Arthur Camins recalls his father’s rise from poverty to the middle class, and his political evolution, reminds Camins about what matters most.

“Countless state, local, and national offices across the country are controlled by Republicans who care only about protecting the privileges of wealthy white folks. They will spare no expense nor let anything stand in their way- not the health or education of children, seniors or the disabled; not the fate of blameless children of immigrants; not the threat of annihilation from a nuclear war; not the steady erosion of the right of every citizen to vote; not even the sustainability of life itself on the planet. Nonetheless, Americans elected them. Americans need to vote to defeat them.

“The dangers are imminent. For the foreseeable future an electable progressive third party is a pipe dream. Unless and until the Democratic Party unambiguously regains the trust and loyalty of working people and does so explicitly across racial lines, there is no hope of reversing the tide of growing inequality, alarming erosion of democracy, and destruction the environment.

“The New Deal and to a lesser extent, the Great Society made social obligation through government action a normative value. However, the political failure to link racism with broader inequality sowed the seeds of an individualism that is defined by selfishness.

“My father’s Democratic Great Depression- and World War II-influenced generation is gone. The most recent chance to build cross-racial solidarity– the Great Recession– was squandered. However, that opportunity can yet be reclaimed.

“A WPA-like massive job creation project to rebuild roads, highways, bridges, develop clean energy, and fund scientific and medical research was never seriously considered– at least as a rallying point if not achievable legislation. Instead we got some private sector so-called shovel-ready projects.

“Federal action avoided complete disaster, but the nation got nothing on the bold unifying scale of Social Security to deal with dwindling retirement incomes or Medicare to address the unaffordability of health care. Universal guaranteed healthcare for all was never on the table–even as moral and economic principle. Instead we got limited, private insurance-based, high-deductible plans. For the vast majority of Americans with employer-provided health insurance, the Affordable Care Act was easily perceived, once again, as being for them, not all of us. Nothing is on the horizon to substantively address the unaffordability of housing.

“On education– another potential unifier– Democrats, instead of addressing burdensome property taxes, pushed taxpayer funded, privately governed charter schools and high-stakes tests, with a hefty measure of anti-union rhetoric.

“Whereas the New Deal wrought decades of allegiance to the Democratic Party, their response to the Great Recession ended in voter cynicism, a drop in voter turn-out among African Americans, and the election of a racist, wealth-protecting Republican.

“Disconnected from either the unions or social movements that catalyzed the New Deal or Great Society programs, my father ascribed progress to great men. Because FDR and LBJ responded with tangible actions, they won his allegiance. Those same forces and responsive Democratic men and women can win back the allegiance of a vast cross-section of Americans.

“In fact, it is when we bound in a web of mutual that we are most fulfilled and reach our greatest human potential.

“That is the winning Democratic platform.”