This year the Democratic Party is being called to represent the workers rather than to continue to represent the banks and corporations. I’m ashamed that the Democratic Party is no longer the party of FDR.

Let’s look at some of the Democratic failures: 

1) Democrats continue to dis-allow the refinancing of student loans and have given in to the banks, assuring that even if a person declares bankruptcy, student loans must still be paid.

2) Democrats did not insist that banks renegotiate the mortgage payments of loans so people could keep their houses. Instead they allowed the banks to grab this asset, placing the bank’s profits over people. They allowed forcing people out of their homes with use of local judges and police. The banks forced many people I know personally to lose their homes.

3) Democrats continue to pass corporate-favorable trade agreements (e.g. currently the Trans-Pacific Partnership Act) that allow corporations to sue nations, states, and cities in special corporation-controlled courts. These suits attack safety, environmental and health standards/regulations that stand in the corporations’ way to make the highest profit. These courts are run only by corporation lawyers. There is no defense allowed by representatives of the nations, states, or cities. Corporation members punish by trade-boycotting that country or city.

4) Democrats have allowed the concentration of TV, radio and newspaper in media conglomerates, resulting in fewer viewpoints, less balanced coverage and even fewer musical options.

5) Democrats haven’t taken a strong stand regarding climate change — cut use of fossil fuels, nuclear energy and plastics while advocating a massive increase in alternative energy;

6) Democrats mistakenly allowed the deregulation of banking and hedge funds;

7) Democrats allowed the minimum wage to fall so low it now needs a large increase to reach $15/hour;

8) Democrats settled for Obamacare when we need Medicare for all. Obamacare still doesn’t cover the 29 million in the gap between people of little to no income and those on Medicaid (no savings, no income).

9) Democrats still allow a tax policy where the wealthy pay less taxes than the working class and where corporations and the wealthy put their money off-shore so they pay no taxes. These taxes then are made up by average people. Also corporations currently, according to economist Robert Reich, have $1.3 trillion of un-invested profits which hinders greatly the economy growing.

This year can we Democrats heed the incessant calls of the public (in both Democratic and Republican primaries) to break from the establishment, status-quo, Republican-lite Democratic Party to become a populist, FDR-principled Democratic Party?

This will entail breaking with party funding from big oil, pharmaceuticals and other corporate money which has produced corporate welfare and government doing corporate bidding while government ignores the public’s needs and desires.

 The rich spend vast amounts on elections which corrupts our democracy and robs average Americans!

Changing this will be quite a challenge. Democrats must stand up against a Republican Party acting to prove government can’t work by starving government — cutting funding of oversight agencies such as SEC, FCC, FTC, and airport screeners. The Republican strategy is to deregulate and then to privatize (a.k.a. handouts to friends) government functions (e.g. post office, national parks and forests, collection of royalty payments for use of public lands for mining, drilling), and eliminating the EPA (clean water and air) for their own profits. 

Bernie Sanders will bring these issues to the Democratic Convention in July but the convention will be chaired by former Senator Barney Frank who is now on the board of the Signature Bank (the immoral revolving door between government and corporations).

Does the Democratic Party have the guts to return to its traditional FDR values?

Tom Ard is an Oak Park resident.

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