I’ve largely avoiding writing about politics in this blog primarily since there is already way too much noise and almost no actual discourse, so why should I add more. But this election is making positions clearer than they have been in the past so my understanding is coming together. This is way too large a topic for a single blog post so I’ve decided to do a few essays on what I see as the bigger and longer-term trends which this election is exposing.
Basically since the Repugs have nominated a true plutocrat they’ve decided to go all out and sell their real vision for America, under the codeword, ‘culture’. No more hiding behind the platitudes the B grade actor used that their policies are for everyone. No, they are the 1% and instead of denying it they’re going to try to sell it. They should rule because of “culture”. They are the chosen people and the rest of the proletariat should just accept the rule of the superior class. But to get the votes they have to sell the dark side, which is otherism, a amalgam of anti-minority, anti-women, anti-gay (still sells in some states), anti-science, anti-“elites” (i.e people with college degrees other than business school), anti-atheism (with healthy dose of anti-islam, but that’s too much of a strawman to accomplish much). In short there is ‘us’ (the Sarah Palin, take-back-America-firster) and there is the ‘other’ (strange Barack Obama and the rest of the Dem weirdos). A double-edged sword aimed at nothing less than total domination and the end to the democratic process.
But the Repugs have a problem – demographics. Since they’re mostly old and white and the U.S. is still nominally a democracy where mittwit has to go through the motions of an election they need a sales pitch to put together enough electoral votes to finally, once and for all, “take back” the country for the rich. So they’ve learned to sell fear, otherwise known as gays, god, and guns.
Now to get those votes they’ve gone through a series of steps. First Nixon recognized he could steal the “solid South” from the old FDR coalition via pure appeals to racism. Check, now they have a few guaranteed red states. But the vision Reagan brought it was then, as the great union buster he’d been all his life, split off the union vote via “values.” So the Repugs endorsed the religious right and that got a few more guaranteed red states. And guns got a couple more.
But the 2008 election showed a few cracks. The midwest, despite its old-fashioned conservatism and ample supply of religiosity was beginning to turn a bit purple, i.e. Iowa and if this slippage continued the Reagan coalition might be in jeopardy. But also the mountain west was showing some slippage, primarily due to general anti-government, but also just a hint of the turn-of-the-century progressive anti-bank, anti-big-business, so places like Montana were no longer so reliably Repug. And then the southwest was challenged with simple demographics that another segment of the others, the Spanish speaking community, was feeling its oats and beginning to push for its spot. If all these trends continued in a few more election cycles the Repugs would be headed for permanent minority status.
So with Citizens United this cycle they decided it was time to strike. They’d go all-in on otherism (via the superpacs, so mittwit can pretend he’s not doing it), which is just enough to shake votes in the Ohios and Pennsylvanias, confuse the latino community in Florida and Texas and fight back, via the voting restrictions in a few big states and maybe they can just squeak it through. So with all the ground-game demographics sorted out they might as well try to sell the plutocracy itself via the code word of “culture”.
Now there is a good chance they’ll fail, but this may just be round one. One other lesson from history was that while Barry Goldwater crashed and burned he lit the fuse to get his insidious revolution going which then benefited his acolyte Reagan (I’m old enough to remember Reagan’s pitch for Goldwater in ’64, my first voting election). So maybe mittwit will do the same, fail, but light another fuse to finally allow the takeover in the next cycle or maybe one after that for the plutocracy. The superrich can pour money into the campaign via Citizens United, but even if they lose it’s only a small investment (and they’ve got plenty more, courtesy of tax cuts for the rich) and meanwhile they can pick up a few Senate seats and hold the house. Who says American capitalists can’t take a long-term POV.
So, in short, I think there is a lot more going on in this election than merely choosing between Barack Obama and mittens. The Repugs are trying to gerrymander the voting and buy their constituencies to finally put together the critical mass so they can take over enough they’ll get their dream of one-party state and their real promised land of unabashed kleptocracy.