Even if we were to vote, where is the line drawn? We all know that Ralph Nader gave Bush the election, and we know that Bernie and the Greens and Libertarians did the same thing. So, what are we to do? Press that even the exposure of these people is a good thing? That they put pressure on the others to bend their policies a bit, to appeal to more people? Or are we just supposed to run into the pen that the sheepdog leads us into every time we realize that the sheepdog was never going to win in the first place? And if we’re voting for people who aren’t going to win, why aren’t we all just writing in our disparate but favorite candidates, and our friends and neighbors? Where is the line drawn with useless voting?
The working class often votes Right-wing, because some of the working class is composed of the small property-owner or the owner-operator and sole-proprietor of their business, or are working to get there. Others are white trailer trash who see affirmative action and other programs as privileges that they themselves don’t have but are being punished for. Some are just rural folks. There are tons of demographics among the working class, and not all of them white, that supported Donald Trump.
I almost never endorse politicians. I generally regard all elected officials, from the President to dogcatchers, as employees of the real ruling class (C. Wrights Mills’ “power elite”). Voting is merely participating in the king’s coronation rituals in a way that conveys legitimacy on the state. However, there are times when political campaigns can be used for propagandistic purposes. Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 are examples, and Tulsi Gabbard’s present campaign is another potential example.
I doubt she will get the nomination. The Democrapic party will either find a way to block that from happening (i.e. cheating), or she will simply fail to do well in the primaries because, in my experience, most of the kinds of people who are likely to be voters in the Democratic primaries are not people who consider foreign policy to be a primary issue. What passes for “the Left” in the US is, with some exceptions, pathetic when it comes to international relations. They’re far more interested in idpol, expanding the welfare state, and environmentalism (i.e. advancing the interests of the left-wing of the First World middle class). However, a Tulsi vs. Trump contest in 2020 would be a highly interesting turn of events for a range of reasons.
I think she would actually do better in a general election than in the primaries, though I don’t know if she could beat Trump or not. I think not because not only are there the standard issues like incumbent’s advantage but also because, given her views on international relations, the overlord class would pour money into the Republicans to keep Tulsi out of the White House, and the media would work overtime to ensure her defeat. Notice the only time the media (other than FOX) ever said anything good about Trump were the two times he attacked Syria. It would be a highly interesting and comical situation because the political class, capitalist class, deep state, media, etc would suddenly rally behind Trump after years of endless hating on him because they would view him as objectionable though more easily contained and less immediately threatening to the empire’s interests. It would be a true “memory hole” moment. Such a situation would also greatly exacerbate the cleavage between neoliberals (most of whom would move to Trump) and progressives (most of whom would stay with Tulsi). Certain dividing lines would become clearer among the center (radical center vs. establishment center) and right (neocons vs nativists vs populists vs non-interventionists) as well.
Of course, even if she won Gabbard would be constrained by the wider ruling class, political, and deep state apparatus. At best, she would be another Jimmy Carter, i.e. a moderate who is a generally decent person but essentially unable to maneuver within the framework of a system of overwhelming opposition by elites. The “Trump hate” that has been piled on by the wider ruling class is nothing compared to the “Tulsi hate” that would come about if she were elected (the same would be true of a Republican with similar views).
Any US president who seriously moved against the interests of the oligarchy would meet the same fate as Mosadegh, Arben, Suharto, Diem, Sihanouk, Allende, Saddam, Qaddafi, so many others.
Do you remember the Democrats, dearest motherfuckers? Not the neoliberal, gutter capitalist, Clintonista kind or even Bernie’s brand of drone-strike socialists, but the peace loving hippie kind. The doves who tried to end the Cold War and marched against the draft and stuck flowers in the barrels of National Guard rifles. The liberal lions who took on the war machine, who made love not war, who couldn’t hug their children with nuclear arms, and braved the perils of grassy knolls and brainwashed Arabs to bring just one ounce of sanity to Capitol Hill. Sure they were corny and preachy and a little grabby in cocktail party coatrooms but they had character and cojones and conviction. What ever happened to those liberals, before their bleeding hearts were eaten whole by those nasty neos? Where have all the flowers gone? Tell me, dearest motherfuckers, do you remember the Democrats?
Yeah, me neither, and here comes another one of my famously merciless reality checks. With the exception of few fantastic McGovern hiccups, they never actually fucking existed. The Democrats have always been a war party, even back when the Republicans were still Lindbergh worshiping isolationists. Don’t get me wrong, the Dems were always big on that Feed the World-style, Kumbaya charity shit, but there chief staple was usually more white phosphorous than whole grain granola. Both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam; all started by Democrats. Even the Republican crusades in the Persian Gulf initially passed with broad Democratic support and lingered into holocausts with broad Democratic indifference. Much like the Republicans relationship with putting America first, the Democrats only get in touch with their hippie-dippie side when it serves their partisan needs, with Yemen as your latest rule-proving exception.
Lately, though, it seems to be getting worse. Since the Sixties, the Dems have at least generally payed lip service to ideas like detente and diplomacy, particularly atop their ivory soap boxes of the legacy media. But if you turn on NPR or CNN these days, you would be forgiven for believing you were interrupting a less than clandestine meeting of the John Birch Society. According to such bleeding brains as Rachel Maddow and Wolf Blitzer, Vladimir Putin is responsible for everything from Hillary’s biological unelectability to the ravages of climate change. Donald Trump makes the rare intelligent decision to simply meet up with Kim Jong-un for pho and playful banter and he’s appeasing the Axis of Evil. John Bolton throws a monkey-wrench into the goddamn thing and suddenly he’s the latest neocon “adult” to be proclaimed a progressive folk saint. The Donald firebombs an orphanage in Crimea and he finally becomes a “real” president. OK, I made the last one up, but these are some sick sick fucks.
It’s obviously true that most of the MSM, particularly television, is simply the propaganda arm of the Democratic National Committee, just as FOX, talk radio, Christian broadcasting, and the Wall Street Journal are simply the propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Hawaii Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,
where instead of the light, jokey banter about politics and who she is
as a person that Democratic presidential candidates normally encounter
on late night comedy programs, the show’s host solemnly ran down a list
of textbook beltway smears against Gabbard and made her defend them in
front of his audience.
when a Democratic Party-aligned politician appears on such a show, you
can expect jokes about how stupid Trump is and how badly they’re going
to beat the Republicans, how they’re going to help ordinary Americans,
and maybe some friendly back-and-forth about where they grew up or
something. Colbert had no time to waste on such things, however, because
this was not an interview with a normal Democratic Party-aligned
politician: this was a politician who has been loudly and consistently
criticizing US foreign policy.
don’t “believe” in electoral politics, because elected officials are
just the paid employees of the power elite proper (see C. Wright Mills),
but this would still be great because it would force the power elite to
really step foward and show its hand. “Hell, no. We ain’t having this!”
The ruling class has already waxed hysterical over Trump, who is just
an old-fashioned Nixon-Rockefeller Republican (“Nixon was the last
liberal president”-Noam Chomsky) and governs like a normal Republican on
most domestic issues. Imagine how the oligarchy would respond to
Any US president who seriously moved against the
interests of the oligarchy would meet the same fate as Mosadegh, Arben,
Suharto, Diem, Sihanouk, Allende, Saddam, Qaddafi, so many others.
A good discussion of how the corporate imperialists circle the wagons around anyone with even moderately anti-interventionist views. US foreign policy is essentially a Roman-like imperialism that is committed to large-scale massacres as a matter of policy. The Democrats and Republicans are fine with this, and committed to preserving it. Most progressive liberals and SJWs consider anti-imperialism to be just another issue, or a matter of indifference. Even a supposed “far leftist” like Alexander Reid-Ross-Podhoretz-Kristol is more concerned about Russo-Assadist conspiracies on behalf of the Learned Elders of Thule than opposing the US empire of corpses.
Unlike Tim Pool, who is a centrist vlogger, I am very appreciative of the divisive and disruptive effect that supposed “far left” Democrats are having on their party, just as I am very appreciative of the effect that Trumpism is having on the Republicans. The neocon/neoliberal duopoly is being forced into a defensive position. Interestingly, in one of Pool’s recent videos he describes SJWs as a religious movement, i.e. the Left’s version of theocratic social conservatives, which is the position that I (and others on the margins) have been advancing for years.
An interesting analysis of the relationship between Trumpism and the capitalist class by “antifascist” writer Matthew Lyons. Read the article here. (Caveat: Lyon is vehemently opposed to attack the system).
As I would have suspected, Trumpism was an unwelcome insurgency that was initially opposed by the overwhelming majority of the capitalist class. When other options became less viable, many of the conventional sectors of the traditional right-wing of the ruling class started moving toward Trump, while most of the capitalist class remained in the Clinton camp. As I was saying at the time of the election, of the two candidates it was Trump who was the more “left-wing” of the two, e.g. espousing populist economic views and anti-interventionist foreign policy views (however sporadically, ineptly and inconsistently). Trump is also much more of a social and cultural liberal than the normal Republicans as demonstrated by his multiple marriages, his current marriage to a former Playboy model, his fondness of porn stars, his involvement in vice-related industries, his support for marijuana legalization, gay marriage, and prison reform, his lack of religiosity, and other characteristics that would have barred him from the Republican nomination until very recently.
“I’ve noticed more and more folks on the current right becoming anti-war (at least, selectively anti-war for pragmatic reasons, though some have begun to sound like full-on peaceniks). If nothing else I guess that reflects neocons’ losing hold on the GOP.
Which raises another interesting question. What is the future of the Republican Party proper? As you pointed out yesterday in your Coming Dystopia piece, and in the past, the kind of Republicans that make up Trump’s base are largely a (literally) dying breed. And the more time passes the more I agree with your assessment that the new “conservatives” will essentially be neoliberals who reject progressive-style economic proposals and/or some of the excesses of SJWism.
“It’s interesting how figures like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are labelled as “communists” for wanting the economic policies of the 1950s (when a third of the US labor force was unionized and the top income tax bracket was 91%), and the Trumpians/MAGA hats are considered “fascists” for wanting immigration policies that are to the left of Eisenhower’s in the 1950s. Whatever the USA was in the 1950s, it was hardly fascist or communist.
In most countries with a democratically elected government (roughly 60 to 75 percent of the world’s nations), open socialists, communists, fascists, nationalists, fundamentalists, Greens, quasi-anarchists, animal rightsers, populists, and all kinds of assorted weirdos regularly run for and get elected to all kinds of stuff. That’s how “democracy” is theoretically supposed to function.
The USA has one of the most tightly controlled and narrowly constrained electoral systems in the world. Some of the most retrograde Latin American nations have a similar system. The different factions of the oligarchy (mostly the traditional Chamber of Commerce types vs the newer techno-oligarchs and urban professional class) put forward their bought candidates as quasi-celebrities, and the role of the media is that of a pro-wrestling announcer, i.e. to pretend like it’s all a real contest as opposed to a staged theatrical production.” – Keith Preston
“Its a rigged game and a charade, and people are starting to see it, even if they cannot describe it in the political language that you just did. Parliamentary systems are better because even outsider candidates can pick up a few seats. The US is actually a Plutocratic, Quasi Totalitarian State with Democratic façades. The electoral system and the liberal and conservative wings in the US are totally bought off, and the corporate and national security state elements actually run the country, with the political class being basically their employees from the President on down. Freedom of Speech is no threat, the US population is so brain benumbed and ignorant, repeating all the nonsense they hear from Fox News and MSNBC that nothing they think, say, or do can pose any kind of challenge to the system. OTOH people are disgusted with government, corporations, banks, the government, and the establishment parties, they no they are getting screwed and the system is scared. So there is tactic of inculcating strife between various groups in society over race, political views, sexism, LGBT, etc. Cultural Liberalism as a divide and conquer strategy. Economic misery us breaking down American society, the fissures are everywhere. It will get so bad with drug use, suicide, nihilism, mass killings, mental illness, that society will no longer function normally anymore, and it will collapse.”-David Alexander
Not exactly the kind of left/right coalition I would envision, but you’ve got to crawl before you can run, I guess.
By Matthew Rozsa
In my recent interview with Tucker Carlson, he waited until nearly the end of a long conversation to drop a bomb: He might vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2020. OK, there’s a “but” and an “if.” Carlson actually said that if Warren focuses on the economic populism ideas articulated in her 2004 book “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke,” he would consider supporting her. It wasn’t a promise. From the point of view of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, it might be more like a threat.
We have to put Salon’s interview with Carlson, a top-rated prime-time host and commentator on Fox News, in the proper context. That context would be the Overton window, a concept developed at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy by Joseph P. Overton:
Imagine, if you will, a yardstick standing on end. On either end are the extreme policy actions for any political issue. Between the ends lie all gradations of policy from one extreme to the other. The yardstick represents the full political spectrum for a particular issue. The essence of the Overton window is that only a portion of this policy spectrum is within the realm of the politically possible at any time. Regardless of how vigorously a think tank or other group may campaign, only policy initiatives within this window of the politically possible will meet with success.
That doesn’t exactly describe my conversation with Carlson, but it provides a useful frame. In any society at a given time, certain political ideas are deemed to fall outside the realm of the acceptable. Sometimes that’s healthy, if it drives totalitarian ideologies to the margins, but it can be harmful when it stifles meaningful dialogue.
An interesting article from Daily Kos. I know the author of this piece, who is generally friendly to ATS.
By Alex Shepard
he election of 2020 is approaching us fast, and the primary season will be here before we know it. Already, the 2020 democratic field has a few challengers. The darling of the establishment, Elizabeth Warren, has announced. From the insurgency ranks, outside of the establishment, is Hawaii congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard.
Tulsi Gabbard, on nearly all sensible and progressive policies gets a perfect score. She supports the reinstitution of the Glass Steagall act. She supports raising the minimum wage. She also has vocally opposed and taken part in protests against the monstrosity called the Keystone Pipeline. She has continuously called for Climate change to be taken seriously and for America to embark on a pragmatic shift away from fossil fuels to efficient alternative energy. She has supported civil rights for all individual Americans, including our Latino, LGBT, African-American, disabled and Muslim citizens. So therefore, it appears she should be an ideal candidate for all left-leaning individuals, mainly those who supported Sanders in the 2016 primary. She also was one of the few Democrat Party officials to endorse Bernie Sanders during his presidential race in 2016, with considerable risk to her political career. She freely resigned from her high ranking post as vice chair of the DNC in order to follow her conscience and endorse Sanders, much to the chagrin of the DNC’s operators.
Most importantly, and speaking from the personal perspective as a PHD candidate in the field of Middle Eastern Studies, she has a spotless foreign policy. Hers is the kind needed for a successful and functional American relationship with not only the Middle East, but the rest of the world as well. She has rightly condemned the illegal war of aggression against Syria. At great risk to her person, and her own political career, she undertook a fact-finding mission in the war-torn nation of Syria. She has since taken it upon herself, much to the ire of the Democratic Party establishment, to tell Americans the truth about where their tax-dollars are going. They are being funneled at the behest of the Military Industry Complex, Saudi Arabia, and Israel to aid the wrong side of a conflict that is of no interest to the United States. Mainly, the American government is actively using American money to assist those who have killed Americans in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. She also repeatedly called for the suspension of aid and weapon sales to the atrocious and genocidal regime in Saudi Arabia, which has been in the process of starving the Yemeni population to death. She also condemned Obama’s illegal war of aggression against Libya, which our former commander in chief admitted was a tragic mistake.
This is a pretty good discussion of Gabbard. From what I can tell, she’s basically just a moderate who trends liberal on social issues, who is pro-military, pro-Israel, and pro-terror war but who merely thinks the neocon/neoliberal foreign policy paradigm is insane (which it is), largely from her experience of actually having been in the military in Iraq. She apparently has a soft spot for India, which is obviously due to her own Hinduism. The worst thing that I have ever heard about her is her friendship with Sheldon Adelson.
US President Donald Trump says hush payments to women he allegedly had affairs with before the 2016 presidential election were legal. Trump said the payments were personal transactions and denied they were a violation of US campaign financing laws. Earlier, federal prosecutors in New York demanded a “substantial” jail sentence for the US president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to bank fraud and campaign finance violations. Democrats say Trump himself could face impeachment and imprisonment if the transactions are proven to be campaign finance violations.
I generally hold to the obviously heterodox view that, contextually speaking, Donald Trump is the most liberal president the USA has ever had (though Barack Obama was more liberal on some social issues like the environment and transgender rights, and Jimmy Carter was more liberal on some foreign policy issues like international human rights). It is therefore interesting that his biggest supporters would be some of the furthest right sectors of US society, such as the religious right and the racialist right. Imagine Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt running for president in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s with followers of George Wallace, Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson as their biggest backers., and you have a rough analogy to the present situation. This article by a neocon evangelical and former member of the Bush administration explains why. During the George W. Bush era, I said that Dubya did not govern any further to the right than LBJ, and Trump is much further to the left.
By Michael Gerson
ne of the most extraordinary things about our current politics—really, one of the most extraordinary developments of recent political history—is the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump. The president won four-fifths of the votes of white evangelical Christians. This was a higher level of support than either Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, an outspoken evangelical himself, ever received.
I find it fascinating that Donald Trump, a man who personifies the perfect hybrid of 1960s/70s hedonism and 1980s/90s greed and materialism, would emerge as a conservative hero, with the religious right and social conservatives being his biggest backers. If there are any snowflakes left who still think some right-wing Christian theocracy is on the horizon, they need not worry. Trumpism represents the Latin Americanization of US politics (a high stratified class system where open corruption is the norm in politics) rather than “A Handmaid’s Tale.”
Social Justice And The Far Left Are Doomed To Collapse due to internal inconsistency within itself. They advocate for the rights of groups at odds with each other and for positions that can’t be brought together. You can’t advocate for Abrahamic fundamentalists while also advocating for the rights of women and other marginalized groups. You can’t support health care for all but also open borders as resources are finite Social justice groups and feminists constantly fight among themselves over issues yet still try to bring in more groups and ideologies. We are left wondering which is the real feminists? Second wave feminism? Third wave? Fourth?
Ann Coulter, as everyone knows, is a staunch conservative and immigration hawk. But she correctly perceives that Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric is largely a ruse intended as raw meat to be thrown to his base. Coulter’s examination of electoral politics correctly perceives that the future belongs to the ascending forces represented by the alliance of the techno-oligarchs and the new clerisy (as I have been saying for almost 20 years). By any reasonable standard, Trump is one of the most liberal presidents, if not the most liberal, that America has ever had. Anarchists, libertarians, anti-statists and anti-authoritarians need to get over the “rightwingophobia” that is common in our circles, and start focusing on who the enemy will be in the future.
Every day that Trump does not keep his promises on immigration, thousands of immigrants turn 18 and start block voting for the Democrats, while thousands of traditional Americans die off. Florida and Texas are about five years away from turning solid blue. Trump was our last chance. After this, the country is never going to elect a Republican president again.
Yep. As I am not a conservative, I am not at all unhappy about the prospect of never electing a Republican President again.
I agree with this analysis. The Democrats were the primary winners in this election by a significant margin. They flipped the House, multiple governorships, and multiple state legislatures. Votes on referendums like weed legalization and felon voting rights generally went liberal (although abortion related issues in some red states were an exception). The diversity count increased as well with the number of female Congress people increasing, record numbers of ethnic minorities, women, gays, Muslims, the youngest ever Congressperson, etc. all being elected. The Senate has always been one of the more conservative institutions, and that’s true today because the “red zones” get a sum total greater amount representation there. The left/liberal/progressive/whatever side is definitely winning as a far as the big picture is concerned.
Plus, I see Trump as far more liberal than his predecessors. He was a Democrat for most of his life, married a former Playboy model, bangs porn stars, seems to have no problem with legalizing weed or gay marriage, pardoned some black drug offenders, hangs out with rappers and Hollywood celebrities,etc. If he had been the President 20 years ago the religious right types would be going ape shit insane over his lack of morals and character. His actual instincts on a lot of foreign policy and economic issues seem more “liberal” than the normal Republicans and many Democrats. His stance on immigration was “normal” 20 years ago. He’s no stricter on “law and order” than Bill Clinton was. Nowadays, liberals don’t seem to appreciate just how good they’ve got it.
In a Special Report, Ari Melber breaks down how Democrats had a decisive victory in the 2018 midterm elections, winning more House seats than they have in 40 years. Melber examines the myth of divided Government and shows how Americans have not been going back-and-forth in deciding which party should win the White House, but have in fact, by popular vote, preferred a Democrat for President in 6 of the last 7 Presidential races.