The Pursuit of Happiness

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Democrats have more to worry about than Donald Trump. For one thing, they should worry if Americans still value truth telling. The answer is more complicated than it seems. For example, Jimmy Carter always told the truth and Americans couldn’t wait to get rid of him. Conversely, Donald Trump never tells the truth and plenty of Americans – 81% of Republicans – are just fine with it. As a matter of fact, American Evangelicals love him most of all and are probably digging up Bible verses as we speak to show that Jesus is cool with lies. As I said, it’s complicated.

The good news for Democrats is that President Trump is deeply unpopular with everyone else. The bad news is that Trump’s more popular than they are. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 28% of Americans believe that the Democratic Party is “in touch with the concerns of most people in the United States.”

It is frankly unknown if the truth matters to voters anymore, but if it’s important to Democrats they can start with themselves. First off, they need to admit that Democrats made Ronald Reagan’s supply side dreams come true by opening up all public purpose services – the military, the post office, education, healthcare, our penal system, university research, etc. – for privatization and commercialization. During the Clinton administration Democrats restructured government to operate “like a business” and created fake economies of scale by selling – outsourcing – public responsibilities to the lowest bidders. Eat at a National Parks’ restaurant these days and you’ll be served by a nice kid from Romania who’s “visiting America.” That’s because he’s cheaper for corporate “providers” to use instead of the local resident who used to do the job as a Parks’ employee. The kid who grew up in the army as a cook’s helper has been replaced by Halliburton managed contract labor from the Philippines. And the beat goes on.

Democrats once believed that government created pathways to economic security and the middle class – because it worked. Democrats should tell that truth again whether voters want to hear it or not. And all politicians, especially Democrats, need to stop treating “the business of government” as their private cash cow.       

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