Sunday, May 21, 2017

Star Wars and the Election of 2016

    People of many persuasions are scratching their heads to explain what happened last fall in the presidential popularity contest, but they are overlooking many factors, perhaps because they are too rooted in the past to see into the future.  They say soldiers are always trying to fight the LAST war instead of the one they are in, so why not consider a different type of war to explain what happened? A Star War!  

     Let's take as a starting point that by the time Hillary Clinton faced up against Donald Trump in November, she had already lost.  She lost a long time before she started running against the Donald. In fact, it was obvious that she had lost at her party's nominating convention, and actually some time before that. Oh, she could in fact have beaten Trump, but she had already made decisions that rendered that impossible when she and her staff and her DNC friends so badly underestimated what was happening to the only other campaign in town, that of Bernie Sanders.  

    Hillary's brand of candidacy was set in stone before the primaries began (and in fact remains in force among the DNC establishment):  she was going to sweep the female vote and the minority vote even more effectively than Obama had done, and she was going to raise humongous sums of money to blow away any Republican opposition.   She took the second half of this strategy to such a point that she not only raised more than she needed for 2016, but was already piling up cash and promises for 2020.  It was a done deal -- how could she lose?

     Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, another candidate believed in something other than electoral technology.  Remember, Hillary was essentially running from Coruscant.  New Yorkers seemed not to care that she did little for them in the Senate but run for higher office.  Eh! That had happened before. Wall Street didn't give a rat's derriere what had happened in Benghazi or Kiev, or anywhere else as long as it didn't disturb their balance sheets.  In fact, there was always somebody poised to make money over another little war.  And as for the Times, they loved her cuddly relationship with Netanyahu and were prepared to blame any misfortunes on the Putins and Xis of the world.  

    On the other hand, here was this character running from Tatooine.  Vermont, the pits of the United States in political terms: small, remote, sparsely populated, and poor.  And their champion a geezer who looked even older than Clinton and whose only power seemed to be "an elegant weapon from a more civilized age," rewarmed Cold War non-communist socialism.   For heaven's sake, nobody even remembered that old saw -- those old crackpots had been subverted and replaced by the Blairs and Hollandes and Merkels.  Or had they?  Among the youth of the USA, Sanders' sensible socialism slashed like a light sabre.  They were a generation whose future had been sold out, forsaken, beguiled by the promises of a "sharing economy" that they were quick to realize was no more than a new kind of  wage slavery without rights, unions, or pensions.  They had grown up with fifteen-year wars that were going nowhere, crusades against all sorts of invisible enemies and evaporated paradises.  They were willing to believe in a Force and still are.

     Hillary was confident she could prevail.  She and her husband had run Democratic Conventions before, and thanks to that heritage, she possessed the Death Star of party politics -- the superdelegates who could un-vote any challenge.  Trump even made things so much easier, because how could Sanders refuse to submit with such an awful alternative confronting the nation?  But she just didn't get it.  Sanders knew deep down that he was probably going to lose, but he knew what he had to do to at least offer some future to the kids who were willing to try something new.  What was it Obi-wan said to Darth at the end of their duel? "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."  Hillary never realized that she could not win because she had always already discounted Sanders and his rebels.  She refused to admit her weak points, and there was not just one exhaust port that was not adequately shielded against ALL attacks.  

     Of course, the struggle is far from over.  In this galaxy, the Death Star of the two-party monopoly was never destroyed; in fact, it  was barely damaged.  The Sanderistas will have to count on some rough moments ahead. There will be more than one rout at Hoth to deal with. Yet this rebellion seems to have a lot of room to grow, as fewer and fewer of the youth accept the barrage of propaganda that is served up about the economy, foreign affairs, acceptable morality, or other chapters of the Prosperity Gospel that is forced on them.  Science fiction is speculation par excellence, but then again, so is politics, as anyone who ever doubted that we would be ruled by an orange-haired clown other than Bozo or Ronald McDonald can attest.  Reality may turn out to be stranger than science fiction.

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