Fascism now or later?
It’s become clear that the DNC, the DCCC and almost all of the media are dead set against a progressive Democratic candidate. For most of us, that means Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Remembering the contest between Sanders and the swollen pustular ego of Hillary Clinton, we Progressives must accept the possibility that Sanders may win the caucuses and primaries and yet be forced out in favor of an Obama-like conservative neoliberal. If we are to vote strategically, what strategy is most likely to yield best results over the long term?
I myself am struggling with my decision, and it relates very much to my understanding of recent history. Ronald Reagan spent the eighties destroying labor unions, raising taxes on the middle-class and escalating vicious wars in South America. His Republican successor, George H. W. Bush, continued the tradition of war with a pointless invasion of Iraq and Panama and the appointment of one of the first of the modern unqualified Supreme Court Justices. Then the Democratic Party provided Bill Clinton. Finally, a president who could restore the power of labor and reconstruct the safety net for the poor.
Once elected, we found that Clinton basically agreed with the Republicans on most economic and military issues. While the Republican organization continued its assault on labor and civil rights, Clinton finalized NAFTA which began the wholesale export of U.S. industrial jobs. He assured us that “the era of big government is over” and that the poor would be burdened as never before while corporations could continue to form monopolies and corner markets assuring higher prices for medicine and continued low taxes for the exceedingly rich. He tested and inadvertently proved certain tenets of Modern Monetary Theory leading to the dot-com boom and bust.
In essence, Clinton simply held the Republican project stable so that George W. Bush could pick up where the previous Republicans had left off. With W’s administration came more pointless wars. His economic policies were primarily tied to the existing Republican “market-based” tropes. There was more legislation hurting labor and invading individual privacy beginning the now ongoing continual monitoring of individual actions so as to better sell us useless crap and keep the secret service apprised of our actions. Finally, thank all that is holy, the Democratic Party offered us Barack Obama.
Now we could vote for someone who would restore workers’ rights and advocate for benevolent programs for the poor. We would be able to impeach the incompetent federal judges and outlaw gerrymandering. What we got was the ACA which was a boon to well-prepared insurance companies. It was certainly better than nothing but offered only Medicaid as a non-commercial option and that was dependent upon the cooperation of each state to implement. The result was very spotty coverage and a fragile infrastructure begging for gradual deconstruction. Those states that refused to fully implement the ACA became key hotbeds for the Trump revolution.
Obama’s admitted conservatism led him to seek constantly to cooperate with the Republicans as if they were a legitimate political party. He pre-compromised most of his proposals and accepted Republican initiatives as if they were intended to actually support democratic values. This, of course, is utterly irrational as I explore in Reading Right to Left. Just like Clinton, he essentially kept secure the America the Republicans had begun to dice up among their rich benefactors. When Trump was elected, the Republicans were able to simply pick up where they left off, further corrupting the government, subverting the rule of law and assuring continued expansion of monopolies and outright theft of the public trust.
So, now we come to this juncture. What do Progressives do, if the Democratic Party and the cooperative media quash Sanders’ bid and insert a conservative neoliberal as our only practical alternative to Trump? What is our best choice? In such a case, Progressives have two options:
- Vote for Trump and assure that the fascist state consolidates in a timely fashion, prompting its eventual overthrow in the traditional bloody revolution.
- Vote for the conservative Democrat who, consistent with Democratic Party tradition, will simply delay the revolution by four years.
Of course, rather than vote for Trump, we could vote for a third-party candidate, yielding the same result but with less guilt. The choice is irrelevant.
With the cooperation of the Democratic Party, we could easily elect a real progressive president and congress. Given that, we could stand a chance at making gerrymandering illegal. We could impeach scores of incompetent federal judges; we could start massive infrastructure restoration projects; and, we could begin to expose and invalidate the corrupt practices the Republican organization has so effectively normalized.
A constitutional amendment codifying rank-choice voting for the President could promote “third-party” candidates to that office. That could drive more States to adopt rank-choice, promoting a multi-party environment leading to rational coalitions supporting well-reasoned legislation better isolated from corporate control. A Progressive could vote with true hopefulness for Bernie or, in a pinch, Warren; but, if I’m presented with Klobuchar or Buttigieg, I’m going to be engaging in a very different calculus. Do I want the fascist consolidation now, or four years from now under President Nugent?
If those are my two choices, I’m really thinking we should just get it over with. Why wouldn’t I vote for the Green candidate and gird my loins for the inevitable “Glorious Revolution”? My septuagenarian friends and I will join in the battle at the Koch Memorial Constitutional Convention! The common people will elbow their way into the hall spilling the occasional ounce of rich blue blood from the noses of their oppressors and overtake the assembly to craft a constitution that will be the envy of the most pampered Swede.
Anyone who doesn’t recognize our current administration as fascism (a political system wherein a dictatorial ruler, not subject to law, joins with commercial interests to assure his own personal advancement using nationalism and racism to stabilize his control) should look up the word in a modern dictionary. The Democratic Party has demonstrated its unquestioned bona fides as the Republican organization’s personal pup, a mere valuable distraction from the ongoing Republican machinations. How can this useful idiot possibly be my party? With the acceptance of the facts on the ground as I see them, I must conclude that, without a progressive choice, these are my only options: fascism now or fascism later.
Perhaps human beings are truly incompetent. Perhaps we are simply not qualified to govern ourselves. Maybe we actually require a dictator and a domestic military force to properly order our lives. Surely providing unlimited power and wealth to a glorious leader and his friends is a small price to pay for security and oblivious guiltless existence while, mostly unobserved, the world burns around us. Simply following orders and reveling in the approval of our masters should be sufficient reward for a life of worthy servitude.
No, this must not be the case! Better to perish in the service of the human soul rather than as a pedestal for unfettered power. The fascists ruled Italy for about fifteen years at which point they were overthrown, shot and suspended upside-down by ropes from the roof of a gas station. If that is a fair guess at the longevity of a fascist regime, I may actually be laid to permanent rest in a renewed democratic socialist state. If the conservative democrat holds everything in stasis for four or(God forbid) eight years, I will undoubtedly die a fascist tool. If my choice is to die a stooge or an agent of revolution, I think my decision is clear. I am sick to death of voting reluctantly for ineffective holding actions (Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton). This time, I’m not falling for that subterfuge. This time, I’m voting for progressive change or immediate fascist collapse and the violent revolt that allocates all fascists their well-deserved ignoble end.
Julian S. Taylor is the author of Famine in the Bullpen the new book about bringing innovation back to software engineering.
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