Sunday, July 31, 2016

100 Days In The Political Wilderness

100 days. That's how long we have until November 8.

For most Americans, it's expected to be 100 days of agony. With Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, it will most certainly be a race between two wealthy narcissists that are suspected to secretly be friends outside of politics.

In any other instance (except the 2000 election), whoever wins, we could try to take comfort in the old platitudes about this all being democracy in action, but not this year. Democracy in modern America, at least as we like to think of it, has proven to be an illusion, and it's time to rethink our approach to changing the system. The answer is clear to anyone who's serious about doing the political calculus: to walk away from the two dying, incurably corrupt parties and rally around a third one which truly cares about the people and the planet.

We can do that this year.

This has been the most bizarre election in recent memory. Every time it seems like situation has played itself out, a new twist has appeared. And the twists don't have to be over.

The news of this (potential) twist came today from Michael Sparks, the author of the obscure but phenomenal political blog In today's address in text form, he announced that given the right circumstances, Bernie Sanders will be willing to join the Green Party's presidential ticket and, against expectations, turn everything around.

You can read Spark's eloquently stated case in full, but here's a quote from it that explains most of what he's saying:
If Stein continues to surge then Trump’s lead over Clinton will continue to widen and ultimately become insurmountable.
If this happens, Sanders will have little choice but to accept Jill’s invitation to take over as the Green Party nominee.
Remember how torn Sanders was a year ago, when he was considering his presidential run?
Right now, Sanders is in the exact same place.
When I read that, I knew I needed to place the mission of this blog on hold.

My fellow revolutionaries, I present to you a short story titled "100 Days In The Political Wilderness."

It's early August in 2016, and though hope is on the horizon, for most Americans it feels too far off. Behind the endless media propaganda, there are hints everywhere of a looming upheaval. You can sense it in the fact that this year, those who call themselves liberals and conservatives can bond over their shared disapproval of their party's nominees. You can sense it in the fact that membership in the Republican and Democratic parties is at a record low. And you can sense it in the fact that the DNC needed to violate all the rules of democracy just to keep themselves on the same old neoliberal, militaristic, politics as usual track.

As Robert Reich said, politics abhors a vacuum, and that void gets filled a lot quicker than many expected it would.

The wild turnaround starts when the Green Party's Jill Stein gets a dramatic bump in national polls, going from 5% at the end of July to within striking distance of that fateful 15% mark. With a few weeks left until the first presidential debate on September 26, the Democratic establishment officially goes on the offensive, with the corporate media publishing unfair attack pieces on Stein every day and the Clinton campaign constantly warning people about splitting the vote in a way that favors Donald Trump.

Trump, meanwhile, is seeing his lead continue to grow mostly by default, giving the fears of his victory more legitimacy every day. But there are more than enough "Never Hillary" former Sanders supporters to push Stein above the threshold, and by mid September, she's surpassed the Liberitarian Party's Gary Johnson and looks looks she'll participate in the debates. And Hillary, of course, is now struggling, with a gap behind Trump of over 5% that isn't too far from growing past 10%.

That's where Bernie comes in.

Whatever some of his more bitter supporters thought, Sanders is a good man with principles, and he only endorsed Clinton because he rightly believed that Trump was too big a threat to the same kind of poor, vulnerable people his family was when he was growing up. He can't stand by and keep trying to prop up the doomed Hillary Clinton. He finally accepts Jill Stein's invitation to become the Green Party's presidential nominee.

And in this case, the math is in his favor. After destroying both Trump and Clinton in the first debate, his poll numbers rise astronomically, largely thanks to the more than 45% of Americans who belong to neither (now somewhat) major party.

By late October, it's clear who the real winner will be. He takes the presidency by a relatively close but impressive margin, and in his acceptance speech, he feels the need to echo what Obama said eight years ago: it's been a long time coming, but change has come.

That scenario is next to unbelievable, but so are a lot of other things that have happened in the past year. As of today, I will no longer be posting in this blog or its Facebook page about the distant 2020 election until it's clear that either Trump or Clinton will win. Instead I and many others will devote all of my energy into helping Jill Stein, and though I acknowledge that what I'm proposing is a gamble, it's a gamble that's worthwhile.

Can you imagine what it would be like to turn this thing around, to defy every discouraging affirmation that Hillary and friends have tried to have you believe and take control for yourselves? Of course you can imagine that. Such a future is right in front of us, and all we need to do is go after it like we're serious. If our mission fails, our backup plan is implied in the name of this blog, but like the last Bernie Sanders campaign we attempted to make successful it's worth a shot.

Answer me honestly this time: are you ready for a radical idea?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Revolutionaries In Waiting

In a May 13 article, decidedly observant person Walter Bagman made a good observation: Hillary Clinton's Democrats are America's next Republicans. He says that they tend to be older and more affluent, and that they have "Decidedly negative views of Bernie Sanders, and the kind of economic populism he is promoting." He says that because of their comfortable economic position, their ideology "rests on the belief that nuance dictates moral ambiguity." And so from their perspective many issues, aside from those having to do with social justice, are not deserving of their concern. That includes income inequality, neoliberal trade deals, and destructive foreign policy.

There's one thing it doesn't mention, though: not very many of the "New Republicans" actually exist.

Bagman is not talking about Hillary Clinton's supporters in general. He isn't talking about the millions of middle and working class citizens who supported her in the primaries not because they wanted more unnecessary wealth for themselves, but because she promised to give them the amount of wealth they deserved. The same should be noted when criticizing Republicans; the vast majority of those who defend status quo politicians and policies are not benefiting from them.

As of this month, income inequality has reached a point that's literally unprecedented in American history. 75% of the wealth is owned by the top 10% of the population, and 90% of it is owned by the top 0.1%. And according to the most recent poll (taken in January, before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump alienated many in their parties), Republican membership is at 26% and Democratic membership is at 29%.

When you put those facts together, just how inconsistent the interests of American voters are compared to the people they're voting for becomes perfectly clear.

And the polls prove it. Though most Americans aren't informed enough about the TPP to oppose it, only 28% of voters think that free trade deals like it have had a positive impact on the economy. Around 60% want to replace Obamacare with a single-payer system. 61% think that upper income citizens pay too little taxes. 63% think wealth should be distributed more equally. And though those numbers show that not everyone who isn't part of the financial elite support a fair deal for themselves, a highly appropriate 78% want the obviously unfair Citizens United law overturned.

But it's that population of Americans that are hurting from economic inequality, and yet aren't willing to address it, that the ones at the top rely upon to keep their power. And I'm not just talking about the economically disadvantaged people who accept their own poverty as merely a side-effect of capitalism, which are very much in the minority and will soon no longer be a large enough part of the electorate to have much influence. The main focus of this article is on those who understand that the system needs to be reformed, and yet choose to support politicians that have no intention of reforming it.

According to those opinion polls I provided links to, almost 75% of Democrats favor single-payer, 83% want wealth to be more evenly distributed, and 75% think that the rich pay too little taxes. And though I couldn't find a poll showing how many of them oppose the TPP, the fact that Hillary Clinton has had to lie about her position on it should give us a clue.

It's for all the reasons above that I believe the Democrats will soon diminish as much or nearly as much as the Republicans.

For as long as the party has existed in its modern, neoliberal form, its largely liberal base have accepted it as simply their only option. That is not going to last forever. As I've said in other articles, Democratic identification has been steadily decreasing since the start of Obama's first term, clearly for the reason that more people have become unsatisfied with he and the rest of the party elite's non-progressive method of "progress." In contrast, by the end of Bill Clinton's second term, Democrats were the most popular party by far.

The reason Obama wasn't able to sustain his party while using the same faux-liberalism and excuses for his failures that Clinton used can be easily explained: Americans no longer want excuses. As they see their living standards continue to decrease because of the almost consistently elitist actions of corporate politicians from both parties, it becomes harder and harder for them to put up with tired explanations like "we had to compromise" or "you don't have any alternative."

Soon the problems of inequality, lost jobs, lack of social services, and climate change will loom too large for voters to ignore, not even the ones who supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries and still see their party as a force for good. In time they will abandon it and its excuses for avoiding change, simply out of self-preservation.

As Bagman says, we are seeing a realignment. At the end of the article, he predicts that as time goes on, the more affluent Democrats will pivot towards the Republican Party. When adding what I've mentioned, it seems like this migration will take place as the Democratic Party diminishes to irrelevance, giving the upper-class minority a new political perch to try to promote their agenda. But after that, the Republicans will of course be overtaken by a populist third party, most likely the Greens.

If you think that's too much to assume, keep in mind that the "Demexit" has indeed only begun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Joke's On You, Democrats

Obama with Debbie Wasserman Schultz at a September 2008 campaign event
I'd guess that by now everyone has tried to block out their memories of 2008. That year was supposed to be the new beginning of history, when the illegitimately elected war criminal was chased out of office by a flying shoe and a man who's very skin color proved that the country had changed would make things right.

It's needless to mention the many ways that that hopeful feeling has been shattered by Obama and the rest of the Democratic elte since then, but as of today, as their decision to stay on the same old Clintonian path is made official, there's no chance it will be back for this year. This is a party that no longer represents their own supporters or the democratic principles that political institutions are needed to be based upon in order to hold power legitimately, and whether you plan to vote for Hillary Clinton this year, they have no long-term future.

But what many are failing to see is that this is a good thing.

Let's delve into some political science fiction: it's earlier today, and the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia are doing their role call vote on who to pick for the nomination. Against expectations, the superdelegates actually consider their votes from the standpoint of someone that wants to help the future of their party. They think of the polls that show Donald Trump gaining on Hillary Clinton both nationally and in battleground states, the millions of angry Sanders supporters that plan to never take part in their organization again, the clearly illegitimate primary results, and the overwhelming public will towards real change, and at the last minute, they nominate Bernie Sanders.

The establishment Democrats object in every way they can, claiming that it was a coup and demanding a revote, but in the end, they're the ones that need to fall in line. Bernie Sanders beats Trump by about ten points as Democrats take the overwhelming senate majority and membership in the Democratic Party suddenly rises from 29% to around 35%. It only gets more popular from there during his administration.

But eight years later, President Sanders, despite having ended America's perpetual wars and passed several notable reforms to health care, energy, education and the financial sector (and also, of course, blocked the TPP), he has not changed the Democratic Party. He remains one of the only politicians with the moral convictions to not accept donations from big business, and despite his repealing Citizens United, the political system is still very much controlled by private interests.

The DNC, which refused to support his goals from day one, eagerly pushes a corporate Democrat to replace him in the 2024 primaries. From then on, the Democratic Party leadership quietly distances themselves from the most popular president they've ever had, going right back to their neoliberal past and destroying Sanders' legacy over the next several decades. Things return to the old, destructive paradigm of two utterly dominant parties fighting each other to create the illusion of choice while working to serve their donors at the top.

Another unintended consequence of having one activist representing the Democratic Party is that it would make most of the other activists, the ones outside of politics who really have the most power when they are united and committed, to not be as motivated. Aside from doing his best to change the system from within, a President Sanders would become a tool for the rest of the party leadership to keep the people from wanting to help change it from the outside. Because as far as the average person can see, with a Democratic Socialist as president, there can't be much work left for them to do, right?

At that point, it starts to sound a lot like a repeat of Obama's presidency.

To be clear, I very much believe that a Sanders administration would hold positive results. I'm merely saying that no one person, however much integrity and principle they have, can redeem something so fundamentally corrupt as the Democratic Party. In terms of long term change-and I'm talking about fifty or a hundred years from now-it may well be better at this point to let the DNC continue on the path of corruption so that it will implode as soon as possible, making way for a third party alternative.

In short, when you move beyond the notion of having a messianic figure taking over the system and changing everything, which I admit is what I imagined a potential victory for Bernie Sanders would be like to a certain point, it was never meant to be. Given the behavior of the DNC officials, the media, and the rest of the establishment during this rigged contest, to take it over would make no sense.

Our best option, which, it turns out, was always our only option, is not to work with the DNC but to fight it. Vote for the moderate Republican that they've forced on us if you want, but after this election is over, the game will be different. The enormous absence of a Bernie Sanders-like figure that the Democrats caused, as well as the absence of support for both major parties, will lead to the rise of a party which truly focuses on the needs of the people and the planet.

The idea of a Bernie Sanders Democratic nomination is, in spite of all his differences from Obama, a desire to relive that moment of hope we all felt eight years ago. But as long as true progressives try to achieve change by taking control of the Democratic Party, they won't really succeed.

There was an ironic genius in what Bernie Sanders did, though, because while he created a movement that will end up destroying the Democratic Party, he could only reach this point by running for president as a Democrat.

The repeat of 2008 we've all been wanting is in fact here. It just doesn't involve any Democratic presidential candidate.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Who Wins The Logic-Based Presidential Race?

Our nation is in a moment of profound change. Or to put it honestly, it's in a moment of profound confusion. 

The results of the first half of the presidential race have caused most Americans to question their previous views of their political candidates and parties, with their two choices (one of which they didn't even choose themselves) both having historically bad favorability ratings. After Bernie Sander's premature exit, the country is in the early stages of finding a better option, but right now many of them are grasping for it in the dark.

And though I feel confident enough in my switch to Jill Stein, I'm as uncertain in the long-term consequences of not backing Hillary Clinton as many. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the "To Hillary or not to Hillary" debate; Those who are Bernie or bust or for Jill Stein say that the time has come to reject the two-party system, while newfound Hillary supporters reply that Trump would be a disaster. The counterargument to that is that Trump would be an ineffective president or that he would provoke a worthwhile revolution, and the other crowd replies that even so, it would not be worth it. 

Both sides appear to have good cases to make. The arguments I've heard that have currently, if not decidedly, put me in the Never Hillary side are that Clinton would be more dangerous in terms of foreign policy, trade deals, and political triangulation that stifles genuinely progressive ideas, while Trump would have little actual effect aside from being a national embarrassment before being inevitably dislodged by a populist third party candidate in 2020.

The problem with such logic-and the same goes for the lesser evil arguments-is that it makes a few too many assumptions. There is no way of knowing what will happen in the future, and to conclude that having either one of them as president will be preferable based on information we have about them now is to over-simplify the dauntingly complex decision that independently minded voters will have to make this November.

If we want to address this seriously, we need to do all of the political calculus. This decision can't be made through mere slogans like "The lesser evil is still evil" or "You shouldn't cut off your nose to spite your face." I'm going to guess, with as much consideration for details as necessary, what will happen under both of these awful but practically inevitable scenarios.

Scenario #1: Lesser Evil

It's November 8th, and defying three criminal investigations and low odds of winning the swing states, Hillary Clinton has prevailed. From one standpoint, this marks a great accomplishment in history with America's first female president to succeed its first black president. But otherwise, it's pretty bad news.

She fills her cabinet with war hawks, free trade advocates, and other clones of the Obama administration that she injected a few more right-wing hormones into as she grew them in her secret mad scientist lab. Her acceptance and inauguration speeches include some conciliatory language aimed at former Sanders supporters about how she plans to reach universal health care and solve climate change with an incremental approach, though of course makes no mention about her plans for the military or the TPP.

Which makes sense, because during her first term she increases troop levels in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria while hurting relations with Iran, and finally signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership. ("The circumstances left me with simply no other choice," she says to address her claim during the campaign that she opposed the deal.) These policies cause the loss of many jobs, compromised internet freedom, increased excuses for corporations to file lawsuits, and increased national debt, troop deaths, and terrorist attacks as a consequence of war. Not surprisingly, in 2017 the number of Democrats is found to have dropped from 29% the year before to somewhere between 20% and 25%. (Though the Republican's numbers, as usual, look even worse.)

And that's her best year in office. The investigations into her practices with the Clinton Foundation, mishandling highly classified intelligence by using a private email server, and lying to the Benghazi Committee are ongoing, and though she escaped the law in July 2016, nobody can do so forever, and a prosecution is imminent. (Whether she continues to use a private server while president isn't easy to predict, but it's entirely possible.) But meanwhile, as Clinton's popularity drops even lower than that of Trump's at one point, the biggest blunder of her administration is yet to come: a financial crisis.

Through a number of factors, including in part she and her top economic aide Bill Clinton's failure to regulate Wall Street, 2008 more or less repeats itself about a decade later. This of course leads to another bailout portrayed as a necessary economic stimulus, and the vast majority of Americans, who at this point are suspicious of everything the government does, are almost unanimously bitter and outraged.

Despite having been rendered for the most part irrelevant by Donald Trump, Republicans ride the contempt for the Democrats and discouraged attitude among young people to vote into another congressional election victory in 2018. In the following months, the legal walls close in on the president for good, and she's forced to leave office after a surreal throwback to Watergate. Her similarly neoliberal and hawkish vice-president then steps in to attempt to lead a party with membership now just below 20%. Though Republican membership has now been reduced almost all the way to white men over 35, they're starting to grow and will likely overtake the Democrats just in time for the 2020 election.

I'll leave it there for now.

Scenario #2: Just Plain Evil

It's November 8, defying the demographics, Donald Trump has prevailed. The parallels between with the 2000 election are eerie; a buffoon who does nothing for the Republican Party was running a very close race with a Democrat who barely qualifies as a liberal, and the Green Party candidate who's receiving  more support than usual is the one who got (falsely) blamed for the buffoon's victory.

Immediately after he wins, his nastier supporters across the country are emboldened to riot in celebration, acting like their race has "won" and committing all kinds of hate crimes. These violent outbursts die down after a few days, but they become noticeably more common throughout Trump's entire presidency. Indeed, regardless of any of Trump's policies, it becomes harder for someone to be Muslim, Hispanic, or black in America.

In another similarity with the election of George W. Bush, Trump lets his smarter and less lazy Vice-President do a lot of the decision-making. Democrats took back the senate in November, as they would have if Hillary had won as well, but the Republicans still have congress, which lets Trump's administration do some damage. Though Trump's ideas for mass deportation and a wall along the border are never able to pass, he does win a policy victory in appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court, thus delaying the end of Citizens United by many years (though if Hillary Clinton had had the same opportunity, she would have appointed a centrist judge with no intention of repealing it either).

This allows them to limit abortion, gay marriage, and gun control, though not much else. (Since Trump's plan to drastically cut taxes would bankrupt the government, not even the Republican congress will ever allow it to pass.) Trump loses the fight to repeal Obamacare, in spite of concerns from Democrats the year before that refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton would endanger the health of millions. Unfortunately, though Trump is not as hawkish as Clinton, Mike Pence is, and his amiable set of principles is influenced by the Vice-President. 

The wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are escalated, and relations with Iran are hurt in a truly dangerous way as Trump abandons its nuclear agreement for the reckless alternative of potentially stopping their atomic weapons program through military force. The Trump Administration is also similar to that of George W.'s is that in reaction to a succession of terrorist attacks, they violate civil liberties and bring back torture.

Pence also uses his leverage to persuade Trump to sign the TPP. The joke is on them, though, as this angers the people that voted for Trump because he promised to kill the deal. By 2018, Republican membership drops below 20%. And though the Democratic Party isn't much more popular, they use the fact that Republicans let the financial crisis happen, along with a lot of other failures of Trump's administration, to retake congress in 2018. And the Greens, meanwhile, manage to win dozens of seats in it in an unprecedented political upset.

And then, as Trump and Pence begin their campaign for reelection with disapproval ratings of over 75%, something amazing happens: it doesn't look like they'll be running against a Democrat, but against a newly popular third party that focuses on campaign finance reform, wealth redistribution, environmental protection and other issues the vast majority of the country cares about.

I'll leave it there too.

Yes, these predictions make some assumptions, but they're all based on facts. I'm confident that these can be used as at least mostly accurate guides to the first terms of Clinton and Trump.

So now that we've gone deeper than over-simplified explanations that can fit into internet memes, which one of them should you choose?

It depends on how much work you're willing to do outside of the voting booth.

No, though they'll both do nothing to fix the climate, break up the big banks, or end the system of mass incarceration, these two are not the same candidate. I've come to the conclusion that though Trump won't be able to deprive any more Americans (including the author) of their health care, given the circumstances, he will be more destructive than Clinton in the short term. However, though I don't think a Clinton presidency would strengthen the corrupt Democratic Party anymore than a Trump presidency would for the Republican Party, it would make the mission of activists who want to pull off the rise of a populist third party harder.

As we try to decide which of these terribly unqualified people is more qualified to be president, we are playing a game of chess with the future itself over which awful of them will ultimately result in the most good. And if we don't play well enough, no good will come of it at all. But there's one more factor in this risky game that we mustn't disregard: whatever the outcome of this election, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein are going to win.

Trump and Hillary may take control of the government, but it's the supposed losers in the race that have already taken control of the will of the people. Whoever wins this election, thanks to these two political activists who have shown Americans that policies that work in their best interests are mainstream, that the current system does not work in their favor, and most of all that politicians like them can succeed, the country is going to see radical reform in government.

To resume the scenario of a Hillary Clinton victory, though it's over for the Democrats in 2020, it's not over for progressives. Just because Trump wasn't there to let us easily pull off a populist counter, it isn't too late for us to do so. Both parties have been all but destroyed by their poor decision-making in 2016, and Republicans are only in power through default. That's where you, the people who are part of the vast majority of political independents, come in; at that point, all you need to do is run an aggressive campaign for a third party candidate, and you're going to win in 2020.

Since you came here looking for answers, I'll try to provide you with them: if you want easy change in the long term at the price of several steps backward in the short term, let Donald Trump win. If you want more difficult change in the long term at the price of no change in the short term, let Hillary Clinton win.

And though I didn't have this opinion when I began to write this article, the Hillary option may in fact be preferable.

So in a counter-counterintuitive double twist, Hillary wins the logic-based race, but her victory is so narrow and disputable that it doesn't necessarily mean I and millions of others should stop supporting Jill Stein or being Bernie or bust. But if we let Trump win, we'll owe the groups vulnerable to his racist and xenophobic movement some help. If such a situation arises, we'll need to do things like strengthen the Black Lives Matter movement and other actions that educate people about race and religion, as well as work to pass laws that protect disadvantaged groups.

And if you're voting for Hillary Clinton to avoid having to do this, you'll owe the country some work towards making a future third party successful.

In any case, though, the point of this article is not to make you vote for any particular person, but to remind you that no matter what, it's in your hands.

Monday, July 18, 2016

We Need A Cure For Trumpism

"Carrier [US air conditioning company] is moving to Mexico. I would go to Carrier and say, 'You're going to lay off 1,400 people. You're going to make air conditioners in Mexico, and you're trying to get them across our border with no tax.' I'm going to tell them that we're going to tax you when those air conditioners come. So stay where you are or build in the United States because we are killing ourselves with trade pacts that are no good for us and no good for our workers"

"The TPP is a horrible deal. It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It's a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. It's 5,600 pages long, so complex that nobody's read it. This is one of the worst trade deals. And I would, yes, rather not have it. We're losing now over $500 billion in terms of imbalance with China, $75 billion a year imbalance with Japan."

"I am all for free trade, but it's got to be fair. When Ford moves their massive plants to Mexico, we get nothing. I want them to stay in Michigan."

If you started to get a feeling that something wasn't quite right about those statements despite agreeing with them, your intuition is correct; they're Trump quotes.

Human beings have two emotions from which all others branch out: love and fear. Distinguishing from them sounds easy, but in situations of stress, we often fail to. As the world reacts to record numbers of refugees, economic inequality and the possibility of another financial crisis, it's essential that we recognize Donald Trump and others like him represent a paradigm of fear.

And Americans know it. 63% of them dislike Donald Trump, 60% disagree with his goal to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out, and there is of course a majority sentiment that his irrational ideas of hate and division no longer have any place in society.

Or is there?

What I'm about to tell you might come as a big surprise: most Americans agree with Trump's plan to bar Muslims from entering the country. This was found out in a March YouGov/Huffington post poll that showed 51% of the country sides with him on that issue.

In case you think I typed that number wrong, I'll do it again: 51%.

When I first saw that statistic, I assumed that anti-Islamic sentiments are still held by a minority of Americans, and that so many believe Muslims should be shut out simply because they're confused about the right methods to stop terrorism.

I was wrong again.

The most recent poll shows that 58% of the country holds an unfavorable view of Muslims. To assure you again that I typed that correctly, it's 58%.

To make you feel a little better, the majority of Americans still have a positive view of immigrants, but the strength of Trump's message of hostility towards the other should not be underestimated. And what many in the media have failed to notice is that the main appeal of Trumpism doesn't even have anything to do with bigotry.

Someone more qualified to reveal just why Trump is succeeding is Thomas Frank, who wrote on March 7 that
Stories marveling at the stupidity of Trump voters are published nearly every day. Articles that accuse Trump’s followers of being bigots have appeared by the hundreds, if not the thousands. Conservatives have written them; liberals have written them; impartial professionals have written them. The headline of a recent Huffington Post column announced, bluntly, that “Trump Won Super Tuesday Because America is Racist.” A New York Times reporter proved that Trump’s followers were bigots by coordinating a map of Trump support with a map of racist Google searches. Everyone knows it: Trump’s followers’ passions are nothing more than the ignorant blurtings of the white American id, driven to madness by the presence of a black man in the White House. The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.
But that is not the case. Or at least not entirely. Aside from those who support him because they are genuinely bigoted or because they want to remain loyal to the Republican Party, many are drawn to him for his positions on trade.

"In each of the speeches I watched," wrote Frank, "Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called leftwing. Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame."

And it's paid off. I have to confess that even I in a way see him as preferable to Hillary Clinton for the reason that he won't pursue the TPP if elected (or at least it's not likely that he will-he's lied about a lot of other things). And largely, the professional class that makes up those in the major media have either ignored this fact or divisively used it as a method to make those who oppose free trade appear non-serious and paranoid. (For example, Time columnist Joe Klein, in a clear reference to Trump's opposition to free trade deals, once condescendingly dismissed the concerns of the anti-neoliberal left. "What remains of conservatism?" Wrote Klein. "I’m tempted to say: only the nasty bits–nativism, isolationism, protectionism. But a broad swath of the Democratic Party is every bit as nasty. Bernie Sanders’ supporters eschew nativism but adhere to the latter two isms, and socialism as well.")

The same is the case for the other Trumpist movements around the world, such as the pro-Brexit campaign, whose core argument aside from fear of immigrants was resisting globalism. (Sadly, they ignored that what they were pushing for was not in fact against free trade but for it, and it backfired.) And while the issues that politicians like Trump bring up are indeed in the interest of keeping people's jobs, their followers are not supporting the greater good. Trumpism calls for wasting time and resources on controlling scapegoated racial and religious groups, neoliberal goals like the merging of corporation and state, and the violation of civil liberties out of obsession with national security. Trump may be right about a few things, but he and his political type do not care about the needs of the people.

Trump supporters that call themselves part of the silent majority may not be kidding themselves after all-the population is poor, rightfully angry at the neoliberal policies of leaders like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and therefore vulnerable to Trump's propaganda.

And the effort to resist it may not even necessarily involve keeping Trump himself out of the White House, which will become only harder from here as his opponent's poll numbers continue to drop and she undergoes another FBI investigation. If he does defy the demographics and win, he'll be an ineffective president with congress mediating his every move and the opportunity for an unstoppable progressive counter in 2020. It's the longer term war of ideas that Trump must lose.

This country is ripe for a revolution. Income inequality is at a record high, millions of people are lacking higher education and health care, and the financial and political elite are allowed their own set of laws. But unless the disadvantaged masses address these problems with a rational and level head, Trump and others will twist all of our populist energy into support for the implementation of a fascist dictatorship.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Message For Jill Stein And The Green Party

Well isn't this interesting. Thirteen months ago we all thought that this would be the most change-free election cycle of all the other change-free elections before it, with the two modern incarnations of past change-free politicians Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush competing for who could enact the least change. And then a series of plot twists appeared that turned it into what appears to be the opportunity for a revolution.

And not just the revolution of social, economic and environmental justice that we've been pushing for for so long, but one of regression and irrationality. Had Bernie Sanders been nominated, Donald Trump's chances would be virtually ruined, but the Democratic leadership refused to play fair, and though this may well soon destroy the party of fake liberalism, this has greatly increased the danger of us having a president that's not too dissimilar to Hitler.

Some background on who's writing to you: at some point in the past year, I emotionally invested myself in the Bernie Sanders campaign. I thought that everything hinged on him winning, and it was very dismaying for me to see the endless efforts from the media to convince me that he had no chance. And though I soon learned to ignore their propaganda, as the primaries went on, it really started to look that way.

But as I continued to examine the political situation, which I had never done too closely before, I started to see signs of hope that no events in any election could discourage; the number of political Independents was at an unprecedented high, public opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of environmental protection, wealth redistribution and social equality, and these appallingly rigged primaries would only speed up the inevitable revolution to come.

And so when Sanders prematurely endorsed his opponent, I was completely undeterred. I shrugged it off, kept on fighting, and immediately dedicated myself to aiding the rise of the populist third party that the country so desperately wanted and needed.

And that's where you come in. To ask you to win this year would be unreasonable, but at this point there's nothing the establishment can do to stop your momentum in future election cycles.

So as the slogan goes, it's in your hands. You are what will decide this election, and most likely a lot of elections beyond it. The major media and the powers that control them are ignoring the profound shift that's happening in your favor, and they'll fight you every step of the way, but I know that you'll be able to overcome whatever obstacles they put in front of you. These are just a few words of encouragement from someone who's been on the front lines of this movement; things are changing, and I refuse to give up now after we've come so far. The future belongs to you, and all that needs to happen now is for it to arrive.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The First Wave

Sometime last year, according to an interview, Jane Sanders was with her husband discussing his choice to run for president. "How can you win? We're from a small state," she said to him. "I know the issues are important, but isn't there another way for these issues to be discussed? Can't you write a book? Can't you start an organization? Can't you go on a speaking tour?" To which he replied, "Yes, I can do all of those things, and it's not going to matter at all. It's not going to change the conversation."

Bernie Sanders's original mission, though he's denied it, was not necessarily to win the presidency but to change the country. In spite of the DNC's best efforts, he's done just that, and more than in the realm of public discourse. He has helped several citizens who are as concerned as he is about inequality, perpetual war, and the environment to succeed in directly changing the political system.

A popular label for this new breed of politician is "Berniecrats." They're Democratic officials who either supported Sanders in the primaries or are backed by him now. And though the future of progressive politics-and American politics, for that matter-is most likely in a third party that hasn't been corrupted by corporate interests, it's important to support them in this election cycle. Here is a list of all of them, along with links to their campaign websites or pages with information about them:

Tim Canova

Keith Ellison

Tulsi Gabbard

Jeff Merkley

Alan Grayson

Zephyer Teachout

Ron Varasteh

Josh Brannon

Peter Jacob

Tim Sheridan

Patrick Malloy

Dimitri Cherny

Arik Bjorn

Justin Bamberg

Terry Alexander

Robert Williams

Joseph Neal

Cezar E. McKnight

Wendell G. Gilliard

Peter Welch

Pramila Jayapal

Tom Fiegen

Bao Nguyen

Preston Picus

Jim Keady

Richard Mcfarlane

Lorna Phillipson

Jane Kim

Misty Snow

Misty Plowright

If this list is incomplete, please let me know in the comments below, but its current length should encourage you.

When Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton, it revealed that he thinks the Democratic Party is still fixable; he could have continued to compete all the way to the convention two weeks afterward, trying to expose every bit of voter suppression that occurred during the primaries and explaining how James Comey's decision not to indict his opponent was utterly wrong. But he chose to give the Democrats one last chance to redeem themselves, most likely because he very seriously fears a Trump presidency. You can be the judge of whether he made the right decision, but in terms of helping progressives in the short term, he may indeed have.

The establishment Democrats would have been hurt had he exposed their incurably flawed organization, but so would have those genuine progressives listed above. They are some of the first in a series of populist leaders that will go on for decades, the "first wave" in the movement that was started this year.

So before the Democratic Party is replaced by something better post-2016, let us try to salvage the best parts of it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Case Against The Democratic Party

The scene during Hillary Clinton's infamous "white noise" incident.
It was April 9, 2016. Hillary Clinton was holding an outdoor fundraising event at the house of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. As the Democratic icon talked to the group of government and big business insiders, for some reason, the reporters couldn't hear a thing she said despite being within ear shot.

This was because she and her associates wanted the words spoken there to heard by themselves alone, and had installed white noise machines around the event.

In a democratic society, this story would make every average citizen in the country deeply suspicious; why would you go out of your way to conceal the words of a speech from the public, especially one being given to such powerful individuals? Come to think of it, why would you associate with such types in the first place?

But this is not a democratic society, because human beings are not born with Democratic values. They are born with tribal values, which means that when someone that identifies with their group violates the group's rules, their first reaction is not to turn against the traitor but to try to excuse their behavior.

If you're a Democrat who is proud to be affiliated with your party, I can guess your thoughts when coming across this article; I'm dissatisfied with my only option. I'm not scared enough of the Republicans to want to unite with you. I'm acting like the mistakes that the Democrats have made define the party in general.

Well, let's take a good look at those "mistakes."

When I say that the Democratic Party is not a force for good, I'm not talking about the party that started social security, or put a maximum 90% tax rate on the wealthiest of citizens, or fought for civil rights. I'm not talking about the Democratic Party that started and helped prolong the war in Vietnam, either, because for better or for worse, those eras are too far back for us to call it the party as it currently exists. A good place to start is in November 1991, when Wal Mart founder Sam Walton sent out a memo to all of his corporate managers to donate to Bill Clinton's campaign.

Walton was planning on voting for Bush in the general election, but he had singled out who he wanted the Democrats to nominate. The political system was already very much influenced by corporate donors, of course, but while it didn't seem like it at the time, Clinton was the choice that would advance that influence the most.

After saying at the Democratic National Convention "I have news for the forces of greed and the defenders of the status quo: your time is up," Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. In case you're wondering, this was a huge deal, both literally and figuratively. It allowed companies in Canada and the U.S. to export their labor to Mexico where the minimum wage is far lower, which since then has cost nearly 700,000 jobs.

And then, of course, came the advancement of the war on drugs, and then so-called welfare reform, and then catastrophic deregulation of Wall Street, and much more. But you can go to those links to read about those things, and I can go on forever about Bill and Hillary. The point is that for 25 years, they have helped make their party into something that no real liberal would ever want to support (Though it can't all be blamed on them).

Loyal Democrat, I hear your objection. You need to work with the opposition if you actually want to get things done. You can't expect too much from Democrats when they're under such fierce opposition.

And to an extent, I agree with you.

Fifty years ago, the political system was not nearly as dominated by big business interests. The political parties were less centralized and organized more by local members, making change easier. But as income inequality has increased, so has the wealthy elite's control over politics. And it's become very hard to pass meaningful reform. But the problem is that the Republicans are not are not the only ones who have been bought.

Democratic leaders like Harry Reid have of course tried to divert attention from their party's soft money connections, such as in 2014 when he more or less claimed that Democrats have no billionaire backers. This was debunked in a June 23, 2014 Politifact article:

We cross-checked the Open Secrets list of the top 100 individuals donating to outside spending groups in the current election against the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires and found that, as of June 19, there were 22 individuals on the Open Secrets list who were billionaires. Of those 22 billionaires, 13 -- or more than half -- gave predominantly to liberal groups or groups affiliated with the Democratic Party. The other nine gave predominantly to conservative groups. (A list of billionaires and how much they donated can be found here.)

And while it is true that overall, Democratic politicians recieve less donations from special interests, that's beside the point. The point is that the political system has been bought out by the few, and the Democrats are very much part of that system-just look at how the DNC itself raises most of its money. If you believe that they care about the people, you need to ask yourself a few honest questions:

If they care about the people, why did they stand by as Bill Clinton did almost nothing but do the bidding of the banks and the corporations?

If they care about the people, why did they vote for the Patriot Act  almost identically with the Republicans in congress?

If they care about the people, why did 29 Democratic senators vote for the invasion of Iraq despite clear evidence that the WMD claims were false, making it a 77 to 23 decision in favor of the war instead of the 52 to 48 decision in favor of not starting it that would have come to be had all the Democrats done the right thing?

If they care about the people, why did they knowingly embrace a completely impractical and destructive Wall Street bailout while actually having to convince the Republicans in to agree with them?

If they care about the people, why did they fail to pass universal healthcare in 2010 despite having the majority in congress? (Just so you know, 33 million Americans are still without healthcare.)

If they care about the people, why did they propose to cut social security?

If they care about the people, why did they go out of their way for a pointless military intervention in Libya?

If they care about the people, why did they extend the Bush tax cuts?

If they care about the people, why are the vast majority of them determined to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

If they care about the people, why did they nominate for president someone who is funded by Wall Street, the Walton family, Monsanto, and prison lobbyists, pushed for the TPP dozens of times before claiming she was against it in addition to having supported every other right-wing policy that the Democratic party has embraced, and relied on voter suppression to win?

And finally, if the Democrats care about the people, why haven't they spent all these years fighting for reform like they actually mean it? Why haven't they tried to raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, expand health care and employee benefits, end the war on drugs, and regulate carbon consumption and unethical business practices, with real determination and persistence? The Republicans aren't the only reason America isn't the same as many other developed countries in it's distribution of wealth and welfare of the citizenry.

What you're surely thinking at this point, loyal Democrat, is that I'm not being reasonable. It doesn't work that way, your leaders have told you, and you can't expect too much change in such a change-resistant government.

I remember you saying a similar thing earlier, and my answer to that is to look at such a mindset more closely.

The so-called incremental method of progress, whether it's even being used as an excuse to push the party to the right or not, has proven time and time again to be ineffective. And the Affordable Care Act is no exception; Democrats had every opportunity to go much farther, and they didn't. The same is the case for every other inadequate step forward they've taken; when it's time to fight, for whatever reason, they always back down.

I'll leave Jacobin writer Matt Karp (in a quote from his piece Against Fortress Liberalism) to properly explain what I am saying, for risk of simply repeating his argument:
The simple truth is that virtually every significant and lasting progressive achievement of the past hundred years was achieved not by patient, responsible gradualism, but through brief flurries of bold action. The Second New Deal in 1935–36 and Civil Rights and the Great Society in 1964–65 are the outstanding examples, but the more ambiguous victories of the Obama era fit the pattern, too.
These reforms came in a larger political environment characterized by intense popular mobilization — the more intense the mobilization, the more meaningful the reform. And each of them was overseen by an unapologetically liberal president who hawked a sweeping agenda and rode it all the way to a landslide victory against a weakened right-wing opposition.
In short, the Democratic Party is not progressive, it is owned by corporations, and it has no excuse for not holding up to liberal goals.

And then comes the loyal Democrat's last ideological defense: "it's not like they're better than the Republicans. They don't blatantly and totally promote an agenda of greed, bigotry and war, and to stop supporting the Democrats is to help their truly awful opponents."

This is the one notion that's held back America's majority left-wing population from getting their way for many, many years. It's the idea that there is simply no way to change the party system, making the Democratic party our only alternative to outright madness. But once you look beyond the media propaganda, you see that the Democratic Party is just that: a party. People can leave it whenever they please, and the more people leave it the less relevant it gets. Democrats are already in fact a minority, with the most recent estimate putting it at 29% compared to Republican's 26%. That's 45% that affiliates with neither of these incurably corrupt institutions. And where this will have lead by the time Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump's first term is finished can only be imagined.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by putting the Democratic Party behind you and joining the real movement to put power back in the hands of the many. And if anyone tells you differently, it's just white noise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why The Revolution Won On Tuesday

So that's that. As of today, 2016 will officially be a race between the two most despised presidential nominees in American history. One is a consistently neoliberal and militaristic moderate conservative approved by Charles Koch and Dick Cheney that claims to be the best choice for the country's self-appointed liberal party, and the other is, know enough about him.

The circumstances that made this possible are appropriately bizarre; one of these candidates won through manipulation of the electoral system like has never been seen before and outright defiance of the law, and the other one won legitimately, but through arguably even more unethical means.

But moving beyond the limited scope of presidential politics in the US, things aren't looking good. The climate continues to move towards catastrophic instability, with the majority of people in control of the government of the country that needs to address the problem most either adamant that it isn't an issue at all or convinced that it isn't too important an issue.

After a period of roughly forty years of tax reductions for the wealthy, free trade deals, nearly perpetual military efforts, and cutting of aid for the lower classes on the part of both parties, the legacy of the last Democratic Socialist Americans elected in 1932 has been effectively demolished. Even with the Affordable Care Act, 33 million Americans are living without health care. Any limits to the amount of influence the super-wealthy can have on the electoral system through campaign contributions are now irrelevant. Six major corporations control 90% of the media that Americans are exposed too. As of this month, income inequality in America has reached a point never before seen in the history of the country, with the top 0.1% owning as much wealth as the bottom 90% combined. And worldwide, the top 0.1% own as much as the bottom 50% of the population, up from 40% ten years ago.

And aside from all that, there are things happening which uncomfortably resemble the state of the world in 1932; starting five years ago with President Assad's overly aggressive response to the Arab Spring uprisings, Syria's civil war, along with the war in Iraq caused by the rise of ISIS, 65 million people have been displaced worldwide. That's more refugees than at any point in history.

The way societies in North America and Europe are reacting to the influx of desperate people is equally disturbing, with millions of white, mainly poor or working class individuals in many countries accepting the nationalistic, xenophobic manipulations from Trump and others as a way out of their non-immigrant related problems. And whether such a degenerate brand of politics will come out on top this November in spite of the American electorate's increasingly remote resemblance of colonial times very much remains to be seen; Hillary Clinton has forever lost the respect and potential support of millions of voters, not just former Bernie Sanders supporters, who were appalled by the massive suppression of votes during the primaries and her legal invincibility. She needs those voters, and they're not going to help her when Trump starts to surpass her in important swing states and maybe even in national polls.

And meanwhile in the economy, there are strong signs that a recession is coming sometime this year. The confirmation of imminent disaster may have come on June 23, when Britain voted to leave the EU; the size of the eventual ramifications aren't clear, but the decision will very soon result in many investors around the world looking to their governments for financial support as the economy weakens. It was predicted on June 24 by Chris Hedges that this will lead to the Democratic Party being hurt in November. As it was in 2008, says Hedges, Republicans in the senate will reject any bailout of Wall Street because it's against the ideals of the free market, while the Democrats will ignore the objections of both the populists and the capitalists and help push for such an entitlement.

When this happened eight years ago, Obama's victory was all but guaranteed with his support for the bailout in September 2008 because of the awkward and incoherent way John McCain had objected to it during It's proposal on the senate floor. Should history repeat itself with another financial collapse, the exact opposite will occur this year. “The Democratic Party, by rescuing Wall Street,” wrote Hedges in his piece in, “will be unmasked as the handmaidens of the financial elite.”

As 1932 more or less repeats itself, with the rise of reactionary politics and maybe even outright fascism in many parts of the world, economic catastrophe, and an environmental crisis to make the Dust Bowl seem minuscule, there will not be another FDR to become president and help fix things in the years to come. The state of our electoral and legal systems have changed too much since then, and we're just not going to get salvation that easily.

And so you all, of course, immediately know the reaction appropriate: laughter.

That's right, laugh at it all. Laugh at the media manipulation. Laugh at the DNC's deliberate limitations of the number of debates. Laugh at the voter fraud, voter exclusion, and refusal to count exit polls. Laugh at the contempt so many Democratic leaders have expressed for Bernie Sanders and his ideas. Laugh at the disregard for the law FBI director James Comey displayed in his dismissal of Hillary Clinton's obvious criminal activity. Laugh at every defender of the unjust system of the two pro-war, neoliberal parties, because what you've seen for the past year or so (or maybe decades farther back,) has been a big joke.

It was a joke whose punchline goes as follows: the fate of a country is not determined by what any kind of conventional wisdom imposed by the political and economic establishment says about how a certain person has “lost that election,” or how an idea “isn't realistic,” or how millions of people who are seeing the ruling class destroy their democracy and their planet should simply “fall in line” and allow the old paradigm of inequality, lack of accountability, and endless excuses to continue.

What happened in these past five-and-a-half months can most simply be described as a group of people, after being given a lot of money and power and other toys for adults, were confronted by the population that gave them these toys about their abuse of them. We tried to take their toys away, but they of course refused, and now it's time for them to face the consequences.

Inadvertently, through the last several decades, as the banks, the corporations and the politicians have carried on with their little game, the device that they use to control the world has grown weak. And it's about to get a lot weaker.

To bring up an almost obligatory subject when talking about American political revolutions, let us think back to the election of 2000. After eight years of a Democratic president that was called by Michael Moore “the best Republican president we've ever had,” politics had grown disturbingly tribal; despite all the evidence that Ralph Nader was vastly superior to Al Gore on progressive issues, most liberals saw him as an enemy, a benefit to Bush, a disturber of the peace, and even an extremist. Not everybody thought this, but the party's corporate masters very explicitly did, falsely accusing Nader of costing them the election and shutting him out of the audience of one of the presidential debates despite him having a ticket to it.

And they could do so from a comfortable perch, too; their pseudo-progressive party was currently enjoying the membership of 33% of the electorate, with 29% of the rest political Independents and 28% Republicans. With support like that, it was easy to marginalize those who genuinely wanted to fix the system with a smug “we're Democrats, and we don't care what some radicals think, because we're the only alternative to the very worst option.”

There's no telling where this could have lead if Gore had been allowed to succeed Clinton as the “liberal” representing a neoliberal party, but we know where Bush took us; aside from the historic debt, massive violence, and undermining of the constitution, the following years brought some new hope. By 2007, Democratic membership was still at 33%, but many Republicans had left their party, and Independents were at 34%. The incredibly destructive conservative administration had also driven the Democratic Party to the left, with the centrists among it no longer able to criticize liberalism from the right (at least not explicitly.)

But then something interesting happened; after all the Obama fervor died down (the electorate was 35% Democratic in 2008, with only 31% of it Independent), and the reality of he and the rest of the Democratic leadership's resistance to change was made apparent, Independents again edged them out in 2009, with 35% to their 34%.

And here's where it gets scary, Hillary and friends; since then, the gap has only been growing larger. When the Democrats failed to pass universal health care in 2010 despite having the majority in congress, their membership compared to Independents became 33% to 36%. When the Obama administration proposed cutting social security in 2011, that gap was at 32% to 37%. When Obama was was re-elected in 2012 still without having ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that gap had not changed from the year before. When Obama wanted to prosecute the defender of the constitution Edward Snowden and listened to his militaristic Secretary of State's advice to start a disastrous series of attacks on Libya in 2013, that gap was at 32% to 38%. When Republicans took firm control of the senate in 2014 because the alternative option had discouraged so many liberals who would have otherwise participated, that gap was at 32% to 39%. In 2015, when the president embraced a free trade agreement that, should it pass, will be more destructive than NAFTA, that gap was at 30.4% to 40.1%. And this year, when Democrats have created a platform that's halfway as conservative as that of the Republican's, oversaw a primary election arguably more offensive to Democracy than Bush v. Gore, and nominated a proven criminal for president, that gap is at 29% to 43%.

And that almost doesn't compare to what's happened to the Republicans. The last time they even had the majority in electoral membership was in 1995, with 31% to the Democrat's 30%. And the year in which they've more or less since been in decline is an interesting one: 2003. Republican popularity had been rising, though never exceeding that of the Democrats or Independents, since 2000. The number of Democrats had also drastically fell since 2001, with the implementation of a vast pro-Bush Administration propaganda campaign post-9/11 undoubtedly playing a role. With the help of a compliant corporate media and largely pro-war Democratic leadership, the GOP had started the invasion of Iraq with more than seventy percent of public support, and their other policies went nearly unchallenged by the left.

But most of the country was not really behind them. As of that year, 57% of Americans supported a woman's right to choose. 73% wanted mandatory background checks on those seeking to purchase guns. Half believed that gay and lesbian couples should receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples. Eight in ten of them wanted universal health care. 62% wanted nonviolent drug offenders to be rehabilitated, instead of sent to prison. 72% thought that the problems in corporate America were due to greed, instead of “the consequences of a free market.” And perhaps most importantly, 83% of them agreed with the goals of the environmental movement.

The consequences of these ideological inconsistencies began to materialize the year after, when Democratic membership rose to 33% and Republican membership fell to 29%. How Bush was then re-elected is anybody's guess. Then in 2005, when the Republican-run government took two days longer than necessary to start rescuing the victims of Katrina, those numbers remained the same. When the Bush Administration considered the use of nuclear weapons on Iran in 2006, the gap went to Republicans 28% and Democrats 33%. When a worldwide financial meltdown started in 2007 because of the failure of Republicans to regulate Wall Street, that gap was 25% to 33% (though thanks in part to Wall Street having originally been deregulated by Bill Clinton, independents were at 34%).

And their slight rise since then to 26% is of little comfort to them. As of this year, 54% of Americans support taxing the wealthy to aid the poor. 63% are in favor of a $15 minimum wage. 86% want mandatory police body cameras. 76% are against sending conventional ground troops to fight ISIS. Well over half want to replace Obamacare with a single-payer system. The overwhelming majority of Americans, including Republicans, are against Citizens United. And majority support for the goals of the environmental movement is clear, even among Republicans themselves.

Stepping back from the media's portrayals of a thriving electoral system, it's not looking good at all for both parties. 55% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton, while 7 in 10 dislike Donald Trump. Only 68% of Republicans have a favorable view of their party, and going by the most recent estimates, 50% of Americans disapprove of the Democratic Party. Twenty-one percent of voters from both parties are backing neither of their nominees, and that number is sure to grow. (13% would prefer a giant meteor hitting the earth to both of them-at least it would be honest in its intentions.) When comparing the combined votes the two nominees (officially) received in the primaries to the 219 million eligible voters in America, they were only picked by 15.7% of those capable of voicing an opinion.

And finally, on a somewhat related note, only 29% of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction.

These are the numbers and facts you should be paying attention to. Not biased polls about Hillary's support reported in a way that makes it seem as if the left is submissive as ever to the will of the corporate DNC. Not claims that progressives who oppose the Democratic party are mainly just privileged young people (which is a group that's becoming increasingly rare). Not smug assertions from representatives of the established party system that our objections are irrelevant because Bernie Sanders supposedly lost. The buildup has been long, but the two parties have reached a point where their support, their common agenda, and their reasons for self-justification are doomed.

Devin Reynolds, someone who very much recognizes this fact, summed up the reason for this in a June 20 article:

“The divide between the top 1% and the top 10% makes our political system look competitive, and there are legitimate diverging interests between those two classes. That said, in practice, our two political parties split the vote for the working class, then both ignore it in favor of their primary constituencies. The simple reality of this dynamic is that the majority of the population’s interests go unrepresented. While Republican members of the working class are exploited by their low-information status into voting for policies that benefit the top 1%, the Democratic members of this group allow themselves to be browbeaten into supporting policies that largely benefit the top 10% based on the dubious supposition that those policies are “better than Republican policies.” With one half of the working class deceived into voting Republican and the other half treated like it has no choice but to vote Democrat, 90% of the population has its interests treated like an afterthought. Bernie’s entire campaign was an attempt to change that.”

When you're talking in terms of nine out of ten Americans being left out of the interests of the political system, and of that minority acting like the system should be accepted as normal, it's only a matter of time before the majority takes it's power back.

As Democratic elites dismissed us as young white “Bernie bros,” and booed our candidate for saying that his goal is not to win elections but to transform the country, and claimed that our ideas for making this as sane and just a society as the rest of the developed world were based on fantasy, these same old obnoxious attacks were quietly but surely losing their validity, assuming they had any to begin with.

The national sentiment has changed. It's changed in the direction of rationalism, it's changed in the direction of self-interest, and it's changed in the direction of common sense. No longer do most Americans believe that poverty is caused by laziness, or that endless war is the consequence of perpetual security threats, or that environmental problems should simply be ignored. And perhaps even more importantly, no longer do we believe that any politician should be excused for working against the interests of the people because of the title of the party they're affiliated with, or that dishonesty and corruption should be accepted because that's “the only way to survive in politics,” or that any given person, no matter how powerful, should not face the consequences if they commit a crime.

Come to think of it, we never even really believed these things at all.

All the real statistics support one fact, which is that we are headed for a profound transformation as a nation and even as a civilization. And I'm not just talking about protests, petitions and other types of activism, which have always been occurring, if not on the scale that we're seeing today, but real, lasting change within our government.

Sometime very soon, maybe even at the next opportunity, Americans are going to go to the polling places and make a statement to the same people that worked to suppress their votes in the Democratic primaries this year: no, we do not think that the current economic system is acceptable. Yes, we do believe health care, food and housing are the right of all people, not just a group of the wealthiest citizens. No, we are not satisfied with what the two parties have had to offer in terms of real change. To put it succinctly, enough is enough.

If you heard a loud voice with a Brooklyn accent at some point during that last paragraph, it proves that Bernie did not go away at all when he conceded, and that he never will.

So we have the support, we have the historical advantage, and we have the moral high ground to pull off the rise of a genuinely populist third party that actually wins elections, but will the system allow for us to do so? That is unfortunately worth considering, seeing what the oligarchy has done to the first real threat to them in a long time during these past few months.

The answer to that is both no and yes. The powers that run the the way our democracy functions-therefore not making it a democracy at all-will try to stop us at every turn. But the future of American politics will be a whole new game, one where we'll be free to run candidates and promote our agenda within parties that are not controlled by the billionaires. As soon as we unite the millions of voters not enamored with the dying establishment behind a third party with a serious chance to win elections, most of the battle will be won, and undemocratic obstacles like the Electoral College will have quite a lot to worry about should they decide to deny us a victory outright. As long as democracy is even more or less intact, we will be able to win.

And in fact, we've already started to. Several genuinely progressive politicians across the country have won their primaries because of Bernie Sanders' efforts, and while we may not see much change from this election cycle, it will without a doubt be very different the next time around; there's no telling how far these new types of leaders will get in the elections of 2018, or 2020 for that matter. And I'm certainly not the only one who will be helping them along the way.

As for the present situation, I personally see the Green Party's candidate Jill Stein as the best option, but whatever you choose to do is no concern of mine and ultimately won't matter too much. The media wants you to ignore it, but a change has occurred in this country that Bernie's concession in New Hampshire only made even more sure to have influence on the future.

But above all, keep in mind that I am not talking about some kind of fun little club that disappointed former Bernie Sanders supporters will put together so that we can meet with like-minded people. Yes, I am ideologically very progressive and supported Bernie for as long as there was any hope for him to win, but if this movement were only for people like me, we would slowly fade into irrelevance. This will be a movement for every American to be apart of who is concerned about the massive inequalities, injustices, and threats to our planet that absolutely must be addressed. This movement's base will be made up of every person who cares about the needs of the many, and not the wants of the few. A new party for the people does exist; it's just waiting to find an organization to help advance it's great power. To repeat a line from a different revolution, both ironically speaking and not, yes we can.

No, the revolution was never meant to be easy. But as of now, it will only get easier.