The 2020 U.S. general election has come and gone, and while Joe Biden has won the presidential race, the “blue wave” that Democrats were expecting in the Senate and House of Representatives doesn’t seem to have materialized. On this week’s installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” former congress member and 53rd mayor of Cleveland Dennis Kucinich joins Robert Scheer to discuss the election results and the future of the Democratic Party. The lifelong progressive, whose new book, The Division of Light and Power, is forthcoming, explains what he witnessed happening over his past several decades in politics and why he thinks Donald Trump won Ohio, a state that voted twice for Barack Obama.
“We have to analyze the election on one level, which is economic--the impact of trade policies,” says Kucinich. “And beyond that, the fact that when there was this bailout on Wall Street in 2008, 2009 after the subprime meltdown, there are parts of Cleveland that never recovered from that period. There were thousands and thousands of homes that were lost; there were people who have very bitter memories of that period, and they don't feel that the Democratic Party was representing them.
“So that's what accounts for this difference in the vote that President Obama received in 2008 and then again in '12 [and] the strength that President Trump had among working-class Democrats, many of whom switched parties,” Kucinich said. “These are part of my own constituents, so you know, as a Democrat I look at that and I say, ‘Whoa! Somebody better start paying attention to this.’”
While Kucinich is critical of the Democratic Party, which he says was behind the re-districting that led to his losing his congressional seat, the Democrat believes in the need for the country to look forward to the Biden Administration with hopes that the president-elect will recognize how the betrayal of working class Americans spells disaster for the future of the nation. One of the main policies the progressive believes could create a radical shift in American politics is one that he campaigned for throughout his career in one form or another: Medicare for All.
“In this election, Joe Biden did say that he would come out for a public option [for healthcare],” says Kucinich. “Let's see if that happens. If he does, that's progress. But I think that the Democratic Party could rebuild the party by taking a strong stand on Medicare for All. After all, we're in a pandemic! If you can't stand for Medicare for All in the middle of a pandemic, when in the world can you do that?
“I'm cautiously optimistic that the president-elect, soon to be the president, will stand behind the pledge that he made and rally the Congressional Democrats to get it through, and see what kind of negotiations can be obtained in the Senate.”
Listen to the full conversation between Kucinich and Scheer as they discuss the pitfalls of lesser-evilism, the dangers of money in politics, and the economic reasons that are quickly and alarmingly turning the Republican Party into the party of the American working class.