Saturday, November 12, 2016

Democracy: Breakdown or Affirmation?

Until January 20th I will state freely that Donald Trump is a Jackass of the first order.  After January 20th I will refer to him as President Trump.  The question to be addressed here is how did we manage to elect a Jackass to be our President?  Did our democracy finally break down releasing a flood of ignorance on the land?  Or did the people rise up behind the only option they had to tell the establishment to go to hell?

The blame for our predicament is shared between the leadership of both major parties.  The Republicans set the stage with obstructionism fueled by nonsense, destruction of the middle class (started by Reagan), racism very thinly veiled behind dog whistles, birtherites who knew better but chose a treasonous path over democracy (led by the Jackass), feigned scientific ignorance (surly they know better), and a long list of bad policy on energy, healthcare, etc.  The Democrats helped set the stage by moving right in the 90’s (feeding the prisons boom), signing away banking regulation, and by appointing W’s treasury team to deal with the 2008 crisis that the Republicans had spawned.  Instead of bailing out Americans, they bailed out AIG and banks.  Yes, W’s administration should be held responsible for the crash of 2008 but Obama stood by and let the Fed fuel an unprecedented rise in debt and a corresponding escalation in wealth inequality serving Wall Street and screwing Main Street.

MiLords, (the Oligarchy, the Military Industrial Complex, the Plutocracy) have successfully gutted the middle class for 40 years.  Income inequality has reached obscene levels and trickle down economics is a joke. And the middle class is in revolt.  They are not just ready for change, they are demanding it. 

20 candidates emerged in 2015 to run for the office of President.  Two of them ran against the establishment.  The Republican establishment did their best to fight for anyone but Trump and failed.  The Democratic establishment mobilized the media (Washington Post you should be ashamed), instituted illegal fund raising schemes, announced the count of super delegates before the campaign had begun and used dirty tricks in the primaries to barely avoid the Berne.

And we wonder why Trump won?

To the extent that We The People opted for change, democracy was affirmed by Trump’s ascendance.  But many people were dismayed that they didn’t have a choice for positive change.  One side presented same old same old and other presented a clown who, while he can be credited with understanding (and exploiting) the deep frustration nevertheless represents a moral dilemma.  Democracy was not served by rigged primaries that took away choice.

So the blame for the breakdown in democracy does not lie with Trump.  As nasty as he is, he tapped into genuine concerns.  The blame lies squarely with the manipulation by the DNC to foist a flawed candidate upon the people, taking away their choice.  Not just the choice for Democrats but for those Republicans who in the end held their nose and voted for Trump.  They voted for change.  It’s About Change, Stupid.

The question before us is whether the Democratic Party can be salvaged?  The first indication will come with the election of a new Chair for the DNC.  A position of substance for sure but also a position that is symbolic of the travesty of justice that occurred under Debbie Wasserman Shultz.  Will Bernie’s candidate prevail or will we be subjected to same old same old Howard Dean who ended up at the lobbyist trough? 

The Republican establishment is also at a critical juncture.  Will they succumb to the temptation to ride Trump's message or will they take a stab at preserving their conservative roots?

In conclusion I would say that democracy breaks down in a two party winner takes all system if even one party rigs the outcome on their side.  But for all that, the people have spoken loudly and clearly.  “We will not stand still while the middle class is gutted.”

We will next turn our attention to an interesting question of this whole mess.  How did African Americans salvage Hillary’s primary run and why did they not come to her rescue in the general election?  A story that will take us to South Africa, Arkansas and points south on Super Tuesday.