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Why the US Elected a Despot, and Why It's Poised To Do It Again

#1

Why the US Elected a Despot, and Why It's Poised To Do It Again

John Atcheson

There’s an emerging conventional wisdom that says the way for Democrats to win in 2020 is to move to the center and pick up some of those centrist votes. This is the perspective being pushed by the neoliberal establishment, the mainstream media, and the bulk of the paid political pundits.

There are two things wrong with this.

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#2

The pretty picture of Nancy & Chuck so perfectly answers the question posed by the headline, it binds Atcheson to a steep challenge: explaining it any better in words.

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#3

I welcome the d-party to stay in the center, which through their acquiescence has moved further and further rightward.

I just want them to stop telling me that they have liberal priorities in mind. They don’t.
And I just want them to stop telling me I have nowhere else to go. I can vote third party or stay home.

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#4

Ah John Atcheson - you are too gentle me thinks:
“And it looks like Pelosi, Schumer et. al. are betting the ranch on revealing how bad Trump is.”

This is no ranch, it is a slave plantation system.
Pelosi and Schumer are attempting to preserve the kick-up/back tinkle down system introduced and molded by the Clintons. Most memorable being institutionalization financial fraud at unprecedented scales. That is to say, we now await the NY Justice system to follow through on prosecuting Trump’s legacy of organized crime. One point and caveat though, whatever they catch him on, those precedents would apply to Clinton as well. I have no doubt that Pelosi and Scuhumer have fish we ought to frying.

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#5

Good article, but Acheson is using a the term “neoliberal” in a very USAn-insular, incorrect way.

"Neoliberal does not mean “an epithet for wishy-washy-centrist Democrat”.

Neoliberalism is the global phenomenon among capitalist thinkers that arose in the 1970s and gained ground under Thatcher, Reagan, Kohl, Mulroney and others, starting in the early 1980s. It was a reaction to Keynesian social democracy and its program was to privatize, commodify, deregulate, “reform” and submit to the “discipline of the (so-called) free market” all that still remained under public ownership and control. The “liberalism” refers to economic liberalism (i.e. lazez-faire capitalism of the original Adam Smithian liberals of the late 18th/early 19th century) and it is “neo” because it is a revival of this thought from its last hurrah in the robber-baron era before the Great Depression.

This isn’t nit-picky because the resistance to neoliberalism must be organized globally (yes I know, such a concept is sooo quaint and 1990s-ish sounding in these nationalistic times - anyone remember the cry “Another world is possible!”?) Consequently, we don’t need to be changing the meaning of word to mean something entirely parochial to the USA. It’s bad enough that we are not even conversant in the measurement system the whole world uses…

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#6

Well if Atcheson said they’re betting the plantation, people might think he means South Carolina.

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#7

two points! now you get a free shot - keep up the fine aim!

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#8

Atcheson writes:
“Some 77 percent of Americans prefer candidates who “take on the political elites and special interests” to those who conform to a set ideology. Trump voters aren’t voting for anything, their [sic] voting against the status quo.”

And this is why the DNC was so obviously willing to risk Trump rather than win with Sanders: Because Trump is a charlatan and an opportunist, but Sanders has a serious program to actually challenge oligarchic wealth and the “political elites and special interests” that the DNC is beholden to.

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#9

It seems that the movement to demand agile response to climate change is the global root that will be blooming and that carries the admonition of the indigenous peoples: “They try to bury us, but they do not realize that we are seeds”.

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#10

Excellent post. Also not nit-picky to add that following Thatcher and Reagan, neoliberalism gained more ground under Blair and B Clinton, when the “opposition” parties in both the UK and USA opportunistically adopted neoliberalism to chase money, leaving voters nowhere to turn (until Corbyn and Sanders came up).

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#11

… the obvious strategy for winning back the White House and the Senate while retaining the House is simple. They got where they are by serving the interests of the rich, the elite, and corporations. Adopting the kind of policies that would serve the people and get no-shows off the sidelines threatens their true constituency.

Bingo. Follow the money and you will find the Democratic party establishment eagerly waiting with their hands out.

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#12

“We came we saw he died (cackle)” I’m with Chelsea Manning. Free Assange and others. Share the love…

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#14

Excellent article. At the heart of it lies one simple fact: Once you accept boatloads of campaign money from corporations such as big pharma, the health insurance lobby and the MIC, you cannot be for MFA, the Green New Deal or scaling back on empire.

What I’d add to the mix is that Trump actually ran on a populist platform. Yeah, I know, a cutthroat billionaire real estate developer playing Huey Long is absurd (and, of course, later abandoned). But at least he made a pitch for the working class. Check the campaign record.

Trump was for protecting American jobs by promising to get tough with China, re-negotiate NAFTA (he did, though same bs), rub elbows with coal miners, promise unions huge contracts with an infrastructure bill, slap tariffs on imports, etc. This scared the capital class, but what terrified them was Trump’s intimations re foreign policy. He threatened to leave NATO, was too chummy with Russia and even wanted to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan.

This prompted a marriage between the establishment dems/big media and the neocons. Try to count all the Bush administration refugees who either have shows on MSNBC or contribute on a regular basis. Like David Frum, Max Boot, Nicole Wallace, Donnie Deutsche, Clapper, Comey, Brennan, etc., and the rehab tour of Bush himself.

It’s as if James Comey and these other war lovers never lied and deceived us into the illegal Iraq invasion. It was the FBI who infiltrated and weakened Occupy Wall Street. It was the intelligence agencies’ traitors that threatened - then rewarded - AT&T to turn over private records to the state. And now these are the mouthpieces for LIBERAL? media.

Social security used to be the third rail of politics. Bush and Obama ended that fairy tale, and now it’s empire and the MIC that are untouchable.

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#15

Always a loser?

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#16

It would be nice if Biden drops out because of Sanders. Similarly as Johnson dropped out in fear of RFK.

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#17

The Democratic Party leaders are responsible for the election of Trump. Had they chosen Bernie as their candidate, Bernie would have won. For many people, both choices in the last election were objectionable.

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#18

“…it’s miniscule”

Minuscule. Easy mistake to make.

“Trump voters aren’t voting for anything, their voting against the status quo.”

They’re. Jesus, dude. Learn how to spell.

Also, this is the same strategy they used in 2016. There’s a great video of Chuck Schumer saying that every progressive vote they lose will be matched by two or three moderate Republicans. It never quite works out that way, but they keep trying it. It’s almost as if they’d rather lose to Trump than win with a progressive.

Finally, Trump is not an existential threat. He’s just the tool we need to get a real progressive candidate. The longer he stays in power, the better the chance of a progressive congress and a progressive president. Sure, it’s a risky strategy, but the alternative is more of the status quo, forever. I don’t think we can wait that long.

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#19

I’m sure Rachael Maddow is clamoring to get Atcheson on her show.
I say sarcastically.

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#20

As the slogan once had it, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
That describes Pelosi (and Schumer).

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#21

As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” The Democrap misleadership is insane, inane, greedy, selfish, and not worth any respect.

Nancy “Dems need to hold the center” Pelosi and her corporatist/Wall Street/Big Insurance/Big Pharma/War Profiteer-funded cronies in the Democrap Party are already opposing the ideas most voters support, such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, so sociopathic Trump and the other sociopaths making up the RethugliKKKan Party will likely be re-elected in 2020.

But Pelosi and her greedy “centrist” cronies will continue to collect their paychecks and legal bribes from the corporate oligarchy they have always served so well, or go to work for those corporations, or get huge speaking fees like the greedy Clintons and greedy Obama, so, no matter who wins the election, these corporate Democraps will still win.

And most of the rest of us will still lose.

And the existential threats of Climate Catastrophe and omnicidal nuclear war will still increase.

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