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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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America on the verge of an institutional abyss

Now that the US appears to have stepped back from a full blown institutional implosion, it remains to be seen whether the country can rebuild its political infrastructure to provide opportunities for good governance. The recently concluded election cycle filled with racist, anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant backgrounds should serve as a fair warning of how close this country is to completely disorienting itself. Some scum among us being promoted to public office or allowed to remain there only exacerbates this concern.

Then, in a final election reminder that America is still close to the abyss, Herschel Walker, one of the most unqualified candidates ever to seek a seat in the U.S. Senate, was forced into a contest with a decent incumbent from Georgia. won the runoff, and then got 48.6% of the vote to vote in that runoff. So, with the real midterms finally over, the Republican headlights are still flashing in our collective rearview mirror. They flash red and remain a constant threat to obliterate the electoral fence.

Adding insult to injury, the international scene keeps showing images of this sanctimonious country doing all it can to impose its vision of a more democratic world far away, often at gunpoint. At the same time, America’s tolerance for corruption, greed, and fraud is so high that institutions championed elsewhere seem overwhelmed at home.

Can healthy conflict exist in an unhealthy society?

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After the recent election, it’s easy to keep trying to draw conclusions about the state of “democracy” in America. But just focusing on gerrymandering, filibusters, a corrupt Supreme Court, incompetent regulators, election officials who refuse to vote, etc., is enough for most people to draw their own conclusions. Moreover, even such an exercise is unlikely to fully expose the rot of the system and the basic human cruelty it breeds.

Democrats avoided a red wave, but is that all?

Of course, violence and the threat of violence are everywhere in the public spaces of the country, in public spaces, and behind closed doors. As soon as some Americans took a deep breath after the election, our breath was taken away by yet another barrage of mindless acts of gun violence, shattering any thought that America might be on a better path.

So, setting aside any discussion of poorly defined “democracy,” now that the dust has settled, what are some useful takeaways from the recent elections? Most of all, I have concerns about the sustainability of what Democrats have achieved in the midterms. Too much of their message is muddled and just a reaction to events. Going forward, I would be more open to a simple vision that embraces diversity, inclusion, and some healthy measures of social and racial justice. And, once the vision is defined, propose the policy objectives needed to achieve it.

On the positive side, the result was a well-deserved boost for President Biden, who was able to articulate a message that worked well at the time, even though the media didn’t fully water it down until the end. Also, there seems to be some real backlash from moderates and independents against Trump, the cavemen he supports, the message he and they have sent and will continue to send, and the seemingly corrupt and compromised Supreme Court. But too many Democratic victories have been too narrow to convince me whether the Republican Party is flight or destruction. They, their aides, and their willfully ignorant supporters are not going away anytime soon.

America is now full of fraud

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Which brings us to the House of Representatives. Winning the House by a narrow margin would be a disaster for Democrats. If that happens, expectations will perpetuate the legislature’s ability to deliver on its campaign promises and make America a great place. Meeting such expectations will never happen. With the narrow gap between the two chambers of Congress over the next two years of the next election cycle, Democrats could have gained next to nothing and would have put themselves on the chopping block for defeat.

the worst is yet to come

Now, they can let House Republicans continue to dance with their own demons without legislative proposals that address real domestic and international problems. Their unifying mantra is to discredit the Democratic Party for everything, even if it’s about trying and succeeding. Now Democrats will have their own unifying slogan focused on the governance shit show in the Republican-run House. Also, it’s going to be a shit show. (It’s worth noting in this context that President Clinton’s approval ratings have soared in the impeachment proceedings because of Republican overreach and overreach.)

So, let that show begin. Bringing Biden’s troubled son, Benghazi in Afghanistan, Dr. Fauci and the Covid response, border “crisis” and daily attacks on the sensitivities of white Christian children.

In this contextual mix, it’s worth remembering that the American political system today has only two viable political parties moving forward, each with its own internal divisions. Still corrupted by greed and an invisible quest for power, the Republican Party seems committed to undermining governance at every step, and has a massive media footprint that Democrats can’t match. Moreover, they have cultivated a steadfast voter base that seems irretrievable and will certainly continue to respond to the Republican message on social issues, diversity, gun violence, immigration, book burning, and bogus economic policy alternatives that Seems to disadvantage those who seem to be disadvantaged by those. Buy news.

As for the Democrats, they just managed to pass a very low bar. Their challenge is to figure out how to raise the bar and then succeed again. This outcome will only be possible if Democrats can collectively commit to the institutional reforms needed to achieve good governance and equip the government itself to meet future policy challenges. Looking ahead, the party’s strength lies in its solid base of activists who understand the depth of America’s institutional woes and are willing to seek solutions.

A divided America without liberty and justice

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It would be remiss to discuss the midterm elections without noticing that pollsters, pundits and news readers have made yet another mistake of this magnitude. As unlikely as it seems, maybe this time they will actually learn something and start covering issues as news, stop pandering to anonymous sources, subvert false equivalence, and start drawing the line between reporting facts and commenting on them. Continuing to fall short on these basic tasks often calls truth into question and provides fertile ground for so much collective willful ignorance. Focusing on content rather than sound clips would be a good place to start. Instead, the media has seamlessly shifted to the finish line for 2024 in horse racing mode.

I managed to get this far in this post – until the very end – with only one mention of the corrupt and crumbling Donald Trump by name. For him, it seemed his day had finally come when he would be responsible for so much corruption, lies and cruelty. He blazed a clear path for the worst in American society to come out of their caves and into our consciences and our communities. Someday, if America can be forced out of the abyss of the system, we will even thank him for it. Maybe we have to see the demons within to exorcise them.

But before we try to get there, Trump has to parade in shame on the proverbial streets. I, like many others, will celebrate this disgrace in the hope that it will weather the storm that is gathering.

*[This article was first published on the author’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Fair Observer.

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