I’ve had my fill of establishment members of our major political parties throwing water over the coals of our democratic impulses. In their view, third parties have no hope, but should devote themselves to winning local races anyway, which is the kind of dismissal I’d expect from people in power who don’t wish to share — go sit at the kids’ table; the adults are talking.
First, all this talk is to keep the voters from realizing that parties have only a two or four or six year shelf life and are replaced on the same schedule. The aura of inevitability survives only so long as citizens don’t ask too many questions. We’re told that we must vote for the Republican or the Diet Republican (Democratic) candidate offered to us because one of those two candidates is going to win. And yet, that delusion is as thin as the smoke from the cigarette that an addict insists will be his last.
But more than that, we have abundant evidence that things are not as the parties want us to believe. Republicans were a third party, and while establishment types will say that the people who founded the — at the time not yet — GOP benefitted from the machinery of the Whigs, this ignores the power of the popular movement against slavery. And it ignores the fact that major shifts have taken place during the twentieth century in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, resulting in the two switching sides.
And then there’s the fact that Donald Trump is not really a Republican. He’s instead essentially a disconnected bomb thrower who engaged in a childish plagiarism of Ross Perot’s rhetoric and had the sense to stay in the race.
Should people who don’t conform to the establishment run in races for school boards and mayorships? Of course. But they — we — should also run for federal offices. And since the current parties won’t support us, we have to get out from under the burdens of the Democratic or Republican primaries, especially with regard to the Democratic superdelegates.
This will require people who can organize a marketing campaign in social media. And it will require young people to commit to something. But what the rallies of both Trump and Sanders proved is that there are a lot of Americans who like a populist message. An honest progressive can win the presidency in 2020. The Democratic Party is setting itself up to run another version of Clinton, and Republicans will either stick with the trainwreck of Trump or a weakened Pence, leaving Sanders or someone like him to take the field and win.
Resist is not just a hashtag. It must also be a verb. And it will only be that when the people stop obeying the establishment.
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