US mid-term elections
In a few weeks American voters have a last chance to assert that they still care about their republic and democracy. The signs are not good.
The sad story of the American republic, political system, democracy being broken has at this point of time three parts to it. First there is President Trump rather a symptom like a exploding pimple on a festering smelly boil called the Republican Party, which in turn is part of widely infected cancerous rotten body called the American people/voters. One would not exist without the other.
The events of the last couple of years could be described in other terms. A deeply corrupt neo-liberal gang (Republicans) have found the populist demagogic tool (Trump) to seduce a big enough uneducated, dumb, angry minority – that is all you need in the undemocratic US political system – to vote against their own interests. Driven by spite and hatred against what they perceive as the intellectual liberal “elite”.
A columnist for Daily Kos GrafZeppelin127 last Friday describes it like this :
” It’s no secret that selfishness, cruelty, resentment, hate and fear are the reasons why millions of Americans nominated and elected a self-evidently unqualified, vulgar, ignorant, demented racist gangster to be the President of the United States. Not because they “liked” his “policies” (he never really had any), not because they thought he was objectively qualified for the job (viz., had any knowledge, understanding and/or experience in government, law, public policy, military affairs or international diplomacy), not even because they necessarily thought he’d be good at the job, but because he spoke to their selfishness, cruelty, resentment, hate and fear; told them it was OK to be selfish, cruel, resentful, hateful and fearful and that they were right to be selfish, cruel, resentful of whoever they resent, hateful of whoever they hate, and fearful of whoever and whatever they fear.”
“What these people really want is to live in a world where they don’t have to see, hear, experience or be confronted with people and things that make them uncomfortable, that bother them, or that piss them off. Not only that, but voting Republican and electing Republicans doesn’t make those things go away and doesn’t shield them from any of it. Sure, it makes those obnoxious and annoying liberals feel shitty, which for some is the only real goal anyway.”
Democracy like Market
Democracy is like Adam Smith’ legendary market. For both to work you need informed rational people to make rational decisions in their best interest. As soon as people act/vote irrationally and destructively the theory does not work any-more. Neo-liberalism and our so called “democracy ” go down hand in hand.
The uninformed irrational participants allow the “market” make only the top 1% richer. The rest put up with holding down two or more jobs to still rely on social welfare and food banks.
The uninformed voters become content with voting every two to four years without any real effect due to Gerrymandering, voter suppression and ruthless lies and manipulation. The USA being the only so called western democracy to actively prevent citizens from voting.
Lies and the dumb gullible Voter
Part of the right wing neo-liberal agenda has always been to keep people as uneducated and uninformed as possible. Otherwise they might wake up and actually consider what is good for them.
The US have been running down the public education system for the last three and more (neo-liberal) decades. People are so dump shouting down “Obama Care” at Trump rallies because they “still have the Affordable Care Act” not realising that they are one and the same.
One can have sympathy for people who spend all their waking hours trying to make ends meet. They don’t have the time nor energy to engage in politics. However the people who have time for Trump rallies are just to lazy to inform themselves about the most basic political facts. And that is how the Republicans like it.
It makes the gullible masses more susceptible to blatant bare faced lies. One example from two years ago stuck in my mind. Facebook spread a link to a legitimate looking ‘news’ website with the headline “Pope endorses Trump”. Any only rudimentary interested and informed person would not even click on a link that was obvious bullshit. Yet the people behind it put it out there expecting/knowing that people would be swayed by it.
And before we in New Zealand get to smug about our superior education and electoral system I remind you of Steven Joyce’s classic dirty politics barefaced lie. The “hole in the budget” lie knocked the momentum out of Labour’s campaign just weeks from the election. There was/is no effective defence against a lie repeated again and again. It is to late for voters to be woken up a year later.
The White House, Congress and with the disgraceful appointment of Brett Kavanaugh the Supreme Court are now under control of what would be in any other liberal democracy regarded as criminals. The checks and balances the constitution tried to put in place are failing. The founding fathers did not envisage a criminal gang taking control of all three branches of government.
The only ones to be able to reign in the abuse of power and restore a semblance of legitimacy, legality, basic decency and sanity are the American voters. After the events of the last two years there is no excuse any-more that they don’t know what they are doing. If they fail to punish the criminals and rather reward them at the ballot box the US Republic is doomed.
Let’s make no mistakes we, the rest of the world, will be affected.
American Democracy is on notice.
Dr Hans B. Grueber