The two American political parties, Republicans and Democrats seem officially committed to suicide. Both parties are separating themselves from the mainstream of their fundamental bases.
The Republicans have drifted far from their true “conservative” past, and from their moneyed base who always held the primacy of social cohesion over ideology. At the same time, the Democrats have rolled the dice, reaching for an aging voter group that supports a retread centrist over a youthful promise of real change. This is after the catastrophe of a president who lied about “hope and change” and ended up giving us just more of the same.
It seems to have passed over the heads of most political pundits that the two leading Republican presidential candidates, Trump and Cruz, are not only despised by the party leadership, but have both been born out of their official pandering to the extremists who vote in their primaries. In the past, those extremists have been compliantly manipulated by Republican politicians for their own ends, but now they see Trump, and to a lesser extent, Cruz, as true standard bearers. The puppeteers in charge have anointed Rubio as the acceptable “moderate,” but “Little Marco” has gained very little traction.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee is led by the tone-deaf Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who seems tied by the umbilical cord to the Clintons. She is ready to totally ignore the youth and independents who are crying for real hope and change after eight years of hopeless polices by a dedicated Clintonite, Obama. The massive following of Bernie Sanders, who just raised close to $45 million in February from small donors has been rejected by the DNC as a legitimate candidate. To reject the youth and the independent part of the party’s support is to commit hara-kiri for the future.
Hara-kiri by the two political parties that have dominated American politics for over 100 years spells political instability for the long term.
11 thoughts on “Committing Hara-Kiri… American Political Style”
As you have sown, so shall you reap. The Democrats have embraced corporations and corporate funding and an aggressive foreign policy so as to compete against as well as to neutralize (so they thought) Republicans. The result: Hillary is deeply compromised, owned by business interests and entrenched power brokers. Whether she can generate any true enthusiasm among rank-and-file Democrats this fall is more than questionable.
Meanwhile, the Republicans sowed so much fear, animosity, and bigotry that the crop has finally come in with Trump. Trump is more than willing to play to fear, to exploit animosity, and to tap bigotry, if that’s what it takes to win. That it’s working is a testimony to Trump’s keen instincts in knowing how to market himself to people who are desperate to “win,” even as they remain mystified as to why they’re losing. For them, Trump offers simple answers: you’re losing because of Mexicans, Muslims, and China. And the people like that because it absolves them of any blame for America’s decline.
But I saw Hillary on TV today and her podium said, “Fighting for us,” so I know she’s on my side. Right.
I read a great characterization of You-Know-Her somewhere recently (I wish I could remember where):
“Like Richard Nixon only without the progressive social policies.”
What an incisive and priceless observation of the former Goldwater Girl, president of the Young Republicans at Wellesly College, otherwise known as the Madam Chiang-Kai-Shek finishing school for privileged debutantes.
And now she “fights for us?” I suppose the meaning of that phrase crucially depends on the meaning of “us”?
And yet…what is the alternative? Barring a real revolution, we are stuck with the Dems and the GOP for the indefinite future, pockets of instability (more anti-Federal government armed actions by militia types? Roving gangs attacking immigrants and perceived Muslims? How ugly might it get?). This year’s campaign is actually refreshing because a real choice actually is shaping up. We social critics have been bemoaning the difficulty of telling the Dems from the Republicans in recent election cycles. Mrs. Clinton is a most unappealing candidate for me, and I have vowed to not vote for her come hell or high water, but the ugly politics of Trump is genuinely distinguishing the GOP now. The choice will be between a tired old windbag spewing nonsense about how she fights for the common folks, and a Hitler wannabe blowhard spewing hate-based nonsense. And no, I don’t think the Hitler semi-analogy is inappropriate for the presumed GOP candidate.
I am sorry but I do not believe that either Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton or Donald Trump can win. The American people cannot be so ignorant/misinformed. We cannot have a clear picture with the primaries if in some of the states not everybody has the right to vote, or cannot leave the job to go to vote because by so doing he/she can lose that job. Everything is against a large portion of the voters.
For me a big sign of what the average American hopes is shown in the large amount of money received by Sen.Ernie Sanders from tiny contributions. Not even PACs, but average American worker.
We are just at the beginning. The media is a disaster as always, and Congress refuses to correct the many other problems, voting rights, etc. but they take advantage of the confusion to try to advance the Dark Act, take away from the EPA the power to regulate, and probably will delay the election of a Justice to replace Scalia.
What really worries me is how all those small contributors will take an imposed candidate after they have made a real effort to give their hard earned dollars to the one they want. They might even get the Green Party followers to join them.
Up to now, in all these primaries we are dealing with only what, 10% of the USA population? But the media finally has something to show on their usually empty (of brain power) screens! I personally watch RT in my iPad. The journalist I used to follow are there.
I watch RT on my iPad too, Graciela. I particularly enjoy “In the Now,” “Watching the Hawks,” and “Redacted Tonight.” Bernie’s a good guy, but he is a bit off in his understanding (or at least how he portrays his understanding) of foreign policy. After he endorses Clinton, all his supporters should join the Green Party, not the other way around. Jill Stein will be on the ballot nearly everywhere.
A progressive American presidential candidate, if elected, would accomplish little unless a progressive Congress supported Oval Office policy proposals. As dissappointing as Obama is, before the 2010 election the Dem majority in both Houses included enough New Democrat “Blue Dogs” (we don’t hear that term these days, do we, although it was quite commonly cited in media reports the first decade of this century) that much was compromised away or outright slashed out of existence. Simply “disappeared”, as said about dissidents during the ’90’s Argentine junta.
I prefer Sen. Sanders over any other electable candidate (you and your party would be my choice if you stood even a remote chance of winning, Jill Stein, but you presently do not in the American national election system). Whether he pulls out a win over Republican Lite Clinton ll or not, though, will his candidacy revive an apathetic, if not moribund, progressive majority of Americans capable of overcoming a plutocratic juggernaut not rivaled in the USA since 1899?
My hope that this country, and most of the rest of the planet, can avoid at least a century (and very possibly a much longer period) of some severe form of authoritarian oligarchy is likely a forlorn pipe dream anyhow. It was not bolstered by recently published study results on authoritarianism in America I read yesterday on the VOX aggregator service, and the depressing predictions the authors forecast.
There are many more of this personality type than I previously estimated. And while authoritarian personality types are always present, a certain leader type, and minimal conditions set, provides optimal opportunity for group members to break concealment, coalesce, and relatively fearlessly act out in ways societies in healthy condition normally proscribe. This, of course, is what everyone following this election witnesses daily, if charted a line graphing up and growing increasingly vertical.
This group grows ever more bold and brimming over with both adrenaline and confidence, and they are even further inspired by a manipulative, narcissistic, and perhaps sociopathic “leader”.
In a tragic twist of synergistic confluence, the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus ever conceived already exists, is duly manned by unscrupulous specialists, and desires nothing more than the opportunity to perform to its utmost in service to this despicable movement.
Undesirable societal conditions are the fuel this machine runs on, and as bad as things are at the moment they are but a fraction of how bad things will get, decade by decade, for centuries to come.
“Blue Dog” Dems? I’ll go ya one better. We don’t have to go that far back in the ol’ time machine to gaze upon the phenomenon called the “Dixiecrat.” Strom Thurmond, one of the most despicable, vile racists to ever soil the carpet of the US Senate by his mere presence, started out as a Democrat. (I seem to recall a token bid for a Presidential nomination in 1948 on a hard-core segregationist platform.) The fact that Madame Clinton, on “Super Tuesday,” swept into her pocket all the “Deep South” states where such creatures once reigned is, in this analyst’s eyes, nothing to brag about.
It is both disappointing and hard to understand how and why the topic of peace on Earth, in particular each candidate’s plan or vision for manifesting such an ideal condition into reality, hasn’t been discussed in any of the presidential debates to date. In contrast to George H.W. Bush who ridiculed “the vision thing” during a debate with Bill Clinton, the same Bush who hadn’t seen a supermarket checkout scanner as a grown man, simple and reasonable questions: “Is world peace possible?”, “what is your vision of the world in the future?”, etc. – have yet to enter debate discussions deciding who will become perhaps the most powerful person on Earth.
I watched the second half of March 3’s GOP “debate,” finding it more manageable with the field down to a mere four. Near the end, none other than the king of swaggering macho belligerence, Donald Trump, painted a verbal picture of a world living in peace and harmony. (This was in response to accusations that he was too buddy-buddy with Mr. Putin.) Donald has been rather lacking in specifics in his bloviations. I guess what he left out is that this Aquarian Age would follow his sending the US military out to obliterate any entity opposing US world hegemony. And those admirals and generals WILL follow Commander-in-Chief Trump’s orders or there’ll be hell to pay!!
Of course our vaunted Visigoths (both uniformed and corporate mercenary) will do whatever their commander-in-brief tells — and pays — them to do. Over on Bill Astore’s blog “Bracingviews.com” I have made numerous observations regarding The Donald’s vulgar but frank assumption that the self-described “leader of the free world” can pretty much do whatever he wants, to whomever, wherever, etc., without the slightest fear that he or she will face any form of legal accountability, much less resistance from his military minions. I’ll cross-post the following comment there:
Apropos of Nick Turse’s recent book, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, I would like to mention that David Halberstam — author of The Best and the Brightest — won the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his reporting from South Vietnam. In 1967, he published a novel entitled, One Very Hot Day, which accurately portrayed a typical U.S./ARVN patrol which ran into a typical ambush which produced the typical “friendly” casualties: one or two dead “insurgents” for the body-count statistics, no enemy automatic weapons captured, and the air force finally arriving once the engagement had already broken off. Not one to pass up the chance to detonate surplus ordnance once finally made available, the U.S. Army captain/adviser instructs the chain-of-command where to have the incoming pilots lay their explosive eggs:
“I want it all over the goddamn place. I want it where they were supposed to get us, and I want it north, because they’ll probably head north, and you tell the zoomies that if they see anything moving, any mother’s sons, white pajamas, black pajamas, no pajamas to zap their goddamn yellow ass. Anything moves, kill it. I’ll take the responsibility.” — David Halberstam, One Very Hot Day (1967)
“Precision” work, got it? “Surgical Strike,” got it? No wonder our enemies multiply like mosquitoes the more indiscriminate carnage we lay on them. Too bad that The Donald doesn’t actually know anything about the U.S. military, our dogs-of-war mercenaries, or corporate camp followers. If he or any other of the pretenders on that stage actually did, they might start sounding more like Dr. Jill Stein and less like the war-pigs You-Know-Her and President Barack Obama: the real right-wing “heroes” that Republicans revere but dare not name.
Mike–I never bothered to read “The Best and the Brightest” and had no idea Halberstam had written a novel set in the VN War. Now, looking at the behavior of the US government for the past 50 years or so, how can Trump assume otherwise than that a US president can do most anything (s)he wishes? How many days did Nixon spend in jail? On how many counts have Cheney and Company been arraigned for war crimes, use of torture, indefinite detainment without trial of foreign nationals, etc.? How worried is Obama about facing charges for his acts of war against other sovereign (more or less) states? (If he need worry about anything, it’s the promises of the likes of Ted Cruz to dismantle the “Affordable [ha! that’s a good one!] Care Act” the first day of his own wished-for White House reign. ‘Bye-‘bye, Obama Legacy.) Trump’s perception is clear-eyed and realistic. Perhaps by accident? [wink] Meanwhile, Chelsea Manning whiles away the time in her solitary cell at Ft. Leavenworth and Julian Assange is forced to live his life in the basement of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. Such is the state of “justice” in the world today.