It seems like everyone is newly depressed about the election, even though it has been going on for over a year, and all signs from the beginning pointed to an upsetting outcome. I’ll admit, I didn’t think Trump would win. Hell, I didn’t think he wanted it. Actually, I still think he would prefer a TV show. But the Republicans wanted it.
Speaking of Republicans, what are they happy about? The only reason that Trump won this election, is because the country is in a cultural crisis. There is no victory in breaking the country. Neither candidate’s election should have made anyone actually happy.
Trump won, because globalism made neo-liberals blind to the struggles of middle America. Conservatives were able to harness the unrest, combine it with xenophobia, and they showed up to vote in greater numbers. But I heard a really good point from a family member:
Republicans started it. Republicans were the original boosters of the globalism that is ruining our national cohesion. The Democrats helped under the control of their corporate donors, but conservatives, this started with you. Let’s try to come together and acknowledge the series of events that led to this embarrassment.
- In the 1980s and early 1990s, Republicans were getting super interested in the idea of shipping more jobs to cheaper labor areas. They wanted a trade agreement (ultimately NAFTA) that would allow them to do so. However, after the failure known as the Reagan presidency, there was no way they could get it past Americans, even as they tried to sell it as ‘promoting economic growth.’
- In 1992, a third-party presidential candidate named Ross Perot, said that this was a bad idea. Here is a transcript of the debate where he said it, if you want to act surprised by all of this. But the person who won the election, Bill Clinton, supported NAFTA, since he was instrumental in pushing it through congress anyway. NAFTA started in 1994 and was implemented over the course of time, up to 2008.
- Whether or not you think NAFTA was net-positive or net-negative, it created a trend of prioritizing productivity & profit over people, and is seen as an important step in the globalization (some say ‘liberalization’) of the US economy. Supporters of NAFTA state that the loss of jobs is offset by the increase to productivity. Unfortunately, any benefit of that profit goes to the top 1%, instead of the 99% person that lost the job.
- As it became easier and easier to do nothing politically, the American people continued to vote against their own interests. They elected conservatives to local/state positions all over the place, and they failed to call Bill Clinton out for bad neo-liberal decisions, like NAFTA and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which ruined mainstream media. Clinton also signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which directly contributed to the takeover of democracy by big money. Bill’s general economic strategy was to empower corporations, and corporations became increasingly involved in supporting Democratic candidates. The American people accepted these horrible choices because, at the time, they couldn’t feel the pain of the results.
- After what was perceived to be an awesome 8 years under Clinton, the Democrats failed to maintain power, losing the presidency to someone who everyone thought was a fool. They blamed third-party voters for the loss to distract people from recognizing their complacency (remember this point)
- G.W. Bush came into power, and the military-industrial complex kicked into high gear. The threat of terrorism united the USA just enough for Bush to avoid blame and shame for being incompetent. A stagnant, mis-informed American populace failed to prevent our leaders from voting for the invasion of Iraq. Remember, various federal and local government decisions were also accelerating income inequality during this whole time, since the days of Clinton.
- Bush survived his 8 years as one of the worst presidents ever, and America was stirred into an excited frenzy by the Democrats, who promised to turn things around with their very progressive candidate, Barack Obama. Republicans tried very hard to use racism and xenophobia to defeat him, but Republicans don’t win if voter turnout is high- and people were really ready to get out and vote for Obama.
- Upon taking power, Obama and the Democrats opted for a feckless style of leadership. Instead of forcing the congress to become more progressive or bend to their will, they tried to cater to Republicans, which led to some bad decisions and compromises. Obama’s biggest promise, ObamaCare, was implemented as a weak system in which people are forced to buy something they really need (health care) from insurance corporations. For some reason, nobody has been punished for the deceptions that led to the war in Iraq. Multitudes of people have died based on those lies, but the elites who started it never faced consequences.
- Parts of the country started to openly disparage the president in ethnic terms, fueled by a rising strategy of the Republicans to just be belligerent, instead of polite. These xenophobes were encouraged to be full of rage and given voice by a Republican party that will do anything to win. A Republican party that has operated primarily on fear and hate tactics to maintain its political foothold in the diverse south.
- Now extremely smug and confident, many neo-liberals and neoconservatives began to believe that we were living in a post-racial society. People became politically apathetic because they thought “well, I’m not racist, and most of us aren’t racist, so racism will never win again.” This was a mistake, because at the same time, the Republicans were still winning down-ballot elections while we all patted ourselves on the back for having a mixed-race president.
- After what was perceived to be an awesome 8 years under Obama, the Democrats failed to maintain power, losing the presidency to someone who everyone thought was a fool. They blamed third-party voters for the loss to distract people from recognizing their complacency. (see where I was going with this?)
That’s at least what I think happened. What do you think happened?
Regardless of who anyone wants to blame, I think we can mostly agree that now is the time to come together. Not for Republicans vs Democrats.
For people vs profits.