The Pawl

 

The recent election and its aftermath have been instructive.

Americans who supported Bernie Sanders, were castigated as naive, political utopians who failed to understand that the only option was to support Hillary, lest the evil Orange-One prevail. And now that Trump has won, we’re rebuked for failing to compromise and ally with neoliberals, like Lawrence Summers, as a means to oppose the president. My favorite piece of advice has got to be–“you’re just part of a circular firing squad.”

I beg to differ.

I’m just trying to be realistic.

In my opinion, the DNC and party elders were perfectly willing to sabotage the Sanders campaign and run the most establishment candidate–Clinton–in a historically anti-establishment election, all to maintain control over the party machinery and precious corporate donor network.

According to the Iron Law of Institutions: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself.

Sound familiar?

Now, Democratic activists loyal to Clinton are lashing out at Bernie-bros. Even worse, Hillary and her sycophants are still blaming Obama’s refusal to investigate Russian hacking for Clinton’s loss. In the process, they’re becoming the new “war party,” while aligning themselves with the neoconservatives who’ve been responsible for so much of the chaos and suffering in the world today. Perversely, the immigrants detained at the airports are from the same countries in the Middle-East destroyed by the wars and regime-changes ginned up by the neocons and their liberal-interventionists sidekicks.

If the Democrats can’t admit what a terrible idea it was to run Hillary Clinton as their candidate, forget about them ever coming to terms with what a particularly disastrous succession the last two presidencies were. If Bush took the most decisive turn towards a fascist America, Obama’s eight years normalized his predecessor’s most radical policies, only with better public relations. Rather than examining the policies carried out by their hero–Barak Obama–the led to this juncture, Democrats now depict Trump as the stand-alone devil-incarnate.

The differences between Trump, and Obama are almost entirely cosmetic. In fact, Trump appears to be a logical continuation of a historical trend.

The American political system, since at least 1968, has been operating like a ratchet, and both parties — Republicans and Democrats — play crucial, mutually reinforcing roles in its operation. The electoral ratchet permits movement only in the rightward direction. The Republican role is fairly clear; the Republicans apply the torque that rotates the thing rightward. The Democrats’ role is a little less obvious. The Democrats are the pawl. They don’t resist the rightward movement — they let it happen — but whenever the rightward force slackens momentarily, for whatever reason, the Democrats click into place and keep the machine from rotating back to the left.”

(Picture of a mechanical ratchet)

We saw this dynamic with Clinton following Reagan and Bush-1, and now, in hindsight, it’s quite apparent that Obama faithfully played his traditional role following Bush-2.

Ian Welsh makes the same comparison. “So Obama got in power, he bailed out the banks, he fucked over ordinary home-owners, he increased deportations and ramped up drone assassinations. He was far harsher on whistleblowers than Bush had been and he re-signed all the bad bills when the time came, like the Patriot Act and the AUMF, which had given Bush massive executive power and carte-blanche to spy, and assassinate, and go to war. 

Obama institutionalized Bush.”

This brings us to the most important task at hand.

Before we can effectively oppose Trump, there is the urgency of reforming the Democratic party.

Ian Welsh offers some tips for the resistance. “In order to stop the next Trump, not just this one, you must have control of a party to the point that they are forced to roll back the terrible laws and policies of the last 40 years–and not just roll them back, but start pushing the lever even further towards equality, away from oligarchy, and towards civil liberties and widespread prosperity.”

If the Resistance wants to really succeed, to really make the US a better place, it must learn the lesson of those who fought and failed before. If you succeed at getting rid of Trump without changing the trajectory of US economy, foreign policy, and disrespect for civil rights, you have done little more than kick the can down the road.”

I understand that you have to compromise in politics, but not with the people who helped destroy our country. Obscuring these facts, or allowing those responsible to posture as opponents of all this is not just misleading but counter-productive.

The Republican leaders are scared of their base. If we want to be effective then the Democratic leadership needs to be scared of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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