Neither Liberal nor Conservative are being properly served in this election. Neither Democrat nor Republican are being given their best and their brightest for the highest office in this troubled land. Neither Green or Libertarian or Socialist or Communist or Constitutionalist are being truly represented in this year’s great race. From the outside looking in it appears no one’s needs are being met here with the exception of the billion dollar political machine and everyone seems to be tearing each other apart to prove why the other candidate is the embodiment of this cycle’s “Evil.” While the type of character assassination is fairly typical in previous political races, elections past could at least hold up the issues that clearly demarcated which side you found yourself supporting. During this election it seems that the issues that Americans care about most are tossed by the wayside to completely embrace the shameful state of politics in this country. Not only by the candidates, but by the media as well. Perhaps, due to the rise of social media we have allowed this happen as well, because it is far easier for people to sling shit at each other like lower primates, than it is to engage in civil discourse and intellectual debate. It is one of the most fascinating times in US history and one of the most disheartening, but it’s happened before and it will probably happen again.
One of the amazing ironies of this race is that the American people are expected to do their duty for their political party and vote for one of the two multi-millionaire people who have their own agendas that reflect very little on what the people actually want or more to the point, what the American people actually need. People at this level of power and wealth pretend to need your support so that they can ignore you for the next four years as they set about to accomplish their own mission in their pursuit of even more power and wealth. They aren’t even trying to hide it this time around on either side, at least not very well. It’s gotten to a point where the candidates almost seem immaterial to what is actually going on. This feels like the death throes of both historic political parties, the dying of the old guard and we would be lucky if that was the case. Actual Liberals find little to celebrate with Hillary Clinton, many disenfranchised by the DNC admittedly rigging the Primary in her favor over Senator Bernier Sanders. It’s reminiscent of what happened to McCarthy in 1968 when the left was left with Humphrey and the right had Nixon. Actual Conservatives have left the Republican Party in droves, disenfranchised not for any rigging or political shenanigans, but because they grew up with the likes of Goldwater and Reagan engraved in their minds, while the eloquent words of William F. Buckley were sung to them as children, for this election they have Donald Trump, who has been the poster boy for everything wrong that stemmed from the 1980s.
It would appear that modern Democrats are nothing more than the Republicans of yesteryear, but with a touch more liberal dressing on the side, while it’s difficult to tell what modern Republicans are and I’m not sure if they’re confident in their identity either. So on the one hand you have the Democrats who are deeply invested in maintaining the status quo come hell or high water or you have the Republicans who are even more reactionary with Trump’s platform than ever before. He makes Ronald Reagan look like a socialist progressive in his promise to make “America Great Again.” The Republicans have as varied a history, as do the Democrats, on who they are inviting to the party and this year it appears the invitations were written in crayon. Goldwater had warned against the danger of the Republican party sidling up with the Religious fundamentalists, but through the hard work of people like Buckley, that eventually became a reality with the coronation of Reagan. Since 1980 the Religious Right and the Republicans have worked hand in hand for good or ill, and with that association the Republicans could at least use that to defend their right to the title of the “Family Values” party. Because in America, going to church was a part of being a good family once upon a time and that political union could always give them the “Holier than Thou” card to fall back on. And now you have Donald Trump. It’s easier to understand why a Republican or a Conservative would vote for Trump than it is to understand how a Christian could cast a vote for this Herod of our times. You do not have to even consider his frightening history, this is based solely on everything he has said and done documented on film since running for president. Supposed Christians have gone so far as to say, “This fight is beyond faith” in defense of Trump, but it would have to be, one argues, that those are the Christians that like to read the Bible selectively.
The Democrats have an equally varied history deeply steeped in old fashioned racism that took a turn toward progressive liberalism with FDR’s New Deal. Since that change of heart Democrats have represented Liberals in a somewhat half assed way, never progressive enough for the Liberals, far too progressive for the Conservatives. Their identity in the wake of the election cycle has slipped as well. Liberals are heading to the Green Party in much the same way Conservatives are heading to the Libertarian Party, many of them doing so after discovering either their vote in the primary wasn’t counted or that their registration was deleted entirely. This could well be how the Democrats lose this election, because of the DNCs overzealous behavior during the primaries to ensure that they could fulfill a promise they made to her in 2008 when they told her to heel and let the new kid take the Oval Office for a couple terms. The DNC wanted Clinton as their candidate and it had little to do with what registered Democrats or actual Liberals wanted or even a reflection of how they voted. The romance of a Clinton political dynasty swept them all away into what could have been an easy win for their party with say, Sanders or even a ticket with Sanders and Clinton. They wanted Clinton, come hell or high water. That’s how the delegates felt about the mediocre Humphrey in ’68, that’s not what the primaries were showing by the popular vote before or after the death of Robert Kennedy–at that point Eugene McCarthy was the peoples choice. And they lost to Nixon. Had Sanders never run, Clinton probably would have been an instant win as well, but Sanders showed Liberals a vision of America that they’ve only ever imagined and for the first time in a long time, someone was speaking their language. And now you have Hillary Clinton. Her biggest crime is that she’s a career politician with a lengthy history in American politics, which is an absolutely corrupt business, but she’s actually played the game. They weren’t her rules, she didn’t set up the oligarchy, but she sure as shit knew how to navigate it like a champ. This year, that’s not admirable.
It wasn’t a surprise to find out that career Conservative intellectuals started stepping aside and reluctantly endorsing Clinton. From an actual Liberal’s point of view she is a war loving, conservative who has grown fat and happy on the taxpayer’s money for thirty years. That would be called a Republican thirty years ago. People like George Will and P.J. O’Rourke have left the Republican party and endorsed Clinton. Now to be fair, both of those gentlemen can be considered fairly centrist in their Conservatism, but still both are posessed by admirable minds. The same could be said of David Brooks and William Kristol, both of whom vehemently oppose their affiliated party’s nominee. O’Rourke’s reasoning is possibly the most chilling though and perhaps, the most honest and accurate: “I am endorsing Hillary. And all her lies and all her empty promises. I am endorsing Hillary. The second worst thing that could happen to this country. But she’s way behind in second place, you know? She’s wrong about absolutely everything – but she’s wrong within normal parameters.” It’s an interesting ride this year if you actually listen to the other side of the political argument and not just the one you identify with traditionally. Actually listen, not wait to interject, not wait to tear a part their points, actual listening or reading. It’s eye opening to say the least.
Across the board, there is one thing that’s clear, whether it is the disenfranchised who are voting for Trump, the disenfranchised who are voting for a third party or the disillusioned supporters of Sanders, or even those reluctantly voting for Clinton–something must break. If there has every been one thing brought to light for all to see it’s that America is clearly broken. Trump has brought to light the truth about one dark aspect of America and because of that we can now see the seedy underbelly of hatred, racism, ignorance, and fear that has always fed the lowest common denominator in this country. If nothing else, we should be thankful for that. He is the very symbol, the greatest creation, perhaps, of a mentally ill society hell bent on it’s own destruction. Clinton has brought to light the truth about American politics and that it’s a dirty, evil game that no longer has anything to do with the representation of the people, the will of the people or serving the American people in any way that would benefit the masses. On one hand you have all that is deplorable about our culture and on the other all that is deplorable about our government. The Liberals (not to be confused with Democrats) demonize Trump because he is everything they hate about corporate greed and the dumbing down of our culture. The Conservatives (not to be confused with Republicans) demonize Clinton because she is everything they hate about big government and perhaps, in the backs of their minds, what they consider the feminization of our culture. As far as registered Democrats and Republicans who are just towing the party line, well, they do that every year, because they’re sheep and the don’t know how to think outside of a herd mentality, but they’re getting a raw deal too–but they probably don’t care. This year nearly every vote is a protest vote in one way or another. There is an entire, vast population that everyone seems to forget about who will most likely vote for Clinton this year. There is actually a large group of voters who like the status quo, which in relation to how much everyone else wants change is almost a radical notion.
The people of America are fed up, all around the board, whether it’s their dissatisfaction with the government, or the corporations, or the blatant disregard for basic human rights from all sides and they have every right to be. They have every right to be scared, they shouldn’t be, but it’s within their rights. Luckily, the media as well as Trumps entire platform and now Clinton’s tactics are all aimed at that fear. So many fears to be had, so little time. Everyone is playing the The Paranoid Style political game, first identified by Richard Hofstadter in 1964. It’s a game that’s been used in American elections as far back as 1800 and for most of this race it’s been Trump’s entire platform. This may be due to the fact that Conservatives no longer have an intellectual stronghold or even a base camp to cling to anymore. Now, though, everyone has lowered themselves to that level, which is usually the course a political race takes. Sanders took the high road, you saw what happened there. I would have guessed someone like Marco Rubio would have taken a higher road as well. The Paranoid Political game has been played in America for centuries now. In 1800 the suspicion was centered around the Masons, by 1835 it was the Catholics, soon it would be the Africans, then the Jews, then the Communists, all the way to the Muslims and the Mexicans today. Now it’s the very candidates you should fear according to their opposition, for reasons that are beyond reason.
The media has been thriving on this, and it’s backfiring on them pretty well. As an example, for decades many felt that CNN was a trusted news source online, but no one, on either side of the aisle, trusts them any further than they could throw Ted Turner. It’s hard not to believe the paranoid conspiracists on the sidelines discussing the press as nothing more than an extension of the corporately owned government. The press used to be revered as the Fourth Estate, keeping the system in check when it wasn’t checking itself. Well, like any aspiring youth, the American press has grown up and decided to work for the man, because that’s where the money is and that’s all that seems to matter anymore. Because of the clearly biased press outlets like CNN and it’s equal and opposite FOX, we have developed an inherent distrust of mainstream media. This is probably due to enormously important stories receiving little to no coverage, while we are fed infotainment that has the intellectual fortitude of soggy oatmeal. The result is that everyone is relying on news from even less reliable sourced who are even further embedded in their political bias who have little need for accountability or say, facts. The best idea and oddly the most objective media is the foreign press, any of them. It’s quite a different view and yet certainly a more sober one, which is even more peculiar since at least a quarter of the world considers the United States to be the greatest threat to world peace. So in 2016 the media can be trusted as much as the government, the military industrial complex and big corporations.
At this point the propaganda from both the “Left” and the “Right” are simply amusing on an absurdist level. These dispatches from the media, whether mainstream or worse, are especially laughable if you don’t subscribe to engaging in fear and paranoia. If you’re following both sides objectively, it becomes clear that Trump and Clinton are two heads from the same Hydra. You shouldn’t realistically fear a Trump presidency anymore than you should fear a Clinton presidency, that’s the last grasp at a dying ideology that no longer really stands. To be fair, Trump and Clinton are far more likable than some of their most ardent supporters. If you really take the time, it’s easy to understand completely why people would vote for either of them at this point. With enough research it’s easy to gain an understanding of both candidates allure to the people rooting for them, but many people want no part of that. At this point the machinations of this spectacle, the disinformation dispersal within the media, mainstream or not, all the influences and bizarre behavior are far more fascinating than the election itself. The manipulation from all the other heads of the same hydra are stunning.
What does this leave for the people of America to do? Do what you were already going to do, nothing’s changed your mind this far into it, but if you have any doubt, then shed light on that doubt and question it. Is it a doubt based in propagandist rhetoric or is doubt you feel in you heart that hurts a little? This is a four year commitment, that’s it, maybe this one time you vote with your heart instead of your party line or what your parents would have done or what your peers think you should do. There are of course other options and I would encourage everyone invested in the values of the Green Party or the Libertarian Party to promote that vote, just 5% of the electoral and those parties will have access to better funding in the future. You may also want to consider voting third party if you do not think the two party system adequately represents the needs of the people, their values or the diversity of their political ideologies any longer. If you want to play the game of duality, the game America loves, then you have to choose between Clinton and Trump, and that sucks, but we’ve kind of been collectively asking for this for a while. And the best thing is that you get to pretend to play a part in that and no matter what, you get some amazing firsts. You will either be electing the first female president and the first president being investigated by the FBI or you get to elect the first president who is being investigated for racketeering and rape. Ultimately, for good or ill, on November 8th, America will get what America deserves, no more, no less.
There is a war coming and I don’t think party lines are going to matter once we’re in it. There will be a clearer picture of what is wrong and what is right and those who do not see that difference will be lost. I’m not sure it matters who is elected (or in some minds, “selected”) this year. What will matter is what happens when we wake up November 9th, do we continue to claw at each other online with the savagery of rabid dogs? Maybe we should. The complete lack of civil, intellectual discourse seems to overshadow this entire election and I’m not sure how we are going to bounce back from that. But we have to, because regardless of the outcome neither one of these multi-millionaire prize winners are going to do anything about your problems. November 9th is when the real work begins, it’s too late to make much of a difference this year other than the votes down the ballot (and those make the most difference this year). We’ve already lost this election, whether it is to a narcissistic playboy with the emotional maturity of a toddler or the wicked witch of the East remains to be seen, but we’ll have to start working together, because we already know that the next four years are going to be rough. It could be a lot easier if we could work together after the dust settles, regardless of whether the government wants us to or not. Like it or not, we are all in this together and we will have to stand together in an effort to build an America that remains standing with a government of the people, for the people and by the people. I’d rather we be divided in our political views than in our lives.