When Democrats were handed the U.S. Congress in 2006 to end the war on Iraq, and they escalated it in order to “oppose” it in the 2008 elections, it’s possible some of them were not being completely forthright and respectful toward you, their loyal supporters.

When the Democratic legislature in California passes single-payer healthcare whenever it can count on a Republican governor to veto it, but never during Democratic governorships, or when the U.S. Congress ends the war on Yemen when it can count on a Trump veto but not when Biden is in, it’s possible that certain politicians’ expressions of concern for people lacking healthcare or people lacking bomb-free skies are less than completely sincere.

When Biden claims he’ll start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by the May 1st deadline yet somehow not finish until September 11th, and thereby end a war that is mostly an air war, without ending the air war or withdrawing all the mercenaries, spies, and saboteurs, or when Biden ends “offensive” attacks on Yemen and “relevant” weapons sales, but the attacks turn out to all be “defensive” and the weapons sales mostly “irrelevant,” it’s possible he’s screwing with us.

But is there a simple test to determine when Democrats are faking it and when (if ever) they’re not? Is there an easy foolproof way to know whether they’re sincere or play-acting? How can we know, for example, whether these broken Biden promises should be blamed on Republicans, Russia, China, or — in fact — Biden:

  • A $15/hour minimum wage
  • Paid sick and family leave
  • Expanded voting rights, including for people convicted of felonies
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Free community college for two years
  • Forgiveness of student debt at public colleges and universities
  • Free college for families paid less than $125,000 a year
  • Universal preschool
  • A healthcare “public option”
  • A lowered age for Medicare
  • A pathway to citizenship
  • A ban on assault weapons
  • A ban on union busting
  • A ban on “new” fracking
  • A tax penalty for offshoring
  • The cap removed on Social Security taxes, and Social Security expanded
  • Vouchers capping housing costs at 30% of income
  • Abolition of the federal death penalty
  • Decriminalization of marijuana
  • Elimination of cash bail and of mandatory minimum sentences

Well, here’s the solution. Here’s how you tell whether they’re completely full of it. Go to bed. Get a good night’s sleep. Wake up in the morning and look around. Are they acting more-or-less like before? Or is the president and each senator and representative out making passionate speeches about the need to end the filibuster and the careers of Senators Manchin and Sinema? Are those two filibuster protectors being hit with any carrots or sticks? Carrots like public events with the president and cabinet members, media interviews, amendments and bills brought to votes, new committee assignments, campaign funding, trips on the president’s airplane. Sticks like public denunciations, ostracism, primary challengers, mocking TV ads, “moderate-confidence” “intelligence” “community” “assessments” of servitude to Putin, etc., etc.

When a political party wants something of one of its members, it usually gets it. When it doesn’t want it, it’s usually perfectly able to make its supporters believe it wants it, without actually lifting a finger to get it. What we need is simply to change this formula and check on whether there is any action behind words.

Has a single Congress Member committed to voting no on increased military spending? Has a single one of them introduced a resolution to end a single war? Has anyone introduced a Green New Deal more substantive than a “resolution” “expressing” “sentiment”? No, no, no, and this requires discipline. This doesn’t just happen.

But the Democrats rely on one thing. They rely on you to be an utter imbecile. They count on you to roll right over from electing them in 2020 to focusing on electing them again in 2022, with a focus on the icky Republicans and no questions about what the purpose of electing the Democrats in 2020 could possibly have been.