“Democrats like Booker have blamed everyone but themselves for Trump’s victory.”
Corey Booker blamed Black America for Trump’s electoral victory at an event organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. “We did it to ourselves,” cried Booker in his address to a crowd of Wall Street-owned Democrats. The event gathered potential Democratic Party candidates in 2020 to review Trump’s first year as President. Sharpton called attendees such as Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Corey Booker “presidential candidates” who were “testing the temperature” for the next election cycle. For Booker, low-voter turnout among Black Americans in the 2016 campaign gave Trump the Presidency and made it necessary for the Democrats to “test the temperature” from a position of weakness.
Indeed, low-voter turnout was a significant factor in the outcome of the 2016 campaign. Black Americans largely opted out of the false choice between Trump and Clinton. A staggering seven percent fewerBlacks voted in 2016 than in 2012. But when Booker said, “we did it to ourselves,” he didn’t mean the Democratic Party. He meant that Black Americans made the wrong choice to stay home in 2016. Blacks have faced “the darkness” as Democrat Kristie Gillibrand called Trump and must come back under the Democratic Party banner to ensure that “the pendulum” of progress, as Kamala Harris put it, is no longer swinging backward.
“Black Americans are assumed to be either too lazy, ill-informed, or incompetent to make the correct “choice” for who should rule them.”
Blaming Black America for Trump’s victory is a terrible miscalculation on the part of corporate Democrats like Booker. Such a miscalculation has the potential to start a public conversation as to why Blacks decided not to vote in the first place. The neoliberal, anti-Black logic used by Black misleaders like Obama and Booker has rendered US politics a game of individual choice. Black Americans are assumed to be either too lazy, ill-informed, or incompetent to make the correct “choice” for who should rule them.On numerous occasions, the Obama Administration used such Reagan-like language to demean Black fathers and blame the oppressed condition of Blacks in America on Black criminality and cultural backwardness.
Neoliberal logic doesn’t possess the same strength that it possesses in prior election cycles. Politically, the US has entered a new period of crisis, of which Trump is merely a symptom. Popular disillusionment with the Democrats hit a high-point when Bernie Sanders was stripped of any possibility of winning the party nomination by the Clinton machine. Trump rode into the White House on the disillusionment that was harbored by Sanders supporters, many of whom were Black. The 2016 campaign exposed what the Obama Administration’s symbolic presence was able to repress for two terms: that the Democrats were under the complete control of Wall Street and could offer nothing but war and poverty for the masses.
“Booker was young, Black, and he represented the type of political orientation Wall Street desired most.”
Still, Democrats like Booker have blamed everyone but themselves for Trump’s victory. Russia has been deemed the primary accomplice of Trump’s rise to political power. Putin’s trolls “hacked” the election and that’s that. And they used WikiLeaks to do it. These dangerous claims have no proof to back them up, yet this hasn’t mattered at all to Wall Street Democrats. The DNC has taken a lawsuit out against Russia, WikiLeaks, and Trump,ostensibly as a show of legitimacy and strength. What the Democratic Party is incapable of realizing is that the longer it fails to acknowledge its own shortcomings, the weaker and less popular it becomes.
No one should understand this more than Corey Booker. During the Obama era, Corey Booker was vigorously groomed as the next in line by the Democratic Party. Booker was young, Black, and he represented the type of political orientation Wall Street desired most. His political record was also relatively unknown -- that is, until Bernie Sanders decided to run in the 2016 campaign. Sanders became the most popular Democrat among voterseven after Trump’s election. When Sanders put forward a proposal in early January to lessen the cost of prescription drugs through imports from Canada, Booker led the chargeto kill the legislationupon arrival.
“The Democrats were under the complete control of Wall Street and could offer nothing but war and poverty for the masses.”
Booker’s opposition to the Sanders-backed proposal exposed the New Jersey Senator’s long history as a servant of the pharmaceutical monopolies that dominate the US for-profit healthcare system. Stories circulated in the corporate media questioning Booker’s extensive donationsfrom the pharmaceutical industry. As of 2016, the pharmaceutical industry was Booker’s eighth largest donor, topping most Democrats. The Democratic Party immediately went into damage control mode when this information went public, forcing Booker to suspend his Big Pharma funding streams. Association with the for-profit healthcare system had become a political liability ever since it was found that over 80 percent of Democrats support a single-payer healthcare system, a system that most of the Democratic Party opposes.
Black Agenda Report has long known about Booker’s ties to finance capital. It was Black Agenda Report that revealed the New Jersey Senator’s political career to be a product of the Olin, Walton and Bradley fortunes. These billionaire forces of school privatization saw in Booker the perfect candidate to turn Black school districts into sites of profitable business. Booker has not disappointed in this regard. His career highlights include a 100-million-dollar gift from Facebook in exchange for giving the giant tech corporation full access to conduct privatization experiments on Newark schools. Whether it has been his donations from Big Pharma, the pro-Israel lobby, or his propensity to cast cops in a positive light, Booker has never failed in his political serviceto the US ruling class.
“Eighty percent of Democrats support a single-payer healthcare system, a system that most of the Democratic Party opposes.”
It is unclear, however, whether Booker will recover the public relations image necessary to become a viable candidate in the 2020 elections or any Presidential election thereafter. Booker has made many public appearances since Trump was elected condemning the orange billionaire and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions as bigots and racists. While Booker isn’t wrong about Sessions or Trump, his opposition to the Trump Administration ultimately rings hollow. It is one thing to oppose the orange billionaire’s racist machinations but another thing all together to publicly condemn him out of the need to prove that your form of corporate rule is preferable to his. After all, opposition to “bigotry” means little when pro-Israeli, pro-police, and pro-charter school operatives like Corey Booker form its core leadership.
Booker and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party make up nearly the entire skeleton of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Sanders supporters should expect a neutered, anti-Russian hysteric in the 2020 elections should Bernie Sanders be allowed to run. The Democratic Party is incapable of coming forward with a legitimate program for poor, working class, and oppressed people.Loyal corporate stooges like Corey Booker have run a campaign of shame and blame in the hopes that Trump’s lack of “fitness” for office will bring about a Democratic Party revival in Congress and the Presidency by 2020 without the added trouble of having to appeal to ordinary people of any persuasion. As limited as Bernie Sanders was during the 2016, his social democratic political orientation has even less room to operate now than it did in the prior Presidential election.
“Opposition to ‘bigotry’ means little when pro-Israeli, pro-police, and pro-charter school operatives like Corey Booker form its core leadership.”
So Democrats will continue to blame US imperialism’s ills on Russia, WikiLeaks, Black America, the left, or some combination of the four whether they reclaim a majority in Washington or not. The party of Barack Obama, and Corey Booker have come to realize that charm, charisma, and the presence of Black politicians is no longer enough to secure legitimacy with its constituents. Trump was an unwelcome accident for the White Man’s Republican Party, but an accident the Republicans have no choice but to live with. The Democratic Party thus finds itself in a political situation not comparable to any other in history. US empire is in a steep decline and the party Wall Street and the Pentagon sees as most fit to ensure imperial stability has lost legitimacy with its base.
A radical and dare I say revolutionary “left” would see this is an opportunity to strike the empire while it is divided and weakened by political and economic crisis. But such a “left” doesn’t exist at this current historical juncture. Most who call themselves leftists are too occupied and scared of Trump’s bigotry to mount a sufficient opposition to the entire state apparatus. These leftists have become satisfied with “anti-Trump resistance” while consciously or unconsciously ignoring the crisis at hand. Perhaps nothing embodies this crisis more than Corey Booker specifically and the bankrupt corporate Democrats in general. So, let the Democrats blame us for their bankruptcy. When we begin to mount an actual left-wing opposition, they will have much more to worry about than who and what to make a scapegoat for their failures.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He is currently writing a book with Roberto Sirvent entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: Essays on Race, Empire, and Historical Memory. He can be reached at [email protected]