The Democratic Party’s Pitch to Billionaires

Eric Zuesse

The wing of the Democratic Party that looks for the dollars instead of the votes is called “The Third Way” and it presents itself as representing the supposedly vast political center, nothing “extremist” or “marginal.” But didn’t liberal Republicanism go out when Nelson Rockefeller did? Conservative Democrats are like liberal Republicans — they attract flies and billionaires, but not many votes. And didn’t the Rockefeller drug laws fill our prisons with millions of pathetic drug-users and small drug-dealers but not with the kingpins in either the narcotics business or the bankster rackets (such as had crashed the economy in 2008 — and the Third Way Democrat who had been the exceptional politician and liar that was so slick he actually did attract many votes, President Barack Obama, told the banksters privately, on 27 March 2009, “I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you.” And, he did keep his promise to them, though not to his voters.)

They’re at it, yet again. On July 22nd, NBC News’s Alex Seitz-Wald headlined “Sanders’ wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here’s how they plan to stop it.” And he described what was publicly available from the 3-day private meeting in Columbus Ohio of The Third Way, July 18-20, the planning conference between the Party’s chiefs and its billionaires. Evidently, they hate Bernie Sanders and are already scheming and spending in order to block him, now a second time, from obtaining the Party’s Presidential nomination. “Anxiety has largely been kept to a whisper among the party’s moderates and big donors, with some of the major fundraisers pressing operatives on what can be done to stop the Vermonter if he runs for the White House again.” This passage in Seitz-Wald’s article was especially striking to me:

The gathering here was … an effort to offer an attractive alternative to the rising Sanders-style populist left in the upcoming presidential race. Where progressives see a rare opportunity to capitalize on an energized Democratic base, moderates see a better chance to win over Republicans turned off by Trump.

The fact that a billionaire real estate developer, Winston Fisher, cohosted the event and addressed attendees twice, underscored that this group is not interested in the class warfare vilifying the “millionaires and billionaires” found in Sanders’ stump speech.

“You’re not going to make me hate somebody just because they’re rich. I want to be rich!” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a potential presidential candidate, said Friday to laughs.

I would reply to congressman Ryan’s remark: If you want to be rich, then get the hell out of politics! Don’t run for President! I don’t want you there! And that’s no joke!

Anyone who doesn’t recognize that an inevitable trade-off exists between serving the public and serving oneself, is a libertarian — an Ayn Rander, in fact — and there aren’t many of those in the Democratic Party, but plenty of them are in the Republican Party.

Just as a clergyman in some faiths is supposed to take a vow of chastity, and in some faiths also to take a vow of poverty, in order to serve “the calling” instead of oneself, anyone who enters ‘public service’ and who aspires to “be rich” is inevitably inviting corruption — not prepared to do war against it. That kind of politician is a Manchurian candidate, like Obama perhaps, but certainly not what this or any country needs, in any case. Voters like that can be won only by means of deceit, which is the way that politicians like that do win.

No decent political leader enters or stays in politics in order to “be rich,” because no political leader can be decent who isn’t in it as a calling, to public service, and as a repudiation, of any self-service in politics.

Republican Party voters invite corrupt government, because their Party’s ideology is committed to it (“Freedom [for the rich]!”); but the only Democratic Party voters who at all tolerate corrupt politicians (such as Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York State) are actually Republican Democrats — people who are confused enough so as not really to care much about what they believe; whatever their garbage happens to be, they believe in it and don’t want to know differently than it.

The Third Way is hoping that there are enough of such ‘Democrats’ so that they can, yet again, end up with a Third Way Democrat being offered to that Party’s voters in 2020, just like happened in 2016. They want another Barack Obama. There aren’t any more of those (unless, perhaps, Michelle Obama enters the contest). But, even if there were: How many Democrats would fall for that scam, yet again — after the disaster of 2016?

Maybe the Third Way is right, and there’s a sucker born every minute. But if that’s what the Democratic Party is going to rely upon, then America’s stunningly low voter-participation rate is set to plunge even lower, because even more voters than before will either be leaving the Presidential line blank, or even perhaps voting for the Republican candidate (as some felt driven to do in 2016).

The Third Way is the way to the death of democracy, if it’s not already dead. It is no answer to anything, except to the desires of billionaires — both Republican and Democratic.

The center of American politics isn’t the center of America’s aristocracy. The goal of groups such as The Third Way is to fool the American public to equate the two. The result of such groups is the contempt that America’s public have for America’s Government. But, pushed too far, mass disillusionment becomes revolution. Is that what America’s billionaires are willing to risk? They might get it.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.