil fuel profiteers. The sabotage of the Nord Stream Pipeline—linked to the Biden administration by circumstantial evidence (“We will put an end to it”), as well as the Hersh investigation—was in itself the largest known man-made release of the greenhouse gas, methane, which is 80 times more destructive to the climate than carbon dioxide. In addition, global divisions over the war have destroyed international cooperation essential for progress on emissions reductions. Previously on track for a 50% decline in fossil fuel emissions by 2030, the world is now headed for a devastating 11% increase by the end of this decade(7).
Compounding the climate crisis, President Biden has approved the $8 billion dollar Alaskan oil-drilling Willow Project(8) that will degrade the largest expanse of pristine wilderness in the United States by extracting 2 million cars worth of greenhouse gas pollution each year. This adds to the destruction from Biden opening millions of acres of public lands each year for drilling auctions, as required in the Inflation Reduction Act before any public land can be used for renewable energy projects.(9) Altogether, Biden has made a mockery of his campaign promise of “no more drilling on federal lands, period.”
For all these reasons, it’s clearer than ever the Democrats can no longer claim the mantle of “lesser evil.” To the contrary, they are leading the charge on the existential crises threatening the health and survival of people, planet, peace and democracy. We urgently need independent political voices, not controlled by either corporate party, to challenge this accelerating drift toward catastrophe.
(8) 2023.03.10 https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/10/climate/biden-willow-oil-alaska.html