Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Populism Defeated Hillary Clinton and Democrats Must Pay Attention


The most qualified candidate in my lifetime lost the 2016 presidential to the least qualified and populism was the cause, amplified by social media. Newspaper and TV media played their part by essentially going to sleep at the switch, laughing at the Trump campaign while giving him tremendous coverage—six or eight times that of Hillary, proving once again that any exposure is good exposure. The Democratic National Committee further enabled the disaster by sidelining Bernie Sanders, a man who might have beaten Trump but, what the hell, it was Clinton’s turn. 

The voters, however, were very much awake at the switch and although Hillary won by a substantial two and a half million popular vote, her opponent swept the Electoral College. Now the dumbfounded majority of that electorate is questioning the wisdom of even having an Electoral College, but that does little to solve the problem.
Since the Reagan presidency, both parties have egregiously ignored a sinking middle and lower class in America, both of whom are mad as hell and not taking it anymore.

Trump successfully played to that both-party audience and here the Democrats are, hung up and dangling between a rock and a hard place. Slack-jawed and without a plan, they need some advice. Fortunately, I am here to give it.

Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said “all politics is local” and truer words were never spoken. 

For three decades now the Republicans have financed State and local Republican candidates, while Democrats focused on national elections. The result of that campaign elected Republican governors and tipped the balance in State legislatures. Ever since, the national map has consistently painted blue states red.

They’ve accomplished that primarily through The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which defines itself as ‘a partnership of America's state legislators and members of the private sector.’ And partner they do, through massive donations by the Koch brothers and such industry big-shots as Coca Cola, Exxon, HP, McDonalds, Pfizer, Wells Fargo and Wal-Mart. Thus corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to rewrite state laws to suit their needs and they are blindingly successful at doing so.

While ‘the other guys’ worry over national elections, ALEC understands that all politics are indeed local. Democrats are quite properly scorned and abused by their closeness to Wall Street and the banks, but ALEC is out there swimming with bigger fish. These big fish in the small ponds of State government are very successful bottom-feeders.

Do I approve of all this? Absolutely not, but our Supreme Court in one of its worst decisions in decades found corporations to be individuals and approved their unimpeded access to flooding elections with unlimited corporate money. We do indeed have ‘the best legislatures money can buy.’

Meanwhile, this is a knife-fight. Democrats need to learn (and quickly) that you don’t take bare fists to a knife-fight. Time to slip a gun in their pocket in this gun-crazed society. There’s plenty of money available to the Dems and they better get their asses in gear to build an ALEC in their own likeness.