Donald Trump is not an aberration of Republican Party politics, he embodies the apotheosis of what that Party’s politics have become since the election of Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 represented the triumph of a cabal of ultra-Right Wing, conservative one percenters, who spent fortunes to gain control of the Republican Party. Their aim was to create a movement which would destroy every last vestige of the “New Deal“, with its’ philosophy of economic and social justice. Reagan had been nurtured and groomed by them to play the role of President and their control of the televised media began the process of the beatification of Reagan into American “Sainthood“.
This beatification was a process crafted by some of the most creative and expensive talent from the Advertising and Public Relations industries, who crafted a public relations campaign heretofore unknown in American politics, for the wants of their Uber Wealthy patrons. These One Percent patrons were doing nothing more nor less than aristocracies in various human nations have done historically to assure themselves of not only the reins of political power, but also the subjugation and adulation of 99% of the citizenry. With Trump in power and all three branches of the federal government controlled by a Republican Party that has been moved far to the Right on the political spectrum, the only political hope to save America from a growing Fascism is a return of the Democratic Party to its’ “New Deal” roots.
On November 3, 2015 I wrote a post full of my own despair at the fact that the Republican’s controlled Congress and the Democratic Party led by a man I admired but had political qualms about, were moving this country towards Fascism. Its’ was You Say You Want a Revolution? and it opened in this dyspeptic manner:
My opinion of the situation in this country is obviously a grim one. This can be quickly shown if you look at the issues that I tend to write about. As I see it, we are either fast becoming a Corporate Feudal Police State, or already have achieved that dubious distinction.We are a country where the inequality between the economic classes is widening and where racism exists in a pernicious form. I am in favor of a movement to change this increasingly desperate situation.
I went on to explain why I believed that this situation couldn’t be changed by an armed revolution and in fact an armed revolution would make our lives far worse, because it would lead to the Authoritarians among us gaining power. Having written that cautionary essay though, at the time I felt at a loss to provide any solutions for the conundrum of a creeping fascism controlling our country and I concluded it:
To paraphrase John Lennon “you say you want a revolution well you can count me out”. So we come to my own personal conundrum which is that I see how bad things are, yet I don’t have any real solution to change them. A new American Revolution, in this current climate, will only lead to a Fascist Dictatorship of those who would make the “Tea Party” seem moderate. When one defines the problems in this world in religious, political and/or economic terms one can propose solutions, but I believe that ideological solutions lead to the same dead end, because the problems are the result of sociopathic behavior, with some genetics thrown in. The issue is how do we deal with that successful, yet anti-social behavior and change the country, and/or the world for the better? I really don’t know, nor have I any long term solutions. I cope with that by trying to report the world around me as I see it and hope that someone much wiser than me, who is not a sociopath, nor a barker of a some palliative nostrum, will come along to help provide ideas that can save us all.
How is it that more than two years later, after a disaster of a Presidential election, I see more hope for a good outcome now, than I saw back then when a Democrat held the Presidency? The answer is that within that horrid defeat, shining through was the illumination of a clear path towards the re-emergence of the Democratic Party, if only our partisans have the courage to follow it. But first my exposition requires a digression.
Back in the 1980’s the response of the Democratic Party to the propaganda that a Reagan Revolution was taking place, was to cower and then to try to imitate the Republicans. This was exemplified by the Democratic Leadership Council, who with its’ philosophy of “Republican Lite,” became the power within the Democratic Party. This philosophy, as expounded by Al From, Bill Clinton and Al Gore used a strategy called Triangulation:
“triangulation is the strategy in which a political candidate presents their ideology as being above or between the left and right sides (or “wings”) of a traditional (e.g. American or British) democratic political spectrum. It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one’s political opponent. The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent’s ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue.“
Among the advantages of Triangulation was that it made the Democratic Party more appealing to the corporations who use political contributions in return for political favors. It also enabled Democrats like Clinton and Gore to latch onto conservative memes like “small government” and “lower taxes” to muddle the Republican message. However, along with it, these DLC types in the interests of Triangulation rejected the ideas and ideals of the “New Deal” and in their tunnel vision of merely getting elected ignored the social justice aspect that had been a mainstay of the philosophy of the Democratic Party. This equivocation in search of electoral office allowed Democrats to run away from supporting Civil Rights for People of Color, Roe v Wade, Gay Rights, and the battle for Economic Justice. This allowed for Democratic support for such abominations as the Omnibus Crime Bill; Welfare Reform; Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; Repeal of Banking Regulations; NAFTA and rejections of the needs of labor unions. While this strategy got Bill Clinton elected twice, it also helped to make the Democratic Party appear irrelevant, inane and powerless to many in the electorate.
The nomination of Barack Obama over Hilary Clinton was actually a repudiation of the Democratic Leadership Council’s ideology because Obama ran to the Left as an agent of change. However, even though Barack Obama ran to the Left, once in office, he moved to the center in almost a DLC fashion. While some might criticize Obama for selling out his campaign promises, we must consider what he was facing. There was a strong percentage of the population, perhaps 25% who in their racism believed that a Black President was an abomination and must be opposed at all costs. A goodly percentage of these folks were of the Tea Party movement and that “movement” was created and funded by the Koch Brothersand their One Percenter allies, who pretty much controlled the Republican Party. What is telling is that President Obama, governing from the Center, was violently anathematized as a Dictator, Communist, Fascist, Muslim Spy and non-American. Had he governed any farther to the Left it is possible they may have killed him and Obama a brilliant man no doubt understood just how much he was limited.
In any event with this just past election we saw Hilary Clinton start off running as a DLC Democrat, proudly proclaiming herself an Establishment Centrist. She and her advisors relied on the fact she would be the first Woman President to add radical spice to her campaign and indeed that was a message that sat well with many including me. However, my disaffection with normative Democratic Party politics was such that I quickly saw Bernie Sanders’ Progressive message as one that I could support and one that was actually a winner. He made a good run at the nomination, so good that by the end of the primary process Hilary had practically adopted his program in toto. Unnoticed by media pundits in their smug bi-partisan centrism was the fact that the Trump campaign also began to copy Bernie’s anti-establishment themes to great effect. Trump, a reality TV star, was a tabula rasa in the mind of the public and so could be believable to many with a seeming Progressive domestic message. Hilary, who years of Republican propaganda had falsely demonized, only seemed even less sincere as she adopted Sanders message at her own. The rest as they say is history, but much of the historical narrative being supplied by Pundits in the Press and on TV, misses the central truth coming out of this election.
The truth is that the majority of Americans, battered and diminished by years of corporate exploitation and greed on the part of the One Percent, are again ready to return to the ideals of the “New Deal“ and make Liberal an expression of pride and forward thinking for all of the people. The way forward to a better, more prosperous and humane country is illuminated by the lighted path created in the 1930 ‘s, by Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration. The question is whether or not our Democratic Party leaders have the courage to trod that path to the displeasure of many of the donor class that supports them.