I haven’t been shy about my firm opposition to Donald Trump or his awful would-be replacement. (SPOILER ALERT: Joe Biden will lose.)
Liberals who ascribe to the mental trappings of voting for the lesser of two evils are misguided, naive, and woefully ignorant to the long-term harm they are perpetuating, directly sabotaging their own progressive goals.
As of today I’m an undecided voter because here’s the thing… Donald Trump is awful. The next Republican will be awful, and if they [Democrats] always can say look you’ve got to vote for us no matter what, you’ve got no other choice, then they’re always going to treat us like this because you have no power in that situation if you’re just going to show up and vote for them anyway. I know people aren’t going to want to hear that but I think that is the reality of the situation that we face right now.– Krystal Ball on The Young Turks (March 2020)
Krystal Ball and many others on that progressive Left are not lost in some ideological bubble, but can defend our position simply by pointing to recent history. The theory that the country will perpetually circle the drain if we keep lowering the bar every election cycle has played out so consistently in our own lifetimes that denial can only be chalked up to willful ignorance, mental illness, or abject stupidity.
Regardless, I have entertained many debates with those who disagree. Tragically, the majority on the Left disagrees. Incredulously, these are the very same people who voted for Hillary in 2016 and learned nothing from the experience. Instead the DNC and Hillary herself deflected, blaming Bernie, blaming Comey, blaming Assange, blaming Putin… anyone else so they could keep denying themselves the plain and obvious truth; that Hillary Clinton was so weak, so repulsive, and so corrupt that she lost to the likes of Donald Trump.
I had warned people months in advance, before Bernie had dropped out, that not only was Hillary likely to lose but guaranteed to lose. Yet liberal faith in corporate Democrats persisted. We’re now living through the consequences of that mistake with little indication that the Democrats learned even the most obvious lesson: Only a progressive populist can defeat a conservative populist. Instead, Democrats have focused on pointing fingers for four years rather than looking inward and recognizing the desperate need to reform and move sharply to the Left.
Liberals are at least aware that Biden is a shitty candidate, arguably the worst Democrat the DNC could have rigged the primary for, but most still insist that he’s worth holding our noses for at the voting booth. The differences between the two are negligible at best, but there is one argument that seemed to have actual merit: the future of the Supreme Court.
We all knew Ruth Bader-Ginsburg was on borrowed time (due to her off-and-on battle with cancer for over twenty years) and her replacement would have a significant impact since the Supreme Court conservatives already held a 5-4 majority. Trump will unfortunately succeed in appointing a new Justice prior to November and the Senate has enough votes to confirm.
Every Democrat + 4 Republicans had been needed to block, but as of today two of the four Republicans who were briefly on the fence have officially given the green-light. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does have options to prevent the appointment, like refusing to bring up a must-pass spending bill to avert a government shutdown. She could also use that leverage to get the middle-class a very overdue pandemic stimulus package at the same time if she really wanted.
Wait, never mind.
Oh well, at least there are talks of Democrats expanding the Supreme Court, allowing for more liberal Justices to be added under a (hypothetical) Joe Biden Presidency. That would maybe help balance out the bench.
Damn. Scratch that, too.
This is going to be a significant political victory for conservatives who have fought for for years to dominate the Court and as such will undoubtedly rally their base with an intensity that can only further ensure a second term for Captain Cheese Doodle. Liberals are shitting their collective pants.
On the Supreme Court front, the great fear is that a 6-3 conservative majority casts an ominous shadow on the future of women’s reproductive rights. Completely overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t impossible, but it is extremely unlikely. How unlikely?
Between 1946 and 2016 there were 8,809 Supreme Court decisions and only 236 of them were later overturned. That’s a rate of only 2.6%. Applying those odds equally, there’s a 97.4% chance that liberals can relax based on historical precedent.
That reassuring statistic aside, we should also admit the utter fecklessness of the Supreme Court because the idea that the top judicial body somehow remains a redeeming bright spot in an otherwise dark, political landscape has zero grounding in reality.
This institution was lost decades ago.
Consider that the Supreme Court has never intervened to stop the concentration camps at the border or the jailing of immigrant children; they haven’t addressed gestapo police murdering with impunity or the kidnappings of American citizens by federal agents or the erosion of civil rights year-over-year; the Supreme Court hasn’t cared about illegal mass surveillance, the draconian War on Drugs that infringes on basic freedom of autonomy, or our institutionalized prison labor system (slavery), the rise of corporate monopolies in clear violation of anti-trust laws, or the ongoing U.S.-led bombings that have killed 30-40 million civilians since World War 2. Not a peep.
Plus the disasterous 2010 Citizen’s United decision, which established campaign donations as a form of free speech and asserted that corporations deserve the same rights afforded to people, cemented the inevitability of corporate fascism. And I say inevitable because that is always the end result of late-stage capitalism. The Supreme Court recklessly hit the gas on this transition every step of the way. They tossed us victories on a handful of social issues to sweeten the pot, but no amount of seasoning can salvage a crock pot full of bubbling shit.
Liberals who hold out hope that the Supreme Court might save the country have put their faith in the wrong institution.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Progress will come from the streets, not a voting booth. Why? Because legislation with fair representation, which we haven’t seen since at least 1981, means We The People do not have any say in the formation of our laws. This is comes with the territory under Oligarchy.
When citizens lose control of their government, their government gains control of the citizens, and the government subsequently ceases to be theirs. This is why there are no legal means remaining to restore democracy within the confines of a rigged system, and largely this is due to the Supreme Court.
You cannot simply undo the surrendering of power. You can ask for it back with all the petitions, letters, phone calls, and marches in the world, but do you honestly believe the sociopaths in power will ever willingly return democracy out of the kindness of their hearts? These are same forces that originally stole it from us in the first place! Corporate power will always take more if given the opportunity, never less.
Case in point, a study of 261 senior corporate professionals in the United States found that 21% of them had “clinically significant psychopathic traits”. The rate of psychopathy in the general population is roughly 1 in 100. Combined, this data suggests that American CEO’s who most heavily-fund (control) our lawmakers are statistically twenty-one times more likely to be legit psychopaths than the average middle-class American. Which is why we struggle to accept a revolution in the streets. Because we care too much about everyone while they care too little about anyone. Billions of us would rather die than remove a few thousand cancerous tumors from power…? That’s objectively insane, as inaction is already driving us toward extinction via the ongoing, unmitigated climate crisis.
Here’s the latest dismal news on that front (7 pages).
Vertebrates on the brink as indicators of
biological annihilation and the sixth mass extinction…
“It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds. Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.”– Howard Zimm (October 21, 2005)
Mass civil disobedience via a General Strike was the only peaceful means on the table, but this strategy relies entirely on the presumption that those in power will eventually need us more than we need them. There was a time when playing chicken with the Establishment might have been an effective strategy. Not anymore.
From 1975-2018 the bottom 90% of Americans lost $50 trillion in wealth to the top 10% (SOURCE). At some point even the most merciless of robber barons wouldn’t see enough value to justify even the effort of further theft. Are they really going to cry over what amounts to a temporary stagnation of revenues when they’ve already siphoned $50 trillion of middle-class wealth?
And how long could the middle-class actually strike from their jobs, cease paying bills, forego the use of credit cards, etc.? Because that’s what a General Strike is. It’s a strike against everything to essentially take the economy hostage. Days? Weeks? Months?
I contend that the wealthy would hold out far longer under economic pressures than the middle-class could afford to self-sacrifice. The fat cats will sip their champagne, call our bluff, and wait it out. Attempting a General Strike and then failing would succeed at crippling middle-class morale and further deplete our resources, leaving us in a far more weakened and vulnerable position that would hinder our ability to muster up the will required to organize and execute more aggressive tactics.
Or we can be proactive and put everything we have into Plan B and fight back in the streets. Before anything happened we’d need to first issue members of Congress a list of our demands, to give the puppets a final opportunity to voluntarily do the right thing. Oh wait, this was already done by the Movement for a People’s Party, which I was a part of, and we were soundly rejected.
Washington, DC has no interest in the wishes of their constituents and will only ever respond to the demands of their deeper-pocketed donors. Hey, if they can still sleep at night and feel safe and secure, why would sociopaths change course?
That’s where we come in.
There is nothing we can offer to the wealthy who already have everything to compel them to take action, but we can take away incentives for their continued inaction. We can make them feel unsafe. We can make them feel insecure. Make them uncomfortable enough, disrupt their peace of mind, and they will comply with the demands of the middle-class.
Americans can keep fretting about the Supreme Court, keep obsessing about elections as if they weren’t pre-decided, keep protesting peacefully without any tangible results to show for it… or we can focus on organizing and executing a true revolution of solidarity in the streets, a revolt of unyielding and unrelenting defiance against the entire corrupt Establishment.
You sure as hell won’t see that option at the ballot box. But it’s the choice the middle-class majority should and must make.