Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Cory Booker Big Pharma Vote Underlines Democratic Party’s Biggest Problem

Cory Booker Big Pharma Vote Underlines Democratic Party’s Biggest Problem

Cory Booker was once heralded by the Democratic Establishment as the future of the party. Booker, a New Jersey Senator, has been listed on several Democratic short-lists of candidates who should challenge Donald Trump in 2020. However, the idea of running Booker for president pisses progressives off. And last week, Booker made it a lot worse.

Cory Booker Big Pharma Vote

Late in the night, Booker and 12 other Democrats voted against a Bernie Sanders co-sponsored amendment that would have allowed for the import of cheaper pharmaceutical drugs from Canada.

The measure failed despite 12 GOP Senators supporting the measure. Even Ted Cruz supported it.  Even more, 72% of Americans support importation of pharmaceuticals. The final vote tally was 46 to 52, though progressives needed an additional 16 votes to pass the amendment.

A Weak Defense and Bad Optics

Not surprisingly, Cory Booker accepts a lot of campaign contributions from big pharma. In fact, every single Democratic Senator who voted against the Amendment has at one time accepted cash from the pharmaceutical industry.

Booker defended himself by claiming that the amendment needed more consumer protections for him to support it. Basically, he claimed to not trust Canadian drugs to be safe enough for American consumers. I call Bullshit.

Either way, the optics are terrible for Democrats. Ed Kilgore with New York Magazine diagnoses the Cory Booker big pharma problem:

“…it is increasingly clear Booker needs to do something that looks like a clear declaration of independence from his donors. Otherwise his very name will become a spark igniting an ideological fight in his party.”

Kilgore is partially correct. Though, his prediction is wrong – by several years. The ideological fight has already begun. The cancer of money in politics is what separates progressives from liberals and Democrats. Money in politics is what created the wave of support for Bernie Sanders. It is the same issue that Progressives have been prioritizing since at least the Citizen’s United decision. It is the issue that ultimately prevented Secretary Clinton from winning the White House. And this is the issue that is causing the Democratic Party to fall apart.

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Cory Booker Big Pharma Vote Underlines Bigger Problem

Democrats are plagued with the disease of money in politics. While Republicans can hide behind the veneer of being pro-business, Democrats do not have the same rhetorical privilege. When a democrat like Booker votes in a manner that so clearly benefits his donors, he is telling the Democratic base, “I have more important things to worry about than you”. And liberals and progressives have lashed out.

Booker isn’t alone. Hillary Clinton suffered from the same symptoms that money in politics inflict on the Democratic Party. Instead of big pharma, it was big banks that took part in Clinton’s demise. She couldn’t escape her connections to Goldman Sachs and the finance industry which seeded distrust among progressives and young voters. Demographics who ultimately didn’t come out in Clinton’s favor.

If Democrats don’t swear off corporate cash and Super PAC financed elections, the party will implode. Democrats hold no credibility when they concede to their donors’ wills. They give progressive voters no reason to trust them. They give voters legitimate reasons to believe Republicans and Democrats are equally corrupt.

That practice must end. Or else Republicans will have a squeeze on control for awhile.

Here’s hardcore progressive Jimmy Dore going off about it:

Ryan Black is a documentary filmmaker, political consultant, and digital media professional who writes about Progressive Politics.

2 Comments

  • In the section titled “Cory Booker Big Pharma Vote Underlines Bigger Problem, ” I agree that if we let money and businesses make a major impact in our decisions as democrats we will lose voters trust because that would mean we are becoming more business like and that’s not what we stand for.

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