Trump Presidency Culminates Republicans’ Consolidation of Power

by David Samuels

This column appears in the December 1 – 8 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Next show: December 6. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color.
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Corporate Media = Fake News

The coporate media’s biggest lies come in the form of the stories they don’t cover. While CNN provided wall-to-wall coverage Monday of the Ohio State attack, the trial of domestic terrorist Dylann Roof, who fatally shot nine Black people including South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, wasn’t mentioned. The incredible twist of US District Judge Richard Mark Gergel allowing Roof to act as his own lawyer wasn’t enough to get CNN to put aside their obvious bias, and report on the trial.  63% of mass shootings since 1982 were committed by white males.
Interview with Josh Elliott
Coming in January: A Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio interview with Representative-elect Josh Elliott, who will serve in Connecticut’s 88th District (Hamden). As the Donald Trump presidency looms and a civil war has erupted between establishment and progressive Democrats in Washington, Elliott will be a much needed voice at the State Capitol in 2017. Elliott supports taxing the rich and closing corporate tax loopholes, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and legalizing marijuana. Elliott also spoke out in opposition to state employee layoffs.
Safe Work Environment Act Report: Give Me a Break
Connecticut Valley Hospital continues to infringe on workers’ contractual right to three breaks per shift, by not providing break rooms. Employees have to eat lunch at their desks. Co-workers have complained to me that it often takes them over an hour to eat, due to constant interruptions. That’s not a break. 15 minute breaks in my building are often taken in the lobby of the campus buildings. Last week I was harassed by an officious nursing supervisor, who claimed that I could not use my cellphone in the lobby. Myself and others have only been doing this for years. Stay tuned for updates. Coming in 2017: the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act would empower workers who are targets of workplace bullying.
Policy Watch: Red Alert
All year, Gov. Dan Malloy and his henchman, budget chief Ben Barnes, have used the slogan “new economic reality” to describe their neoliberal attack on the Democratic Party’s voter base: the working class, including the public sector (largest employer of Blacks and women), the poor and communities of color. Neoliberalism has resulted in a new political reality for the Democrats: Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States in January, bolstered by a Republican controlled Congress. Thirty one states currently have Republican governors. Thirty two state legislatures are controlled by the GOP; if that number reaches thirty eight, the party will be able to ratify constitutional amendments. Malloy has a 24% approval rating, as the CT Republicans are launching an offensive to take the Governor’s Mansion, the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2018. The GOP won three Senate seats on Election Day to tie the Democrats, 18-18, and gained eight House seats. The Dems’ 79-72 majority is their smallest in thirty years. Last week Republican Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced that he is considering another run for governor, and has formed an exploratory committee. Boughton is notoriously anti-immigrant; certainly he will enthusiastically support Trump’s deportation plan. GOP Senator Rob Kane is also exploring the possibility of entering the gubernatorial race.
“Democrats now control only 13 state legislatures (26%). If they lose 1 more they fall below the percentage needed to stop constitutional amendments. And it doesn’t have to be proposed by Congress. It just takes two-thirds of states. Democrats now hold ‘the trifecta’ (governorship, Senate and House) in just five states: California, Delaware, Oregon, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. The weakest Democrat showing ever. The last big fight over amending the constitution was the Equal Rights Amendment, which fell 3 states short.” ~ education advocate Marc Porter Magee
“Nobody talking about the fact Republicans now hold both chambers in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Iowa. Only swing state chambers Democrats have: Colorado House of Representatives and Nevada.” ~ political blogger Brad Todd
“Dems weakness in states makes them want to get rid of the Electoral College, which can’t happen because they are weak in most states.” ~ Marc Porter Magee…/electoral-college-explained-presidenti…
“At the sub-presidential level, the Obama years have created a Democratic Party that’s … a smoking pile of rubble.” ~ Matthew Yglesias,…/1…/democratic-party-smoking-pile-rubble
As their party craters, Malloy and Barnes show no indication that they plan to alter the Democrats’ course of self-destruction. A $1.5 billion budget deficit looms in 2017. Malloy and Barnes plan more funding cuts for human services providers, and there is talk that state employees (I’m a state worker), the core of the Democrats’ voter base and the difference in Malloy’s narrow 2010 victory over Republican Tom Foley, will be approached again for wage/benefit concessions for the third time since 2009. Meanwhile Malloy continues to maintain a regressive tax structure, where the working class and the poor in this state pay more than the rich. Corporate tax loopholes cost CT $7 billion a year in revenue. Malloy refuses to change his policy of coddling the wealthy and corporations. Last year the Democratic controlled General Assembly killed a public bank bill. The Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s only publicly owned bank, has been a cash machine for that state since 1919: BND generated $70 million in revenue in 2011.
The neoliberal agenda of Malloy and the CT Democrats is modeled after the New Democrats ideology, introduced by the Clintons during the 90’s.
Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, summarized the objective of the New Democrats in April, following Bill Clinton’s heated exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters during a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in Philadelphia.

“Bill Clinton says that he ‘almost’ wants to apologize for his remarkable episode yesterday — you know, when he embraced long-debunked, racially coded ‘super-predator’ rhetoric, compared Black Lives Matter protestors to Republicans and insisted that they support murderers, and blamed his crime bill on black politicians. Personally, I am not demanding an apology from Bill Clinton. Instead, I would like to say thank you. Thank you, Bill, for giving the nation a ten-minute tutorial on everything that was wrong (and apparently remains wrong) with the ‘New Democrats’ and their approach to racial politics.
Unfortunately much of the mainstream media seems to be buying (yet again) much of what Bill was selling yesterday. So to recap what should be obvious by now: Black politicians and activists were not asking for ‘get tough’ measures and nothing else back in the 1990s. Some black politicians opposed the Clinton crime bill, and those who supported it weren’t seeking punishment and nothing more; they desperately wanted massive investment in jobs and schools so the young people trapped in communities where work had suddenly disappeared would have some hope of survival. It is a gross distortion to suggest that black people wanted billions of dollars slashed from child welfare, housing and other public benefits in order to fund an unprecedented prison building boom. It was Bill Clinton’s deliberate political strategy — one he championed along with the ‘New Democrats’ — to appeal to white swing voters by being tougher on struggling black communities than the Republicans had been, ramping up the drug war and gutting welfare. That strategy of ‘getting tough’ while at the same time eviscerating the federal social safety net was NOT supported by many of the black politicians he seeks to use as cover. Rep. John Lewis (who Clinton referred to yesterday as the ‘last remaining hero of the civil rights movement’) fiercely opposed welfare reform, accurately predicting that it would thrust more than a million more kids into severe poverty.
John Lewis said back then: ‘How can any person of faith, of conscience, vote for a bill that puts a million more kids into poverty? What does it profit a great nation to conquer the world, only to lose its soul?’
The young people challenging Bill Clinton yesterday were asking these very same questions. You may not agree with their tactics, but they were, in their own way, fighting for the soul of the Democratic party and American democracy itself. Whether our nation can be redeemed in the long run remains to be seen.”
Racism and corporatism has reduced the Democrats to a failed, minority party. Their only hope of pushing back against the GOP tidal wave is to implement egalitarian policies. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. The Democrats are swimming in corporate money; businesses and the wealthy are their constituents. It will take a politically independent, grassroots movement to push the city and state Democrats to the left, and create a firewall against the Trump administration.
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary.   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues  Check out our No Sellout blog ( for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns ( Contact us at 860-206-8879 or



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