May 26, 2017 by Thomas Hauber
I began a blog entry last Halloween night I never posted to The Waffling Crow. This is how it began…
“This writer had a premonition of doom last night. Along with the Trump yard signs popping up in the neighborhood was a grotesque Hillary witch effigy hung from a garage framed by a large and very red Nebraska Cornhusker flag. Ahh, the transplanted heartland speaks… fearlessly and in plain sight. Strange political music for this quiet community. Sedona Arizona is a designated “Dark Sky City” (so residents and tourists can actually see the stars at night) and there was little to light the way for trick-or-treaters, no street lights and no Jack O’ Lanterns either. On this night any kind of light, flickering or otherwise, would be welcome, anything to protect the kids from werewolves, vampires and creepy clowns and for the political weirdness in the night air.”
I never published that blog entry. When the zombie political apocalypse suddenly seemed possible an air of unsettling incredulity took over. There was restlessness in the air. My fellow Crows, all Bi-coastal Democrats, became worried in ways they didn’t completely understand though we remained confidant, not in a military sense, but that Democrats would simply prevail out of common sense. We all felt it couldn’t happen, a Trump victory, while my experience with certain parts of Conservative America were telling me they were pretty sure it could.
It began a quiet period for this blog while The Waffle and Crow Party subsequently ate Crow over its prediction of a Clinton victory. I had tried writing again but the inauguration and each new bizarre appointment (and the pundit media so quick and eager to exploit it), it was hard to keep up with actual events.
Who would have thought an orange-haired ghoul would emerge for real as President of the United States, followed shortly thereafter by a cadre of Trump appointees — corporate thugs, political losers and zombie-ghosts from the past whose hearts we should have driven stakes through while we had the chance.
It wasn’t always that way. A bit of campaign history reveals early in 2016 the country was snoozing its way through the boring prospect of two worn out political dynasties haggling over the ruins of an eight-year Obama-Congressional gridlock. A determined Hillary Clinton circled over the Democrat landscape like a vulture. She had been waiting patiently serving time in a variety of important positions and it was clearly her turn. Heir apparent to an underachieving Obama presidency, the faithful were clearly counting on her to complete the unfinished business of the liberal agenda. For many there loomed the exciting prospect of the first female President of the United States.
Early on, Jeb Bush looked to survive yet another weak, disorganized and already feuding field of Republican hopefuls that would eventually number sixteen in all. Jeb was steady and predictable, his combination of establishment ties, moderate positions and big money backing seemed formidable. His record as Governor of Florida (an important swing state) was a big plus. He also had a Mexican wife and could speak Spanish that just might attract enough of the RNC’s freshly sought minority vote to provide a winning formula for the nomination and the Oval Office.
In either case, both parties provided centrist early front-runners unlikely to rock anyone’s boat. Neither candidate was generating a great deal of excitement, but that seemed a good thing after eight contentious Obama years. Gridlock provided a kid of sleepiness in the voters of both parties that disguised what was happening in the House of Representatives. With the resignation of Speaker John Boehner in late 2015, the internal revolt went public but the consequences were not clear.
Meanwhile the big money establishment lined up quickly behind this early matchup with massive campaign contributions. Within a month of announcing his candidacy in June of 2015, Bush had amassed 120 million in support of a mainstream business-friendly agenda Jeb said would make America “an economic superpower like no other.” Meanwhile Hillary had amassed 68 million from wealthy Democrat donors who saw business as usual under the Corporate-friendly Clintons. An establishment fix seemed very much IN. Eligible Voter participation had fallen from 62% in 2008 to 54% in 2012. Voters were fed up with government and it seemed entirely possible a Bush-Clinton confrontation would be a sleeper.
One cannot underestimate the effects of the mainstream media in the set-up for the upcoming primaries and the general election.
For many years and especially during the Obama Administration the alternate and the mainstream Republican opinion media had merged and consolidated their message. Conservative think tanks, the National Review, FOX news, ubiquitous talk and religious radio and hundreds of rightwing websites were all on the same page in their raving opposition to anything and everything liberal. Obama was public enemy Number One and Hillary was close behind. Conservatives didn’t know who their candidate would be but they were sure liberals were ruining the country.
Meanwhile, Hillary sailed on unflinchingly, her liberal pro-Obama policy wonk platform, healthcare, gun-violence prevention, women’s rights, gay rights, family leave and racial equality was more than enough for most Democrats. With all the old-school liberals dead and gone, the Hillary Clinton platform passed as Progressive, besides, there was no one to seriously challenge her. At this point the rival alternate (mainly internet) liberal opinion media was screaming but most Democrats were unaware of a Progressive rebellion soundly opposed to Hillary’s candidacy.
Democrats got their talking points from the DNC and major networks, mostly MSNBC. When female commentator Krystal Ball begged passionately that Hillary not run, her show was not renewed. In short Democrats had fallen asleep during the Obama Administration and the Democrat candidate for President had all but officially been crowned. The election of 2014 where Democrats lost nine Senate seats (and control of that body) and eleven more US congressional seats did not provide a wake-up call.
About a third the way through the primary campaign it became obvious Republican voters were up to something. Sullied by the twin losses of John McCain and Mitt Romney, disgruntled Republicans led by the Tea-Party and the House Freedom Caucus shunned establishment candidates and looked elsewhere. Establishment Republicans had lost control of their party to a complete outsider, Donald J. Trump.
Meanwhile, A 75 year-old socialist from Vermont began to punch huge holes in the anointed candidacy of Hillary Clinton. In the end, Democrats did a better job of combating their respective insurgencies, The Democratic National Committee scuttled the Sanders challenge from the inside. Despite the skullduggery of the DNC, Sanders soldiered on and by the final primaries emerged as a dangerous rival. The DNC’s Clinton-dominated super-delegates buried Sanders at the Convention.
We’ve had a few months now to figure out what happened last November. Pundits were quick to champion the deplorable rust-belt working-class as the reason for the Trump victory. It was the economy, stupid. Stunned Democrats offered a variety of reasons for defeat including Jill Stein, Susan Sarandon, Gary Johnson, Bernie Sanders, the Electoral College itself and most importantly, Wikileaks, FBI director Comey and the Russians.The Democrat consensus to this day seeks to blame the Russians who somehow “hacked the election,” whatever that means.
I am reminded of a man in ancient Athens today’s electorate might relate to, a Greek named Diogenes. Attempting to shed some light on the political madness of the day he carried a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking unsuccessfully for an honest man. A kind of homeless savant, he slept in a large ceramic jar and openly criticized the social values and institutions of what he saw as a confused and corrupted Athenian society. He thought society’s conventions were devoid of reason and drove most people nearly mad for living by them. The American voter must have felt like Diogenes, confused, obfuscated and bamboozled by the country’s own political system and a hucksters who were gaming it.
I know it’s old news, but subsequent posts will attempt to explain what happened. For now, my sentiments return to Halloween.
The Lighted pumpkin is said to have originated in the Celtic tradition where people carved out vegetables and placed glowing embers inside as makeshift lanterns to ward off evil Spirits. The Irish didn’t have pumpkins so they used turnips, an evil enough spirit in itself and no substitute for pie filling. Neither is Donald J. Trump, a blowhard who fell off a vegetable truck, a suitable substitute for a President.