Fractured presidential race in 2016 reflects deep divisions inside Republican and Democrat parties and unwillingness of major share of Americans to identify with neither. The Gallup study published in January shows party identification at or near historical lows. “For the fifth consecutive year,” the report says, “at least four in 10 U.S. adults identified as political independents.” More than 40 percent identify as independents in 2015.
This elevated percentage of political independents leaves Democratic (29%) and Republican (26%) identification at or near recent low points, with the modest Democratic advantage roughly where it has been over the past five years.
“No, the American politics is not theater it is only the beginning of the fall of ruling class in America”
This explains popularity of non-systemic candidates like Donald Trump at the Republican and Bernie Sanders at the Democratic side. Unlike pundits who are trying to convince us otherwise, the American politics did not change into theatre more than Australian politics transformed into circus. The bunch of slogans molded into crafty paragraphs are parading as “learned analysis” on the pages of tabloid newspapers.
Not a better quality of analysis provides “serious daily”. Its foreign affairs editor counts on the traditional cynicism towards United States and sheer ignorance of his readers.
Ad hoc observers of low quality expertise in a tabloid and also “serious media” are parroting slogans created by their American mainstream counterparts about alleged “dysfunction of American presidential race”, “gladiatorial race” or “personality cults”. Neither there are no obsessions with polling in contemporary American politics, because polling is an instrument of every candidate’s campaign for obtaining of data, which is not available publicly. Polls do not determine any results, as observers seem to be claiming (Iowa results are always different, New Hampshire may be predicted more precisely) but rather they are indicators of candidates popularity.
Current presidential debates are not much different from, for instance, those in late 1970s. They are not gladiatorial race at all. Whatever author meant by “gladiatorial” whether was element of the show, sharp exchange of opinions or sometimes brutal political maneuvers they were always part of the picture during the presidential race in the USA.
When Ronald Reagan challenged an attempt to exploit his older age by his young opponent Walter Mondale with famous “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience” he was using indispensable tool in a verbal clash during the debate. Such memorable quotes like this, and, for instance, “there you go again” in reply to Jimmy Carter, who began his comment, during the debate, “Governor Reagan again…” are vehicle, which helps generate popularity for candidates. Obviously the American politics is generally about the choice of an honest, responsible and competent individual and particularly such is a nature of presidential race in the United States. Multiple candidates, who run the nomination race create space for stormy debates and clash of views. It sometimes takes participants of this race to understand media or to speak above cameras to people to attract votes.
Not unusual are also mistakes of candidates such as Marco Rubio’s allegedly “robotic statements” (the clear evidence that author this column did not try to search for another view such as this) during the debates, but mistakes can cost them dearly. In 1976 Gerald Ford during the debate with Jimmy Carter appeared to be “a robot” repeating that “there is no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe.” (in reality the New York Times journalist implied in his question that the Helsinki Accords constituted acceptance of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Ford thought that Helsinki had been misrepresented in the question and that is why he replied with such a statement. He later clarified that “the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of Soviet Union”. It was too late for explanation because previous declaration was exploited by Carter’s campaign to weaken his position.) But those, who observe American politics with, what appears to be deeply ingrained anti-Americanism, must miss the panoramic view. Perhaps these commentators had never a chance to follow American political process on the ground and the only source of their information are CNN, MSNBC or websites more or less related to them. Such partial view through dark glasses of ignorance must always be infantile. My advice? Throw this junk concealed like sophisticated commentary where it belongs to the trash.
So, what is happening in America now?
To answer this question one needs to refer to key phrase of “ruling class” to understand sociological and political phenomenon that is emerging on our watch. Some informed commentators are calling it as “Reagan revolution” others just a revolution.
It began in 2008 as a reaction to the decisions of Republicans and Democrats to bail out car producers, banks and other financial institution despite clear opposition of silent majority American people to spend 10 trillions of non-existent dollars. The atmosphere of drama created by Presidential advisors, bankers and presidents of automobile industry helped to put pressure on Congress which eventually voted for bill filled with non-sense earmarks for virtually every important member.
At this moment as brilliant commentator of political scene (not a theater as the Daily Telegraph wants to convince you) Angello Codevilla observed:
When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.”
Ruling class showed its disregard for the most important issues for American people including Constitutionality of the rule, freedom of religion, economic justice and the immigration policy.
Political class characterises rhetoric and behavior of both parties – Democrats and Republican in Congress. Their disdain for law has been revealed in a famous book “Throw Them All Out” by investigative journalist Peter Schweitzer. Schweitzer unmasked insider training, legal but deeply unethical mechanism of earning enormous amount of money, utilised by members of Congress.
For the Government Rich, insider deals, insider trading and taxpayer money have become pathway to wealth. They get to walk this exclusive pathway because they get to operate by a different set of rules from the rest of us. And they get to do this while they are working for us, in the name of the “public service”.
Schweitzer’s book started the debate on crony capitalism that united some politicians with a certain class of businessmen who acted as political entrepreneurs. They make their money from government subsidies, guaranteed loans, grants, and set-asides. They seek to steer the ship of state into profitable seas. Twenty-first-century privateers, they pursue wealth through political pull rather than by producing new products or services.
The wealthy ruling class showed complete disregard not only for personal ethics but also for the text of laws, for the dictionary definition of words and intentions of their authors. Codevilla observed that “ruling class was acting within the American Constitution’s limitations.” In 1990s federal courts invalidated amendments to state constitutions by referenda to secure “positive right” invented by them. Codevilla gives example of the case when a Federal Judge declared “unconstitutional” the referendum in California that approved definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in amendment of state constitution despite the fact that US Constitution does not mention neither marriage nor abortion.
That decision followed Congress forcing every American to purchase health insurance, which was clearly breach of Constitutional law.
Perhaps the increasing popularity of Trump and Sanders explains clearly Codevilla’s observation: “As the discretionary powers of office holders and of their informal entourages have grown, the importance of policy and of law itself is declining, citizenship is becoming vestigial, and American people are becoming ever more dependent – and, above all, more unequal.”
Republicans in Congress ceased to be real opposition acting rather as a minor support party for Barack Obama. Ruling showed its disregard for the most important issues for American people including Constitutionality of the rule, freedom of religion, economic justice and the immigration policy.
Revolt of American voters against ruling class of both parties transformed into grass-roots movements. At the conservative side emerged Tea Party that brought Ted Cruz to Senate and left organised itself in Occupy Wall Street movement. Occupy Wall Street, wide-spread political movement that attracted many independents, supports Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
Post-tea party vote tend to be split between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. In New Hampshire the big loser was establishment of both parties. Donald Trump won even part of evangelical vote there. Not a big part, rather estimated as “one third”. As conservative journalist and radio talk host Rush Limbaugh said Trump’s victory surpassed every expectation.
Naturally the establishment, American ruling class, is in panic.
Trump won, the exit polls were right. Trump won men. He won women. He won every age group. He won every ideology. Liberal, conservative, moderate, Libertarian. Every group Trump won a majority of voters. He won among people who had gone to college and people who hadn’t. He won among people who only had a high school education; he won among people who did not have a high school education. He won every single age bracket. He won those groups by huge margins. He won men 3-to-1 over second place finisher. Women he won 2-to-1. Voters under 30 he won 2-to-1. Nearly 40% of those who had not attended college voted Trump. A third of those who had attended college voted Trump. Neither Bush who spent 16 million dollars in New Hampshire nor any other governor-candidate was able to take place in the group of three leaders of the night. Trump distanced himself by more than 15 points from a second Republican on the podium.
Naturally the establishment is in panic. They invented the most disdaining phrases not only for candidates such as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz but also for whole political process to try to show their appreciation with nomination to trusted candidate and contempt for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
Unfortunately commentators of mainstream media do not understand this reality. Their ignorance mixed with pride makes them wise in the eyes of readers seeking informed commentary. Hopefully readers will realise soon that they are being given hot air instead.