The Republican Party has been pushed off the old political charts into the new territory of the "looney right" by Obama's occupation of most of their former positions in service to plutocrats on the far right. The only exceptions are those identity issues that have no bearing on the class allocation of wealth and power and on which the moneyed Republicans are stuck dancing with the unpopular minority that brung 'em: their "value voters" allies that money mobilizes to make the rich richer and the rest poorer, including the hapless value voters themselves.
a word, progressives, spurred on by the more partisan than principled
elect a neoliberal2 with some modest tolerance for diversity, just
like the ruling class
See Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank, eds., Hopeless:
Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (2012);
Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters
D. Hodge, Mendacity
Obama and the Betrayal of American Liberalism (2010).
and liberal majorities
that currently exist on any
therefore remain unrepresented on the new re-adjusted Obama-era
political spectrum that offers policy options all the way from
right-of-center or far-right to the looney right.
2. Imagine. Given this limited choice between two parties, both of which serve their big political investors and are therefore incapable of enacting majority-supported policies opposed by those investors, the thought experiment goes like this:
What if progressives and other members of the movement Chris Hedges describes as those "who have as deep a revulsion for Democrats as they do for Republicans," rather than voting their fears or otherwise throwing their vote away, had in 2012 organized themselves into a swing voting bloc to mobilize and vote exclusively for real change on the single issue that determines everything else -- money in politics or, in Obama-speak, "how Washington does business?"
such a strategy have
stopped Obama from 'going to China?'
The U.S. first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system rewards swing voters just as much as it punishes third-party voters. In such a system, third-party voting in any one election tends to be futile, splitting the base of the least disfavored (LOTE) party. Third-party voting helps elect its least favored of the two parties, but gets nothing but an expensive symbol of dissent and a footnote in history for its effort. If its goal were to win, the more than 33% vote required by a third party to win a general election would be enough to have made a successful primary challenge against the LOTE party regulars. That is a preferable strategy because primary turnouts can be exceedingly low, and therefore vulnerable to an organized voting bloc. Many who vote the party and not the candidate will supplement the primary winner's strength to add up to a potential victory in the general election.
his decision to join the Democrats, and walk away with their 1934
primary for California Governor, former Socialist Party candidate
and muckraking author Upton Sinclair said: "Fifty percent of the
people are going to vote a certain ticket because their grandfathers
voted that ticket. In order to get anywhere, it is necessary to have
a party which has grandfathers." Upton Sinclair, I,
Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked
(1935; reprint, 1994) 7. It
less than a revolution," the invention of the
first full-blown political-propaganda campaign
funded by plutocrats, and supported by the likes of William
Hearst and LA
Times' publisher Harry
Thalberg, and Louis
keep Sinclair below 45% of the two-party vote. Greg
Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of
California and the Birth of Media Politics (1992)
If the goal of a third party is to lose, but in doing so punish the LOTE party to make it more responsive in the future, there is a more effective way to do that too. Voters willing to swing between the two parties, rather than avoid them both, double their power over both parties. They subtract a vote from one party and add it to the other, for a two-vote impact on the victory margin. Unorganized independents currently occupy this powerful position. A third-party voter or non-voter just subtracts one vote from the party whose "base" they abandon, or might have joined, without adding a vote to its nearest opponent. Therefore attracting a swing voter is always twice as valuable for the two parties than merely retaining or recruiting a new partisan "base" voter. For this reason FPTP systems inherently tend to divide voters into two parties that contest primarily over the undecided nonpartisan centrist voters who swing between the two parties, and therefore govern as nearly identical centrists. FPTP elections tend therefore to be very closely contested. The narrower the electoral margin of victory, the more powerful are the few swing voters who can determine the outcome of an election with only a small percentage of the vote.
When an FPTP voting system is operated by two corrupt parties, as has been legalized in the US since 1976, the "center" of the policy spectrum is where the money falls, since the policies promoted by the "money-stream media" and actually implemented (as opposed to merely promised) by both parties all overlap there. On issues of money -- and the power to keep it -- both parties rule from this "center" where they contest for a share of money in politics, which money is spent largely to attract independents.
Third parties without money are completely
marginalized in such a system.
propaganda works -- whether for pepsi, coke, or plutocracy. The
party that has money is either wasting that money on a strategically
defective tactic, or being
manipulated to undercut a two-party candidate, or both.
two corrupt parties appease their "base" voters at their
respective ends of the political spectrum when out of power with
insincere leadership or by making campaign promises to be honored
when in power merely by word or symbolic gesture. Pres. Obama, a
consummate practitioner of these political arts,
his base the wisp of difference in the theatrics with which he
embraces the economic policies of the other party.
the always astute commentator David
Sirota put it,
embodies a cynical ploy -- one that relies on a celebrity-entranced
electorate focusing more on TV-packaged rhetoric than on legislative
is not the only way to reach swing voters.
Voters whose political priorities are known to them and who are
uninfluenced by paid propaganda, if freed from partisan loyalty to
such political theatrics and united as an organized single-issue
voting (SIV) bloc, can define a new center where the money does not
an organized bloc of progressive SIV voters could have credibly
threatened defeat for the feckless or fraudulent incumbent Obama by
pledging to vote for his nearest opponent, if necessary, rather than
passively accept the same old alternatives of casting a) an
ineffective, if not counterproductive, vote for a third party, b) a
hopeful but later regretted LOTE vote for an Obama, or c) either
in protest or ignoring the election (in a false dichotomy) "to
organize around their causes."
such a threat of organized opposition from progressives, Obama
demonstrated their "futility
by delivering nothing to them prior to his re-election in exchange for
their votes or neutrality. Because LOTE voters were not organized,
Obama was not forced to even make any significant campaign promises to
them in 2012. He ran as the not-Republican. The lies about change
from Republican policies he told to get elected in 2008 were
unnecessary, if any longer believable, in 2012. Nothing of credible importance
to progressives was heard, other than Obama's gingerly prodding of
popular identity issues and talk about taxing the rich -- which he
also talked about in 2008, but failed to do in 2009 when he had the
votes in Congress. It is clear that Obama's support for slightly increased taxes
on the rich is little more than easily reversed camouflage for the
irreversible weakening of the iconic safety-net programs Obama has
been hired by Wall Street to deliver as the latest example of
progressive SIV bloc of sufficient size could have bargained with
Obama for change of the corrupt system that he has mastered and which
determines his policy actions. Such an SIV bloc might
have sought at least a firm promise -- such as about a future
Supreme Court appointee committed to overturn the
not a specific concrete action prior to the election, such as
submitting to Congress and zealously supporting its approval of a comprehensive
to get money out of politics. Or preferably both alternatives, plus
Although in the world of professional activism the "campaign-finance reform" issue may inhabit its own isolated fund-raising silo, in fact money in politics underlies nearly all dysfunctional public policies and will remain the single paramount obstacle to effective change of those policies until it is eliminated. Inequality and jobs, mortgage and finance, climate, environment, energy, taxes, trade and immigration, foreign policy, perpetual war and the MIC, social security, education, health industry, prison industry, agribusiness, telecoms, and every other aspect of American life where potential profit touches public policy is rigged. The universal spoils system of money in politics turns every policy against the public interests of citizens and consumers for the profit of the private interests who pay the rent.