Home | About | Donate

Democracy After the Flood


Democracy After the Flood

Aisling O’Donnell

In an atmosphere of high distress and deep uncertainty, there are two facts of the 2016 Presidential Election outcome from which comfort can be drawn, however cold. The first is that the Trump victory was obvious to anyone not cocooned in the echo chamber of the liberal press.


Astute observations, Ms. O'Donnell, that will require the DNC to shake its three plus decade corporate money addiction if your "seeds of optimism" are to sprout and your "liberating prospects" are to advance.

Addiction experts tell us that addicts often need to hit rock bottom before recovery can start. Has the Democratic Party hit rock bottom yet ?


This from Mikhail Gorbachev:

"Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says the election of Republican Donald Trump as U.S. president offers an opportunity to repair ties between Moscow and Washington.
The Interfax news agency reported Gorbachev "under a new president of the U.S. the Russian-American relationship could get significantly better. I am convinced it is essential now to go straight into a two-way dialogue on the highest level."
The 85-year-old Gorbachev was admitted to a hospital Wednesday for what Russian media reported was a planned pacemaker."

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3919124/The-Latest-Australia-foreign-chief-says-Trump-likely-win.html#ixzz4PWtWU8n1
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


There was no future had Clinton and the machine won.

I am not sure the Democratic Party can recover or regroup to effect.

Sanders was given the chance to lead a new party by Jill Stein - a selfless act still not recognized by many.

He had not the nerve to take it - being ultimately as conservative and fearful as the Republicans he was supposed to oppose.

A large sea has just swept the decks clean, and the sky is now blue.

Seize the moment.

Until the very large number of unscientific Americans become reacquainted with reality - it matters not a whit which politician says this or that.

Trump cannot prevail in his denial of climate change - any more than the Catholic Church could prevail in its belief in the music of the spheres.

We have just seen, or actually participated in - an illogical act.

Not to worry overly - I am illogical much of the time.

It keeps me sane.

PS: Best wishes for an early recovery to Mr. Gorbachev


Perhaps but if the Democratic Party tends to do anything is to relapse back to its neoliberal ways.


"In these ominous times, the future is certainly perilous, but democracy at least, is intact."


If its not direct, its not democracy.


Thank you Ms. O'Donnell, for this thoughtful and insightful piece. My hope is that the Democratic Party can be taken over by progressive democrats, from the bottom up. This is our only real hope to advance the issues we all hold so dear. The Democratic Party managed, through it's own elitist, inside the beltway, power structure, to nominate a (the only?) candidate capable of 1) losing to Trump and 2) turning a deaf ear to the progressive movement, even in the face of Sen. Sander's remarkable challenge and the wave of public enthusiasm that came with it.

Unlike some other readers here, I do not blame Bernie Sanders or castigate him for his political calculus. One's assessment of where we are and how we got here should be based on understanding a set of core "first" principles that define the progressive movement and how it positions itself on any given issue. First principles draw on notions of fairness, fact-based assessments, and real-life problem solving, not on political correctness (or triangulated!) positions or even on end-result tests. They certainly aren't based on the notion of seizing power for power's sake.

That said, progressives do need to position themselves to exercise power, lest our hopes be dashed against the stone wall of entrenched power brokers, My hope in these bleak times is that progressives will put their energy into an insurgency campaign to take over the Democratic power structure and remake the Party into something that hearkens back to its proud heritage of working class protections and global awareness. I'm aware already of some local efforts to replace the party power structure with real progressives, replacing local party insiders with issue-based problem solvers -- real progressives. I hope this movement spreads.

One should not and cannot expect the Democratic power structure to "learn" from this experience. They are only likely to learn the wrong lessons and move the Party in the wrong direction. Rather, We, the People, need to exercise our own power, to engage in that revolution that Thomas Jefferson (yes, I know he was a slave-owning elitist) chided us to have from time to time, and engage in an insurgent takeover of the power structure.

I still to look to Bernie as a focus for this effort because he has demonstrated the ability to inspire and mobilize and now, with Trump's election, can unleash his talents on our behalf, without the constraint of having to play nice with a centrist, right-leaning, Clinton administration. I'm hoping for and expecting full-throated progressive leadership from Sen. Sanders (and Sen. Warren). Rather than castigating him, as some here have done, we should be thanking him for making us all aware that we are out here together and can work as a group to improve our society. To demand "perfection" from him and others and to blame him for our current shortcomings is, simply, uncalled for and unfair. We need all the right-minded and effective leaders we can get and he is, without a doubt, the most effective progressive leader of our time.

So, thank you Ms. O'Donnell, again, for a sliver of optimism on a day of such fear and loathing. Hope does spring eternal, but is only a false hope if we fail to keep our eyes open and work together to overcome the obstacles thrown our way by the reactionary, regressive opposition we know as the Republican Party.


Although Sanders and Warren have proven to sometimes stray from the progressive mission, they have the potential to be valuable allies in the progressive effort moving forward. If Sanders and Warren chose to be allies, I urge all progressives to welcome and support them.


Agreed that Sanders and Warren have often been Obama rubber stamps. If they are "all we have", we are in trouble. We don't want to pressure them to join (Warren) or rejoin (Sanders) the revolution, we just need to extend the offer and give them the opportunity.

In any movement in celebrity obsessed Murka it helps to include people with some name recognition, however, it will also take many more foot soldiers and other leaders who will achieve some name recognition by the time the next election rolls around.

To address the most pressing short term goal the Green Party is organizing a TPP protest in DC November 12-17.


I agree, except for the analysis of Bernie's motivation.
I, and, now, many others, believe that he was severely threatened into taking the actions he took, after his Campaign was suddenly and completely ended.


They probably took Bernie on a free round trip flight out over the Atlantic and told him the next free flight would not be a round trip if he didn't cooperate.


Hello from Canada !

I just read The Guardian's editorial on the Trump/Republican massive victory. Very, very negative - unprecedented in my experience.

My wife was just showing me the demonstrations in Los Angeles - the talk of a California, west coast exit from the United States.

I just read an article on how much the Mexican rich have lost overnight, with a falling peso (~12%), etc...

How to begin? How to make sense of this so early on?

Perhaps that is an impossible mission, and we need an IMF team to come to the rescue ~

But really, what I personally think this is all about is the collapse of an unworkable system - variously described as the 'western way', referring to the Colombian Age, i.e., the colonial takeover after the landing in 1492. Even this has deep roots, going all the way back to the earliest civilizations, I think - Vedic India, Egypt and the Pharaohs, Achilles and the Greek period, the Chinese imperiems - in short, a summation of the "Study of History" summarized by the great British historian Arnold J. Toynbee.

"Crystallization of a new order of civilization into an uncreative minority of powers that be leads to deterioration and ultimate collapse, despite the intervention of creative saviours." (Toynbee, "A Study of History")

I think we are seeing the working out of that world collapse in Brexit, in the Trump election, and elsewhere in a bewildering diversity of forms - the flooding of Pakistan, the climate change heat waves in Russia a few years ago, the melting of the Arctic Ocean's ice cover, the core meltdowns in Fukushima (those were US reactors foisted on the defeated Japanese after WW II) - man, I could go on for hours.

When I read the "Limits to Growth" in 1972 - this huge premonition of doom and gloom entered my being, and has never really gone away, because I think I understood, even then, the truth of Toynbee's take on human nature - that "knowing" in the academic sense had never been enough to stave off the inertial momentum of an out of control 'civilization'.

From Easter Island to the Mayans to the western democracies today - the pattern is consistent enough.

But what to do when one is living thru this - right now?

Well, a partial answer has just appeared - overwhelmingly, white America, especially those left behind by the 'rising tide', which never did float all boats, have made known their displeasure in the only realistic way open to them.

I am not going to pretend that this election is not a disaster, in the senses that are being described now in the mainstream, and alternative media.

But this analysis is shallow, as I've tried to point out above. The roots are deep - really deep. Washington himself, was, in the final analysis, an aristocratic land speculator of the first order. The Pilgrims were religious zealots. Diseases newly introduced to the Americas killed nearly everyone on two continents - and the people who took over this newly vacated land were themselves escaping an already destroyed world in Europe - a combination of fugitives and rapacious land barons.

I wish I could say something to ease the pain of this moment and time - but perhaps I have, in that I truly believe that the truth has the capacity to set one free.

But most of us are far more comfortable in denial - and I suppose this too has deep, deep roots.

We are all mortal - and most of the world's peoples have always opted for the comfort of religious belief to assuage this truth. That has survival value - and that is not a small thing.

But as we are seeing now, after two hundred thousand years on the planet, homo sapiens is not wise - not yet.

And if we do not find a way to become wise enough, we will disappear from the Universe - probably in the not too distant future.

Trump too is a symptom - not a cause.

I hope we can carry on these discussions into an uncertain future.


Thank-you for your thoughtful comment.


"The Trump victory was obvious to anyone not cocooned in the echo chamber of the liberal press."

Now they come to this conclusion? This site, good old CommonDreams, where liberal progressives come to have their values reaffirmed and write confirmatory replies that will actually be published and read just as if they were real pundits with thoughts that mattered. If there ever was a knock back place for "the echo chamber of the liberal press," this would be it.

Most of the stuff I read here scoffed at the idea that Trump might possibly actually win. The prevailing view was that, with most of the name recognition Republicans including the entire Bush clan with only Christy and Gulianni still aboard ship, it was eyesore obvious that Hillary had been anointed and would win handily.

Obvious to everyone but me. When two Filipina Facebook Friends became passionate Trumpeteers despite his obvious racism and determination to get rid of all immigrants whose papers were not perfectly in order, I knew Trump stood a very good chance of winning, at least in the electoral college. Filipinos tend not to think of themselves as vulnerable to anti immigrant sentiments. They don't get it that Mexicans have a legitimate grievance since California and much of the rest of the west used to be part of their country until a US president used a trumped (sic) up war to take it away from them.

Now we have Mexicans being told that they have no inate right to be here despite where their ancestors came from unless they can get a bureaucracy to grant them official paperwork permission. On top of that, POTUS Elect Trump is going around saying that they are "bad, bad' people, rapists, drug dealers and who knows what all, and wants to grab them all up (how many law enforcers would that project take?), shove them back across the border into the poverty they came here to the "land of opportunity" to escape from, and build a big border length wall to diminish their slim chances of being able to get back in -- and make them pay for it because they certainly deserve that.

I think I understand why they're pissed. Maybe CommonDreams needs to have its echo checked.