How Long Will Americans Be Fooled By The False Democrat Republican Paradigm?
Democrat, Republican: these are old paradigms. Both were appropriated post-FDR by rival factions of entrenched big capital, to ringfence key voter demographics. It’s a false dichotomy nowadays.
The bottom line in 2020 is we choose either some degree of profit-based corporate feudalism i.e. the status quo, with Biden, Bloomberg and to a lesser extent Warren; or Sanders’ honest but system-disruptive course correction to social democracy.
It is important to understand how the American dream coming out of World War Two got hijacked by the billionaires and corporations of the late 1940s/early 1950s. FDR knew it, hence trying to publish his Second Bill of Rights. Truman knew it, as did Eisenhower, and both warned in stark terms what was happening.
Nixon was the establishment darling — the 1960s apologist for corporate crony-capitalism, backed by the arsenal of wealth. JFK was the first post-War President to challenge the entrenched paradigm and he was killed before he could challenge it. His brother, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, all three assassinated in defense of the unchecked corporate feudal power.
The paradigm of American power we live in today began with JFK’s murder in 1963. Lyndon B Johnson took his place and, though a Democrat, made his pact with corporate power, media and the military industrial complex. LBJ was the prototype centrist or centre-left politician (as it’s called).
Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg are all cut from this cloth. Their argument is that capitalism works, free markets and big corporate feudalism ensure enough prosperity and meritocracy to allow Americans to be free and to be all they can be.
While it’s true to say profit-based corporate feudalism has worked for many since the 1950s, it’s also true to say it works for less and less each decade. The 2008 Financial Crisis was a jolt out of complacency but short-term solution plus adaptive big capital reasserted quickly to accelerate wealth transfer up the richest most powerful interests.
It is 2020 and the 1% is riding roughshod over a shrinking middle class and an increasingly exploited average American; tens of millions without healthcare, living paycheck to paycheck, looking forward to a shorter lifespan than their parents for the first time since the founding fathers.
The LBJ/Biden moderates advocate a soft pressure to change the country for the better, for the many. Their argument calls for being practical, respecting entrenched power, minimizing risk of disruption, but trying to curb the excess of Republicans and Trump without risking the continuity of 70 years of corporate capitalism that’s served America well.
The Sanders progressive movement identifies as the FDR successor and, at its heart is the Roosevelt Second Bill of Rights that got taken from the American people when the corporations and the big capitalists took over government in the late 1940s/early 1950s.
Bernie Sanders and to an extent Elizabeth Warren’s policy points are the 21st-century lineage of the Second Bill of Rights. To those progressives, the American course correction to social democracy is also putting right 70 years of the American public getting cheated out of their full birthright.
Healthcare for all, free education, jobs, housing, pension when old, childcare for the young, civil rights and racial equality: all these were to have been guaranteed for all Americans in 1945 but for FDR dying in office before his state of the union address could reveal it to the nation. Bernie Sanders, in particular, quotes FDR extensively and his Second Bill of Rights is why.
Whether you agree with the Biden centrist model or the Sanders progressive movement for change, it must be understood that forcing an unwilling corporate state to give up some of its wealth and power in favor of universal social democracy is a big ask; and a risk. It’ll be fought tooth and nail by groups who’ve gotten richer and more powerful from exploiting the current model than they were after the Second World War.
What’s more, billionaires and lineage wealth have gotten used to wielding power. These groups will wield their arsenal of wealth and media and infrastructure ruthlessly. There’ll be a small army of footsoldiers hired to disrupt, discredit and derail the prospect of change.
Democracy under universal suffrage means there is always a chance for a country to alter its course, to shift its paradigm. All it takes is a committed majority backing a candidate who’s honest, capable and determined to make the change happen.
Winning that majority — even if the progressive candidate is trustworthy — is an uphill battle; and one that’s been lost time and time again in more than half a century of elections.
Republican right-wing and religious evangelicals, Democratic Party centrists and moderates, Libertarian idealists and spoilers; all the other forces of vested influence draw support away from the possibility of progressive winning majority.
2020 will be the latest of a long string of opportunities. Whichever faction wins.