US Elections: America’s Right Turn – by Stephen Lendman
Since the 1980s, neoliberalism dominated US politics under Democrats and Republicans. Bush I continued Reagan policies. Clinton hardened them. Bush II much more, and Obama so far matched Star Trek, going where no administration went before. Count the ways. They’re manyfold, favoring business over popular interests, yet he’s accused of being socialist.
On November 2, angry voters responded, shifting right despite favoring many left of center issues, a combination of outrage and angst overriding their best interests. Go figure because what they got will incense them more.
During hard times, election cycles repeat a common pattern. Angry voters throw out bums for new ones, discarding them next time around for still more, mindless of what an earlier article explained – that US democracy is fake. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. Mock elections pretend to be real. The process is mere kabuki theater run by political consultants and PR wizards, supported by major media misreporting, featuring horse race issues, not real ones.
Everything is pre-scripted. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process. Party bosses chose candidates. Big money owns them. Key outcomes are predetermined, and cheated voters get the best democracy money can buy, each time no different than others.
Recall November 2008. Promising change after eight George Bush/Republican dominated years, Obama won the most convincing non-incumbent victory in over 50 years, sweeping Democrats to large majorities in both houses.
On election night, the mood celebrated hope for progressive change, an end to imperial wars, and a new day for America. When word came around 10PM, expectant thousands in Chicago’s Grant Park erupted with chants of “yes we can,” hoping Obama would deliver at a time of deepening economic duress. Two years later, disappointment, disillusion, frustration, and anger erupted over promises made, then broken, once again betting new faces will govern better than old ones. Think again.
New York Times writers took the lead reporting it, Jeff Zeleny and David Herszenhorn, for example, headlining, “Restive Voters Divide Power in Congress as GOP Surges to Control of House,” saying:
They also came close in the Senate “as discontented voters, frustrated about the nation’s continuing economic woes, turned sharply against President Obama just two years after catapulting him into the White House.” It showed in how they “indiscriminately ousted Democratic incumbents who loyally supported Mr. Obama’s agenda,” decidedly anti-populist whether or not they know it.
Times writer Carl Hulse headlined “Republicans Oust(ed) Old and New Democrats Alike,” throwing out babies with their bath water. It’s what usually happens in hard times, especially when big money effectively manipulates minds, pushing them right, not left, that means over the cliff through planned austerity when massive stimulus and much more are needed.
Universal single-payer healthcare for one. Taking money out of politics another. Holding real elections, not fake ones. Giving Congress back what the Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8 mandates – the power to create money and control the value thereof, not Wall Street bankers using it to their advantage. They delivered hard times, transferring wealth from the majority to themselves. Obama and Congress support them, Republicans as guilty as Democrats.
The best Times writer Peter Baker could say was “Somewhere along the way, the apostle of change became its target, engulfed by the same currents that swept him to the White House two years ago.” Instead of denouncing his shameless betrayal, he said only that he “must find a way to recalibrate with nothing less than his presidency on the line.”
Shifting right, not left, is what he means, what Clinton called triangulation. Obama earlier promised austerity, more favors for business, hardline immigration policy, deficit reduction, continued imperial wars without saying it, and more for privilege, not people, buying into Reagan’s “trickle down” economics, what, Bush I called “voodoo.”
All a Times editorial could do say is that “voters….sent President Obama a loud message: They don’t like how he’s doing his job, they’re even angrier at Congressional Democrats.” Republicans exploited it “turning out their base….Democrats….fail(ing) to rally their own.” Besides noting a shift right, hard issues weren’t mentioned, instead saying “his opponents (were able) to spin and distort what Americans should see as genuine progress in very tough times.”
For Wall Street, defense contractors, Big Oil, and other corporate favorites perhaps, not Main Street that drove voters for change. What’s coming, however, will infuriate them, what no major media report will explain. For example:
— greater than ever military spending;
— expanded wars, perhaps to new theaters at a time most Americans want them ended;
— privatizing Social Security and Medicare, letting Wall Street racketeers exploit them for profit, scamming the public at the same time;
— privatizing public education as well as increasingly at the university level;
— trashing labor rights;
— hanging American workers out to dry;
— ignoring growing millions facing foreclosure;
— letting poverty and unemployment spiral out of control;
— yet eliminating unemployment compensation and other social benefits, saying they’re “unaffordable;” tax cuts for the rich, however, will be maintained;
— enacting more police state laws on top of many in place; and
— turning America darker, a reactionary direction pitting bread and butter issues against ruling elites, both parties offering bipartisan support, especially new incumbents and their leadership.
The big money backing them demands it, assuring they’ll get what they bought. It’s how US politics works, more than ever delivering the best democracy money can buy. As a result, American workers are on their own, out of luck, and unsupported by both parties. Democrats are no different than Republicans.
As a result, governance in America is dysfunctional. The electorate remains mindless to reality. Only grassroots activism might change things, sweeping all the bums out, electing progressive independents, reversing repressive and corporate friendly laws, as well as enacting a new constitution by national referendum, letting the electorate decide, not states or Washington.
A utopian vision? Absolutely, adopting working class France’s 1968 slogan, “Be realistic, Ask for the Impossible” through collective political action, the only way “impossible” goals ever are reachable, social justice topping the list.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.