Democrats Are Deliberately Undermining the Bitcoin Vote
With their anti-crypto rhetoric, Democrats are alienating a sizable demographic, handing the crypto vote to Republicans.
Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) came to Twitter this week to greet his followers a hearty “gm,” which is crypto-speak for good morning, as Decrypt readers are aware. Although it was just a tweet, one Washington watcher noticed that Emmer is the second Republican member of Congress to give a “gm,” while no Democrat has.
It might be rather significant. The “gm” disparity is noteworthy because it reflects a bigger trend in American politics: Republicans are establishing themselves as the party of crypto, while Democrats are establishing themselves as anti-crypto. While Republicans such as Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) advocate for legislation to help the business, Democrats are taking their cues from tech-averse individuals such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has said that she regards cryptocurrency as a tool for “shadowy super-coders.”
President Biden’s nominee to lead the OCC was an outspoken critic of cryptography; she withdrew her candidacy earlier this week. Other Biden appointments, most notably SEC Chair Gary Gensler, have disparaged cryptocurrency at every opportunity and established regulatory roadblocks to stifle its development and perhaps force it off American soil.
While there are valid worries about crypto — most notably about scams and rug pulls, as well as the ramifications for the US dollar’s status as a reserve currency – this is not a reason to avoid it. Crypto and blockchain technology, like any other technology, may be utilised for good or evil; the technology is apolitical. And those who insult it—like Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) did this week during a tirade in Congress—are likely to be seen as dinosaurs comparable to the politicians of the 1990s who derided a then-new technology called the Internet.
Why do Democrats dislike cryptocurrency? Their antagonism may stem from the libertarian leanings of many early cryptocurrency users, few of whom favour a party associated with large government. What they fail to see is that Bitcoiners would gladly support any politician that supports Bitcoin, regardless of their flaws, from Nayib Bukele to Ted Cruz.
Today, millions of Americans use cryptocurrency, and it is particularly popular among younger people and African-Americans—two groups that are critical Democratic constituencies. By mocking cryptocurrency and enacting paternalistic policies, such as Gensler’s puzzling opposition to Bitcoin spot ETFs, the GOP risks losing these people in the same way that its support of “Latinx” apparently alienated Hispanics.
The irony is that cryptocurrency presents Democrats with a chance, which some younger members of the party recognise. This was shown at this week’s Congressional session, when Rep. Antonio Torres (D-NY) inquired about how crypto may help him cut the cost of remittances to his Bronx constituents, and when Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) suggested crafting bipartisan rules to encourage Web3. Jared Polis, Colorado’s Democratic governor, has also been a proponent of cryptocurrency and was instrumental in establishing the Congressional blockchain caucus.