Images, Elections and Democracy

May 15, 2016 (San Diego) This primary season has seen some ugly stuff. Most of it has been on the Republican side. We have seen protesters physically assaulted, as well as reporters. This does not surprise most people anymore, even if it should scare the living daylights out of us. Especially when the candidate has encouraged some of this from the stage.

We have no problem calling Trump a fascist and we have done that in the past. Or that he hates the First Amendment. We know the GOP is struggling with self identity and not splitting. What we have not asked is what about the Democratic Party?

Let’s take a dive. shall we? Becuase this primary has also revealed deep strains on the other national party. The first thing we would like to point to is that there are two poster boys if you will, to the Democratic Party disfunction. They are both Nevada and Arizona, both for different reasons. The former for party machine politics likely not seen since Tammeny Hall, the latter for voter disenfranchisement at the machine level, as well as some old stand byes such as less polling places. There are other states, but these two will suffice.

First look at the image. There is a saying in news, that an image is worth a thousand words. This came out of the Democratic Party State causes yesterday.

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This should be disturbing to anybody. The backstory to be fair to the photo, needs to be told. As best as we can tell, and this is not clear. Hell, not even the Washington Post can fully tell  the complete story… people who came to vote who were Bernie Sanders State Deleates were decertified. Rules were changed in the mist of the vote and it gets worst. Some of those Bernie supporters had their voter registration changed before this at the registrar level, to make sure they would not be given credentials. Yes, unknown to them, they were republicans. We know this has happened in a couple other stattes

But here is where Arizona comes in. The lawsuit on this was tossed by a Maricopa Judge after a preliminary hearing but that does not mean there was no mass disenfranchisement. Anybody who has been paying attention to this election season has noticed the chaos. It marches from state to state, so we expect chaos in California. There, I said it.

Of course Partisans for both sides see nefariousness in the other side. Sanders supporters are delusional, so say the Clinton supporters, and the Clintons are stealing it, so say Sanders supporters. We would like to look at the much bigger picture.

We are at a change election. There is no doubt about that in our minds, and we said such back in December. That does not mean that the establishment is not fighting that. As far as we can tell, Americans are tired of free trade and the decline of the middle class. Both national parties have mechanisms in place to prevent a populist revolt. For the Republicans it did not work.

Democrats have a safety valve and that is the super delegates. And now we get into the mood of the Sanders and Clinton supporters. Sanders supporters are either decline to state voters, or liberal democrats from the FDR coalition, clawing their way to get power over the democratic party machinery. The Clinton supporters, especially the core, are from polling more affluent, older and whiter. They do not want change. They are doing pretty well in this economy. They are for the status quo.

The situation is not that unlike of 1968. The democratic party, just as the republican party, is splitting. With the republicans it has been louder, and far more obvious. With the democrats it is far more sub-rosa, but it is still there. The republcians have three major legs to the party, and Trump represents the take over of the party, finally, by the populist wing. This is a nationalist, xenophobic, America first crowd. The traditional business wing of the party, the establishment, is scared enough that they mulling once again with a third party run, which incidentally will thrown the election to whoever the democrats run at that point. (Though it might put New York state in play).

The democrats are a coalition of minorities, identity politics, old FDR labor and working people and business people. The democrats have a civil war, just as active as the republicans, between the more conservative, business friendly, far more hawkish, wing of the party, and the traditional base. The traditional base is trying to retake it. In our view they will fail to do so and will have to go somewhere else, which explains why Clinton is approaching the business faction of the Republican party. This is a realignment in US politics that is almost complete.

Ironically though, the conservative wing still needs those votes to win this year.

That photo should send chills. It speaks to something very ugly, and something that is common abroad with machine politics. Shut up and eat your peas. You will vote for who we tell you to vote. This is very familiar to people who either know United States history, or come from abroad. The machine, the last one to fall was Chicago, truly was taken down in dribs after the Chicago Democratic Convention. The mood this year is starting to feel not unlike that convention.

This year both party conventions have a potential to be far more than just nominating a nominee for the presidency. The democratic convention might have shadows of Chicago 1968. This is truly the big picture.

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