The 2016 election is already being called “the most important election ever”, and while I think the elections around the Civil War, Depression, and World Wars (to name a few) could probably give some stiff competition, I get the general sentiment. Despite any feelings we may have about the individual candidates, I think America’s choice has narrowed to four choices this cycle; Fascism, Corporatism, Theocracy, or Democratic Socialism. As an exercise, every American should rank these 4 choices in the order of their preference and act accordingly.
The Republican frontrunner Donald Trump stands alone in his telegenic brand of Fascism. For people who don’t understand the difference between a reality TV show, running a business, or governing, he makes some points of consideration. There is a visceral understanding that our country has lost its way, but most of Trump’s “solutions” can’t be implemented because they’re too expensive, unconstitutional, blatantly illegal, or repellent to civilized thinking. That doesn’t seem to affect his status, however, because the people most threatened by our country’s troubles can’t afford the time to research, identify, and understand where the troubles originated and why “The Donald’s” solutions would fail. Trump’s policies wouldn’t solve the problems that beset us, even though they sound good to an angry and disenfranchised population.
Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, and to a lesser extent Ted Cruz offer us the option of Theocracy. In a world where 44% of Republicans want Christianity as the US official religion making God the commander in chief may sound like a good idea, but at least Huckabee and Carson’s poll numbers remain reassuringly low. Cruz, posturing to pick off disillusioned Trump supporters (should they falter) seems happy to use the religious impulses of his voters, but he also seems somehow duplicitous. Ted’s a bit of a category hybrid and I have quarrels with him on many levels, but I don’t think he would make the hard push for Theocracy that Huckabee or Carson would. Still, that’s what he’s offering.
Corporatocracy is the third choice, and a toxin that feeds both parties. Whether it’s the smiling leftish-wing Corporatocracy of Clinton or the smiling right-wing Corporatocracy of Bush, Rubio, Christie, Paul, Fiorina, and the others, it’s Corporations come first! NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, TISA, TTIP, and a host of other agreements backed by “establishment” politicians guarantee Corporations, not government of the people, would run things. There may be different flavors of Corporatocracy; versions with more or less of a safety net, personal freedom, environmental protection, worker protection, or other factors, but they all boil down to political process being directed by wealth. No matter how smiling it is, if the people don’t have control, Democracy dies.
Then, of course, there’s Democratic Socialism. Democratic Socialism is a hard sell in a country where the word “Socialist” has historically been derogatory. Bernie Sanders has been successfully espousing that term and those policies for decades. His core interest in government of, by, and for the people may be his biggest difference from the other candidates, but that consistency, that ability to hold to a position on principle despite backlash, may be his biggest strength. Some of Trump’s supporters cite Donald’s “plain speaking” and the idea that he “can’t be bought” as major reasons they support him. Those are indeed rare and desirable qualities in a candidate, and Bernie has them both in spades.
2016 finds our beloved country faced with stark choices. We won’t be deciding between subtle policy adjustments, but between fundamental competing philosophies.
Take care, and make a great 2016!
December- The common sense of Donald Trump
November- Waging a smarter response
October- Connecting the dots
September- Kids For Cash update
August- Comparing apples and oranges
July- Green job creation
April- More noise, less news
February- A “thank you” to be proud of