Monday, August 29, 2016

Why A Third Party Is Our Only Chance To Defeat Neoliberalism

In my previous article, I attempted to address a pressing issue facing the future of American politics: reactionary populism may be what succeeds instead of progressive populism. To restate what I said in that last essay more succinctly, the political revolution that Bernie Sanders started has a few obstacles ahead of it.

In response to the massive wealth inequality that's appeared around the globe in recent decades, the lower classes in many industrial nations are revolting against their traditional political leaders. But perhaps out of human nature or some other factor, in nearly all cases, these populations are gravitating towards a brand of populism that blames their woes on immigrants, racial minorities, and other scapegoats. Though the economic elite would of course best like no kind of revolt at all, they find this preferable to one that promotes the democratic socialist policies which would actually hurt their interests.

In other words, the populist anger of the masses is being redirected in a way that keeps the centers of power intact. And if the movement's trajectory isn't changed towards something positive and sane, the problem of inequality will only get worse.

So how do we reverse this dangerous trend? As I also said in my last article, it's more or less reversing on its own. More than 60% of Americans think the distribution of wealth is unfair, 61% think that the rich pay too little taxes, there's a majority consensus that free trade deals are bad for America, 78% want Citizens United overturned, and in the clearest sign that Trumpist politics won't be able to win without a fight, 72% think that undocumented immigrants have a right to stay in the U.S. And with millennials expected to make up 40% of the electorate in time for the next presidential election, a group that regressive politicians do even worse with, those poll numbers are guaranteed to grow bigger.

But most Americans have held these views for a long time. And as we've seen, the Democrats, the party that's supposed to address these concerns, has failed to.

This puts the country in a very dangerous position.

Despite having experienced a large drop in the polls in the last few weeks, Donald Trump has now officially regained his competitiveness with Hillary Clinton. This says a lot about the state of American politics. Clinton, the embodiment of everything wrong with the Democratic Party, is at risk of losing to the American manifestation of the worldwide reactionary phenomenon Donald Trump. However clownish and lacking in charisma Trump is, he's managed to wield this dark new power, and up against someone like Clinton, it's more or less worked.

And whether Trump actually wins or not, this dynamic is destined to repeat itself. In future elections, we can expect a newly-in-demand breed of Republican candidates who run on the same degenerate form of populism as Trump to succeed when running against Clintonist Democrats who fail to energize the leftist base. And as John Feffer describes in his prophetic piece The Most Important Election Of Your Life Is Not This Year, this could turn into something quite scary.
The real change will come when a more sophisticated politician, with an authentic political machine, sets out to woo America B [conservative America]. Perhaps the Democratic Party will decide to return to its more populist, mid-century roots. Perhaps the Republican Party will abandon its commitment to entitlement programs for the 1%.
More likely, a much more ominous political force will emerge from the shadows. If and when that new, neo-fascist party fields its charismatic presidential candidate, that will be the most important election of our lives.
As long as America B is left in the lurch by what passes for modernity, it will inevitably try to pull the entire country back to some imagined golden age of the past before all those “others” hijacked the red, white, and blue. Donald Trump has hitched his presidential wagon to America B. The real nightmare, however, is likely to emerge in 2020 or thereafter, if a far more capable politician who embraces similar retrograde positions rides America B into Washington.
Do we really want to let it come to that?

To tie together this seemingly incoherent series of subjects I just had you read, the neoliberal order has found a way to preserve itself by letting proto-fascist demagogues keep the revolting public distracted with xenophobic scapegoating, and while the left-wing opposition to such divisive politics is strong and growing, it will fail to mobilize as long as it's being asked to unite around a deeply corrupt Democratic Party that doesn't represent its values.

As David Harvey said about the place the political system has currently been forced into by inadequate representation of liberal goals, "I think much of the Left right now, being very autonomous and anarchical, is actually reinforcing the endgame of neoliberalism. A lot of people on the Left don’t like to hear that."

The solution is clear: build another party, based on principles of peace, compassion, social and environmental justice, and getting money out of politics, which the coming majority of young and politically independent voters can rally around. The 2016 election has reflected the future of American politics in this way as well; Bernie Sanders, the candidate who upheld all of these goals, was shown to defeat Trump by a far wider margin than Clinton, precisely because he had the ability to energize and inspire the far-left majority.

And while Sanders himself was forced out of the picture, the stage has been set for a future showdown between Sandersism, Clintonism, and Trumpism. In 2018, 2020, and beyond, we'll see a contest between far-right Trumpist candidates who are trying to turn the public's dissatisfaction with the system towards fear, middle-of-the-road Clintonist candidates who are trying to convince their ever-shrinking group of followers that the system works, and far-left Sandersist candidates from a third party who will try to get the vast liberal population, along with Clintonist and Trumpist voters, to believe that a better world is possible if they embrace the politics of love rather than fear or indifference.

This shift in the game is inevitable, but Sandersism winning the game is not. The forces of cynicism and divisiveness have the backing of the entire establishment, and we'll need to battle them with everything we have to come out on top. As James Kunstler said about the uncertainty of the outcome of America's changing political landscape, "Who knows what comes out of this vacuum, what rough beast slouches towards Washington."

You are this beast. You are the voting public, who will decide which direction our country takes. For your own sakes, use your power wisely.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Why I Have Faith In Our Revolution

Today Bernie Sanders began his second presidential campaign. Except in this case, he isn't running so that he can try to change a fundamentally corrupt political institution and work within a similar Washington establishment, but to preside over the start of a national movement of citizens who want to change the system quite literally out of self-preservation. Except this time the members of his campaign know that change cannot be achieved through trying to reform the party system but by replacing it altogether, and despite Sanders' positive comments today about the Democratic platform and the many progressive Democrats running for office, I suspect that he knows this as well.

Of course this new campaign will involve electoral politics as the old one did, since the government needs to be reformed as much as anything else in order to make progress. But just as essential to its success as grassroots organizing, fundraising, and advertising will be a focus on something larger than running any political campaign: transforming society. The revolution will not win through playing the traditional game of politics, though that is nonetheless important, but through creating a general awareness that the world's geopolitical, environmental, social, and economic problems can only be solved by breaking the power of neoliberal institutions and rejecting their ideas.

This isn't going to be as easy as one would assume.

My first encounter with candidate Donald Trump was when I was listening to the radio in June of 2015. I heard a man with a somewhat nasal voice who was going on The Sean Hannity Show saying how he planned to deport all undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the Mexican border and (for the sake of the narrative, pretend like you don't already know what comes next) make Mexico pay for it. When I learned that this man, who was apparently named Donald Trump, intended to become president, like so many others I immediately wrote him off.

What followed was quite possibly the strangest turn of events in the history of American politics. In spite of having a message that appeared as if it would only appeal to the openly xenophobic and fundamentally ignorant part of the electorate-which, in the Republican Party as much as any other demographic, is a minority group-he started to gain serious ground. By September, he had gone from an absurd fantasy of a candidate to the likely nominee.

And after that, it didn't take long for things to get scary; this was a man who's candidacy was praised by a prominent white supremacist, who excused the behavior of his supporters when they assaulted a Black Lives Matter protester, who's comments towards Muslims were so offensive that the radical Islamist group Al Shabaab once used them to incite anger towards the west. And he was winning.

But even as Trump's popularity hit a new high after he so helpfully suggested that the US bar Muslims from entering the country, we comforted ourselves with the realpolitik that we'd known all our lives; there has to be some kind of limit to Trump's possible base of support. No one like him can win over the majority population of open-minded, tolerant and compassionate people. If that fact didn't stop him from winning the Republican nomination, it would most certainly stop him from winning the presidency. And we were probably right.

But that's only because in the case of Trump, we're likely to avoid a dangerous demagogue simply because he happened to be a terrible politician.

Ten years ago, the top 1% wealthiest individuals on the planet owned 40% of its wealth. Since then, that percentage has increased at a startling rate, with 62 billionaires owning 50% of the world's wealth according to a study from the beginning of this year. So naturally, starting perhaps as recently as a year ago, this fact has had an effect on politics. At least in the industrialized world, where people generally have the expectation of being able to enjoy modern life and many are gradually seeing that being taken away from them, there has been a sudden revolt against the political and economic establishment.

The uncomfortable problem with this movement, though, is that in almost all instances it's being directed in a way that will do nothing to solve the woes of the working class. From the Turkish authoritarian party Justice and Development's stunning victory in 2015 due to them having run a campaign promising security, to the Polish Law and Justice Party coming out on top that same year through similar means, to the best-known Brexit vote, right-wing politicians have been taking advantage of the growing public anger towards "elitists" and "the establishment" and diverting it from the neoliberal forces that actually caused the economy's problems towards Syrian refugees, immigrants Muslims, civil liberties, and in some cases women, gays, and racial minorities.

Last year, former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum declared that the right-wing elite's method of getting their lower-class base to accept trickle-down economic ideas by inciting anger on social issues "stopped working at least a decade ago." He also more or less concluded that because of what's happened to the political environment, Republicans won't survive much longer if they don't move to the left. Sadly, though, I believe that they and other conservative institutions around the world will continue to do well, because as I described above, they've regained their ability to manipulate the electorate's emotions using socially far-right rhetoric as the social pathology of fear towards "the other" has increased.

Yes, opposition to free trade has also played a role in the success of Trump and others, but for the most part, the massive populist will that's sprung up in response to economic inequality is moving in the direction of unproductive scapegoating rather than actual efforts to rein in the greed of big business, increase taxes on the wealthy, and ensure the health, education, and upward mobility of all people.

And if this trend continues, the problem will only get worse. By the current rate of advancing inequality, ten years from now the bottom 99.9% will only have 40% of the wealth, ten years from then they'll have 30%, and fifty years from now, can do the math.

The reason I don't believe such a scenario will ever come to be can be summed up by what Elzbieta Janicka, a cultural anthropologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences, once said to the author Chris Hedges when he was visiting Poland to research an article on the country's reactionary populism: "There is no such thing as human nature. Human nature is culture. It is a product of education."

It's tempting as it is cynical to look at what's happened to politics in response to this crisis and say that it's all the result of an inherent tendency that humans have to resort to irrationality and hate when faced with an uncomfortable situation. And to some extent, that is the case, as the politics of fear far better serve the egomania and authoritarianism of figures like Trump than do the politics of genuine compassion and equality. By that logic, one can only conclude that Trumpism's popularity has come about simply because the majority of people involved in national politics tend to have low ethical standards, and are more likely to adopt such reactionary tactics. In other words, the leaders share a lot more of the blame than the followers.

But in order to replace them with better leaders, the followers will of course need to step up and vote them out. And as Janicka also said, this will be something of a challenge. "When you construct an educational system and a public discourse where there is an almost total lack of critical, analytical thinking," he laments about the direction that his country's culture has taken, "where you refuse to strengthen individual human beings capable of autonomous judgment, human beings aware of their experiences and feelings, responsible for their deeds and relationship to the other, you destroy what is fundamental to an open society. It becomes exclusively about collective image, meaning collective narcissism. Liberal pluralism from this perspective is viewed as moral relativism or nihilism. There is a clash in Poland between the formal and legal frame of liberal democracy and the majority dominant culture."

For Poland and many other countries, the future for sane, progressive politics indeed appears to be uncertain. But at least in the United States, the foundations of Trumpism are weakening.

Millennials-an age group roughly defined as having been born between 1980 and 2000-can be considered the most liberal generation in history. Their historical experiences have involved a series of disastrous wars, an environmental crisis, and historic income inequality. So their views on neoliberalism, and even capitalism, are overwhelmingly unfavorable. But what sets them apart from the older parts of the electorate, who are largely bound to choose Trumpism over Sandersism in the years that follow, is that they even more overwhelmingly reject all kinds of bigotry. Despite deep dissatisfaction with their main alternative to Donald Trump, only 9% of millennials support him, which appropriately reflects the facts that 68% of them support same-sex marriage, 55% of them want a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and 56% believe that abortion should be legal in almost or all cases.

Bernie Sanders nomination or not, the ideological battle between the Sandersist and Clintonist political approaches has been won by the former. It's Trumpism that will be the next major obstacle for positive change. But as this great political drama unfolds post-2016, in spite of all the primal human emotions that Trumpism satisfies, the side of social, economic and environmental justice will increasingly have the upper hand. Because in addition to an increasingly diverse electorate which will make elections increasingly hard to win for those who promote bigotry, four years from now, millennials will have largely begun to enter middle age, giving them 40% of the electorate up from their current number of 31%. With enough turnout on their part, combined with efforts from those who are older than millennials but still share their worldview, this will most certainly be a game-changer.

For now, that's all the hope I can present to you; the numbers, impossible for anyone to deny or change, that prove we can beat the forces of regression if we come together and believe that a better future is possible.

But whatever ultimately comes of this, remember these words from Chris Hedges when he was once discussing the hurdles that this movement will need to overcome:
If you read the writings of anthropologists, there are studies about how civilizations break down; and we are certainly following that pattern. Unfortunately, there’s nothing within human nature to argue that we won’t go down the ways other civilizations have gone down. The difference is now, of course, that when we go down, the whole planet is going to go with us.

Yet you rebel not only for what you can achieve, but for who you become. In the end, those who rebel require faith — not a formal or necessarily Christian, Jewish or Muslim orthodoxy, but a faith that the good draws to it the good. That we are called to carry out the good insofar as we can determine what the good is; and then we let it go. The Buddhists call it karma, but faith is the belief that it goes somewhere. By standing up, you keep alive another narrative. It’s one of the ironic points of life. That, for me, is what provides hope; and if you are not there, there is no hope at all.
 We are there, and we'll still be there when the world needs us most.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Struggle For American Democracy Has Only Begun

According to PBS, Bernie Sanders is "gaining against Clinton in early polls." Salon's Bill Curry believes "Hillary Clinton is going to lose," primarily because millions of voters longing for a truly progressive candidate will nominate Sanders. POLITICO explained recently that Early-state polls hint at a Bernie Sanders surge, a headline that was unthinkable only several months earlier. Yahoo's Meredith Shiner calls Sanders a "progressive social media star and pragmatic legislator" and states that "Sanders also has a much more substantial legislative history" than any GOP challenger. In Iowa,1,100 people packed a gym to hear Bernie Sanders speak in May.
That was the first paragraph in an article from the columnist HA Goodman called It's Official-Bernie Sanders Has Overtaken Hillary Clinton In The Hearts And Minds Of Democrats. Published on July 25, 2015, it was the first Goodman published after he first started to believe that Sanders would win the nomination.

And up until a certain point, he had good reason to keep believing so; despite a rigged debate schedule and limited media attention, Bernie Sanders' poll numbers continued to go up. By January 31, the day before the voting started, Sanders' Real Clear Politics average had gone from 5.7% at the beginning of his campaign to 37.2%.

But after gaining momentum from his poll-defying near tie in Iowa and his blowout win in New Hampshire, something strange happened: with the help of Hillary Clinton supporter Harry Reid and his collusion with those who ran the polling places in Nevada, the state's contest was quietly stolen from Sanders. And as the primaries went on, things only got stranger. On Super Tuesday, the results in Massachusets were manipulated as well, along with those in Arizona, and, it turned out, Iowa. Though those were the only states so far that had experienced serious election fraud, there were many other factors, such as closed primaries and media manipulation, which, if subtracted, would have likely resulted in him being ahead at that point.

And before long, it looked like he was on his way to pulling ahead regardless. After a nine-state winning streak, which included a victory in Wisconsin that was both unthinkable a few weeks earlier and by an even larger margin than the polls indicated, his national poll numbers had risen to only one point behind Hillary Clinton. After the Wyoming primary on April 9, he only needed to win 56.5% of the remaining delegates to take the lead (and even if he didn't, he would still have a chance to win). And with the turning point approaching in the New York primary, despite the polls there, his chances were looking better and better as early voting showed him far surpassing expectations.

But the exclusion of independents from voting in New York, combined with the massive amounts of voting irregularities that occurred on the day of the election, all worked to steal the primary from Sanders on April 19, along with much of his chances for winning the nomination.

Despite the drop in Sanders' polls that followed, he dutifully continued into the predictably unfair April 26 contests, the blatantly rigged Nevada state convention, the suspiciously run primaries in Oregon and Kentucky, the practically predetermined Puerto Rico contest, and the clearly manipulated California primary.

Not all of the primary contests were rigged, but enough of them were that the results should be seriously called into question, and even if the highly unlikely outcome of this election were true, there's no question that Hillary Clinton won without a level playing field. Even Harry Reid thinks Sanders never had a "fair deal."

But Bernie Sanders' campaign is continuing in a different form, this one outside of the cruel game that the DNC has created for populist insurgent candidates, and this time it actually has a chance to win.

With three months until the election, Jill Stein and other Greens running for office won't get too much farther this year, but they will make crucial progress. Following the voting on November 8, which the Greens will most certainly take an unusually large share of, factors larger than any DNC propaganda campaign will begin to come into play. As I've written about previously, support for a third party alternative has been building up for decades, independents will soon outnumber both major parties combined, the state of the country points towards the coming rise of a populist third party, and there's even a historical precedent for what I'm predicting.

Everything indicates that a major Green Party sweep is inevitable in the coming years. But there's still one looming, uncomfortable question: can we expect the system to allow it after what happened to Bernie Sanders?

As I make a prediction similar to the one HA Goodman made last year, I keep in mind that the one thing he did not take into account was outright electoral fraud in favor of the candidate that the oligarchy backs. Who's to say it won't happen again in a different context?

I'm going to attempt to look into the future, imagining all of the methods of voter suppression that may (or will) be used against the Greens, and how we can defy them. All of these methods can be put into three categories, which I call false-appealing, smearing, and electioneering.


Twenty-four years ago, Bill Clinton said in his Democratic convention speech that "I have news for the forces of greed and the defenders of the status quo: Your time has come and gone." And eight years later, even after he had continued Reaganomics by signing NAFTA, killing welfare, and creating what later turned out to be the most dangerous deregulations in recent history, most on the left were still willing to believe his successor Al Gore when he said at the 2000 convention that "They're for the powerful-and we're for the people."

But by 2008, Democrats were finally losing patience with the corporatization of their party. After nominating Barack Obama in a wave of populism, they heard him say at the DNC that we're "a better country" than the one that allows Wall Street to crash the economy-and then saw him pursue a Wall Street bailout that set the stage for another financial crisis years later.

That was the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party's esteem among progressives. By 2009, the percentage of voters who affiliated as Democrats went from 35% the year before to 34%, and political independents edged them out after only being at 31% in 2008. Since then, we've seen a steady increase in independents going along with a steady decline of Democrats that stands apart from all the other times in recorded party affiliation history where a certain group has been in the majority. This shift in the electoral landscape can no longer be considered a trend, but a consistent pattern that's sure to continue, and it can only mean one thing: people are waking up to the fact that the Democratic Party does not represent the 99%.

But will enough of them wake up to end the Democratic Party?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are locked into a battle of who's campaign can fail the least. While Clinton is at risk of being indicted before the election, a credible source has reason to believe Trump is actually sabotaging his campaign, so whatever the polls say, the race is too close to call. But whoever becomes the next president, I believe the ultimate fate of American politics will be the same.

Though it's unfortunate, what we need to indict the Democratic Party in the court of public opinion as a tool of the oligarchy is a major economic crisis. And we'll get just that, as this Truthout op-ed explains:
Although there is a role for banks to play in the economy -- they facilitate commerce, after all, when just doing "normal banking" -- 30-plus years of Reaganomics have made banks increasingly vulnerable and prone to crisis. Giving banks this kind of powerful role to play in the economy is just asking for trouble. Wall Street is literally a ticking time bomb, and when it explodes it will take the rest of the economy down with it.
This is not hyperbole -- it's fact, and we're seeing more and more evidence every day that the moment when the Wall Street time bomb will explode is rapidly approaching. As Greg Ip points out in the Wall Street Journal, housing prices and stock prices are now hovering around decades-long highs.
The last time they were this high? You guessed it: 2007, right before [the last] crash.
That was written on August 1. This crisis will most likely hit before Obama leaves office, and in that scenario, when he and the rest of the Democratic elite pursue Wall Street bailouts as they did eight years ago, they will create a political nightmare for themselves. According to a poll from three years ago, 96% of Democrats, 95% of independents, and 89% of Republicans at least see financial regulation as somewhat important. And though when asked the less general question of whether they wanted more regulation on companies, that number goes down to 71%, when middle and working class voters suffering the consequences of the lack of business oversight see their leaders pushing for bailouts, a lot of politicians, Democrats especially, will see their careers crippled.

And though Democrats were able to remain popular in 2008 despite having largely supported the bailouts, this time it will be very different. Like I said, whether Hillary Clinton will win remains to be seen, but after this election is over, she and her party will be in trouble. As the 2018 midterms approach, not just the Republicans but the Democrats will be seen by all but their most loyal members as the party of the rich. Before long, given all the factors I mentioned earlier, large numbers of voters will start moving to a populist third party, most likely the Greens.

Gone are the days when someone like Hillary Clinton can easily (or fairly) defeat a genuine progressive like Sanders, and soon so too will the era where corporate Democrats can skate on their party's "Liberal" brand and expect to succeed with the left. And Democrats are generally either in denial about this fact or assume it won't matter. “For every blue-collar Democrat we will lose in western Pennsylvania," says New York Senator Charles Schumer, "We will pick up two or three moderate Republicans in the suburbs of Philadelphia." To Democratic strategists, this plan of appealing to the center may seem like a safe and sensible approach, but when you look at the larger picture, Democrats are basically racing into an electoral ditch.

And so when the Greens start to enter seriously competitive territory, they won't have to worry about losing many supporters to the old Democratic trick of bait-and-switch liberalism. The Democrats will have lost all of their credibility in the minds of voters by then.

And as for those who will still cling to the notion that the Democratic Party represents them-yes, they will be there-you can show them the solid arguments I make against that in these previous articles:

The Case Against The Democratic Party

Yes, It Is Time To Leave The Democratic Party

Make No Mistake, The Democratic Party Is Dangerous

But it won't end there.


Though the political and corporate establishment generally doesn't know about the coming electoral upheaval, lately they've been acting as if they're preparing for a long fight against populist insurgents. This is apparent in how the major media has been treating Jill Stein.

From biased polls that make it look like Stein has less support than she really does, to hit pieces on her, to outright mocking, such as the over-promotion of a poll that says Stein is tied with Harambe (which was conducted in the specific instance of Texas, a highly conservative state), the media is going after the Green Party candidate as much as they did with Sanders. The strange thing about it is that they know Stein has no chance of actually becoming president.

This signals that something deeper is going on.

I believe that Ralph Nader's success in 2000 can largely be explained by a failure on the part of the two major parties to offer candidates that excite and inspire voters, increasing the desire for another option (Ross Perot's 1992 campaign may be another example of this phenomenon). And since moderate and triangulating figures like Al Gore are exactly the kind of candidates the Democratic elite prefers, when Nader started to experience a surge in the summer of 2000, the establishment was taken completely by surprise-but it wasn't unaware of the threat to the two-party system that this signaled.

And so after the fictitious election results were certified, the liberal bourgeois found a convenient way to stigmatize Nader and his successors-the propagation of the idea that Greens are the ones who caused Bush to win. And regardless of whether this claim was based on reality, it's most certainly contributed to the virtual dominance Democrats and Republicans have enjoyed since then.

But even if they're able to repeat that spin this year with Jill Stein playing Nader's role-which they've already done to a point-it won't do much to help their case. As Chris Hedges said this year in an interview, our society is experiencing a radical shift of public sentiment in response to the unprecedented income inequality that's resulted from their past support of neoliberal politics. There's one ingredient lacking in this movement, though, which holds back its enormous potential: an avenue for it to unite around. "It’s with us already," Hedges says about the revolution, "but with this caveat: it is what Gramsci calls interregnum, this period where the ideas that buttress the old ruling elite no longer hold sway, but we haven’t articulated something to take its place."

A populist third party is the perfect means to bring this massive amount of political will under one roof, and no matter what the Democrats do at this point, the Green surge is coming.

But that can only get us so far-the power of media manipulation must never be underestimated, and as long as the mainstream press is controlled by the same forces that back the two-party system, insurgents will be vulnerable.

Still, even this weapon of the establishment, I believe, has grown weak with time.

Howard Dean was the Bernie Sanders of 2004. Or, more accurately, of 2003. In the months before the primaries started, the major media worked very hard to topple the anti-war, anti-big business onetime Democratic frontrunner, and they succeeded spectacularly. But when they tried again this year with Sanders, though things were made a lot harder for him, he still would have won without election rigging. This proves that in the modern political environment, where revolutionary sentiments are so strong and social media is popular, such propaganda is a lot easier for insurgents to overcome.

However, there are still several widely accepted myths about the Green Party that its opponents will take every opportunity to promote, and while whatever attacks on Green candidates that the media orchestrates are for the people of the near future to defend from, we can anticipate a few of them. Here are some of the strongest arguments for the Green Party that we'll need to use to beat the Democrats, ones which I'll elaborate on in future articles:
  • The Greens absolutely can win. Post-2016, the combined membership of the two "major" parties will, in all likelihood, drop well below 50%. Though the Democrats will do everything to downplay the significance of this, it will greatly strengthen the case for third parties. We aren't going to start with anywhere near as much support as Democrats, of course, but if we put enough emphasis on that glaring fact, before long they'll be the ones who are "fringe."
  • The Greens represent the views of mainstream Americans. No matter how much Democrats attempt to marginalize Greens, in terms of actual ideological appeal, we by far have the advantage. 61% of Americans favor higher taxes on the wealthy, 76% think that most free trade deals have been bad for the country, 58% want a federally funded healthcare system, 78% want Citizens United overturned, 57% think that GMO foods are generally unsafe, and in a poll that proves the Greens won't be hurt in the minds of voters by their environmental brand, 67% would pay higher taxes to reduce carbon emissions. I suggest you show any progressives who choose to align themselves with the Democratic Party the Green platform, or have them take the quiz that shows people which political party most aligns with their beliefs. 
  • The Greens aren't dividing the left, the Democrats are. This is the logical conclusion of my first argument; when the Democratic Party diminishes enough, it will be easy to accurately convince liberal voters that since most of them don't even support the Democrats, voting for them only creates more division among the opponents of the Republicans. Which brings me to the last one.
  • The Greens are in a much better position than the Democrats to stop the Republicans. Like the fact that Bernie Sanders would have been a better candidate against Trump than Hillary Clinton because of his trustworthiness and consistently progressive views, after the Democrats push for wildly unpopular Wall Street bailouts, they will be severely weakened, making Greens the politically superior option.
And if the defenders of the current party model start calling you a hippie, a communist, or a purist after you lay out your arguments, you'll know they've run out of real responses.

But even after that, the oligarchy will have one more card to play...


"Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth," said the labor organizer Lucy Parsons. I can't find the date between Parson's birth in 1853 and her death in 1942 when she expressed that sentiment, but if she did so before the year 1900, she later found herself standing corrected.

The late 19th century was a dark period in American history. Even though the enterprise of slavery had been broken up, it had left the class that used to benefit from it with so much wealth that it seemed like no other force was powerful enough to challenge them. In 1886, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were a "legal person," giving them the authority to make money by any means necessary whether that conflicted with state laws or not. In 1890, New Jersey became the first state to allow corporations to hold stock in other corporations, creating the economically unsustainable system of financial exchange that we now know as the stock market. That same year, John D. Rockefeller's standard oil controlled 88% of the refined oil market in the United States, just one example of the massive monopolization of business that had occurred. You can get a sense of just how bad things had become by thinking of the horrifying stories from that era of child labor, slave wages, extremely long work hours, and abominable living conditions.

And yet at the turn of the century, the people somehow managed to fight back and win. After the newly elected president William McKinley was assassinated on September 6, 1901, it turned out that his choice for a running mate had saved the country. The extent that Washington had been corrupted by corporate interests seemed too great to overcome, but because nearly all of the public was on the side of Theodore Roosevelt's populist agenda, the members of Congress went along with the president out of political self-preservation. In the next seven years, Roosevelt broke up most of the major monopolies, and though he still endorsed lower taxes, he paved the way for his cousin FDR to become elected later and turn America into a social democracy.

But how does this apply to populist insurgents now, when corporations have become so powerful that they can actually prevent modern versions of the Roosevelts from being elected within the two major parties? Again, we need to ask ourselves why the Greens won't go the way of Bernie Sanders.

According to Ralph Nader, apart from the media propaganda that I mentioned before, there are indeed many built-in obstacles to running a successful third party campaign. In 1988, the Commission on Presidential Debates, a private organization headed exclusively by Democrats and Republicans, took over all aspects of how the debates are organized. After the 1992 election, they changed the polling requirement for getting into the debates to 15%, a number that, as they knew, was nearly impossible for any third party candidate to reach. And though the environment will soon become a lot more friendly to third parties, making it entirely possible for the Greens to overcome that mark, I ask you to sign this petition to make the debate rules fair again.

But that's not even the worst of it. In 2004, Nader's independent campaign was severely hurt by the efforts of Democrats to drain money from it by falsely accusing him of widespread voter fraud. The playing field is also tilted against third parties in that many states require them to petition for ballot access, a process that Nader describes as "easy for the major parties to disrupt" by using the dirty tricks that I mentioned.

But once again, I believe that we can surmount all of these obstacles with our newfound political advantages. Because of a dramatic increase in donations, Green campaigns will easily survive when opponents try to force them to use up their resources, and with the wide popularity that they'll gain, they will no longer have much trouble getting petition signatures. Thus, they're guaranteed to gain major ground, and before long they'll surpass Democrats in the national polls.

And finally, that brings us to the one area where insurgents can really be shut out: election rigging. One can only imagine the methods Democrats will try to use to prevent Greens from winning, though the sabotage of Bernie Sanders certainly gave us a clue. There's one big difference, though, between the primaries and the general elections: in the general, it's extremely difficult to rig the process in favor of the losing candidate. George W. Bush's coup in 2000 only worked because the race was so close, and had Gore been leading in the polls as widely as I expect the Greens will be, the election fraud would have had to be much more widespread and obvious, and the American people would simply not have allowed it. Furthermore, the primaries are ideal for rigging, because they take place over a period of months in many different states, while a national election that takes place in a matter of hours is very hard for someone to try to steal and then get away with it.

All of this is not to say that our path to victory will be easy. We'll have to fight for it every step of the way. But if we succeed, which I think is likely, the country and the world will be forever changed.

And if you still doubt that that's possible based on a sense that the Greens are simply too far to the left to win, not only are you discounting the opinion polls I mentioned earlier, but you need to hear the story of how HA Goodman came to believe Bernie Sanders would become president.

In June of 2015, as Goodman recounts in an article, he was having lunch with a childhood friend when they started talking about politics. The friend, who was wearing a "Bernie" tee shirt, asked Goodman why he wasn't planning on voting for a candidate who represented everything he believed in, and Goodman's answer was that Sanders could not win because he was a socialist.

But some weeks later, after doing all of the research, Goodman realized that Bernie Sanders was not a Marx-style, ideologically extreme "socialist," but merely had an agenda similar to the Roosevelts. That was the start of his noble mission to help Sanders win, which lasted all the way up until the DNC role call vote on July 26, 2016.

The one thing Goodman was really wrong about, though, was assuming at the time that we would never get another Bernie Sanders in our lifetimes; he realized the flaw in that reasoning when he decided to start supporting Jill Stein, who, whether you also feel is worth voting for or not, is an amazing person and as much (or even more) of an advocate for change as Sanders. And Stein and her successors, whatever the outcome of this election, will be the ones who finish what Bernie started.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Make No Mistake, The Democratic Party Is Dangerous

It was October 1, 2008, and the senate vote on whether banking oligarchs would be allowed to further dominate the economy  and eventually crash it again was being discussed. The problem was that the measure had the name "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act," which most in the House and the Senate were taking at face value. Among the supporters of the act were the majority of Democratic officials, including Barack Obama.

Obama made a seemingly solid case for the bailout when his time to speak came, explaining how he was satisfied with the terms that the administration had agreed to about making the banks pay back the appropriate amount of money to taxpayers. But as Senator Bernie Sanders sat behind him, he remained unmoved in his opposition to the measure, and he delivered an indisputable argument against the notion that it would help the interests of the people.

But most of the Democrats refused to listen, and two days later, the bailout was passed. As a result, the big financial institutions have become so large that they're no longer possible to sufficiently regulate, the five biggest banks control $15 trillion in assets according to the latest estimation (to put that in perspective, all of the wealth in the U.S. is $10.5 trillion), and the events that led up to the 2008 financial crisis have been repeated, this time with even worse consequences expected. And all because those Democrats in the House and the Senate gave in to the wishes of their donors in the banking industry.

In an infamous Democracy Now interview, Noam Chomsky once offered a scathing assessment of the Republican Party:
We should recognize—if we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects, but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally. Just take their position on the two major issues that face us: climate change, nuclear war. On climate change, it’s not even debatable. They’re saying, “Let’s race to the precipice. Let’s make sure that our grandchildren have the worst possible life.” On nuclear war, they’re calling for increased militarization. It’s already way too high, more than half the discretionary budget. “Let’s shoot it up.” They cut back other resources by cutting back taxes on the rich, so there’s nothing left. There’s been nothing this—literally, this dangerous, if you think about it, to the species, really, ever. We should face that.
And he's right. Though the mission of the Republican Party is to maximize the profits of banks and corporations, not intentionally exterminate an entire race as the Nazis wanted to do, because the logical extension of the Republicans' goal comes with ignoring the potential destruction of the planet, they are the group with the ability to do even more serious damage.

But as Chomsky would also agree, Democrats are not far behind. He said in another instance that
There used to be a quip that the United States was a one-party state with a business party that had two factions: the Democrats and Republicans—and that used to be pretty accurate, but it’s not anymore. The U.S. is still a two-party state, but there’s only one faction, and it’s not Democrats, it’s moderate Republicans. Today’s Democrats have shifted to the right.
As with the GOP, the threat that the modern Democratic Party's ideology poses is not that it explicitly promotes violence, human suffering, and environmental harm, but that it consists of a series of rationalizations which keep those enamored with it from recognizing that they're supporting these things.

When Democrats fail to pass universal health care despite being in control of the White House, the House, and the Senate, it isn't because they care more about the profits of insurance companies more than the lives of the uninsured, it's because they need to be realistic. When Democrats go along with Republicans'  disastrous idea to invade Iraq, it's not because they care more about the public opinion polls than the consequences of war, it's because they felt like the (easily disputable) evidence for WMDs at the time gave them no choice. When Democrats decide to stick to their story about the Wall Street bailouts helping ordinary Americans despite clear evidence to the contrary, it's not because they're beholden to their donors in the banking industry, it's because they need to compromise with the administration.

The list goes on and on. But what seems to occur in every one of the Democratic excuses for participating in a version of Republicanism is pragmatism. It isn't selling out when a Democratic politician accepts campaign contributions from the very same corporations and banks that Republicans do, refuses to stop a war, or pushes for a neoliberal trade deal; it's working within the system. "We all believe in economic opportunity for everybody," Delaware Democratic Governor Jack Merkel once said. "The difference between myself and senator Sanders and senator Warren is that they think that's not happening because the system is rigged, and I think it's not happening because the system is changing."

The problem with Merkel's Democratic worldview is that instead of recognizing the fundamental problems within our government and economy so that they can be addressed with the urgency and aggressiveness needed to solve them, it always encourages caution and negotiation as the best approaches. While such an incremental method is indeed necessary in some cases, to assume it's an inherently good governing approach is anything but rational.

Surrendering to the vastly powerful forces of neoliberalism whenever possible and then calling it incrementalism-which, overall, is a decent summary of what the Democrats have done-is, in a way, more dangerous than the open regressiveness of the Republicans. The only result of accepting this political philosophy, as we've seen this year, is that the Democratic Party becomes ever more militaristic, oriented towards the interests of big business, and even less progressive on social issues. And if this trend continues, the next step will be an official merging between the two parties on those crucial issues that Chomsky mentioned. They will both put the profits of fossil fuel companies above the stability of the climate. They will both be solely focused on redistributing wealth to the top. And they will both want to instigate and escalate military conflicts, perhaps even to their logical conclusion of nuclear war.

Because as governor Merkel implies, if the system changes, you need to change with it.

The good news is that the party will be out of power before it has the chance to enact such an agenda. In April, when faced with the question of whether Democrats have a future when so many young people and liberals are growing deeply dissatisfied with the direction their party has taken, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz replied,
Look, I mean, I think both political parties, through time immemorial, have had a spectrum, a range of views across a spectrum, but we're a big tent party, so we have the ability to absorb and be unified with people on the far left and on the center right, and have the same people call themselves Democrats.
She's doing nothing but echoing the outdated Democratic model of political triangulation from the 1990's. This is not the same country as it was the last time the Clintons took over the Democratic party; public opinion has turned very far to the left. Income inequality has reached an unprecedented point in American history. In the last eight years, Democratic membership has gone down by at least 6%, and the number of independents has gone up by at least 14%. The writer Seth Abramson describes this radical shift in the American political landscape as Clintonism having been defeated by Sandersism, a worldview which he says consists of this:
In Sandersism you negotiate with any and all parties of good faith up until the moment doing so requires sacrificing a principle. If, under those conditions, not enough parties of good faith remain, you spend all your time and resources writing executive orders and working for an end to gerrymandering and the defeat of all bad-faith politicians in local, state, and national primaries and generals. In Sandersism politics is an arena where ideas, not bank accounts or special interests, are contested; every American is given every possible opportunity to vote; corporate practices that maim or kill living humans are outlawed; those few economic practices that can terminally endanger basic economic justice are adequately regulated; and we spend as much money making sure our criminal justice system and law enforcement apparatuses are actually just as we do ensuring our military is capable and appropriately fearsome. Sandersism is a “we” and an “us” movement that transcends the artificial divisions of the party era and the atomization of persons and communities. A Sandersist spends the minimum amount of time running for office and the maximum amount of time doing the difficult work of governing — and in both roles places transparency ahead of political exigency ten times out of ten.
The Democratic Party as it has existed for several decades and will, in all likelihood, continue to exist in the years to come, in no way fits this model. And as Sandersism looms increasingly large in the court of public opinion, the party will die out and be replaced by something else.

In the meantime, though, we'll be forced to reckon with the consequences of our Clintonian past. Because of that bailout bill, another recession is coming, this one possibly even bigger than the last one. And when that crash hits, Obama and the other establishment Democrats will go right along with the Republicans on bailing out the now even more concentrated banks.

Whether they succeed again is uncertain. But this time, when Bernie Sanders is watching Obama push for another policy that so shamefully represents the Democrats, he'll know that the party's time is about to run out.

Friday, August 12, 2016

What The Origins Of the GOP Can Tell Us About The Future Of American Politics

No, I [Abraham Lincoln] was not a 3rd party candidate in 1860. Learn some history, dammit.

Or so the condescending internet meme goes. In response to the claim from electoral reform advocates that Republicans were a third party when Lincoln was elected, supporters of the traditional political model have said the real history isn't that simple; Republicans had established mainstream support and won many seats in the House and the Senate before 1860, say the skeptics, proving that the Greens and Liberitarians should give up and let the serious people keep running things.

This argument actually proves the opposite.

It's true that Lincoln's campaign was not an insurgency. Had he run in a party that had little support or positions in other branches of government than the presidency beforehand, he would have most likely lost. As has been the case with all other third party presidential efforts since then, the political system did not change overnight. But its rise took place during a period of time that, when compared to the rest of American history, is impressively brief. And that directly parallels how the rise of another third party in the 21st century will play out.

Even then, America was locked into a two-party system. Starting with the 1828 election, wherein Andrew Jackson defeated National Republican John Q. Adams, Democrats and Whigs dominated virtually all of politics. But as the Abolitionist movement started to make serious progress during the 1850's, and neither party was willing to change their position on slavery, their futures became in doubt.

The Whigs, of course, were the ones who took the fall; after the Republican Party was founded on February 28, 1854, they filled a political vacuum of anti-slavery Whigs who decided to split with their party and helped Republicans replace it as the main opponent of Democrats during that year's midterm elections. Pro-slavery Whigs, having seen their party destroyed in only a matter of months, then realigned with the Democratic Party, which still shared their views. In 1856, Republicans staged a losing but successful presidential campaign by American military officer John Fremont, and solidified their majority over the remaining Whigs in the House and the Senate. By 1860, they had overtaken the Democrats in all three departments.

As someone who has seriously considered the future of American politics given recent events, this story sounds strikingly similar to what I expect will happen in the following years.

And I'm not the only one who might think along the same lines. In March, Robert Reich-who has had firsthand experience with the appalling neoliberalism of the modern Democratic Party as Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor-wrote a piece that predicted what would happen to American politics if Bernie Sanders did not become the Democratic nominee. He reasons that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is the next president, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be passed, another recession will occur that prompts Wall Street bailouts, and the wealth gap will grow even bigger.

But then, omitting a lot of the details that would be sorted out later, he says that because politics "abhors a vacuum," in 2019 there will be a sudden surge of support for a populist alternative to the Democrats that he hypothetically calls the People's Party. "Americans rallied to the cause," he recounts from the future about the party's success. "Millions who called themselves conservatives and Tea Partiers joined with millions who called themselves liberals and progressives against a political establishment that had shown itself incapable of hearing what they had been demanding for years."

And finally in 2020, he says, the People's Party wins a majority in both houses of congress along with the presidency.

Political vacuums. Dissatisfaction with the parties. Major shifts of support in a short period of time. The future that Reich and I believe is more than likely and the events that created the GOP are foreboding in their parallels. And while it's impossible to say exactly how this scenario will play out, the Republican's rapid ascension proves that when voters are highly concerned with a certain issue, in that case slavery, they gravitate towards the leaders who will address it.

With the rise of the People's Party-or whatever other form it takes-there will be a number of issues that contribute to the electoral realignment. Ending the wars, softening the effects of climate change, and other important problems will of course play a part, but as Reich describes, more than anything it will be the massive economic inequality which is certain to increase in the next four years that unites Americans against the two corporate parties. Though Democrats and Republicans have enjoyed the support of most Americans for several decades despite not representing their interests, too much concentration of the economy is bound to lead to a populist uprising eventually, and these next few years will be when that point is finally reached.

What will politics look like after history repeats itself? I think the most likely scenario is that the Democrats will go the way of the Whigs, replaced by an alternative that suites the interests of their base. The Republicans might survive in the form of Trump-style reactionary populism they've taken on this year, but they won't be the dominant party.

The party that the GOP's founders created has become sadly unrecognizable from what they intended. But the methods that they used to make it come to power haven't changed, and they'll soon be put to very good use.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Two-Party System Is About To Lose Its legitimacy

Whenever someone brings up the idea of a successful third party, the response from supporters of the electoral establishment is one that, at least on the surface, makes some sense: such a project just doesn't have enough support.

And for a long time, this has indeed been true. Though political independents have outnumbered both Democrats and Republicans since 2009, the majority of Americans still choose to side with both major parties. So at least in that sense, they still have the right to continue with their game of divide and rule without objection.

Soon even that excuse will no longer have any basis.

When you look up "American party affiliation," the first thing you see is a line from a Pew Research article which tells you that "When partisan leanings are taken into account, men are divided (44% Democratic, 43% Republican). That is little changed from recent years, but in 2009, 45% of men affiliated with the Democratic Party or leaned Democratic, while 40% identified as Republican or leaned toward the GOP." Aside from the strangely male-oriented nature of that statement, it's misleading.

The key part of it is When partisan leanings are taken into account. The poll's respondents are being asked to choose between the two from the vantage point of there not being another choice. When you ask people which parties they affiliate with based on their actual preferences, in recent years they've overwhelmingly answered "Neither."

In a survey that I've mentioned many times before, self-identified Democrats are at 29%, Republicans are at 26%, and though independents are at 42%, slightly down from their record 43% in 2014, the simple math is that 45% of Americans choose to affiliate with neither self-appointed major party.

That survey was taken at the beginning of this year.

In the eight months since then, a new poll of party affiliation has yet to be released, but it's obvious that a major electoral shakeup has taken place. Presidential elections are often regarded with too much significance, but they hold tremendous symbolic power; which nominee a party chooses is rightfully seen as representative of the party as a whole, and in this case neither candidate makes their party look good.

One of them triumphed mainly through voter suppression, electoral fraud, and the most bizarre conclusion to an FBI investigation in American history, and the other won by taking advantage of a worldwide groundswell of reactionary politics. Naturally, there's now a significant movement in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to abandon it, and though a similar phenomenon for the Republicans isn't as visible, there's division on both sides.

What can we at least roughly expect when the updated party affiliation data comes our way? Here are the demographic breakdowns that can give us a clue: based on the Democratic primary polls from mid-April, when Bernie Sanders' support was at its highest before his (supposed) loss in New York started to discourage people from him, nearly half of Democrats can be considered on his side even though they now largely support Hillary Clinton. Proof of this comes in the polls that say 45% of Democrats prefer someone else over her. Things are even worse on the Republican side, with over half of Republicans wishing that Trump would just go away. No polls asking how many of them will vote for Trump have been taken, but as for the Democrats, we do know that in June, nearly half of Sanders supporters did not plan on voting for Hillary Clinton. That number has most certainly grown since then.

To sum it up, a significant fraction of Democrats and Republicans, perhaps as much as half for both of them, are deeply unsatisfied with the directions their parties have taken. And with only five percentage points having separated their combined memberships from falling into the minority in January, it's statistically inevitable that the number of Americans who identify with neither party will be above 50% by the time the next party affiliation survey is taken.

What will people be supposed to think when support for the two "major" parties becomes so undeniably small? For how much longer will they buy the media's message that they'll always have a limited set of choices? Will that vast population of independents, who are only keeping the system alive because they're told there's no alternative, finally break out of the establishment's psychological trap and rally around a third party?

Well, not immediately. There are only 90 days left until the election, and given Hillary's Clinton's large bump in the polls recently, it looks like my hopes for an insurmountable advantage over her by Trump which prompts Bernie Sanders to re-enter the race as a Green Party candidate won't happen without a miracle. 

But the Greens know how to be patient, and if they wait their turn just a little bit longer, they'll be able to fill that role of a successful alternative.

After the next party affiliation survey is released, and it's made clear that the two-party system is living on borrowed time, the media will try to push the pro-political duopoly message like never before. First they'll double down on the idea that there's no possible way a third party can win, and when that doesn't work, they'll resort to more personal attacks; they'll portray the leaders of the Green Party in a negative way whenever possible, and if all else fails, their last defense will be to claim that the Greens aren't a good alternative. They'll say that the party's radical ideas aren't realistic, or that it doesn't have its act together enough to accomplish them.

At that point, things will be in the realm of serious political competition, and the details of how the Greens win will need to be sorted out by the people of the near future. But in anticipated response to the claim that the Greens are disorganized, lacking in commitment, and having nothing more to offer than purist platitudes, I have a story.

The Green party's August 6 Huston convention was almost nothing like the RNC or DNC. Taking place in a not-too-big auditorium with an Apple computer at the podium, sunflowers placed around the stage, and a pull-out projection screen instead of multiple mega-sized television displays, the event itself matched its setting; the roll call vote was an informal and loosely run affair with a few uncomfortable moments, much of the speaking time was devoted to breathing exercises, introspection about one's participation in the system of corporate oppression, and few things having to do with actual political organizing, and though I take their party seriously, they could have taken the opportunity of increased media scrutiny to hold a convention that gets more people to think along the same lines.

But towards the end, there were parts of it that could convince anyone that the Greens have potential. When the exiled Wikileaks editor Julian Assange appeared on the screen, the conversation that he had with the party's 2004 nominee David Cobb spoke to Americans everywhere who are angry at the corruption within our government that voting for Republicans and Democrats has enabled; the Obama Administration has persecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all other presidents combined. Chelsea Manning was tortured and sentenced to 35 years of prison simply for leaking truthful information to the public, and Assange himself needs to stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid a similar fate. Hillary Clinton committed a crime far more serious both of those instances, and she's allowed to run for president. And as Cobb always pointed out, like most Americans, Greens care about these problems. The only difference they have with Republicans and Democrats is that they belong to a party which intends to solve them.

When the video conference concluded and Jill Stein went to give her speech, the applause from the crowd was more than enthusiastic; it was passionate. It was a moment where the representatives of the Green Party were displaying all their principles and their willingness to fight for them, and they would continue that fight whether they won it this time around or not. But they would win the next time, and they knew it.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Yes, It Is Time To Leave The Democratic Party

In a Salon article titled "Bernie's big lesson: Socialists should occupy the Democratic Party, not abandon it," optimistic person Daniel Denvir makes an argument for propping up the DNC that appears perfectly sound if you take it at face value. He dismisses Jill Stein's pleas for building another party for the 99%, saying that Bernie Sanders' unexpected success proves we can turn the Democrats into such an organization. He's convinced that with just a little more patience and work within the party, it can be reformed.

There are three good reasons that that approach is wrong.

1: The party can't be reformed by trying to beat it at its own game

Though Denvir acknowledges that the Democratic electoral system is rigged, he misrepresents just how corrupt it is. He argues, "Let’s not give Debbie Wasserman Schultz more credit than she’s due: the leaked DNC emails reflect sad griping more than coherent conspiracy. Though the debate schedule was stacked against Sanders, Clinton simply won more votes, which means the left, despite historic gains, still has more work to do to win majority support."

They did a lot more than manipulate the debate schedule.

Aside from the lack of media coverage making things harder for the Sanders campaign, as well as Hillary Clinton's inherent advantage in name recognition alone, there is no question that the DNC played a large role in his loss. And I'm not just talking about the voter suppression in Arizona, New York, Puerto Rico, as well as my home state California along with numerous others, or the untold millions of political independents who were excluded from voting in the primaries, or even the 84.3% of eligible voters who were either unable or discouraged from participating in the process.

Even after you discount all of the factors that make the results of the primary seem implausible from any reasonable standpoint, there is undeniable evidence that the Democratic leadership manipulated the vote.

The next paragraph may look like wishful thinking to someone who doesn't understand its context, so I recommend you first read this article and this article. But omitting the long explanation beforehand that's included within those links, I present to you a line from math genius Richard Charnin which summarizes all the reasons why Sanders rightfully won the primary:
It is important to note that Sanders’ exit poll share exceeded his
1) recorded share  in 24 of the 26 primaries. The probability is 1 in 190,000.  
2) recorded share by greater than the margin of error in 11 primaries. The probability is 1 in 77 billion. 
Is the exit poll shift to Clinton just pure luck? Or is something else going on?
1.Sanders won the caucuses with 63.9% 
2.  10% of voters  were disenfranchised  (voter rolls, provisional ballots, etc.) .
3. Sanders won 70% of uncounted votes 
4. 15% of Sanders’ votes flipped to Clinton.
After adding that to the official primary results of Sanders having won 45.7%, of the votes, it shifts to him having actually won 52% of them. (Note: though it's not certain that Charnin's estimate of 70% of the manipulated votes are for Bernie Sanders is accurate, since the DNC singled out Sanders voters for disenfranchisement, it's clear that at least 50% of them are for Sanders, making his victory mathematically obvious.)

It may not be as dramatic or easy to prove as Bush v. Gore or other stolen elections, but the fact remains that the people have not been represented in this primary because of the DNC. Therefore, voters have every reason to believe that if they try to "reform the system" with their votes, as long as the process is controlled by party bosses who are beholden to the interests of their donors from above, it will simply not be possible.

This unfortunate truth can be likened to that picture on the top of Democratic National Convention protestors at the gates of the fence that was built around the Wells Fargo Center in July; they're trying to get the  superdelegates to nominate Bernie Sanders and change the party for the better, but they'll never be able to get inside both the misled minds of the Democratic elites, or the wall that's keeping them out.

Even so, people like Denvir might think, this doesn't mean the powers that currently run the party are immovable. Surely, even with such manipulations currently taking place, no institution is inherently resistant to change-just look at all of the Berniecrats that are succeeding this year.

There's a problem with that too.

Of course, it's not impossible in every case for genuine progressives to win elected positions within the Democratic Party. The primaries take place over several months and involve many different contests, making them easy for the DNC to influence in that since the results are determined through such a broad means, no one can find a simple way to dispute the results. The state and local-level contests that are fought for lesser positions than the presidency are almost always run fairly, because since they take place in one day, it would be a lot harder for the party to manipulate them without being inescapably caught doing so.

But there is another, larger obstacle to reforming the Democratic Party: no matter how many progressive Democrats hold positions other than the presidency, they will always be forced to support the more powerful forces in the party.

Though presidents and presidential nominees don't hold all of the power, they're key players in the DNC's game; first of all, no matter how progressive any politician is, as long as they're members of the Democratic Party, they will have to support its presidential  nominee, who, as this primary has made clear, will always be beholden to the corporate and banking interests. Second of all, even if genuine progressives take control over the other branches of government than the presidency, any actual progress will be prevented by the president's veto power. And third of all, as we've seen at this year's Democratic convention, the DNC has made it clear that they'll always find ways to keep progressives in their place during the presidential nominating process, and therefore in any other case where it will have the ability to do so.

"The establishment," says Denvir, "awash in corporate money and snarky emails, is neither omnipotent nor cunning. It is feckless." Though part of that may be true, as the Democrats are not exactly a tightly-run cabal ruled over by calculating masterminds, they've developed a nearly foolproof method for stopping change. And even with the best efforts from liberal activists, we won't truly see reform of it any time soon.

2: The party won't be reformed

That can't be the end of it, though; the Democratic Party is an organization, not a person, and it's not inherently incompatible with the influence of the people. Eventually, with enough determination, change can be achieved.

The question, though, is not whether reform is possible; of course it is. The question is whether reform is likely to take place, and the answer to that has already come.

The reality is that it's simply too late for the Democratic Party. The combined electoral majority of young, far-left, and independent voters that it needs to survive have given up on it for good after what's happened this year, and if it has any chance of changing in a way that brings them back, because of them that will never happen. The corruption runs so deep that such a radical shift would take at least two election cycles at the very least, and  the historical trends from before the "Demexit" movement even started show that Democrats are on their way to becoming irrelevant, or at least severely weakened, well before then.

The Democratic Party is a ship that's sinking rapidly, and no amount of attempting to repair its damaged hull can save it from going under.

And as anyone who isn't completely beholden to it can see, that's a good thing.

3: We shouldn't try to reform the party

After considering those first two reasons, another fact becomes clear: the world can't afford to invest itself in the possibility of changing the Democratic Party. The climate is rapidly deteriorating, and the level of economic inequality and corporate control over politics has reached a formidable level. If the two-party system is allowed to continue, if any action is taken on these issues, it will happen sooner than later, and by then it will be too late. We need profound, almost immediate governmental reform if we are serious about solving our problems, and that cannot happen if we're tied down to an almost incurably corrupt and rigid political institution.

And what Denvir is most wrong about is that such reform is possible. Though he acknowledges that more radical organizations should be maintained outside of the DNC on at least local levels, his rationale ultimately falls into the old Democratic defense that a serious alternative shouldn't be considered, as doing so would be joining a minority group with no hope of winning. That may have been true in recent history, but much of the country has woken up to the possibility that third parties can win if they support them, and soon enough, an electoral tipping point will be reached.

I'm going to conclude this with a story from this year's Democratic convention. In her acceptance speech for the nomination, Hillary Clinton included a historical anecdote so appropriate for the moment that it had to have been mentioned because of it:
My friends, we've come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.
We all know the story.
But we usually focus on how it turned out - and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.
When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King.
Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way.
The revolution hung in the balance.
Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.
And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation.
This was most likely an attempt to assess the current situation of her own supporters, who wanted to stick with the king, and the Bernie Sanders supporters who wanted to stick it to the king. It's a clever analogy, but her saying it is ironic, because when those revolutionaries were faced with the choice between remaining with the oppressive establishment and breaking from it, we all know what they did.