The failure of Sanders’s $15 wage amendment to the Covid Stimulus bill unleashed a barrage of criticism directed at the eight Democratic Senators voting against it. Most came from activists who have worked closely with congressional progressives to establish the Fight for 15 firmly within the Democratic Party mainstream. But also included among the critics was a vocal minority who take as an article of faith that there is “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties.
While the phrase was associated with legendary Dixiecrat George Wallace, over the years, the NADWOD (not a dime’s worth of difference) tendency, as I will refer to it, has been associated with an ultra left fringe.
Meet the neo-NADWODs
Unfortunately, over the past month or so, some of the most perceptive and reliable media figures have been flirting with a form of NADWODism.
This became apparent in their reporting of the horse trading required to assemble a Democratic majority for the Covid relief bill.
Among these was Rising host Krystal Ball. Rather than celebrate its passage Ball focussed on how, in her view, “Biden LOST The Left In A Single Day,” claiming that reducing the direct payments from a promised $2000 to $1400 were part of a “pathetic strategy” which would “spell certain doom for the Democrats in the midterms.”
Omitted is the crucial information reported by Ryan Grim: families will be getting not checks for $1400 or $2000. In many cases, they will be, getting $5600, part of a $1.9 trillion package described by Bernie Sanders as “the greatest victory for the working class of this country for decades.”
Ball, Glenn Greenwald, Briahna Joy Grey, and David Sirota are, of course, right that the Democrats are showing themselves to be no different from the Republicans in one sense: both are willing to extract huge sums from the U.S. treasury. What they miss is that for Republicans, our tax dollars were gifted to an already grotesquely bloated plutocratic class. Democrats are directing them to 250 million americans who will in the next few weeks find desperately needed checks in their mail boxes.
Don’t Punch Nazis, Jail Them
Republicans fulfilling their traditional role of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted should not obscure an even more significant difference between the two parties. What this is becomes apparent as the perpetrators of the January 6th insurrection are apprehended.
To the surprise of no one, many of these are from far right, nativist and/or white supremacist organizations. Their active prosecution by the justice department will result in convictions keeping them behind bars for many years.
That is exactly where they deserve to be.
This would not have materialized had a few thousand voters acted on the “not a dimes worth of difference” philosophy in a few key states last November.
The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters would have been in D.C. in January. Not on the 6th, but on the 20th to celebrate Trump’s inauguration.
Rather than being behind bars, many would be continuing to serve on local police forces where their white supremacist sympathies would take the familiar form of murdering black people and assaulting those protesting their doing so. Others would be serving in the military and national guard increasingly deployed by the Trump adminstration to crack down on those he has labelled domestic terrorist organizations including Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
A few-maybe more than we would be willing to admit-would be actively recruited into the second Trump administration-taking positions in government agencies such as ICE and the Department of Homeland Security and even in the Pentagon.
The Bullet We Dodged
That is the bullet we dodged on November 7th.
As the predictable-and predicted-disappointments of the Biden adminstration accumulate, these will be immediately seized on by NADWODs as a validation of their cynicism, that no Democrat from Joe Manchin to Bernie Sanders to AOC can be trusted. They are right that politicians need to be closely watched and held accountable.
But it should never be forgotten what it meant to have Trump in office-and the continuing danger Trumpism poses to basic decency and to the survival of the species.