Amazon made the entire country bend over backwards to offer handouts to them for their second headquarters, and they “settled” on splitting it between New York City and the area north of Washington D.C. The reason I put “settled” in sarcastic quotes is because where they wound up makes their “search” look beyond disingenuous. After tricking the media into thinking they would expand into one of America’s smaller, emerging cities like Austin, Amazon split their new headquarters between the two most politically powerful cities in the country.
This is exactly what it looks like. Amazon is doing everything within its power to place itself above the law.
If you feel your blood boiling at that deal, I have more bad news for you: that is not a unique agreement. Pretty much any tech company that works with defense contractors likely has a deal like that. This is how capitalism actually “works,” as I wrote yesterday in my critique of this economic system currently destroying the world for profit:
The problem with asserting that capitalism will work under the right regulations is that if the private market is more powerful than government (and it is), how can you really expect government to effectively regulate it?
Which brings me to the larger fight within the Democratic Party. In 1992, Bill Clinton shifted the party to the right, and the Democratic Party largely sat near America's center/center-right until 2016, when the centrist face of the party lost to a wild baboon flinging his feces around—proving to everyone how unpopular milquetoast neoliberalism really is. This led to a holy reckoning on the left, where plenty of folks like me took a hard look at our previous capitalist beliefs, and found that we actually don't like an economic system predicated on wealthy folks controlling everyone's lives.
“Jobs” are the most valuable form of currency for politicians, and the reason they talk so much about jobs is that addressing wages would expose the flaw at the heart of our economic system and piss off their donors by revealing the grift at hand.
Jobs versus wages is one of the new policy wars on the left. The old left is still stuck in the Clintonian paradigm that got us into this mess, as they think that giving billions in taxpayer money to billionaires in order to bring “jobs” to their city is an unimpeachably good thing. Bill de Blasio ran as a progressive and won a surprise victory, but his stewardship of NYC as Mayor has resembled the policies of the 1990s far more than his leftist campaign rhetoric.
This is the correct response to handing over $3 billion of taxpayer money to one of the richest companies known to mankind:
In the 1930s and the 1960s, the Democrats enacted progressive legislation that seriously fought for the poor and marginalized communities of America, and they gained a deserved reputation as being the party who stood up for the little guy. Bill Clinton's brand of “liberalism” that handed the country off to Wall Street destroyed all that goodwill, and the Democrats are basically starting from scratch on this topic—with the exception of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act which gets more popular by the day.
Remember Jon Ossoff? Democratic consultants spent a literal fortune trying to flip a red suburban Georgia seat blue, with Hillary Clinton's former press secretary insinuating that the future of the Democratic Party lies in wealthy suburbs.
While suburbia was undeniably one of the central reasons behind the Democratic wave in the midterms, the longtime Democratic notion that suburban Republicans can be flipped to Democrats is belied by suburban Republican’s votes. For example, neo-confederate Republican Corey Stewart won his GOP primary for the Senate in Virginia off the backs of the suburbs surrounding Washington D.C. Less financially well-off Republicans are the ones who can be persuaded to vote for liberal causes, since those liberal causes are more aligned with their economic interests than conservative ones. This is the lesson that Democrats refused to learn from Obama’s 2008 success in places like Indiana which are now deep red states.
This maxim was effectively proven this past election. Idaho (last voted Democrat in a presidential election in 1944), Montana (1964), Nebraska (1964) and Utah (1964) all just voted for expanded health care in the 2018 midterms. Missouri kicked centrist Democrat Claire McCaskill out of the Senate while simultaneously voting to raise the minimum wage, rejecting a right to work law, and voting to legalize medical marijuana. A majority of Republican voters support Medicare for All, while one-third of Senate Democrats support it. It’s clear as day what liberal policies can win over Republican voters, yet the old guard of the Democratic Party continues to delude themselves that it’s still 1994 and that hyper-corporatism is popular.
It’s not. Americans are sick of the outright corruption that leads to outcomes like Amazon subsuming the New York and Virginia state governments. Capitalism has swallowed democracy whole, and this country is sick of watching all the benefits flow towards the top of the economic ladder. Republican voters approving of socialist healthcare is about as clear a message to our liberal politicians as it gets: stop favoring the corporate class and start devoting resources towards Main Street, and you will win more elections.
Oh, and fix the damn subway.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.