‘Something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear’

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The latest Quinnipiac national poll contains a lot of thought-provoking factoids, including the fact that The Donald is now the favored choice of 28 percent of Republicans, up from 20 percent in July.  Ben Carson is second at 12 percent.

And Jeb Bush? Seven percent.

And then there’s this, when voters are asked to describe top candidates in a single word:

“Liar” is the first word that comes to mind more than others in an open-ended question when voters think of Clinton. “Arrogant” is the word for Trump, and voters say “Bush” when they think of Bush.”

Somehow, the most politically crippling of those findings may be the last one.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton still leads at 45 percent, with Bernie Sanders closing the gap a bit at 22 percent. But here’s what I found most interesting: In a head-to-head contest between Sanders and Trump, Sanders would lead at 44-41 percent, which may not be all that surprising. But in a head-to-head against Jeb, Sanders fares even better, leading 43-39.

That’s rumpled, 73-year-old, socialist Bernie Sanders, leading Establishment Jeb, the scion of a political dynasty, in the national polls. Combine that with the large, almost Trump-like crowds that Sanders has been able to draw, toss in the clear anti-establishment sentiment feeding Trump’s candidacy on the right, and you’re forced to conclude that something very interesting may be percolating out here, far from the Beltway Bubble and Wall Street.

Apparently, Sanders’ socialist affiliation isn’t the disqualification that it used to be, which isn’t surprising if you consult a calendar. The Cold War ended more than a quarter-century ago, meaning that many voting-age Americans have no adult memory of that era’s bitter ideological divide in which socialism was considered a slightly diluted, more insidious form of communism. That shift was certainly reflected in a Gallup poll taken back in June, in which a surprising 47 percent of Americans said they would consider voting for a socialist, while just 50 percent said they would not. Among Americans 18-29, 69 percent said they would consider voting for a socialist.

I think there’s something more basic going on as well. In 1989, the people of East and West Berlin began tearing down the wall that had long divided them, and by doing so they put a definitive if symbolic end to the struggle between communism and capitalism. It was communism that by popular demand was consigned to the ash heap of history; it was capitalism that emerged the clear victor. Capitalism had proved itself beyond a doubt as the more economically productive system and as the system more conducive to human liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Depending on how you measure it, though, the two ideologies had been competing for hearts and minds for some 70 to 140 years.  Over that time they left a mark on each other; as in any such contest, they had disciplined each other, creating checks and balances that extended far beyond the military sphere. In the capitalist world in particular, the threat of communism gave business and political leaders a powerful incentive to protect the middle class, to treat workers with respect and dignity, to keep class distinctions and wealth disparities within reasonable bounds lest those problems become ammunition to be used by their enemies.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, that discipline began to erode. With no competing ideology or countervailing force to worry about, attitudes changed. Tolerance for labor unions declined.  Pensions were replaced by less generous 401-ks. Loyalty to workers, and even to your own country’s economic well-being, began to seem passe and unprofitable to corporate leadership. Business leaders could begin to treat employees more like replaceable units of production. Great disparities of wealth could be more openly flaunted and expanded. New technologies, an emerging global economy and the rise of multi-national corporations tilted the field even more in favor of those who control capital and away from those who work for a living.

In more recent years, that has been compounded by the impact of court rulings that have turned politics into an open auction house, with billionaires summoning would-be presidents to audition before them as if they were job applicants. As the Wall Street Journal of all places reported recently, “Billionaires are bankrolling the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign to an unprecedented degree, ” exerting a degree of influence and control that previous generations of Americans would have found intolerable.

And maybe this generation is finding it intolerable as well.  Maybe what we’re seeing is the inevitable backlash — you can consider it a market correction, if you wish — to an overreach in both the political and economic sectors. As Sanders puts it, a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street, while “the real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress.” A lot of Americans are concluding that he’s right.

Stylistically, Sanders and Trump are very different candidates preaching to very different audiences in terms of demographics, but they intersect in several areas, including their open contempt for the cesspool that serves as the campaign finance system. Both have tapped into a growing sense among Americans that their voices and interests are being drowned out by an elite that turns a deaf ear and blind eye to their needs.

So Sanders asks, to great applause, “Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans — working families, children, the elderly, the poor — or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail?”

And Trump points out from the right: “All of that money that’s going to Hillary, and Jeb, and Scott, and Marco and all of them — the people that are putting up that money, it’s like puppets.” And how does he know? Because he has played puppetmaster:

“I will tell you that our system is broken” he said in the Fox debate. “I give to many people. I give to everybody, when they call I give, and you know what? When I need something from them, two years, three years later, I call, they are there for me.”

Ask yourself: Are they there for you?

So if American business and political leaders are worried by what they see in Sanders on the left and Trump on the right, well, they ought to be.  And if they think of Trump and Sanders as the creators of a phenomenon that will recede once they are pushed from the stage, that’s a dangerous assumption. Trump and Sanders are mere symptoms, just as the Republican refusal to extend the Export-Import Bank much-beloved by corporate America was a symptom. Something important seems to be changing.

Think about it: If the recent slide in the stock market had turned into something significantly more dangerous — say, something along the lines of what happened in 2008 — there is no chance whatsoever in the current climate that Congress or the American people would support a TARP-like bailout of Wall Street, even if it meant an economic meltdown several times worse than what we experienced a few years ago. Public distrust of institutions has grown so profound that the American people would be willing to watch the whole capitalist edifice crumble, even at enormous costs to themselves, rather than try to come to its rescue.

That’s a warning sign. Sanders’ support is a warning sign, and the Trump candidacy even more so. And while the political system still has the ability to manage and co-opt the unrest — that’s its proper function, after all — actual change rather than the illusion of change is probably going to be required.

 

Reader Comments 0

1692 comments
Corey
Corey

Cudjoe Lewis was one of the last slaves to leave Africa bound for the New World. Mr. Lewis gives an account of African mothers bashing their children's skulls against trees to prevent them from being captured for the slave market. Context, people, context when numbers are tossed around to make a point on any topic including abortion.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

"A total of 3,932,181 births were registered in the United States in 2013, down less than 1% from 2012. The number of births declined for non-Hispanic white and Hispanic women but did not appreciably change for non-Hispanic black women from 2012 to 2013."


At this rate, we can expect black genocide any minute now.  Ooops.  What was that!  Oh.  It does look more like white genocide.

TBS
TBS

sheets

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

In case you missed it, here's the Black Genocide guy:


Amazingly enough, and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, there are clerics today — false prophets, as it were — who say the Bible does not repudiate homosexuality. When Jesus was threatening a group of religious hypocrites, and said to them it was going to be worse for them than Sodom and Gomorrah, all those of the Jewish culture understood and knew of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah which was destroyed by "fire and brimstone" and why it was destroyed. As Christians, should we suppose and can we believe that all of a sudden, God has changed his perspective on homosexuality as these false prophets would have us believe? Are we that stupid? Remember, Jesus said in the last days it would be as the days of Lot.

So, what was it like it the days of Lot? Homosexuality was demanding and imposing itself upon the righteous to capitulate, to yield, to give way to its predominance where Lot lived.

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex So, what is your point and why is this relevant to the discussion of abortion and black genocide?  

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@td1234 @Visual_Cortex

If it's a-ok for you to spam this comments page with character defamation, to try to establish that Margaret Sanger was some racist monster in her day, I think it's fair game for me to produce evidence that your current-day "Black Genocide" guy preaches hatred against gay folk.

That's my point.

/headin' upstairs.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

If the right wingnut bloggers are going to rant on about black genocide, perhaps they should at least make up some supporting numbers to support their bs.  Bwah hahahahhaha!

td1234
td1234

37% of all abortions preformed each year are in the black community while they are 13% of the population. 


30% of all abortions each year are preformed in the white community while they are 67% of the population. 


22% of all abortions each year are preformed in the Hispanic community. 


8% of all abortions each year are preformed in other race. 


http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/




Notice the link is the CDC and not Mother Jones. Who are we to believe? 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@td1234 Who is doing all them PREFORMED abortion babies?  Is that why parts is parts?

TBS
TBS

@td1234


Does the CDC state that 80% of all abortions are done by PP as claimed earlier?

End of the day........ If you are against abortion it would be in your best interest not to have one.

Roe v Wade is going nowhere

td1234
td1234

@TBS I just disproved two of the three claims made by the progressives. I guess I will have to disprove the other as well shortly. 


Are you going to admit the first two claims by the progressives were wrong, Nobody knows?

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex So? Do you have more relevant data from the census to refute this data? 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@td1234 @Visual_Cortex

How about asking if I especially care? Because I really don't. I'm not really all that upset at this isolated stat you keep harping on.


Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

Republicans will continue to make bogus claims because it's all they have.  They certainly don't have facts on their side and their lack of citations confirms it.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

Has td been up to Alaska yet to tell them that global warming isn't really happening.  I can't wait to see the math he uses to convince them especially if he gets it from the same source as he gets his black genocide math.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Numbers_R_Us Don't tell him about Mt Denali...... that will just blow another gasket. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

anyhow, obviously MoJo is tilted left, but it's a nice read.


http://www.motherjones.com/media/2010/09/abortion-black-genocide


THE CONSPIRACY THEORY: Legalized abortion is a genocidal scheme to wipe out black people. Even though African Americans make up 13 percent of the population, the vast majority of abortion clinics are in minority communities, and 50 percent of all black fetuses are aborted. As a pro-life billboard posted earlier this year in Georgia put it, "Black Children Are an Endangered Species."

THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS: This idea goes back to the early 1970s, when the Black Panthers claimed that abortion would "destroy our people" and Jesse Jackson told Jet that "abortion is genocide." Jackson later went pro-choice, but he's still cited by Clenard Childress, the creator of BlackGenocide.org and the president of Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN), a prominent black anti-abortion organization. LEARN has partnered with Life Dynamics, a predominantly white group that runs KlannedParenthood.com and produced a two-hour film, Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America. After screening the film last year, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) declared, "We are besieged by a racist abortion policy."

MEANWHILE, BACK ON EARTH: Black women have 30 percent of all abortions, a disproportionately high rate; more than one-third of black women's pregnancies (but not half) are terminated. However, Planned Parenthood points out that just 6 percent of its clinics are located in zip codes where the majority of residents are black. And according to the census, the African American population is expected to double by 2050.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

@Visual_Cortex  scary quotes or not they are quotes...  History scares you becasue it proves your wrong..  ha ha

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Bulls_3y3 @Visual_Cortex

You keep acting all outraged that I'm calling out your pals, but you've offered nothing--I mean, NUH-THANG--to indicate you have the foggiest notion of Sanger's background, what she was dealing with at the time she was writing this stuff...

All you folks can do is try to segregate the most scary-sounding quotes, and usually embellish them (or make 'em up outright!), and hope that an audience in 2015 will be foolish enough to go along with the notion that Planned Parenthood are a bunch of stone cold racists.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Visual_Cortex If you could please have it posted on a white nationalist site and then maybe quoted by a slimeball like West, then maybe he will reconsider reading it. 

TBS
TBS

@KUTGF @Visual_Cortex


Run that article on the Council of Conservative Citizens website and it might get a read. 

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

How's that black genocide thing coming along anyway.  Shouldn't the black population be about wiped out now according to Republican math instead of steadily increasing.  And shouldn't the white women not be using so many contraceptives and getting so many abortions.  Oops!  What was that secret master plan of Sanger's again.  Bwah hahahahhaha!

foo2u
foo2u

@Numbers_R_Us Republican "math" incorrect??? OH NOES.... that's never happened before... I guess that's what one can expect from the flat earth party that institutionalizes an inbred hatred for all things science and math...


Derp...

breckenridge
breckenridge

They also preform 80% of all abortions in the country. 

So what? Abortion is a legal medical procedure.  You are opposed to it because it does not comply with your religious beliefs.  But American women do not give a flying fluck about your religious beliefs.


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Seriously?

"Blackgenocide.com" ?

All that proves is that right wingers are desperate to use just about any means at their disposal to wedge away Black Americans to their side.

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex A black pastor and his organization, MIGHT, be actually concerned about what is happening to the black community by PP and other such organizations. 

TBS
TBS

The article first ran in Citizen Magazine

That would be under the Focus on Family umbrella , James Dobson organization

Probably ran at the same time he was going after Sponge Bob SquarePants

td1234
td1234

@TBS Oh so now you are attempting to down grade a pro life organization? 

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex And they are not a legitimate source how? Because it goes against your political agenda. 

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@Visual_Cortex @td1234  Well you made a case of it way down below.What did you expect? I'm really not trying to start a fight VC,I think this whole argument is hilarious.

TBS
TBS

@td1234 @TBS


Did Dobson's organization not go after Sponge Bob?

Take it up with him.