Search Results

Keyword: ‘The Obama Presidency was a Disaster for Establishment Democrats’

The Obama Presidency was a Disaster for Establishment Democrats: 3

October 26, 2017 2 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about why electoral success of Obama in 2008 and 2012 presidential elections did not translate into gains for the democratic party at either the national or state level in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. To make a long story short, Obama’s electoral success was largely due to the fact that the republicans candidates in both elections had way more negative baggage than him. Also, Obama’s presidency was reasonably free of personal scandals and outright PR disasters, such as those which plagued the previous two presidents.

As I have documented in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, a number of things which were allowed to occur (legalized impoverishment of black families, greatly increased enforcement against undocumented hispanic immigrants, continued hollowing out of the 99% through more “free trade” treaties) or not allowed to occur (transition to single-payer health care system, any real reform of the banking and financial sector) show us that his presidency was about furthering the interests of neoliberal establishment types who financed his rise to power. As I have mentioned in a previous post of this series, Obama44 is best understood as the more media-savvy and black version of Reagan40.

Obama worked to further the interests of the neoliberal establishment and their “professional” flunkies while pretending to be in “touch with the common people”. While it was plainly obvious that he was a neoliberal shill as far back as 2004, many chose to believe otherwise. The especially disastrous second term of Bush43 and financial crisis of 2008 had left people desperately seeking a modern-day messiah who would finally ‘reset’ the system. It certainly helped that his main opponent in the democratic primary (Hillary Clinton) and presidential election (John McCain) simply did not look like they could effect change.

The decisions made by Obama mentioned in the first two parts of this series, from ignoring the needs and concerns of black and hispanic voters to blocking progress towards universal single-payer healthcare and promoting “free trade” policies, damaged the democratic party by reducing enthusiasm and turnout of predominantly democratic voters. However, there was another category of.. shall we call them.. “social trends” which occurred when Obama was president that may have further damaged the cause of establishment democrats. I have sorta talked about issue in a standalone post from a few months ago.

To recapitulate, the main point I made in that post was as follows: elite support for fringe cultural and identity based movements under the guise of promoting social justice is a way to distract the 99% from talking about systemic socio-economic exploitation while simultaneously feeling morally superior to them. But what does the rise of elite support for fake social justice have to do with the Obama presidency? Isn’t most of the rise of such pseudo-activism related to generational changes in the worldview of people? The answer to that is a bit complicated.

There is no doubt that some changes in social norms are generational. Examples include support for gay marriage, marijuana legalization, inter-racial dating and marriage, single payer healthcare etc. Readers might have noticed that these widely accepted generational changes are about greater fairness, equality and rationality. In other words, the most broadly popular generational changes in worldview are about more rights for more people and more humane treatment of other people. Their broad popularity is, therefore, hardly surprising.

Now contrast that with far less popular changes such as censoring idiots (campus activism against right-wing provocateurs), agitating on fringe issues few care about (ambiguous sexual identity in children) or empty political activism to become a paid spokesperson for some cause which most people do not care about (gamergate controversy and ‘woke’ feminism). The biggest difference between the very broadly popular generational changes and the largely unpopular ones is the later, rather than the former, have far more corporate and media support. But why?

Well.. as I mentioned in that standalone post, supporting attention grabbing fringe “social justice” causes allow corporations to feign social responsibility while providing cover for continued exploitation of everybody else. It just so happens that democratic establishment went full-bore in that direction after 2008. To be clear, Obama is not the only reason for establishment democrats supporting attention grabbing pseudo “social justice” causes. The neoliberal credentialed “professional” class being their second most important class of supporters was definitely an important contributing factor.

Having said that, there is no doubt that the peculiar public relation style of Obama was widely copied by other establishment democrats because it was seen as successful and respectable. And what was that style about.. Short answer, it was almost completely about perceived style and image management over substance and actions. Readers might have noticed that many positive media stories about Obama were about him meeting and acting nice towards people disadvantaged in a ridiculously uncommon but attention grabbing manner. You might also remember that Twitter, FaceBook and popular listicle sites used to have daily stories about Obama meeting some disadvantaged or ill person almost every single day since 2010.

It is my opinion that many establishment types in his party saw that type of fake behavior and subsequent positive MSM coverage as key to winning elections- especially after he won re-election in 2012. The fact that they had no real progressive socio-economic message for voters made them double down on that strategy. The net result was that establishment democrats put an inordinate amounts of effort in publicly supporting causes which bolstered their pseudo-enlightened image but were not popular. Doing so also allowed them to ignore truly popular causes such as raising the minimum wage, implementing single-payer healthcare, reigning in corporate monopolies etc.

They assumed that portraying themselves as more enlightened and credentialed republicans combined with inevitable demographic changes would help them become the permanent ruling party without having to support real progressive causes. They assumed that all those non-white voters would just vote for them in even larger numbers than previous elections- because they had no options. It turns out that many, if not all, their major assumptions were wrong and they lost the presidential election to a second-rate reality TV star, could not win back the house or senate and not win back almost any of the over 1,000 seats they have lost in state legislatures since 2009.

What do you think? Comments?

The Obama Presidency was a Disaster for Establishment Democrats: 2

September 9, 2017 19 comments

In the previous post of this series, I pointed out that Barack Obama’s two terms as president was one of major non-systemic reason for the repeated and sustained electoral losses suffered by the democratic party. While the general public disdain about decisions and policies during his term are often attributed to racism, it is also true that he won both the popular vote and electoral college in 2008 and 2012. So clearly, something else is at work. I mean.. he did win many mid-western states with a pretty high percentage of whites in both 2008 and 2012.

In my opinion, public disdain of Obama’s two terms was largely due to the fact that he turned out to be just another empty suit whose decisions and policies helped the rich and corporations at the expense of everybody else. In fact, he was reelected in 2012 only because Mitt Romney was a bigger corporate shill than him. Obama’s popular vote margin did decrease from 10 million in 2008 to 5 million in 2012, as did his margin in electoral college from 365-173 in 2008 to 332-206 in 2012. Having said that, he won fair and square on both occasions- which is what matters in the end.

But that still leaves us with the question as to how Obama got reelected in 2012, after the dismal performance of democrats in 2010 midterm. Also, why he remained somewhat “popular” even though the democratic party suffered further losses in 2012 and 2014. Part of his “popularity” might be due to the fact that few wanted to call out the first black president for being an empty suit shilling for corporations. But the other part of his “popularity” is largely due to the fact that he was not Bush43. As many of you know, Bush43’s second term was such an unmitigated disaster that Obama could look competent just by not repeating any of the large screw-ups of his predecessor.

Accordingly, he was able to restrain himself from overtly invading other countries in the middle-east and making extremely poor personel choices (remember “brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) and being generally free of serious scandals and charges of overt corruption. Now you might say that this is a very low bar for somebody elected to the office of president. Then again, just look at the guy before him (Bush43) and the one after him (Trump45). Obama remained somewhat popular by simply following the neoliberal script- which is to appear erudite and competent, not make too many big short-term mistakes and cultivate rich elites and lapdog media types who will sing his praises.

The generic neoliberal script did not, however, work for the democratic party for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is much easier for one nominally powerful person at the national level like the president to cultivate his public image and elites. Presidential elections are usually about who is the lesser and more presentable crook to assume the post of chief executive of USA. Most people do not expect the president to be involved in the day-to-day running of the city, town or state of residence. Therefore, public expectations about him (or her) are very different from those of lower level elected representatives.

Elections at the level of representatives for national or state legislatures, in contrast, are often driven by partisan voters who believe that their choice will validate their beliefs. Since the majority of people correctly assume that electing democrats or republicans will not make their lives any better, it comes down to people who vote to validate their beliefs. That is why elections in USA tend to be driven by bullshit issues such as access to abortion, war on drugs, war on crime, welfare for non-white etc. That is also why “culture issues” dominated american politics and elections from mid-1980s to 2008.

But what does any of this have to with neoliberalism not working for democrats? Weren’t they able to win in states like West Virginia a couple of decades ago? Well.. they were able to win such “red” states as late as the early 2000s, but not because of espousing neoliberal ideas. Democrats, you see, were able to win all those so-called “red” states as long as their candidates promoted populist causes- specifically of the economic variety. As many of you know, establishment democrats became republican-lite by the early-1990s and their candidates either stopped being economic populists or were replaced by more corporate friendly figureheads.

It is therefore not surprising that those who voted in many parts of the country most hurt by all those “free trade” agreements and other neoliberal policies were increasingly of the type driven by “cultural issues”. To make a long story short, democrats abandoned people in ‘flyover’ states and those people then stopped supporting that party. At the same time, ranks of establishment democrats were increasingly filled with credentialed professional types who could care less about people who were not like them.

But what does any of this have to do with why the Obama presidency was so disastrous to democrats?

The short answer is that it was similar to the captain of the Titanic not altering course or reducing speed in a known iceberg field. The somewhat longer answer is that the ability of Obama to get elected, and the reelected, convinced establishment democrats that identity-driven neoliberal politics was sufficient to win against republican candidates. The two terms of Obama convinced them that they could sell a neoliberal turd covered by a thin layer of social justice issues and identity politics.

It is therefore not surprising that a lot of the so-called rising stars of the democratic party (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Joaquim Castro, Gavin Newsom etc) are poor clones of Obama. They are all “properly educated”, photogenic, “properly pedigreed”, “media-savvy” people with handlers who feed them the right sound and media bites and who can deliver empty carefully-lawyered speeches with lots of fake conviction. While that strategy sorta worked for Obama in 2008 and even 2012, it is doubtful if it would work today.

You see, until 2008 many people in USA believed that their economic situation would keep on getting better, regardless of occasional and temporary setbacks. A number of events and structural shifts within the previous 8-9 years have totally changed that, especially for people under the age of 40-45. Today, most people (especially young) in USA simply do not believe in the system and its various “credentialed experts”. That is why somebody like Bernie Sanders got so much support among younger voters. Obama and his poor clones belong to the pre-2008 era.

Now this does not mean that they cannot win election in any state. Indeed, Obama clones can (and do win) elections in certain coastal states like California, Massachusetts and New York. However, it is also clear that such creatures are incapable of winning elections against even mediocre republican candidates in non-coastal states. But why? Well.. it comes down to the fact that Obama clones are unable to motivate voters who sit out elections because they correctly believe that democrats are basically republican-lite. In contrast, republican candidates can motivate their core ideology-based voters by spouting nonsense about “cultural issues”.

But what does any of this have to do with Obama’s position on “illegal immigration” and “free trade”? As it turns out, a lot..

While establishment democrats are busy expressing outrage about Trump’s plans to deport millions of “illegal immigrants” and “build that wall” between Mexico and USA, they forget that the policies of the Obama administration were responsible for more deportations (often under pretty atrocious circumstances) than Trump has manged to in an equivalent period of time. That is correct, Barack Obama’s administration started the current mass deportation machine with its private prisons, arbitrary powers and flagrant abuses of power. Is it any wonder that many citizens of Hispanic descent were not particularly enthusiastic about voting for a third Obama term under HRC?

Some of you might wonder why ivy-league educated “policy wonks”, such as those employed by the HRC campaign, could not figure out that many “illegal immigrants” frequently had relatives in USA who had become citizens- through naturalization or birth. Did they not realize that pissing upon voter groups who might otherwise be very sympathetic to your cause was a bad idea. Did they not realize that Obama’s deportation crusades had already put the democratic party on pretty shaky ground with Hispanics in USA- most of whom are Mexicans. Here is what I think.. establishment democrats did not care about what Hispanic voters thought because they believed that they had no option. While it is true that most Hispanics who voted still voted for democrats- a large number who could have simply chose not to vote for either party.

Let us now turn our attention to how the Obama administration’s support for various “free trade” policies and treaties as well as increased levels of job outsourcing hurt the democratic party. While Obama was not the first american president to pimp “free trade” and outsourcing, it is notable that a majority of job losses in sectors of economy with previously well-paying and stable jobs occurred during the 2nd term of Bush43 and two terms of Obama44. While the events which started that process occurred in the 1990s and early-2000s, it is noteworthy that Obama was far more vocal about his support for “free trade” agreements and outsourcing. Perhaps more problematically, many democratic candidates for national and state legislatures kept on repeating official party positions about “free trade”, education, skills, retraining and other assorted neoliberal lies even after it was obvious that most voters could see their bullshit.

It is therefore not surprising that many working-class people did not bother voting for them- as evidenced by low turnout levels in the 2010 and 2014 (and to a lesser extent in 2012) elections. In 2016, more than a few of them voted for Trump. It is important to realize that the democratic establishment willfully ignored the needs of the working class just like it did for Black and Hispanic voters. I should also point out that most Black and Hispanic voters are part of the working class. To make a long story short, establishment democrats took the support of their core voter constituencies for granted and then proceeded to ignore and humiliate them. While this behavior has been part of establishment democrat behavior for over two decades now- the two terms of Obama in combination their hubris led them to greatly speed up the process of alienating their key voter constituencies.

In the upcoming part of this series, I will talk about how the rise of “identity politics”, “culture wars 2.0” and SJW-ism during the two terms of Obama44 further doomed electoral prospects of the democratic party.

What do you think? Comments?

The Obama Presidency was a Disaster for Establishment Democrats: 1

September 6, 2017 28 comments

One of the more peculiar fact about contemporary american politics is that approval numbers for the democratic party are still slightly worse than for Trump. Let me rephrase that.. one of the two main political parties in USA has lower approval ratings than a rich asshole turned reality star who has flipped on almost every single electoral promise he made to this supporters. To be fair, the other political party (aka the republicans) is not doing any better and we seem to living in a very partisan era. But that still does not help explain why the democratic party has not been able to capitalize on the insane levels of incompetence and corruption displayed by the Trump administration since it took office in late January 2017.

So, how can the main (and only) opposition party in USA not gain any extra public support at a time when the ruling party and its titular leader are busy screwing themselves in public? Why is widespread public disgust towards Trump and republicans not translating into increased support for the democratic party? Why are so many voters, especially those from non-white communities, just not that enthusiastic about the democratic party? And why is the only generally popular national level politician a 75-year-old Jewish guy from Vermont who joined the democratic party about two years ago?

I have explored some of the many interconnected reasons for this failure in a previous series of posts. The main points I made in that series were as follows: a] democratic party establishment has become too incestuous, sclerotic and generally resistant to any type of change. b] It is almost completely funded, controlled and run by neoliberal corporate interests who try to hide their economically regressive policies behind token identity politics. c] The party bureaucracy and primary system is almost completely dominated by a bunch of corrupt assholes and hyperpartisan idiots. Also, there is no accountability for repeated failures. d] The major financiers, supporters and top-level cadre of the democratic party is almost exclusively derived from the rich and professional class- two groups with little, if any, real connection to the rest of the population.

There are of course other related reasons for the shockingly low approval ratings of democrats. The desire of coastal elite within that party to push gun control has not helped its cause in non-coastal states. Similarly, ad nauseam repeating of the “russian interference in our elections” trope since Trump got elected in Nov 2016 has not helped their overall public credibility. The point I am trying to make the democratic party establishment has done an incredibly good job of sabotaging its own electoral prospects. It is almost as if they are intentionally and systematically trying to lose public relevance. Even their new crop of leaders are full of photogenic, insipid and obvious fakes such as Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Joaquim Castro. I can go on about the many other structural reasons that the democratic party, in its current form, is doomed- but that is best left for future posts.

Instead I will focus of one of non-systematic reasons behind the failure of democrats as a party. I am certainly not the first to point out that Barack Obama’s two terms as president have seen a considerable diminution of the power of the democratic party on both the national and state level. His tenure as president has seen the democratic party lose control of the house, senate, over 1000 seats in state legislatures, multiple state governorships to the point where republican are the ruling party in almost 2/3rd of the states. The establishment democrat response to these massive electoral setbacks have mostly consisted of them saying that all those setbacks occurred happened because majority of the american electorate is irremediably racist. Of course, that does not explain how Obama got elected in 2008 and then re-elected in 2012.

I have a better theory to explain why the rise of Obama and his two terms as president have contributed to the ongoing collapse of the democratic party. My theory is largely based in how that rise shaped the democratic party- specifically its institutions and strategy. This is not to say that other factors such as increasing use of internet and social media by general public were without effect in that process. However, the more we look at all the facts over a longer time span, the more it becomes obvious that the rise of Obama and his style of politics was extremely damaging to the electoral prospects of the democratic party. But before we do that, we have to first understand Obama’s style of politics and its ideological underpinnings.

Barack Obama, for the lack of a better description, is a Reagan-era Republican. There.. I said it and you knew it too! The problem with his politics and its ideological underpinnings is that it is basically 1980-1990 era republican with a veneer of coolness and “inclusivity”. Also, since he is black, few people dare to say it aloud on any corporate mainstream media outlet- even Fox news. While he may not talk and act like a republican, almost every single policy decision (domestic and foreign) made by him is almost identical to what your average 1980s-1990s era republican would make. But don’t just believe my assertion without considering the evidence..

1] For a person who made his pre-political career as a “community organizer” in the black community of Chicago, it is remarkable how little Obama did to combat racism (overt or systemic) when he became president. As I pointed out in a previous post, it was smartphones with HD cameras and social media platforms which created public awareness about murders by police and other legalized atrocities against black people. Even the two biggest achievements of the Obama administration in that area (overview of some police departments and stopping police from getting military grade equipment) were insipid and in response to massive public outcry and demonstrations against murders by police and other flagrant violations of laws. To put it bluntly, Barack Obama did not care about black people.

We cannot also forget the harmful effect of deliberately rigged foreclosure assistance programs, created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, on the black community. While these banker-friendly programs hurt homeowners of many ethnicities, the black community was (as often is the case) disproportionately hurt by them. We can only imagine the effect that this had on the lives of many hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of black people who were the subject for sneaky and unfairly foreclosure on their homes. It is no wonder that HRC, running for the 3rd term of Obama, had such a lukewarm response among the younger members of the black community. Simply put, Obama’s two terms were quite disappointing for the black community and has affected their enthusiasm for the democratic party.

2] The supposedly most important legacy of the Obama administration, aka “Obamacare”, was a massive public disappointment. While it did provide some improvement over the previous patchwork of rules and laws, it has not been able to tackle the issue of rising costs or provide universal health coverage. We can spend hours discussing how Obama killed the ‘public option’ in Obamacare and basically rejected universal healthcare coverage for a frankenstein which appealed to all the corporate interest donating to his election and re-election campaigns. Obama’s greatest achievement, then, is pushing out a ‘healthcare’ program modeled on the beliefs of some conservative think tank from 1993. If you call that an achievement, well.. perhaps your standards are really low.

It also did not help that the rollout of “Obamacare” was an epic public relations disaster. While the law is popular enough for republicans to be unable to repeal it today, its appeal mainly lies in being not as shitty as the alternatives- which is a very low bar. The point I am trying to make is that “Obamacare” is a microcosm of what is unpopular with the Obama school of neoliberal policies and its ideological underpinnings. It contains, within it, an example of every problematic aspect of his policies- from supporting corporate oligopolies and monopolies over public interest, unnecessarily complicated regulations meant to confuse and rob its users, broken promises about something as important as health care coverage, “credentialed experts” and other assorted conmen (and conwomen) padding their already fat paychecks to neglecting public concerns about the system.

In the upcoming part of this series, I will talk about how the Obama administration policies of immigration and deportation dis not help democrats increase enthusiasm among Hispanics for their party. I will also talk about the enthusiastic promotion of various “free trade” agreements and other secret corporate backed “trade agreements” by Obama over his two terms hurt the democratic party.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting YouTube Clips about how Democrats will Screw Up in 2018

May 5, 2018 1 comment

Here are two interesting and recent clips from the Jimmy Dore Show channel on YT. While each is about a seemingly different topic, both address the issue of how Democrats are likely to screw up and lose the 2018 election- inspite of the golden opportunity provided to them by Trump’s record unpopularity. Of course, this has been the case for at least a couple of decades. Also, check out some of the other recent video clips on his channel.

The first clip is about how disenchantment with Obama, in the black community, is now too strong for democrats to confidently expect the kind of voter turnout they enjoyed among that electoral group in 2008 and 2012. As some of you might remember, I wrote a three-part series on that very topic a few months ago. While democrats could certainly motivate potential voters by promising and implementing populist policies to help their most loyal voters, you can bet that they won’t do anything like that.

The second clip is part of a long interview with Glenn Greenwald, in which he talks about how establishment democrat obsession with “Russia” and “Putin” has attained the level of a sacrament within that party. He also talks about how this establishment obsession is blocking their ability to talk about issues which most voters actually care about, thus alienating them even further. As many of you might also recall, I have written more than a few posts on this topic (link 1, link 2, link 3 and link 4).

What do you think? Comments?

Some Initial Thoughts on the Likely Trajectory of a Trump Presidency: 3

January 28, 2017 23 comments

I had written the previous two post of this series (link 1, link 2) in the 2-3 weeks after Trump’s election on November 8. While it was tempting to write more parts of this series at that time, observing his actions immediately after assuming the presidency before writing the next part seemed to be a better idea. As many of you know, Trump has taken multiple and often conflicting positions on a variety of important issues over the years. Perhaps even more unusually for a politician, he has often done a 180 on his previous position on some issues- without even acknowledging that he took conflicting positions in the past.

For example- he is on record as supporting the right to abortion, being agnostic about it and opposing it depending on the personal benefit of taking one of those three position at a given time. Similarly, he is on record as supporting single-payer healthcare systems, supporting mixed private-public healthcare systems or defending complete privatization of the healthcare system- depending on the personal benefits of taking one of those three positions. In other words, it appears that Trump has few (if any) fixed beliefs about a large number of issues. More worryingly, especially since he is now the president, Trump seems to believe that his public perceptions about his past position on issues have no effect on his current position on them.

And all of this brings us to what Trump has been doing since he was formerly sworn in as the president on Jan 20, 2016. As many of you must have heard by now, Trump has been signing a shitload of controversial executive orders since he assumed office last week. They range from the hilarious (national day of patriotism), somewhat populist (withdrawing from the TPP), expected (mexico city policy on funding NGOs, approving new oil pipelines), plutocrat enriching (eliminating some rebates on mortgage payments), dangerous (starting repeal of ACA without an alternative plan, OK-ing the construction of a wall between Mexico and USA) to the batshit insane (banning entry of people from some Muslim countries, even legal permanent residents, into the USA).

Now, it is certainly possible to imagine that his executive orders are more theater than substance and might not survive legal challenges. However a lot of the concomitant rhetoric coming out of Trump’s mouth and tweets suggest that he is more than a bit serious about actually implementing those orders- especially the dangerous and batshit insane ones. I had briefly mentioned (in a previous post) that his positions on Mexican .. well.. actually all non-white immigrants and citizens has special potential to cause severe disruptions and unrest in the country. Events of the previous two days have added another issue to the list of those which have similar or even higher potential for disruption and unrest- albeit for different reasons than the “mexican” issue.

You might have heard that Trump has signed an executive order banning people from 7 predominantly Muslim countries from entering the USA- even if they happen to permanent legal residents. Curiously, people from these seven countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) have never ever been implicated in a terrorist act within USA. Furthermore, people from the two Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) whose residents have been implicated in almost every single Islam-inspired terrorist attack in USA are still free to enter USA.

To be fair, establishment democrats and their supporters had no problems in the past when Obama tried to overthrow the government in two of these countries + expanded “war on terror in the other five on that list. It is also no secret that the rise of organisations such as ISIL was aided and abetted by the overt and indirect policies of the Obama administration. In other words, there is more than a bit of hypocrisy when establishment democrats who were perfectly OK with bombing people in these countries and funding organisations bent on overthrowing their governments pretend to be shocked and angry at Trump taking their stupid policies to the next level.

Having said that, this latest move by the Trump administration is especially problematic- and not just in the immediate and widespread popular response against its implementation. As many of you realize, such executive orders and their implementation creates a new set of bad precedents. If you can ban the entry of people from countries accused of terrorism by the government, in spite of evidence to contrary, what is there to stop this (or a future) president from banning people of other religious, ethnic or racial groups from entering the country legally? Now some old and decaying american racists.. I mean jingoists.. might think that such actions have no consequence in international relations with other important and supposedly white countries.

As it turn out.. a lot! many of the supposedly important and white countries are no longer as white or important as they used to be in the past. Consider, for example that many west-european countries such as the UK, France, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland have a fairly significant minority that is not white or christian. Do you really think that Trump won’t sign future executive orders to ban Muslims (often second or third generation) from west-European countries from entering USA? Do you really think that implementing such orders would not cause serious problems in those countries? Do you really think that many countries in that position would not reevaluate their relationship with USA? Do you really think that there would no financial consequences (for both sides) of such actions?

The problem with Trump and people who think like him is that they live in world which does not and cannot exist now. There was a brief period (between 1945-1949.. perhaps until the early 1960s) when the relative power differential between the USA and the rest of the world (especially non-white countries) was large enough for the USA to get away with some stupid shit. But that was a long time ago and things have changed a lot since the early 1960s. In 2016, the USA simply lacks the power differential to pull that type of shit without screwing itself in the process. Today everyone knows that the USA is not an exceptional country. Today everyone has seen the USA lose against insurgencies in even poor medium-sized nations and lacks the ability to win a war against any other nuclear power of consequence.

I think it is likely that this particular move by Trump will turn into his first real public relations disaster, very likely to due to internal protests and legal challenges. However, this “Muslim ban” also provides an interesting window into how Trump and people around him see the world. It is now fairly certain that Trump and his advisers inhabit a mental world where the USA is far more powerful than it is in reality. Therefore, I expect Trump (and his associates) to make similar moves in a number of other areas- from trade and immigration to internal issues such as “law enforcement”. Needless to say, it won’t end well for Trump, his associates, the republican party, average Americans and to a far lesser extent- the rest of the world.

In the next post of this series, I shall try to write about the panoply of problems (both obvious and not so obvious) consequent to Trump’s policies wrt to people of Mexican descent in USA- citizens, immigrants and undocumented. That is.. unless his recent Muslim ban causes even more unrest and problems which I then have to write about.

What do you think? Comments?

Could Oprah Winfrey Win Against Donald Trump in 2020 Election: 1

January 10, 2018 11 comments

By now, everyone on the internet must have read about rumors that the famous talk-show host and billionaire, Oprah Winfrey, is considering a run for the presidency in 2020. The public and media reaction thus far be divided into broad categories. Some see it as a bad idea and yet another sign at continued american decline into becoming an internationally irrelevant country. Others see it a good thing and believe she has a high chance of success. Here is my take on it..

1] First, let us start by looking at a list of democrats who might run for the party presidential ticket in 2020. With the notable exception of Bernie Sanders, other democratic candidates are simply incapable of inspiring enough non-voters and independents to go out and vote for them on election day. Even worse, many supposed rising “stars” such as Corey Booker, Joe Biden, Deval Patrick, Kamala Harris, Martin O’Malley, Kirsten Gillibrand etc are neoliberal clones who simply do not have the appeal such candidates used to have in the pre-2008 era.

In other words, with the exception of Bernie Sanders the democratic party simply does not have a possible 2020 presidential candidate who can inspire non-partisan voters to vote for him or her. As we saw in the 2016 election, the ability to inspire your own voters to come out and vote for you made all the difference between victory and defeat. Furthermore, the almost certain lack of improvement in condition for most people between now the 2020 election makes it highly likely that candidates who try to run as the harbingers of the old status quo will not win that election.

2] The democratic party’s pathetic and sad obsession with Trump’s alleged “collusion with Putin” and his mental health is unlikely to make any difference in the end. As I have said in previous posts, the obsession of establishment democrats and corporate media with the “russia collusion story” is increasingly seen by average people as signs of their desperation and frustration, rather than evidence of any real crime. I mean.. if democrats they had evidence for anything close to what they claim, Trump would have been impeached or jailed by now.

Most people outside of partisan democratic voters see all investigations into, and leaks about, “Trump-Russia” and “Trump-Putin” connections as little more than an attempt at witch-hunting by deep-state and establishment types. Most relevantly for 2020, almost a year of investigations and leaks have not improved the ratings of the democratic party and its electoral candidates beyond a level of statistical significance. Remember that the vaguely centrist democratic candidate for the recent Alabama senate election won by less than 2% even though the republican candidate was an alleged child molester and batshit crazy.

3] The election of Trump in 2016 has made every public figure of some fame and wealth start considering a run for some sort of electoral office. Why bribe.. I mean ‘lobby’ elected officials when you can just become one and pass laws and rules to benefit yourself? That is why people such as the rich aspie known as Mark Zuckerberg have demonstrated interest in running for public office- in his case, by pretending to act like a human being. And he is not alone. More than a few famous actors, rich public loudmouths and other assorted insufferables will seriously consider running for the 2020 democratic ticket, a seat in the house or governorship.

But why is this happening now? Why did it not occur in the past? Well.. the short answer is that most people have lost faith in experts or professionals, largely because they have been exposed as posturing incompetents and two-faced liars. In the case of democratic party, the two presidential terms of Obama were nothing more than an 8-year long neoliberal disaster for the 99%. That is why the democrats lost so many governorships and seats in state legislatures to republicans during that period. To put it another way, trying to win elections by invoking your ivy-league education, credentials or soaring rhetoric is no longer a viable strategy outside a few coastal states.

But what does any of this have to do with Oprah’s chances of winning as a democratic party candidate in 2020? What makes her more or less likely to win against Trump or any other republican candidate than your generic establishment democratic politician.

4] Oprah, in my opinion, is a far better presidential candidate for democrats than their stable of generic neoliberal types for the following reasons. a] She has massive name recognition and is seen as a political outsider, both of which helped Trump win the presidency in 2016. b] Having a connection with the democratic party but no strong positions on most major issues allows her to craft her positions on them in ways that are not possible for most other democratic candidates, and that again is similar to what helped Trump in 2016. c] She has very good media presence and the ability to play the media far better than so-called “professional” politicians, which is once again like Trump in 2016. d] She is a far smarter self-promoter and has a much better grasp of audience dynamics than “professional” politicians and Trump.

Now that I have told you how Oprah is like Trump, let me tell you about areas in which she is much better than him- starting with her life story. Unlike Trump, she can make the claim that she her success and wealth came from her own abilities, rather than inherited wealth. Also, she does not appear to have career-ending skeletons in her closet of the kind which might sink her presidential campaign. Furthermore, it would be very hard to successfully level personal criticism at her because she is a woman and black, both of which matter far more now and in 2020 than they did a decade or two ago. Now combine this with a way of disgust and dismay among democratic voters and independents towards Trump and republican politicians by 2020, and it is easy to see why somebody like Oprah could win a presidential election against Trump, or pretty much any establishment republican candidate, in 2020.

Will write the next part of this short series based on further developments in this area and reader comments to this post.

What do you think? Comments?

Hillary Clinton Will Lose Against the Republican Nominee in Nov 2016

February 20, 2016 24 comments

As many of you have heard by now- Hillary Clinton has “won” the democratic caucuses in Nevada by 5% of the vote. The results seem to largely validate most pre-election polls which showed that Hillary Clinton had about 2-3 % more supporters than Sanders. However many aspects of this supposed “victory” and previous democratic primaries have convinced me that Hillary Clinton has little, to no, chance of winning against a populist (or even moderately competent) republican opponent in the presidential election of Nov 2016.

Here is why..

Let us start with some history. As, once again, many of you know- Hillary Clinton (henceforward referred to as Shrillary) was the unopposed candidate of the democratic party establishment. It is also widely known that the democratic party establishment actively discouraged other viable democratic candidates from running against her in the primaries. They did so because they, rightly, felt that Shrillary could not win the democratic nomination against an even moderately competent competitor. Now.. there are many reasons for her innate lack of appeal to democratic and general voters. While she is widely seen as an extremely corrupt and untrustworthy corporate stooge, those attributes by themselves are not the real deal-breaker.

The biggest roadblock in Shrillary’s path to winning the general election is first and foremost- her “personality” (if you can call it that). I am sure that many of you have also noticed that there is something about her persona that just feels highly unnatural, artificial, deceptive and unrelatable. It does not help that every attempt made by her to appear more ‘human’ always ends up making her look more artificial and deceptive. While this would not be a big issue if we still lived in an era before the internet and when part bosses controlled who got the presidential nomination- we don’t. The reality is that people with Shrillary’s “personality” are just not viable presidential candidates in the post-1980 world.

However the democratic party establishment is desperately in need of a presidential candidate who can bring them tens of billions of dollars and other favors from wall street and other corporations. To make a long story short, Shrillary was and is the best bet for funneling all that money and corporate favors into the democratic party establishment. It is also therefore not surprising that the party establishment has invested so heavily in her candidacy. Under “normal” conditions, they might have even succeeded in pulling off that crap- but then a series of events in the real world upset their calculations.

The first two (or three) events that upset their calculations first manifested themselves about 7-8 years ago. The candidacy and eventual victory of Barack Obama was a disaster for Shrillary in many ways that were not fully appreciated in 2008 or even 2012. You see, Obama ran as a more relatable and eloquent version of Shrillary. While the immediate consequence (loss of the 2008 democratic nomination) was a big downer for Shrillary- the second and third order consequences were even worse. The inability and unwillingness of Obama to keep even a fraction of the promises he made to ordinary voters during his campaign have made it much harder for any further democratic candidate to make the case that acceptability by the establishment matters.

To put it another way, very few democratic voters now believe that a presidential candidate who accepts billions from corporations and wall street will keep any of the promises made to them. While this would not have been a major liability as late as the mid-2000s when the general mood in USA was still upbeat- events since 2008 have made it very clear to many voters that the old way of doing things is just not workable. It is therefore amusing to watch Shrillary trying to wrap herself in Obama’s legacy to win black votes in the democratic primaries. My point is that the black votes she might win in the primaries with her embrace of his legacy pale in comparison to the numbers she will lose for doing so in the presidential election.

Another big problem for Shrillary is that her potential republican opponent in 2016 is unlikely to be an establishment politician- at least nobody with as awful a “personality” as hers (except Ted Cruz). Donald Trump, for his many faults and shortcomings, is a far more relatable person than Shrillary. His willingness to play the nativist-populist cards and constantly attack his opponents make him a far more formidable candidate than most greedy and effeminate public “intellectuals” and talking/blogging heads are willing to acknowledge. Look.. Trump handily won the republican primary in South Carolina after calling Bush43 an idiot and liar. In other words, Shrillary can win the general election in 2016 only if her republican opponent was either Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz.

And this brings us to the issue of Bernie Sanders, or more specifically why he has been so successful against Hillary Clinton in the democratic primaries.

In the three democratic primaries hat have taken place so far- Bernie has won one with a large margin (around 20% in New Hampshire) and lost two by very narrow margins (0.2% in Iowa and 5% in Nevada). Perhaps more worryingly, Shrillary is losing to Bernie in demographic categories that she was expected to utterly dominate. It is no secret that she is losing to Bernie among white women (especially those younger than 40-45) and the younger voters (18-40). More problematically, she is now losing to Bernie in the Hispanic voter category. While some of this might be due to the fact the Hispanic voters are younger than the median- it does not bode well for Shrillary’s presidential aspirations.

But there is a much bigger problem.. she is losing all those categories to a guy who is openly socialist secular jew- a grouping of characteristics that is supposedly to make you unelectable in the presidential election. Even more humiliatingly- he was almost unknown on the national stage until a few months ago. So how did a guy who was almost unknown on the national stage 6-8 months ago suck way so many voters from her. I am not sure if you remember that even 3 months ago- Shrillary was leading Bernie in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada by 30-40% in opinion polls. The fact that he could close and reverse those odds tells you two things. Firstly, Bernie is a pretty good candidate. Secondly, Shrillary is a piss poor candidate who could not win unless the electoral process was heavily rigged in her favor.

I think we have to accept that there are far fervent Shrillary supporters than the media and “experts” want us to believe. While this might not have been an issue if she was running against equally or more unlikable candidates such as Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz- the lack of enthusiasm for her candidacy among democratic and democratic-leaning voters will be a big problem if she runs against a populist like Trump or a non-repulsive empty suit like Rubio. This will be especially problematic if she gets nominated through overwhelming support by unelected ‘super-delegates’ at the democratic convention in mid-2016.

To summarize- Shrillary will very likely lose the 2016 presidential election even if she gets the democratic nomination because her nomination will result in low turnout of democratic and democratic-leaning voters. Additionally, some potential democratic voters might just end up voting for Trump. Also, Trump or Rubio might increase turnout among republican or republican-leaning voters. The net result of these voting patterns is that democrats will end up losing one or more of the so-called ‘swing’ states, and thereby the presidency, to republicans. Since the biggest deal-breaker about Shrillary, namely her “personality”, cannot be fixed- it might be better to nominate Bernie Sanders. Alternatively they can Hubert Humphrey themselves into electoral oblivion.

What do you think? Comments?