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Five “Truths” about the US Political Circus Non-Americans Should Question


#1

Five “Truths” about the US Political Circus Non-Americans Should Question

Christian Christensen

As an American academic living in Europe, I am often asked by journalists to offer my opinion about what is going on with US politics, Trump and the media. A number of issues regularly crop up during these discussions that suggest a somewhat blinkered media view of events. Here are five issues that I think are important, and worth considering in a more critical fashion.

Truth #1: “Trump is revolutionizing US politics…”


#2

Thank you, Mr. Christensen for the "outsider's" assessment of media coverage here inside the Homeland.

In my view, the two most important insights you relay are:

  1. That the media's setting up an equivalence between Trump style "populism" and Sanders' style populism is based on false pretenses.

  2. That the U.S. media's cheerleading for war (along with most "electable politicians" taking this same stance) undermines the meaning of, and platforms taken by would-be Progressives.

There's no question that the mass media likes Trump not just for his celebrity and the big bucks it draws in (via viewership), he's also a card-carrying member of the 1% club. And those at the top typically protect their own ilk.


#8

An analysis of the Presidential race that ignores Sanders is incomplete - but the author's conclusions would be hindered by his inclusion.


#11

I fully understand your position. I'm an American citizen but I've lived outside the U.S. for 12 years now and have no plans of ever returning. I emigrated because I didn't want to live in W's neo-fascist paradise, which BTW was simply one stop on the descent of America into fascism that accelerated with Reagan and continued right on through to Obama. Since I don't have any involvement in American day-to-day domestic issues any longer I'm only concerned about U.S. foreign policy because that can affect me directly. So even though I am essentially a socialist, if Senator Sanders doesn't get the Democratic nomination I might actually vote for Trump (but most likely Jill Stein) solely because on foreign policy he is clearly to the left of Clinton, a mass murdering war criminal and corporate whore who should rightfully be sitting in prison rather than running for the presidency. I can see no circumstance under which she would get my vote.


#14

"US politics is center-right and far-right." This is enough to make a dog laugh. How can someone with as much intelligence and education as you undoubtedly probably possess write this with a straight face?

Fred Harden III AKA "GreyHairandGreyMatter"


#15

Siouxrose, there always has been leftist populism and rightist populism in the US. William Jennings Bryan thundered at the oppression of the poor by the rich like some kind of Old Testament Prophet in his Cross of Gold speech. Bryan was both the Populist and Democrat candidate for president in 1900. But Huey, the Kingfish, Long wanted to share the wealth and would probably have challenged FDR in 1936 had he not been assassinated.

Both Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt were progressives. Teddy wanted steeply graduated income and inheritance taxes to redistribute the wealth. Wilson gave us the income tax and direct election of Senators. But Teddy thought we needed a war ever so often so that the US would not become soft and he fought in the Spanish American War. Woodrow Wilson campaigned in 1916 on the slogan: "He kept us out of the war." After he was elected, he proceeded to get us into WWI. Bryan, his Secretary of State, resigned because Wilson wanted to go to war. Bryan was a Progressive who also was a pacifist, but not Teddy and Wilson.


#16

"Thank God you didn't make the "Hitler" comparison. Once someone does that, their intellectual credibility disappears."

Oh?

Trump persecutes illegal aliens and wants to deport them. Hitler took German citizenship away from Jews (making them illegal aliens) so he could deport them far to the east on reservations in the Soviet Union (he must have got this idea from the way we treated native peoples). Of course, he had to defeat Stalin first and the Red Army prevented that.

Trump wants to make American great again and Hitler wanted to establish the Third Reich (the Roman Empire was the First Reich and the Holy Roman Empire was the Second Reich; Adolph apparently was not aware that Voltaire said of the Holy Roman Empire that it was not holy, nor Roman, nor an empire).

Trump believes in American Exceptionalism and Hitler told Germans they are the master race.

Trump runs as an outsider and bashes the established politicians. Hitler bashed the government for stabbing the German Army in the back because it signed the armistice ending WWI.

The big difference is that the German people were not so stupid as to elect Hitler to power. The German industrialists were deathly afraid of a Marxist Revolution and convinced President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler Chancellor (the head of government) because Hitler was a rabid anti-communist. They actually told Hindenburg that they could control Hitler. It was a case of not heeding that old warning: "Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it."

So, the question is: are Americans more stupid than Germans if enough Americans elect Trump president? If Mencken is right that "Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard," we just might bring Trump to power in a democracy.

What is worse than Trump are Trump's followers who all have authoritarian personalities. This means they see everything as black and white and want a strong leader (der Fuehrer) as an authority figure. People with authoritarian personalities can't abide people who disagree with them and persecute them as heretics. Hence, Trump's followers beating up protesters as Hitler's brown shirts did in Germany. If there are enough people who have authoritarian personalities in the US, then we just may have the Fuehrer Trump as our next president.


#18

I think Howard Dean should get the most credit for revolutionizing US politics. He was the first to raise large sums of money from small contributors and at one point seemed like the odds on favorite to win. If not for one misinterpreted yelp at a victory rally he indeed might have become the Democratic nominee. Sanders has taken what Dean started to another level.


#19

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#20

Breathe deeply, in, out, in, out.in, out. Aaaahhhhh. Now don't you feel better?


#21

I've thought the same thing as the author of the article. The Clinton's and Obama are center-right. It's all about neoliberalism, corporatism, militarism, and the elite protecting its interests on taxpayers money.


#23

I cannot even begin to imagine Trump as sexy and appealing. I never watched his shows because he - personally - disgusted me. I cannot watch him now without nearly barfing. He's about as sexy as a potato bug (sorry, potato bugs), and I would hope he would "turn off" every single woman in this country.


#24

Not until I find where I put my nutcracker.


#25

Please don't use the term "homeland."

This was deliberately pushed onto the American psyche by dick cheney and his evil cohorts. The reference to the Germany term "Fatherland" was intended as a slap in the face to Americans and our Constitutional traditions; it's implications are entirely sinister.

The Neocon strategy depended upon changing the mindset of Americans. We do not have to go along. We can resist by refusing to adopt the Newspeak terminology.


#26

I disagree with most of what's been said in that comment.

I'm busy watching Michigan State take Ohio State to school and don't have the time to show you where I disagree.


#27

From where I stand, I'd give American about a 25% chance of NOT falling into a literal dictatorship within the next 25 - 50 years.

The stage has been set. The Patriot Act invalidates the U.S. Constitution, if you choose to believe Congress has any authority to pass such legislation, which it doesn't. But it is the Patriot Act, not the Constitution that will be the document the traitors point to when they need a "legal" precedent.

Corporations dominate our society. Our population has been splint down the middle in regards to religious/secular issues, invented "values issues," and political ideologies. Our economy has been decimated. Wealth has been concentrated into the hands of the minority, leaving the masses in dire straits. U.S. Citizens must have a passport to re-enter the country, where we used to be able to visit Canada and Mexico without such documents. They want to build a wall "to keep aliens out" and that same wall will help keep Americans in. Our municipal police forces have been militarized to actively suppress all dissent when the curtain falls.

It doesn't much matter who pops up and assumes the role of dictator. Trump, Clinton, or Joe the Plummer - the results will be the same. A long period of undisputable dictatorship modeled after the fascism of Hitler's Third Reich.

I'm a hopeless optimist, and hope Bernie Sanders can spark a revolution that identifies Flint, Michigan under the reign of Rick Snyder as the harbinger of things to come.


#29

Costa Rica. It was my growing disappointment in American values, culture and politics that did it for me. Costa Rica is far from perfect (although the climate is) but it is very close to Sanders' vision of Democratic Socialism.


#30

Don't Bogart. Pass it over here.


#33

He has ALREADY advocated BEATING UP minorities & Muslims! "I'd like to punch him in the face", Get him out of here!""in the old days he'd be taken out on a stretcher"---ALL DIRECTED AT BLACK OR MUSLIM PROTESTERS.


#34

Dean is a hack for HIllary. NOTHING "revolutionary" about him at all.