Centrists Killed the Biden Presidency and Doomed the Democratic Party

by Keaton Weiss

Last week, the Senate’s 52-48 vote against filibuster reform drove yet another nail in the coffin that is the Biden presidency. After having failed to whip his own party’s votes to pass Build Back Better in the last months of 2021, Biden attempted a “pivot” to voting rights legislation in 2022.

It was obvious to most that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, like BBB before it, would die at the hands of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have been immovable in their opposition to the most important components of Biden’s agenda. The two Senators are now pariahs within their own party, drawing the ire of even the most loyal Democratic voters, many of whom are already contributing to primary efforts against them.

Of course, the irony here is that Joe Biden, Kyrsten Sinema, and Joe Manchin share the same centrist wing of the Democratic Party – you know, the one that’s always claiming they’re the “adults in the room” who can “work across the aisle” to “get things done.” The last two presidential primaries have been battles between Bernie Sanders advocating for meaningful reforms, and moderates like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton lecturing him and his supporters about how their ideas are unrealistic, and how centrists like them are best-positioned to actually achieve legislative goals, albeit less ambitious ones.

This intra-party compromise proposed by the moderates wins out more than it loses. In both 2016 and 2020, Democratic voters were successfully duped into accepting this bogus bargain, nominating Clinton and Biden despite being far more aligned with Bernie on nearly every major policy issue.

If there’s one political development worth remembering in 2021, it’s that centrists, not progressives, drowned the Biden agenda in the bathtub and sabotaged his administration. Despite candidate Biden’s nostalgia for “getting things done” with segregationist colleagues in the 1970’s and his predictions of a Republican “epiphany” following his election that would usher in a return to bipartisanship, his first year in office was stymied by the same legislative stalemate that defined the Obama era.

And once again, it should be noted for the history books that this impasse was arrived at not by radical socialist progressives or far-right Republicans, but by Biden’s fellow “moderate” Democrats, who every election cycle fraudulently claim they’re the ones who roll up their sleeves and make things happen while the ideologues on the extremes only scream and yell.

Will Democratic voters absorb any of this? Probably not. According to Morning Joe, Biden’s problem is that he’s “moved too far left and has not been able to bring those final two Senators home.” Rachel Maddow, in a particularly puzzling segment (below), defended Biden’s blaming his failures on Republican obstructionism while seeming to forget that the very rationale for his presidency was that he was uniquely qualified to overcome it.

If rank and file Democrats have proven one thing in recent years, it’s that they think how they’re told. Despite the truth being clear as day that moderates in their own party are responsible for tanking Biden’s agenda, their MSNBC thought leaders seem intent on blaming both progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans for the dysfunction in Washington. That their audience could be convinced of this even as they’re made to rail against Manchin and Sinema as “traitors” demonstrates a cognitive dissonance that only the most committed party loyalists are capable of.

It’s unlikely they’ll ever snap out of it, and it’s even less likely to matter whether or not they do. Come January 2023, Democrats will certainly be the minority party with virtually no power at the federal level. Between GOP dominance of state legislatures and the gerrymandering that will result from it, and the Democrats’ aforementioned failure to pass voting rights legislation, this dynamic isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

And so while for progressives it’d be a nice consolation prize to hear our moderate counterparts admit that their approach has been a colossal failure resulting in both political gridlock and electoral annihilation, the real lesson coming out of this past year is that the Democratic Party is on its deathbed, and that centrism was the cancer that put it there.

If there is a way forward – and that’s one hell of a big if – it’s in the form of a new organization that rises from the ashes of the Democrats’ looming obliteration. There’s no course correction to be made within the party, especially not with a “progressive” wing too weak to keep its most basic promise of “holding the line” on the bipartisan infrastructure and BBB negotiations (ie, pledging not to pass the first without the second, and then doing just that).

As far as the Democratic Party is concerned, the only thing left to do is write its obituary. The cause of death: a parasitic donor class attached itself to it and sucked the life out of it, rendering it incapable of performing even the most basic political functions when faced with life-or-death stakes. Or, as the Washington establishment would call it, “centrism.”

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Photo: Gage Skidmore CC 2.0

[Satire] Sinema Aides Reveal Her Pact With Satan

“She literally has the devil on speed dial,” says terrified intern

A special Halloween-time investigation by Russell Dobular

Senator Krysten Sinema this week denied claims that she sold her soul to the devil in exchange for earthly power and riches after several former and current aides came forward to make the accusation. 

“Can’t anyone just be bought off anymore?” Sinema replied to one reporter inquiring about her alleged connections to Lucifer, adding, “I also don’t appreciate the sexist ‘in thrall to the Devil’ trope. When it’s a man, he’s simply corrupt. When it’s a woman who’s violated every principle she ever claimed to hold, all of a sudden everyone thinks she’s gone to a crossroads in the middle of Tempe, stripped naked under a full moon, sacrificed an animal of some sort in the delicious night air, possibly an armadillo, and given herself completely to the Dark Lord, body and soul. It’s just wrong and I won’t stand for it.”

Still, rumors persist that through her voting record, Sinema is preparing the way for the antichrist foretold in the Book of Revelations, under the direction of one or several demonic entities. 

According to Arizona State University lecturer and demonology expert, Dr. William Hellstrom, Sinema’s journey from Green Party candidate and immigrants’ rights activist to human pharma cash vacuum attachment is typical of those who sell their souls to the Devil.

“We see this again and again throughout history,” he said from inside a protective circle made up of hastily scrawled ancient runes, “Caligula, Napoleon, even Atilla the Hun; they all started out with noble intentions, but in the end they weren’t able to resist the Prince of Lies. How do you think Nancy Pelosi made $150 million dollars as a sitting member of Congress anyway?  Sinema has already racked up her first million and believe me, she’s just getting started.”

Perhaps most disturbing is the series of disappearances connected to Sinema’s office. Since she was first elected to the Arizona State House in 2011, no less than 12 of the Senator’s interns and staff members have gone missing under mysterious circumstances. 

The pattern has not gone unnoticed by some of the parents and partners of the missing, who have created the non-profit Loved Ones of Missing Krysten Sinema Aides and Interns (LOMKSAI), with the aim of pressuring law enforcement to investigate. 

Mary Cafferty, spokeswoman for the group and mother of one of Sinema’s alleged victims said, “It’s very clear that something evil is going on in that office. Who holds up a vote on lowering prescription drug prices, then just runs off to the gym like nothing happened?  Her familiars in the police department need to stop conspiring with the Beast and do their jobs.”

One wan and clearly terrified intern who spoke only on condition of anonymity painted a chilling picture of life inside Sinema’s office, “Everyone has to wear a sweater because it’s always freezing, even in the middle of summer and that’s without air conditioning. It can be 90 degrees out and you can still see your breath. Of the staff that was here when I started, I’m the only one left.  And also, I’ve been having these crazy dreams of her scratching at my window, asking to be invited in.  And after every disappearance, she seems, like, I don’t know . . . younger.” 

Here she paused, her eyes darting nervously as if afraid someone might be listening, before whispering, “I’m afraid I’m going to be next.”

This is a developing story. 

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Photo: Elizabeth D. Herman, NYT (altered for use)

Alexander Sammon on the Unmasking of Centrism’s Emptiness and Corruption

Alexander Sammon, staff writer at The American Prospect, wrote a recent article entitled “The Undignified Demise of Centrism.” In it, he concludes:

“Centrism, now, is imperiled as a political orientation not for its competitive viability, but for the emptiness and corruption that has been exposed at its heart. Not a single young voter, or someone politically up for grabs, can look to the leadership of Kyrsten Sinema or Scott Peters and see a politician with a positive vision for governance and society, one they could believe in, knock on doors for, or turn out to vote for.”

As negotiations continue over the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, so-called “centrist” Democrats in both the House and Senate have raised objections to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package championed by both progressives and the White House.

Moderates holding up the legislative process by insisting that plans be watered down is nothing new. But Sammon argues in his piece that what is unique to this particular fight is that this time, centrists aren’t even bothering to disguise their obstructionism as anything but what it is: hollow and nihilistic corruption.

Kyrsten Sinema is teaching a college course on fundraising (yes, that’s right) while refusing to offer any rationale for her objection to the Build Back Better Act.

Joe Manchin is steadfastly (and successfully) chipping away at Biden’s climate proposals while raking in huge amounts of money from the fossil fuel industry, and having gotten rich off his own coal company which he founded in 1988.

Congressman Scott Peters, as Sammon cites in his article, all but openly admitted the corrupting influence of pharmaceutical donations on his decision making process, insisting that refusing their donations would be tantamount to “defunding” his campaign and “let[ting] Republicans win.”

Unlike most intra-party fights where centrists play an active role in negotiations and submit their own counteroffers to more progressive proposals, this time they’re making no such effort. They’re simply saying no for the sake of it, offering the American people no explanation other than the one many are arriving at themselves, which is that centrism as a governing philosophy is both morally and intellectually bankrupt, and bolstered by nothing more than the undue influence of corporate money in politics.

Alexander Sammon joined our podcast for a deeper dive on this topic. Click the player below to hear our full conversation, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence podcast on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Photo: Senate Democrats

After Years of Courting Affluent Suburbanites, Democrats Deserve Kyrsten Sinema

by Keaton Weiss

As you’ve probably observed if you’ve been paying any attention to the ongoing negotiations over infrastructure spending, Democratic lawmakers and voters are growing increasingly frustrated with Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema. She is one of two Senators currently preventing the passage of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill which would finance long overdue additions to the social safety net, including universal pre-K and expansion of Medicare.

Whereas her partner in crime, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has at least gone through the motions of making a counter-offer, Sinema has been defiantly silent throughout the process, dodging the media and her own constituents, and instead meeting behind closed doors with her corporate donors.

Her silent obstructionism has many Democrats upset that she is inflicting further damage upon an already embattled Biden White House by denying the administration a sorely needed legislative win. Progressives always knew Sinema would be a problem, even if many did support her challenge to Republican incumbent Martha McSally in 2018, but even her fellow “moderates” seem to be catching on to the fact that she’s an enemy of progress.

And while moderate liberals’ increasingly open disdain for Sinema is a positive development overall, these same Democrats ought to remember that their party, since the 2016 election, has tailored its messaging and policy positions specifically to court affluent white suburban voters – the very people who elect Senators like Kyrsten Sinema.

Progressives were told in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns that Bernie Sanders, while exciting to the young, progressive base of the party, couldn’t win a general election because his ideas were too “radical” to be embraced by this emerging cohort of upper-middle class suburban voters – or, as Rahm Emanuel branded them, “Biden Republicans.”

And so, in both primary contests, the party brass put its thumb on the scale against Sanders’ candidacy, in favor of centrists who they felt would deliver them this new coalition of well-to-do suburban centrists who were liberal on social issues, but economically more conservative. These kinds of voters were critical to putting Sinema over the top in her 2018 Senate bid, as well as to the Democrats’ overall success in those midterms. They’ve been been explicitly catering to them ever since.

It therefore stands to reason that the party would eventually face the very crisis in which it now finds itself. Sinema is a newly elected moderate sent to Washington by fiscally conservative independents, and she’s acting accordingly. Democrats can be upset about this all they’d like, but they have only themselves to blame for their current predicament. Because Sinema, an eccentric bisexual who votes against minimum wage increases and the strengthening of social programs, represents the exact kind of voter Democrats welcomed into their party with open arms these past three election cycles (2020, 2018, and 2016).

And so, the current stalemate within the party between progressives and centrists makes perfect sense. The very premise of the Democratic Party – a party “for the little guy,” funded by wealthy donors and corporate interests – is a laughable self-contradiction. Should anyone be surprised that it’s having trouble unifying behind even the most modest of public investments like hearing aids for senior citizens?

Comedian and political commentator Graham Elwood aptly describes the Democratic Party as “Goldman Sachs with a rainbow flag.” Tell me that isn’t spot on, and tell me it doesn’t describe Kyrsten Sinema to a tee. If you can’t (and you can’t), then it should come as no surprise that the party of corporate wokeness and virtue signaling neoliberalism is eating itself alive in a doomed effort to negotiate its way out of its own inherent and inescapable paradox.

The Democratic Party had a chance, in 2016, to become the kind of party that would have no problem passing legislation like the Build Back Better Act. Party leadership vehemently opposed such a shift, and a majority of Democratic voters followed their lead. This embarrassing public implosion in which the party “for the people” can’t even unify behind measures as basic as adding dental coverage to Medicare, is just punishment for their disgraceful behavior these past five years.

Unfortunately, we’re all collateral damage.

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Photo: Instagram