Archive for August, 2016

THANKS to DONALD and BERNIE

It was an amoral Republican Party that begat Donald Trump – not the reverse. Today’s beleaguered Republican Party and its self-centered politicians are responsible for their own troubles. It is typically hypocritical for today’s milk-toast Republicans to blame Trump for the sorry state of their party. If there are existential risks to the Republican Party in today’s political environment it is because over the long haul, the changing American electorate has moved beyond the lure and reach of the traditional and reprehensible Republican dog whistle politics and their trickle-down economics. Trump represents the last and deservedly dying breath of Lee Atwater’s vision of the Republican Party and America.

Lee Atwater 1981: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

The American people are not stupid. We do not aspire to Atwater’s trickle down poverty or to be racially victimized. Atwater, who was President Ronald Reagan’s right hand man redesigned the Republican Party’s political messaging in the 1980’s.  He began the use of code words in order gentrify Republican racism and keep a political grip on the American South.  He used trickle down economics in order to scam blue collar (Reagan) Democrats into rooting for huge tax breaks for millionaires. That strategy kept Reagan in the White House eight long years. And it worked right up until 2016 when Donald Trump brazenly lifted the white hood off the Republican Party’s still coded racism and Bernie Sanders denounced both major political parties for their fawning allegiance to the 1% and their abject failure to represent the hurting American middle-class.

Out of Bernie and Trump something good will come our way. Thanks to them, the two major parties will have to change or die and this election will be proof of that rule. In the meantime good riddance to Trump and his Atwater version of the Republican Party. After almost four decades it is a welcome death and long overdue.

As for the Democrats, Hilary can either reinvigorate her party or be the siren that lures the party on to the rocks. That story will be told in how she regards the struggle of working-class Americans. As President, should she offer only timid and typical Democratic lip service to the middle-class, like the Republicans in 2016, the middle-class will soon be ignoring both her and her party.

In the future neither Republican nor Democratic same ‘ol, same ‘ol, dog whistle politics will suffice to keep a political party viable and their constituencies in line. Thanks Donald. Thanks Bernie.

 

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HILARY’S ILLNESS

St. Ronnie Reagan was half-way to Alzheimer disease when he entered the White House for his second term. Funny how the Repukes showed no concern for his genuine health issues at the time but now work themselves into a lather over Hilary’s imagined illness. Toward the end of Reagan’s Presidency Nancy ran the show, she hid the dithering Prez and all the true believers loved the charade. “Wave Ronnie,” said Nancy, “Just wave to them Ronnie.”  And that’s all he did the last two years of his Presidency.

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ORIGINAL SINS

 

Timid Democrats and Willie Horton Republicanism share  responsibility for many of America’s unique original sins; our vainglorious wars, the great recession, the culling of our middle class, once the largest in the history of mankind, the rise of the 1%, the growth of poverty, rationed educational opportunity, rationed health care, cultured racism a.k.a. social conservatives, ‘trickle down’ economics, banksters, the decline of unions, off shoring our jobs and the ‘occupation’ policing and imprisonment of minorities and the poor in working class communities. For better or worse that list shapes an ugly ironbound environment in our lives and our attitudes. That sorry list which provides fantastic opportunities for some Americans and forecloses the future for so many others has now given us Donald Trump and the Dallas police sniper attack, two uniquely American phenomenon.

Dallas and the Donald are but two of the bizarre consequences born in the environment nourished by America’s  original sins. In our newly poor, white, once middle class communities,  and our ‘occupied’ minority communities, which have both been left for dead by our politicians,  there are equal reservoirs of a justified seething resentment – a resentment ripe for exploitation, that has grown large enough and sharp enough to drive both our politics and individual behaviors to the civil edge.   Both represent the boiling point in our politics and behavior which if not tempered will bring on evermore ugliness in America.

From Dallas and Trump onward, the politics of resentment underlying both will bring on big changes in America. From here on out our original sins will bring on change that will either make American life more bizarre, dangerous  and diminished or we shall overcome those sins and make America a genuinely better and more hopeful place for all Americans.

 

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