|BRJ Front Page||See all Essays||Send a Comment|
"Hillary memories" and: "Possibility for Gary Johnson."
Cancel the presidential election.
Cancel the presidential election.
In the US we have, over the past year, suffered through the most bizarre, ludicrous and corrupt presidential election season in memory – and my memory is pretty long. After a year of each party's candidates playing hardball, we arrived at a match-up of two of the most disliked politicians of modern times, neither of them desired by even a majority of their own party. How did this happen, and what happens next?Abstract:
The Democrats' season started with everyone knowing that the wife of former president Clinton felt it was her turn. As an amazing demonstration of the political power of the Clintons, none of the established leaders of the Democratic party – not even the sitting vice president, Mr.Biden – showed the least interest in running for president. This is unprecedented in modern times. (Though we are reminded of the election of 2000, when the "first lady" (i.e., Hillary) decided she wanted to be a senator from New York, a state where she had never lived, worked, or paid taxes. Like this past year, all the potential Democratic candidates among actual New-Yorkers stepped aside (apparently at the president's request), and she was ushered into the Senate with little fuss.)
This past year, a small group of little-known Democrats eventually threw their hat in the ring: former senator Jim Webb, former MD governor Martin O'Malley, a couple of no-names who lasted a month or two, and even a non-Democrat, independent senator Bernie Sanders. The media did what the media does: recognizing the power of celebrity, they crowned Mrs.Clinton the presumptive nominee from the start; they covered her every sneeze while the rest of the candidates were barely mentioned in the press. But that might not have been enough to get Hillary nominated. After all, no current politician carries heavier baggage than Hillary Clinton. Her reputation for brutal self-advancement at the cost of truth and ethical behavior could have undermined her candidacy.
So some insurance was put in place for Hillary. She arranged to have her former campaign chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, put in place as the chair of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is bound by its own rules to maintain neutrality in the primary races, but we now know from Wikileaks revelations that Wasserman Schultz ran a rigged operation at the DNC. Their communications with voters and with state party offices were routinely slanted to favor Hillary, while concentrating negativity against Senator Bernie Sanders, her surprisingly strong challenger. And the media played along with Hillary's campaign: throughout the primary season, when counting delegates won they included on Hillary's side of the ledger all the "superdelegates" who had indicated support for Clinton, though their votes had not yet been committed. This resulted in the media announcing that Clinton had won the nomination, before the California primary election. The result of this – which unquestionably was intentional – was a reduction in the voter participation in California, and a big loss for Mr.Sanders in a state where he had reasonable hopes of victory.
The DNC bias went so far as to agree to a joint funding operation with Hillary's campaign, designed to secure for that campaign much larger contributions than were otherwise permitted by law. This scheme also left Elizabeth Jones, Hillary's current campaign chair, directly in charge of the funds of this joint venture ("Hillary Victory Fund"), under which she would decide how much money would be dispensed back to the cooperating states' Democratic candidates. These payments would naturally be made after the "superdelegates" from these states had cast their vote at the Democratic Convention in June, – and surprise! – all these superdelegates gave their votes to Hillary. Thus the triumvirate of Clinton, Wasserman Schultz, and Jones laundered the funds originally donated to state parties so that they would be available to Hillary to dole out as a reward (perhaps we shouldn't call it a bribe, though I don't know why not) for the superdelegates to support her. Mrs.Clinton won her nomination by trickery, collusion, and fraud. At least one law suit has been filed charging that.
On the Republican side, while no one has been charged with fraud, it was an equally disgusting spectacle. As with the Democrats, the major media picked their darling – in this case Mr. Trump – and showered him with attention, giving him literally millions of dollars of free publicity. The media deserve the credit for making Trump a plausible candidate. This would be amusing were it not so sad, seeing that the major media are now falling over each other decrying Trump as unfit. They could have done that a year ago – there hasn't been any significant new information about Trump – but they preferred to make money on him while they could. They created Trump to earn sales, now they blast him for the same reason; after all, the prime business of "news" is profit.
As amazing as it seems that anyone but an enemy of the state would vote for a man who knows nothing of what is required of a president of the US, the reality seems to be that the "far right" has taken over the Republican party to the degree that no responsible Republican leader thought it worth-while to appear as a candidate. All seventeen primary candidates were from the Bible-thumping, conspiracy-theory, global-warming-denying crowd. Except perhaps Mr.Kasich, who's not a conspiratorian (though he fits the rest) and Mr.Trump himself, who isn't a Bible-thumper. (But isn't that suspicious? Perhaps he should be asked to prove he's not a Muslim.) So Trump wound up the last man standing, and what does that say?
To me it says that Republican voters are fed up with the party and its corruption and elitism. Like Palestinian youths uselessly throwing rocks at Israeli APC's, the people are throwing their rock – Trump – at the party. They're saying, Damn you all! We've had enough of your corruption and dithering.
At the moment, Hillary Clinton has suffered a dip (perhaps terminal) in the polls, evidently as a result of the FBI's announcement that they're checking more evidence for her cavalier treatment of state secrets – though, why do we need more evidence? Still, the chances are greatest that she will win the election, even while under active FBI criminal investigation. I believe that would be a first. My guess is that if the FBI again fails to recommend indictment (or, of course, if they do indict), Ms. Clinton's inauguration on January 20 would be followed rather quickly by articles of impeachment being drawn up in the House. That business should then keep us busy for a half year or more, and while there's no chance of conviction by two-thirds of the Senate, the House will not let go of Ms. Clinton so easily. House committees will hold hostile hearings into her and Bill's financial affairs, especially with regard to the Clinton Foundation and its connection to the Clintons' spectacular profits on "speaking" engagements.
But there is still the possibility that Mr. Trump will win, He has taken a slightly tempered tone lately (except when he reverts to idiocy under stress), and is catching up again in several key states. I'm not in the business of prediction, but what if he wins?
Heaven help us. We can only hope that he recognizes his inadequacies (though it seems he has never managed this before), and surrounds himself with competent people. The Republican party has a responsibility to see to it that this bizarre turn of events does not bring irreparable harm to the country and to the world. Because there is almost no end to the damage that an incompetent president can cause, if he's really committed to folly, as The Donald seems to be. This is why I'm motivated to offer a $ 1 MILLION REWARD* to the genius who can convince the Supreme Court to intervene to cancel the current election due to its compromised and corrupted nature. (It should be enough to argue that the two candidates are both idiots, but experience suggests that this may not suffice for the Court.)
So we're advancing into a dark and uncomfortable 2017. If you're a praying person, get started. Pray for the Supreme Court to act. If you're not, you may want to reconsider; even if prayer doesn't often seem to work, it feels good, and it may be all we have left.
* : Contingent, naturally, on a donor making such funds available.