06 October 2016

Thomas Frank on the Irony of This Presidential Election

“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Here is an interesting take on the election, trade policies, economic policy issues, political hypocrisy, and the usual suspects from Thomas Frank.

The more I think about it, the more it seems that the improbable Donald Trump is a 'molotov cocktail' that a fairly large segment of the voting public is throwing at a system they view as non-responsive and corrupt, on both sides of the aisle.

Nothing else explains the Sanders-Trump impulse for outsiders and genuine change.

Unfortunately for Sanders' supporters, the Democratic machine was better at suppressing dissent with the complicity of the establishment 'for the good of the system' that serves their narrow interests so well.

The people are clearly demanding change, meaningful reform, justice, and equal enforcement of the laws.

This year the Democrat's allure has changed from hope to fear.

And the established elite don't seem to really care, really be aware of the things happening around them.  They are too busy winning.

Fearful people are a dangerous, two-edged sword— especially when they lose hope.

Some of Clinton's pledges sound great. Until you remember who's president.
Thomas Frank

...Where this contradiction gets particularly toxic is on the issue of trade. This is the locomotive of dissatisfaction that Trump means to ride into the White House, and Clinton has tried desperately to neutralize the issue by announcing that she, too, opposes the hated TPP and that she, too, deplores the unfortunate effects certain trade deals have had. And then you open the newspaper and find that her presidential patron and protector, Barack Obama, is still pushing the TPP in order to secure his legacy.

The reform impulse just keeps short-circuiting every time the Democrats try to switch it on. They talk about healthcare – and immediately have to say things like this about Obamacare: 'It’s a heck of a lot better than starting from scratch.' They talk about getting college tuition under control – and everyone remembers that the problem is decades old and that the Dems have done virtually nothing about it all those years. What was without a doubt the worst moment of them all came at the Democratic convention back in July, when Senator Elizabeth Warren pronounced on the current state of middle America as follows:
Look around. Americans bust their tails, some working two or three jobs, but wages stay flat. Meanwhile, the basic costs of making it from month to month keep going up. Housing, healthcare, child care – costs are out of sight. Young people are getting crushed by student loans. Working people are in debt. Seniors can’t stretch a social security check to cover the basics.
It was a powerful indictment of what Warren called a 'rigged' system – except for one thing: that system is presided over by Barack Obama, a man that same Democratic convention was determined to apotheosize as one of the greatest politicians of all times..."

Read the entire article by Thomas Frank at The Guardian.