A system of free and open elections along with a strong system of public education, are the two most fundamental factors to a society of ever growing prosperity and equity. Frighteningly, both of these factors are currently compromised. While the degradation of the field of education is an evergreen topic, the blooming deficiencies of our democratic system are in full view in this presidential election season.
The citizenry of our country is watching the archetypical modern democracy transmute into a full blown banana republic in much the same way that they watch the Super Bowl—with meaningless statistics, helpless commentary, and expensive commercials.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both touting themselves as the presumptive candidates for the major party nominations. Both candidates, have doubtlessly risen to the top of the pile based on nothing other than sheer brand recognition, and can declare victory in entirely different ways. Trump by a minor majority and Clinton through blunt corruption.
While Trump can assert that he won his nomination cleanly, the mathematics of this win hinge entirely on the depth of the field for the nomination. Even in the face of a few dirty party tricks against him, he defeated 16 other major contesters for the GOP nomination—which is at once objectively impressive and an obvious problem for unity in the party he has recently assumed affiliation with.
There’s actually a decent reason Cruz isn’t handing over his delegates and Ryan isn’t endorsing him yet. There are likely more Republicans who were against Trump than there are those in the majority that voted for him.
Claiming the largest of 17 slices of the Republican Party is hardly a mandate. Even when they were down to three candidates, he had a less than 20% lead on Ted Cruz. In some other states he declared victory with a margin of single digit leads. Many in the party are claiming they won’t show up for Trump in November.
Complicating his “majority”, only 29% of the country identifies as Republican according to a 2010 Gallup poll. This makes Trump’s “decisive victory” suddenly miniscule in the face of a larger electorate. He doesn’t have a mandate, even if you factor in whomever may have cast a ballot for him in an open primary state.
The purported inevitability of Trump to the White House will likely be ushered more by a media frenzy around his sensational campaign rather than a victorious realization of a populist movement as typified by the embattled Bernie Sanders. (Even Sanders’ campaign is not truly populist because, as institutionally beset as he is, he is still campaigning in the Democrat Party).
As fractioned as Trump’s win is, its clean, which is a triumph that Clinton will not have. Her only substantial gain on Bernie Sanders is the Super Delegate vote–the vote of the unelected, heavily entrenched, party status quo. Any victory she collects in the primary race of 2016 will be the culmination of the most obvious, above water disenfranchising of voters since the poor black districts of Florida were thrown in the trash in 2000, carried out by sloppy, unrepentant career politicians rather than the Supreme Court.
Ironically, the boost that Clinton is getting from the corruption of the Democrat party is complimented only by the integrity of the Sanders Campaign. Sanders has declined the call for recounts, taken the high road in close calls, and commented little in the media to denounce his opponent and his assumed party.
Sanders’ herculean efforts to stick to the issues that face the nation rather than the ones that hinder his path to the White House may ultimately paint the picture of the politicians this country needs, but not the one we receive. And certainly not the ones we elect.
Assuming that Clinton and Trump are the candidates of the oligarchy, our country is in a very bad position. We’ve elected either the Democrat or the Republican for the last 166 years straight, a streak which fuels that misunderstanding that we have a “two party system” in this country. We don’t have a two party system, we have a representative democracy which has been overtaken by money, power, and fame.
In the event of either candidate winning we’ve lost. In the case that Clinton wins in 2016, there is little doubt that Trump will win in 2020 as an independent; breaking an almost two century streak of political two party rule and probably breaking the country too.
Have no doubt that Trump will take to Twitter eight hours a day during a Clinton administration (or any other for that matter) critiquing every misstep and misquoting every word for four years until he establishes a Trump Party and takes it all the way to the inauguration in January of 2021.
Frankly, these candidates aren’t any damned good for America, American citizens, or the world. A Hillary Clinton presidency will likely bring no major changes to systemic injustice and will lead to more jingoism framed as diplomacy, and more poverty framed as prosperity a Trump presidency will strip our country of the intention of its soul.
Many may argue that America has never lived up to its promise as a land of liberty and equity for all men, the language of this purpose has always been manifest in its founding documents. Those who come to, or are born in America are supposed to get a shot at maximizing their potential and their wealth by the leverage of their freedom, their talent, and their wits.
A Trump presidency will be one of exclusion, rooted in the solutions of primitive thinking. Sitting in the office where the “greatest” modern Republican president demanded a wall come down, Trump will order that one go up. In a country built on the foundation of political and religious refugees’ settlements, Trump will order that a third of the world be denied entry to our country for a lack of a more creative and thorough way to ensure and protect our safety.
Effective argument against this comes from none other than Benjamin Franklin. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” While Franklin was, in fact, discussing taxing for frontier security the words can be repurposed for many of the Federal Government’s security initiatives in our post-911 world. Doubly so for every isolationist, xenophobic immigration initiative touted by the Trump campaign.
His economic plans make no sense either. Imposing a tariff on foreign manufactured goods will hurt the American consumer not the Chinese manufacturer. Many of the items manufactured China don’t have American made counterparts. All this will do is drive up the price for Americans, separating the haves further from the have-nots.
A tariff plan would only work if there was a suitable revival of the manufacturing sector in the United States. This could only happen through strong mediation of labor unions, corporations, banks, and the Congress to the point that a system where taxes, hiring local, and incentivizing companies to build and bank here could be realized. While no candidate I’m aware of is capable of brokering a deal of this magnitude, a man whose definition of the Art of the Deal is “You’re Fired” is certainly incapable of doing so.
In fairness to the Donald, Hillary’s economic plan of “put Bill in charge” and her patented defense plan of “blame YouTube” certainly won’t make us any safer or richer. Bill sent our entire garment industry abroad to China in the first place and YouTube didn’t create ISIS or storm our embassy in Benghazi. Furthermore, Bernie Sanders’ international chops seem to be comprised entirely of honeymooning in Moscow—which besides proving to be a great ice breaker in conversations with Putin about places to eat near the Kremlin isn’t much of a platform.
Neither of these will lead to the prosperity and liberty we are supposed to be embracing. Perhaps, of the two, Sanders would make better strides towards levying some equity into the system but he would be just as obstructed as Obama has been. (Not that I’m so enamored with the job he’s done with eight years in the Oval Office.)
What we really need in this country is to break down the Republican and the Democrat co-rule of this country. A populist Sanders/Warren (or Warren/Sanders) ticket in a known third party, such as the Green Party might have really given the mainstream candidates a run for their money. That ship has sailed, and perhaps may not have realistically had enough ballast anyway.
Maybe by the 2020 election, enough Americans will be so disgusted by the goings on of this election, and the awful governance we’ll receive from any of the winning losers of 2016 to get a fair shot at real, non-binary discourse towards solutions, starting with serious third party contention for either the presidency or the Congress. Hopefully that third party, won’t be Trump’s. Perhaps we’ll remember that compromise, not obstructionism, is the key to a successful democracy where the voice of dissent is valued equally to the voice of the majority and the rights of all are equal and should be treated with the exact same reverence.
Imagine if the money spent on building up cartoonish characters such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump just to tear them down in commentary was be focused more on constructive solution based discourse in this country. If the objective media is truly dead, then we can only hope for a media that is biased against the status quo instead.
Otherwise, we’ll become no better than any other Banana Republic or Absurdistan in the world. The American experiment will be dead, and the people will be privy to many more expensive commercials about the choices they don’t have.