Neither Democrats nor Republicans care
To some, it has been obvious for a while that most Democrats aren’t the savior who cares for all as many progressives think. However, it can still be jarring when a Democrat, who supposedly stands for the people, votes no on a bill that could greatly improve people’s lives.
It’s an unfortunate reality that progressives have to face. Just like Republicans, Democrats can’t be trusted to help much either.
Recently, an addition to the most recent COVID-19 relief bill that would’ve established a federal $15 minimum wage was struck down in the Senate. This would have raised the incomes for many in need across the U.S.
It was unsurprising to see Republicans vote no, but many people were surprised to see Democrats vote no, especially those who had advocated for a $15 minimum wage previously in their career. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was one of these people.
Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, has been in office since 2019. She has typically been seen as a moderate Democrat but has mostly supported progressive causes in the past. However, she voted no on including the $15 minimum wage in the COVID-19 relief bill.
Not only did she vote no, but she also held her purse and curtsied when putting her thumb down before flouncing out of the room as if she was going to brunch.
Many people have suggested that her physicality suggested a lack of care about people’s struggles during this pandemic. Moreover, it’s upsetting because she has previously shown a lot of support for raising the minimum wage, specifically in one tweet that went viral.
Sinema isn’t the only Democrat that has disappointed progressives recently. Other Democrats also voted no on this bill. President Joe Biden narrowed eligibility for stimulus checks so that fewer people can get them. He also has continued to open migrant facilities, the ones progressives protested during former President Donald Trump’s administration.
He has not lifted a finger for Medicare for All or defunding the police. Many Democrats stand vehemently against defunding police and Medicare for All, two policies that many activists agree would help so many people.
Democrats may vote for a relief bill to help a small number of people temporarily, but when presented with something that would permanently help the working class, like raising the minimum wage, they vote no.
This is because Democrats, like Republicans, are very concerned with helping themselves.
Republicans tend to vote for policies that favor the free market, in other words, policies that favor the wealthy. The same can be said for many mainstream Democrats. Elizabeth Warren proudly called herself a capitalist to differentiate herself from Bernie Sanders’ brand of democratic socialism.
Congressmen and women have good salaries, and they want to protect those salaries. They are likely not going to vote on any life-changing economic bill soon because it doesn’t serve them.
It won’t serve them until enough people agree with a $15 minimum wage and they become afraid of not being re-elected. Even if they make the change, it would still be self-serving.
Sinema’s actions are just an example of how Democrats are not here to save Americans. Some may genuinely care, but a lot of care gets clouded by the fact that they need to focus on getting re-elected.
It’s important to realize that Democrats don’t usually have everyone’s best interests at heart. Instead, citizens need to be active in advocating for progressive causes.
No more being surprised when one votes against the interests of the general public. Americans need to accept it and see what can be done to serve the people, not the self-interests of Democratic congressmen and women.
Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]