Home | About | Donate

Laboratories of Democracy and the Mad Scientists of the Right


Laboratories of Democracy and the Mad Scientists of the Right

Jim Hightower

In a 1932 dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted that the benefit of America's federal structure is that "a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."


Jim, you're worrying about the wrong thing. What SHOULD worry you is that we are now "locked into" an increase (from baseline--the period prior to the Industrial Revolution), in the global mean temperature of 6 degrees Celsius--although one scientist says 8 degrees, and another as much as 10 degrees! If the increase is "only" 6 degrees, we humans will join the many other species going extinct during this period of "the sixth extinction"!


Terribly off topic...

Global warming is the most critical issue of our times - but isn't the first task to kick out the reactionary, pro-oil, pro-coal, pro-corporate agriculture, pro-car, anti-public transit politicians occupying most state capitols?


Completely off-topic.

Such a measure would require action by politicians at the state and federal level - for such a radical revolutionary measure to be even be mentioned, a major change in every state legislature and the US congress would be required to say the very least.


"Having lost 913 state legislative seats since 2010 (Obama was elected in 2008), and with 68 of America's 99 state legislatures and 23 states in which the governor and both legislative branch's are controlled by Republicans...."

It is clear from the evidence that the Democratic Party is electing massive numbers of Republican politicians.
Is that because the Democratic political class are all idiots or is this their plan?


"So let's get out there and make it happen...." how?


All politics really are local.


And they should be, but that doesn't solve our national problem.
Local politicians are expendable in this fight for control by "we the people."


Since 1960 the percentage of US voters identifying as Democrats has continued to shrink, with the sharpest declines occurring during the first midterm elections after Bill Clinton and Obama were elected. In Clinton's case the GOP took control of Congress (in 1994 election) for the first time in 40 years.

Clinton zealously pushing the GOP's NAFTA through and Obama pushing through GOP "healthcare reform" relabeled the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were the triggers that enabled the the GOP to make these leaps.

Ever since Bill Clinton became POTUS the percentage of US voters identifying as Greens has increased. Active in dozens of nations and holding 10% of Germany's Bundestag seats, the Green Party is a global party, not a domestic anachronism like the Democrats and GOP.


Why do we have to have demonstrations "to get my (our) fair share of abuse" in order to right egregious wrongs when we can do so peacefully by voter initiatives and referendums? We may have to hit the streets to get the oligarchy to remove all obstacles to real democracy, if that's even possible.

Direct Democracy


Gerrymandering is why Obama won Indiana in 2008 and not in 2012. University students have seen voting places moved off campuses. Student ID is not longer accepted for voting. When picture ID was put into place it prevented many from voting due to not having the specific ID needed to get the ID to vote. My town is cut in half to prevent any Democrat from winning. And if a Dem does get elected. like Glenda Ritz, Superintendent of Education, the Republicans, Governor Mike Pence, took all the power away and turned it into a figurehead position. They could not allow any opposition to defunding Public Education.


Republican controlled states gerrymander in favor of Republicans and states controlled by Democrats gerrymander in favor of Democrats. Gerrymandering should be declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

But the question that Hightower posits is how so many governor's and legislatures have been lost to the Republicans because of the incompetence of Democratic Party leadership?


The US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, we ignore the consequences, and the US maintains its overall downhill slide.

Democracy? What people hope for is legitimately representative government. Republicans represent the interests of the rich, Democrats represent the interests of the middle class and the rich, and no one represents the rest of the country today.

On the election, the Dem voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, for the common good. The Clinton wing split this base wide apart. The years of this administration confirmed that the split is permanent. Democrats selected the most anti-poor, anti-New Deal candidate they could find. And that's the situation we're dealing with today.


No, societies have to deal with reality. In reality, not everyone can work (health, etc.) and there aren't jobs for all. The US shut down/shipped out a huge share of our jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, and continues to ignore the consequences. We now watch as the rich do to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor.


The reality is that if available work is finite that work can be divided among ourselves more fairly. Imagine the head of the Dept of Labor being an elected position, with responsibility for determining how many hours of labor would be made available to the capitalists, and responsible for seeing that the work gets shared fairly. When there is a balance between the supply of labor and the demand for it then we can get fair pay in return for our work.


Hillary has been plenty macabre, too, Jim.


The middle class didn't "do it" to the poor. That is a ridiculous thing to say.

If you define the middle class as the top 50% of earners minus the top 10% then this group saw their percentage of total income earned decline by 18% since 1980 (from 51% of total income to 42%).

Change in share of total income earned from 1980 to 2012:
Top 1% - 8% to 22% (up 175%)
Top 10% minus 1% - 23% to 24% (up 4%)
Top 50% minus top 10% - 51% to 42% (down 18%)
Bottom 50% - 18% to 12% (down 50%)


Author Thomas Frank states that the GOP represents the top 1% of the population, the Democrats the others in the top 10%, and 90% of the population essentially lacks any representation.