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2016 And Beyond
The State of Our Union Is Bleak
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  • Andrew Allison

    This post completely misses the point. There is no GOP presidential meltdown and no establishment power vacuum. The GOP’s problem is essentially the same as that for the Democratic Party, namely that the establishments of both are completely out of touch with the electorate. The problem faced by the GOP establishment is that an anti-establish candidate is running away with the nomination. The Dems on the other hand have a deeply establishment candidate who has a 50/50 chance of being indicted for mishandling classified information. Both of them brought these problems upon themselves.

    • Jim__L

      Honestly, the best thing for relations between elites and the rest of this country would be for Hillary to get indicted for mishandling classified information.

      The rules apply to everyone.

      There is a grave problem with mishandling classified information, at the highest levels, determining the course of human events as documented on this site. Making an example of Hillary would be a very, very good thing.

      • Frank Natoli

        Every last person who has held a clearance has zero doubt that Hillary Rodham Clinton is in felony violation of everything someone with a clearance was warned not to do. What does it say about the state of “justice” in America when the question is whether she will escape indictment because she is of the “right” political party, not whether she broke the law?

        • Jim__L

          I have also heard the argument that because she is her party’s presumptive nominee, she should be exempted from such criminal prosecution.

          If that is a widespread idea, I fear for this country.

          • Andrew Allison

            Jim, I have not heard that. What I have heard is that a thoroughly politicized Dept. of Justice won’t prosecute an obvious crime.

        • Curt A.

          There is every reason to believe Mrs. Clinton will not be indicted because of what you so clearly explained in your last sentence.

        • Ben

          What? “Hillary did nothing wrong”, most certainly the Justice department will say, whom leadership was chosen either directly or indirectly by the former secretary of state. “Hillary did nothing wrong”, says her meatpuppets.

        • vinny

          What does it say of that same political party that knows the truth, knows policy and procedure and ignores both and refuses to indict when in the reverse they would insist the other party pay dearly. That party is driven by an ideology that has nothing to do with our founding or our laws as written but a pure unlimited power grab and the citizens and the country as we know it be damned. What should be done to a party who would use every effort to stay in power including the use of voter fraud on a scale never seen in our history. What does that say about the MSM who work in concert to allow it to persist. There are many things ripping this country apart and it has taken only seven of the worse years of this country’s history to make it unrecognizable.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Drat! We are back to agreeing again….(grin)

      • Andrew Allison

        Don’t worry, it can’t possibly last [grin]

    • Tom

      The problem, though, is that the GOP anti-establishment candidate is, frankly, unfit for office–which makes him little different from the Democratic establishment candidate.
      I do, however, agree that this is largely the establishment’s fault.

      • Jacksonian_Libertarian

        I’m of the opinion that Obama was completely unfit for office, and his failure to learn from his mistakes while getting On-The-Job training pretty much confirms it. I think it’s pretty much impossible for Trump to be worse than the “Worst President in American History – Obama”.

        • Tom

          Oh, it’s very possible. Trump could actually cause the Second American Civil War.

          • Angel Martin

            the States with strict gun laws, very few military bases, and very few residents who have served in the military, may start a civil war, but they won’t finish it.

          • Tom

            I don’t disagree, but I’d rather not have to bury 6-7 million dead Americans.

          • Anthony

            Tom, excluding independent clause, reflective of conscious American patriot. My regards.

          • Sherlocktoo

            I doubt 6-7 million would do it. Just think, over 50 million have been aborted, and they still think it is right. And you know how liberals will argue against the truth. Short war, but the numbers will be much higher.

          • Tom

            That 50 million is over the course of forty-three years. This would be over the course of two or three. And there would no room for debate.

          • Curt A.

            Well, you’d be surprise how hard a purse can hurt when you get hit with it………..and the women might get involved too.

          • irish19

            I see what you did there. 🙂

          • mail33006

            Good morning Tom- I would not put it out of the realm of possibility. But I think the Rubicon of outright violence would be crossed by the left, when it becomes apparent that the right will no longer acquiesce to their agenda. With the first display of backbone, the left’s “Social Justice Warriors” will go absolutely nuts. Their “protests” will rapidly devolve into violence and civil disruption, and at some point will be met with overwhelming force from both the State and the civilian Right. We will cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war. What America will look like on the other side of it will be anyone’s guess.

          • Mad Deranger

            With great trepidation, I agree with your anyalsis. However I fear that the forces of the state will be working at cross purposes. We could have different departments of govt. fighting or hindering each other. Nationwide Trade and transport would immediately fail. I am not sure that the govt. has the mental capacity to be effective.
            I too fear for the nation.

          • mail33006

            Mad- I agree. We could very easily see Homeland Security squaring off with local police or even the National Guard (until they get Federalized.) Left and Right wing local militias would spring into life, lines would be drawn based on race, class, every which way….what a mess.

          • Mad Deranger

            The problem would be departments running cross puropse to each other. Each department would have to compete against another department for resources in a rapidly decaying political outlook. With the total lack of leadership and integrity of upper management of govt., the default thinking of political hacks in govt. is the easiest and fastest to shift blame is the way to go. They will start blameing and hindering each other. Then the beans start getting spilled and skeletons come out of closets.

            I take a step back and look over what I see us as a nation now. I swear it looks like we are twenty minutes into a Jerry Springer show. However, one’s view of the world changes when a bullet goes zinging by your head. Mine sure did, thanks alot Bush sr.

          • mail33006

            I had the son to thank.

          • Mad Deranger

            And now, you and I now have to function in a disfuctional society. We came back disabused of alot of social blinders and I found out life is much simpler that everyone makes it out to be. Now, what to do with everyone who thinks that they are so smart that the can declare someone else a so and so and must do what they say in order to be proper.

            Oops, there I go and deviate from party orthodoxy again. I’ll just say “It’s all Bush/Obama’s fault!” That ought to earn us the Great American Award with oak clusters.

            mail, I’ll bet that after a few hours of your first direct combat experiance, that you figured out that ain’t nobody on this earth that is innocent except an infant. I sure did.

        • ljgude

          Yes, what we have here is a failure to learn. Cool Hand Obama went in a Postcolonial college professor and has not changed. I agree that it is unlikely that Trump would be worse than Obama, but to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi we’ll just have to elect him to find out.

        • Walrus

          The scary part about Trump is I don’t believe that a bully who has obvious trouble maintaining his composer should be anywhere near the nuclear button. In some of his interviews when confronted with negative remakrs someone has made about him, you can visibly see him taking deep breaths trying not to lose his cool, so it’s obviously a problem he struggles with. I don’t see Trump have the personality to negotiate himself out of a military crisis. As far as the economy goes, we can always work ourselves out of whatever harm he may do. We manage to work out of the great recession of 2008 and now have an economy that is much better, though there is always room for improvements, but still much better than 2008. I would much rather have the economy of today, than 2008.

    • ggm281

      Barack Obama was propelled into office after running on the idea that DC was broken and that partisanship was damaging the country and it’s unity. It was a powerful message. Too bad he didn’t try to live up to it.
      But you’re right, we don’t have record numbers of people affiliated with NEITHER party because the GOP has problems. The governing elite ARE the problem. On public mood polling people have lost faith in ALL their institutions, not just in government.

      • Andrew Allison

        Barack Obama was propelled into office by a monolithic racial vote, and both the country and the Democratic Party have paid a high price for it.

        • ggm281

          15% of the population is Black. He didn’t win because of minority voters.

          • Andrew Allison

            His margin was 3.86%, he received 96% of the 13% Black vote. Do the math.

          • ggm281

            And had it been Clinton, she would have received 96% of the Black vote too. Did you think they might have voted for McCain?

          • Anthony

            A consideration: research has demonstrated that the partisan brain has been reinforced – performing mental contortions that free it from unwanted beliefs. And you argue generally with such at a disadvantage (skilled arguers are not after the truth but after arguments supporting their views).

          • Andrew Allison

            Puerile as ever I see.

          • Anthony

            But how you see is question.

          • Andrew Allison

            What I and several others here see is that only a partisan could think that it was anything other than the color of Obama’s skin that got him elected. If you were trying to explain that to ggm281, I withdraw my comment [grin]

          • Andrew Allison

            Nope. Blacks represented 11% of the 2004 voters and 88% of them voted for Kerry. To what do you attribute the 18% increase in turnout and 8% swing in 2008? If Clinton manages to avoid indictment, she just might be “propelled into office” by the female vote. Which is fine, but let’s be clear about what’s going on.

          • Ben

            Alot, ALOT of young women hate her, majority young female vote in the DNC is for Sanders. Only older women who desperately want to see a female president before dying are voting for her, and only some of them in fact. At the DNC Caucus I met an old lady that told me she has followed Hillary Clinton for decades now, that’s why she is not voting for her. Hillary will not get 90% of the women vote, not ever 60%. Women know women: that is why they hate each other.

          • Andrew Allison

            I was trying to make the point that, at least on the left, we seem to have entered an age of identity (vote for me because I’m African-American, Female, Bat-s–t Crazy, etc.) rather than policy voting. If we assume that a Caucasian Dem will get close to 90% of the Black vote regardless of obvious criminality, she needs less than 50% of the female voters to win.

          • Anthony

            The social psychologist Tom Gilovich studies the cognitive mechanisms of strange beliefs. His simple formulation is that when we “want” to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Can I believe it?” Then we search for supporting evidence, and if we find a single piece of pseudo-evidence, we can stop thinking. We now have permission to believe. We have a justification, in case anyone asks.

            In contrast, when we “don’t” want to believe something, we ask ourselves, “Must I believe it?” Then we search for contrary evidence, and if we find a single reason to doubt the claim, we can dismiss it.

            As I am sure you know, people can literally see what they want to see – we can believe almost anything that supports our team. Remember, on this site you encounter many confirmatory thought not exploratory thought arguments.

          • sikologik

            Andrew didn’t attribute Barack Obama’s win to minority voters, he attributed it to a monolithic racial vote. Many, MANY white people took part in it.

          • CrazyHungarian

            Blacks are not the only ones who voted for him. Many others voted for him just “because it’s time for a black President”. He would have had zero chance if not for the color of his skin.

        • Walrus

          I have said for the last 8 years that the problem with the Republicans is that they have done a great job over the last 20 years or so with their anti-immigration rhetoric of turning away more minorities from their party. Some of the rhetoric by some of their supporters have cross the line into not so well veiled racism. In 2012, a Cuban American was interviewed in Florida and he said he voted for Obama, because he felt the Republican party didn’t respect Hispanics. (He wasn’t the only Hispanic to make those types of statements about the GOP) In that election more Cubans voted for Obama, than Romney. Cuban Americans have been voting Republican ever since the Bay of Pigs, so for the Republicans to start losing the Cuban vote in Florida is a huge shift. In their own autopsy after the debacle of 2012, the GOP said they had to do a better job of attracting minorities to their party. What do they do? They are on the verge of nominating a candidate that will set them back even further in attracting minorities. With every passing elections, there will be more and more minorities voting and fewer older white males, which is primarily the Republican base.

    • Gugliemus

      It’s not wrong to say that the two parties have brought our current problems upon themselves, but it’s also necessary to point out that the political class has had plenty of help and encouragement from us, the beloved people. We have demanded that our politicians give us big Social Security, big Medicare, big Medicaid, big Disability Insurance, and other big entitlement programs and benefits of all kinds. They’ve delivered. What’s more, we’ve also told our politicians that we the recipients don’t actually want to be taxed to pay for these programs. And again, they’ve listened; and delivered big government programs at a large discount. What’s not to like, other than our gargantuan and unsustainable national debt. Perhaps it’s time for Americans, including those who are “angry,” and who want to “send a message” to the political class, to take a hard look in the mirror.

      • Andrew Allison

        De Toquville wrote, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”, but the disassociation of the political elite is a difference issue. Incidentally, he also wrote, “Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” I supect that he didn’t mean the slavery to the State in which much of the population now lives.

      • Hypernonpartisan

        More succinctly, we want generous benefits, low taxes, and a balanced budget. Politicians who point out that we can only have two of those quickly find themselves pursuing a new career.

      • Sherlocktoo

        In 2008, when america voted, they voted for jobs, a growing economy (short recession). What they have received is welfare! Just think, 18 million workers are now receiving welfare, when what they hope for was a secure job, or a new better job. With 90 million plus workers now out of work, we now see what “hope and change” really means. And with our workforce precipitation rate now at 62.3%, we are once again living in the Carter years. When things do get better, even the democrats will have to admit how bad the Obama years were. Hopefully this will be the last community organizer ever elected.

    • 1952rmdg

      You are very on point with your comments. It appears to me that Mead is always showing his elitist condescension and detachment from the economic, social, and political realities for most, average Americans, which is why I rarely read him anymore.

    • http://www.paulfrantizek.com/ Paul Frantizek

      No kidding. This was pretty striking to me:

      “Our political system is in deep trouble, and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help, superdelegates on the Republican side…”

      So the solution to the GOP establishment’s lack of legitimacy among its base is to gather even more power unto itself and lock the base out even further? Yeah, about that…

    • Ben

      “namely that the establishments of both are completely out of touch with the electorate” NAILED IT! On the Right there is now a majority chance the establishment will lose, while on the left the establishment and their candidate have things better nailed down, resulting in much lower turnout, reduced enthusiasms and even the possibility of losing all those Sanders voters who will not vote for Shillary, whom they see as irredeemably corrupt, even some will vote for Trump in the hopes of “burning it all down” and placing democrats in a better position for full democrat control and Warren run in 2020.

      Either way establishment mood grows stronger, and if the establishment on either side (or both) wins this election cycle, next election cycle will likely be even worse. Unless the fundamental problems of income inequality, social stagnation, and ever decreasing outlook for the future by the majority of the citizenry, is dealt with, and soon. Occupy Wallstreet was nothing, a drunk frat party, compared to what will come in the next recession if these moods keep up. Eventually people will revolt, for when you think you have no future, when you see no one at top fighting for you, you have nothing to lose and everyone to kill.

  • GS

    The superdelegates are poison, and should be prohibited everywhere, rather than introduced where they are not. The “elites” are to be hobbled at every opportunity, lest they wax more arrogant than is proper. Ef them.

  • WigWag

    “Our political system is in deep trouble, and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help (superdelegates on the Republican side…)” (Walter Russell Mead)

    So Professor Mead thinks one of the solutions to the increasing estrangement between American elites and average Anericans is to give GOP elites more power in the form of super delegates, just as the Democrats have.

    How extraordinarily revealing this is. Mead can’t abide the fact that, at least so far, Trump is winning the old fashioned way; he’s winning more votes than his opponents. Mead, like his fellow elites, can’t stand Trump because he knows that Trump and his supporters have nothing but contempt for the hectoring class that Mead is ensconced in. What’s Mead’s solution? Take away the votes of the plebes and give more power to the elites.

    Great work, Professor Mead; without even intending to, you’ve shown us exactly who you are

    • Pete

      Poor old Mead walked into that one.

    • adk

      “… Trump and his supporters have nothing but contempt for the hectoring class ”
      But does he have anything else that would help him a) win the general election and b) actually govern?

      • Fat_Man

        “… Trump and his supporters have nothing but contempt …”

        And that is all they have. Demagoguery is the predicable disease of Democracy. Madison and the Founding Fathers knew that, and wrote the Constitution to ward that off. Sadly, we have tried to dismantle those prudent safeguards, Trump is the proof that we have gone to far. There is some irony in the fact that the Democrat Party, which has led the charge in dismantling the Constitution and turning it into a “living” document, may be beaten by the monster they helped unleash.

        • adk

          I consider the Clinton Machine a monster as well, so it may very well come down to a monster vs. monster competition. If I were an alien observer ready to depart back to my fine planet, it would be fun to watch.

        • GS

          Trump [as a politician] is the product of 7 years of obamery. Had obaa not happened, neither would Donald Trump.

          • adk

            Yes, Obama and Democrats behaving as they did all these last seven years are a big reason for Trump’s incredible rise. Now many on the right just gave up on Republicans and want “their bastard” in the WH.

          • Robert McManus

            Yes,exactly! I’d prefer Cruz, but if Trump wins the nomination I will happily vote for him for this reason.

        • Jim__L

          Trump is not “proof we have gone too far”. Trumplike figures were anticipated by the Founders.

          Trump is a test of whether anyone in the political class has the guts to use the Constitution’s checks and balances properly. They failed with Obama. Will they succeed this time?

      • WigWag

        Does he have what it takes to win the general election? It’s hard to know for sure, but nobody thought he could secure the GOP nomination and he’s on the way to doing that. If nominated he might beat Clinton and he might not. The same thing is true for Cruz, Kasich and Rubio. Trump has defied all expectations so far which makes him as good a bet to beat Clinton as the others.

        Does he have what it takes to govern? It’s a matter of opinion. I think Trump has good ideas while the other GOP candidates don’t. He opposes trade agreements that are turning the white working class into an underclass. He almost singlehandedly brought the issue of illegal immigrants pushing down working class wages to the fore. He’s the only one to oppose starting wars that we don’t plan to win. And he’s the only candidate to insist that America’s faux-allies pay some of the freight for the protection we provide them. That all sounds pretty good to me and it’s an agenda that none of the other candidates in either political party shares.

        Rubio, Cruz and Clinton are owned lock, stock and barrel by the donor class. Rubio would sell Anerican workers down the river in a heart beat if it means his hedge fund honeys could earn one extra dollar. Cruz is a psychopath who would happily eliminate social security and Medicare if he could get away with it. Clinton is a sniveling hypocrite who talks out of both sides of her mouth. She hates Wall Street but she makes millions speaking to financial companies like Goldman Sachs. She supports Israel, while she lambasts Netanyahu at Obama’s request. She’s a feminists feminist except when it comes to expressing any outrage at her husband’s behavior.

        Could Trump actually govern? Hard to say, but at least he has ideas worth implementing. His GOP and Democratic opponents don’t.

        • adk

          http://www.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/188936/trump-negative-image.aspx
          “At this point (two-week average through Jan. 27), 33% of Americans view Trump favorably and 60% unfavorably…Hillary Clinton currently has a 52% unfavorable rating among all Americans” –Gallup

          And that’s even before serious dirt-digging of Trump began, before his little controversy with KKK, before other Republican contenders started attacking him. So you are currently in the minority and, given Trump’s public outbursts and squabbling with other Republicans (so far), I strongly suspect that that’s where he and you will remain. And wait until we start learning, in detail, about Trump’s personal life and business dealings. His faithful followers, like you, will probably claim that all that doesn’t matter, but to those 60% I suspect, again, it will.

          If Rubio, Cruz and Clinton “are owned lock, stock and barrel by the donor class”, who do you think Trump represents? He IS the donor class. Or, rather a donor class for there are different donor groups with varied business and other interests. But to think that he’s going to selflessly defend the interests of the little guy in America — please, you can’t possibly be that, um, naive.

          Then there’s that little business of being Commander-in-Chief. For this reason alone, I wouldn’t want to see a man of Trump’s temperament, character and knowledge anywhere near the Oval Office (same, btw, applies to Clinton).

    • Curt A.

      Pow! A solid right to the jaw! OTOH, people like Mead who at least attempt to write accurately about the issue, don’t have to be in sympathy with it. His descriptions of America transitioning from the “Blue Model” into something as yet unknown, are pretty solid.

  • Arkeygeezer

    This is the way a representative Republic works. Political parties come and go, or transform themselves as the people wish. If you want government of the people, by the people, and for the people; then listen to the people.

    Sure, they are a noisy, course, irrational bunch, but thank the Lord that we live in a country that allows us all to have a say. The process has produced a stable government with only one civil war in over 200 years.

    Democracy in action! On with the show!

    • Loader2000

      Both Rome and Germany had democracy too until they voted and/or supported populist demagogues who later seized power. You could even say the same thing about the Gaza strip. You can believe in the principle of democracy (or really, a republic) while still despairing where the people want to take the nation. I don’t believe DT will become a dictator. Our democracy is much to strong for that, right now at least. However, politics is a game. Part of the game is choosing an electable candidate, even if you would prefer one who supports your views more fully. People often underestimate how different other people think than they do and assume that a candidate they prefer is electable. If republicans are going to vote with their emotions instead of their heads, the result may well be another 12 years of democratic presidents. If that’s what they choose, so be it. On the other had, if voting for DT, even if/when he loses, causes the republican party to listen a little bit more to the angry down and outs in their party (for the next election) who feel like their concerns are never addressed, maybe it will do some good. Who knows.

      • Arkeygeezer

        Trump has been compared to Benito Mussolini. They look alike and effect some of the same mannerisms.

        Benito Mussolini came to power promising and more efficient government, governed by the elite men of Italy regardless of class, and to return the country to the glory of Rome. In the 1920’s he consolidated the fractious country, made the government efficient, improved the infrastructure, and was very popular in Italy. “He made the trains run on time!” However, the Italian system did not have the checks and balances that we enjoy. Mussolini became too powerful, founded fascism, teamed up with Adolph Hitler, and started WW2.

        Donald Trump promises to make the government more efficient by bringing in smarter people that know what they are doing, and “to make America great again”. He loves everybody regardless of social or economic status. If he becomes President he might do some good and our system of checks and balances will contain him. It has done a pretty good job of containing Barak Obama, the Franklin Roosevelt of the 1930’s, Woodrow Wilson, and Teddy Roosevelt; and will do the same with any other President.

        • Wayne Lusvardi

          “Trump has been compared to Bennito Mussolini. They look alike and affect some of the same mannerisms”

          Whatever Trump is or is not, judge for yourself. Excerpt from Wikipedia:

          Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (Italian pronunciation: [beˈniːto mussoˈliːni];[1] 29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italianpolitician, journalist, and leader of theNational Fascist Party, ruling the country asPrime Minister from 1922 until his ousting in 1943. He ruled constitutionally until 1925, when he dropped all pretense of democracy and set up a legal dictatorship. Known as Il Duce (“the leader”), Mussolini was the founder of fascism.[2][3][4]

          In 1912 Mussolini was the leading member of the National Directorate of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI).[5] Prior to 1914 he was a keen supporter of the Socialist International, starting the series of meetings in Switzerland[6] that organised the communist revolutions and insurrections that swept through Europe from 1917. Mussolini was expelled from the PSI due to his opposition to the party’s stance on neutrality in World War I.

          Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After destroying all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[7] Mussolini and his fascist followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state.

          Following the March on Rome in October 1922 he became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history until the appointment of Matteo Renzi in February 2014. After destroying all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes,[7] Mussolini and his fascist followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state.

          He worked briefly as a stonemason in Geneva, Fribourg and Bern, but was unable to find a permanent job.

          During this time he studied the ideas of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, thesociologist Vilfredo Pareto, and the syndicalist Georges Sorel. Mussolini also later credited the Marxist Charles Péguy and the syndicalist Hubert Lagardelle as some of his influences.[20] Sorel’s emphasis on the need for overthrowing decadent liberal democracyand capitalism by the use of violence, direct action, the general strike, and the use of neo-Machiavellian appeals to emotion, impressed Mussolini deeply.[13]

          Mussolini became active in the Italian socialist movement in Switzerland, working for the paperL’Avvenire del Lavoratore, organizing meetings, giving speeches to workers and serving as secretary of the Italian workers’ union inLausanne.[21] In 1903, he was arrested by the Bernese police because of his advocacy of a violent general strike, spent two weeks in jail, was deported to Italy, set free there, and returned to Switzerland.[22] In 1904, having been arrested again in Geneva and expelled for falsifying his papers, he returned to Lausanne, where he attended the University of Lausanne’s Department of Social Science, following the lessons of Vilfredo Pareto.[23] In December 1904, he returned to Italy to take advantage of an amnesty for desertion, for which he had been convicted in absentia.[24]

          n February 1909,[27] Mussolini once again left Italy, this time to take the job as the secretary of the labor party in the Italian-speaking city of Trento, which at the time was part of Austria-Hungary. He also did office work for the local Socialist Party, and edited its newspaper L’Avvenire del Lavoratore (The Future of the Worker). Returning to Italy, he spent a brief time in Milan, and then in 1910 he returned to his hometown of Forlì, where he edited the weekly Lotta di classe (The Class Struggle).

          Mussolini thought of himself as an intellectual. He read a great deal of political philosophy in French and German, and translated excerpts from Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Kant. His favorites in European philosophy included Sorel, the Italian Futurists Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, French Socialist Gustave Hervé, and Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta.[28][29]

          In September 1911, Mussolini participated in a riot, led by socialists, against the Italian war in Libya. He bitterly denounced Italy’s “imperialist war”, an action that earned him a five-month jail term.[32]After his release he helped expel from the Socialist Party two “revisionists” who had supported the war, Ivanoe Bonomi, and Leonida Bissolati. As a result, he was rewarded the editorship of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti! Under his leadership, its circulation soon rose from 20,000 to 100,000.[33]

          In 1913, he published Giovanni Hus, il veridico (Jan Hus, true prophet), an historical and political biography about the life and mission of the Czech ecclesiastic reformer Jan Hus, and his militant followers, the Hussites. During this socialist period of his life Mussolini sometimes used the pen name “Vero Eretico” (“sincere heretic”).[34]

          Mussolini opposed egalitarianism. For instance Mussolini was influenced by Nietszche’s anti-Christian ideas and negation of God’s existence.[35] Mussolini saw Nietzsche as similar to Jean-Marie Guyau, who advocated a philosophy of action.[35] Mussolini’s use of Nietzsche made him a highly unorthodox socialist, due to Nietzsche’s promotion of elitism and anti-egalitarian views. Mussolini felt that socialism had faltered due to the failures of Marxist determinism and social democratic reformism, and believed that Nietzsche’s ideas would strengthen socialism. While associated with socialism, Mussolini’s writings eventually indicated that he had abandoned Marxism and egalitarianism in favor of Nietzsche’s übermensch concept and anti-egalitarianism.[35]

          By the time he returned from Allied service in World War I, there was very little left of Mussolini the socialist. Indeed, he was now convinced that socialism as a doctrine had largely been a failure. In 1917, Mussolini got his start in politics with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5 (the equivalent of £6000 today), to keep anti-war protestors at home and publish pro-war propaganda. This help was authorized by Sir Samuel Hoare.[58] In early 1918, Mussolini called for the emergence of a man “ruthless and energetic enough to make a clean sweep” to revive the Italian nation.[59] Much later in life Mussolini said he felt by 1919 “Socialism as a doctrine was already dead; it continued to exist only as a grudge”.[60]

          . The ideological basis for fascism came from a number of sources. Mussolini utilized works of Plato, Georges Sorel,Nietzsche, and the socialist and economic ideas of Vilfredo Pareto, to create fascism. Mussolini admired The Republic, which he often read for inspiration.[63] The Republic held a number of ideas that fascism promoted such as rule by an elite promoting the state as the ultimate end, opposition to democracy, protecting the class system and promoting class collaboration, rejection of egalitarianism, promoting the militarization of a nation by creating a class of warriors, demanding that citizens perform civic duties in the interest of the state, and utilizing state intervention in education to promote the creation of warriors and future rulers of the state.[64] The Republic differed from fascism in that it did not promote aggressive war but only defensive war. Also unlike fascism, it promoted very communist-like views on property. Plato was an idealist, focused on achieving justice and morality, while Mussolini and fascism were realist, focused on achieving political goals.[65]

          The Fascisti, led by one of Mussolini’s close confidants, Dino Grandi, formed armed squads of war veterans called Blackshirts (or squadristi) with the goal of restoring order to the streets of Italy with a strong hand. The blackshirts clashed with communists, socialists, and anarchists at parades and demonstrations; all of these factions were also involved in clashes against each other. The government rarely interfered with the blackshirts’ actions, owing in part to a looming threat and widespread fear of a communist revolution. The Fascisti grew so rapidly that within two years, it transformed itself into the National Fascist Party at a congress in Rome. Also in 1921, Mussolini was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time.[15] In the meantime, from about 1911 until 1938, Mussolini had variousaffairs with the Jewish author and academic Margherita Sarfatti, called the “Jewish Mother of Fascism” at the time.[79]

          • stefanstackhouse

            Trump has the superficial manner of Mussolini, but Il Duce was far more of a cultured intellectual than Donald Trump could ever be.

          • Wayne Lusvardi

            Oh I couldn’t agree more. After all Mussolini read Nietszche and sexually assaulted women in his office. What a fine specimen of high culture he was.

        • Leftthecoast4Texas

          Benito had black shirt thugs and Hitler had the Brownshirts. Your analogy is superficial and ignorant of the social turmoil that Italy and Germany were in those days that led to those tyrannies. Just as Carter’s Dem Congress was his worst enemy, so would Trump’s GOP Congress be to him, thus the wisdom of The Founders checks and balances to keep any would be tyrant at bay, even Obama, whose EO’s have been overturned by the courts with every challenge.

          • stefanstackhouse

            We don’t have the black shirts or brown shirts . . . yet! I do worry that we are not very far away from something like that, though.

        • Walrus

          I also see a lot of similarities between Trump’s speeches and actions and Hitler too. Like Trump, Hitler also wanted immigrants out and blamed all of Germany’s problems on immigrants and minorities. He also wanted minorities on a “database”. Hitler also wanted to and did curtail the press. They both were are in favor of building “walls” to keep the foreigners out. The next thing you know, he will be claiming that there are too many Liberals judges on the court that are hindering his agenda. It doesn’t surprise me that we are seeing reports how he had this fascination with HItler and Nazi. He obviously studied them.
          I am not saying he’s going to start opening concentration camps, though I am sure he would love to open one for Muslims. Maybe this is some kind of social experiment he is doing out of boredom tying to see if American would actually fall for a demagogue, like Germany did in the 30’s. It’s interesting that in 1997 when asked whether he would run for President, he said “If I was to run, I would run as a Republican, because they have the stupidest voters. All they do is watch FOX News and believe it and I could just lie, lie, lie and my numbers would be huge”. Is he actually following through with what he said almost 20 years ago to prove a point? A week and a half ago at his victory rally in Nevada he was excited about winning the uneducated vote. “If you recall he repeatedly said “I LOOVEE the uneducated”. I thought he’s insulting his own voters and they are cheering him. .I guess we’ll see if this is just a game to him.

  • Boritz

    ” But it’s looking more and more that no matter which party ‘wins’ this bizarre election contest, the clear loser is the United States.”

    This has been true since 1992, and super delegates would not help. The messy but highly democratic process you call a meltdown will do less harm than the anti-democratic solution you propose.

  • qet

    “and the disintegration of a shared national intellectual and cultural framework for discussing the issues that confront us.”

    I find WRM’s uncharacteristic pessimism refreshing. There are times when it is right to be pessimistic, and these are one of those times.

    People like Daniel Boorstin, Robert Dahl and Gabriel Almond argued that what made American democracy work was the unspoken underlying “cultural consensus” on basic truths and values. That consensus, which was so evident to the political and social scientists of the 1940s and 50s, has not simply “”disintegrated” but has been actively and purposefully disintegrated by the Left, and mostly by the Left in the Academy, according to fashionable intellectualisms that don’t survive even the most cursory scrutiny. Without that cultural consensus, our constitutional order cannot survive. That does not mean that America cannot survive as a geographical place with a large population. It just means that the uniquely American civilization that in 2 centuries surpassed every other civilization will cease to exist.

    Like the first Israel, our Leftist elites want “that we also may be like all the nations.” Being not merely ignorant of history but proudly so, they of course have no idea what will be the consequences of that impulsive demand.

    • Jim__L

      I like the analysis, but do not share the pessimism.

      As Buckley liked to say, “Despair is a mortal sin”.

      • qet

        Despair is not exactly right. More like bracing oneself for the coming deluge.

        • Jim__L

          I think it would be a very good time to start talking cheerfully and energetically about re-asserting the Constitutional limits on the Executive branch, including the Constitutional limits on the Federal government generally.

          I’m most enjoying the prospect of having such conversations with Liberals (and principled Conservatives) on the eve of Trump’s inauguration. Picturing their energy and enthusiasm for the subject is heartwarming.

          • White Knight Leo

            … The thought of liberals seriously asking conservatives to return to the Constitution warms my heart. I’m not even Christian, but this really feels like it would be a prodigal son moment, yeah?

          • http://www.paulfrantizek.com/ Paul Frantizek

            The problem there is that the left’s enthusiasm for ‘checks and balances’ in that case would be nothing more than a transparent and opportunistic attempt to freeze in their agenda in the guise of a ‘respect the process’ status quo.

            Sadly, since the status quo involves the neoliberal open borders and transnational trade agreements that the GOP establishment loves so much, there would be a ready and willing constituency for such a tack. I hope whoever wins has the good judgment to recognize such a tactic for what it is.

          • Peter Miller

            Sorry, free and open trade is not an establishment issue. It is a key pillar of conservative policy for 50 years, well backed by empirical research and evidence.

          • Guest

            The past cannot be restored in a meaningful way. Only appearances can be repeated.

          • Jim__L

            So what do you think of the Renaissance?

          • Guest

            Historical processes and forces are immutable, but they play on social, economic, and political phenomena which are random. The Renaissance wasn’t the restoration of Classical Antiquity, any more than repetition of Tang Dynasty forms by Ming Dynasty bureaucrats and eunuchs constituted a restoration of the Golden Age. History is not circular, nor is it linear. History is random. Classical Antiquity and the Renaissance differed in fundamentals, e.g., the rise of the concept of individual liberty, the effect of Roman Catholic orthodoxy, etc.

          • Jim__L

            Perhaps I should have used the word “Revival” rather than “Renaissance”.

            History is chaotic. The hands of the small turn the wheels of the world, while the eyes of the great look elsewhere.

            So, keep fighting the good fight. You don’t know when one of your smallest acts will echo in eternity. =)

          • Peter Miller

            It would be nice, but don’t forget how difficult it was just to implement welfare and tax reform in the 90s. What you’re suggesting, when the details are considered, is several orders of magnitude greater.

      • charlesrwilliams

        As the prophet David said: “Put not your trust in princes or sons of men in whom there is no salvation.” Despair is a sin but it is just realism to despair of America. We are living through the collapse of a civilization and there is no fix for it.

    • cecil91

      Excellent post.

    • MoreFreedom2

      What “made American democracy work”, which I’d rephrase as what made America a prosperous nation, was government limited to protecting our lives, our property, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness from those who’d harm us. With emphasis on “limited.” It’s a basic truth that government is simply force used against individuals, thus the better we behave (being responsible for ourselves and not harming others) the less of it we need, and the less government takes from us to do its job. In net, freedom made us prosperous.

      This is reflected in the amount government spent: from 1792 thru about 1910, the federal government consumed less than 3% of what we produced (our GDP), but today it’s over 22% not including the costs of government mandates.

      In essence, we’ve voted for more government to take from others to give us stuff (Social Security, Medicare, welfare, healthcare, etc.). You can’t have freedom unless you are first willing to give it to others. And a democratic government where two wolves and a sheep can vote on what’s for dinner isn’t freedom. We’ve lost the limits to government, and our prosperity as a result.

      • Alan Hubbard

        Super post-I couldn’t agree more. Every time I’m in a discussion with some liberal relatives and I say that we need to get the government the hell out of our lives I get the, “So you don’t want to drive on highways and don’t care about air pollution”, as if though we will be a Nanny State or anarchy, no room for something sensible in between.

      • Larry LaHue

        If you remember your history, Thomas Jefferson believed the Federal government had three roles: Deliver the mail, build roads, defend the country. How quaint.

        • mulp

          President Andrew Jackson believed the role of government was to kill the Indians so white sons of immigrants could get more land handed to them by government so they could breed more black property to work for no pay. Those were the good old days conservatives seem to want to return to.

          • odetocentipede

            Demagoguery, straw man, a bit of ad hominem thrown in. Nice rhetorical flourish there mulp, shallow as it may be.

          • Gary Hemminger

            What a terrible comment. This kind divisive commentary is what is wrong with our country. Uncivilized behavior and speech is unacceptable. Left or right it doesn’t matter. Your comment is embarrassing.

      • disqus_mfERPWUv3H

        “You can’t have freedom unless you are first willing to give it to others. ”

        Your statement is one of the most thought provoking and powerful that I’ve read. Much to chew on there.

    • Wmn04Ken07

      Chin up. Sally forth. Dog paddle if we must.

    • stefanstackhouse

      Restoring a fancied “golden age” from a half century ago just isn’t going to happen. The world is very different now, and so is the USA.

      Building a renewed and better country just could be on the table, however. It is a big and difficult project, and won’t happen unless we make it happen. The American people themselves are first going to have to accept that if they want a better country, this is going to have to be mostly their project; no leader dashing in on a white horse is going to do it for us. We as a whole are only going to get better if we as individuals strive to get better. Then we need to get better at working together in our local communities for community betterment. It is only through such a transformation at the grass roots that we can have any hope of seeing real progress.

      Yes, we do also need a better government and better people to run it. That can only come as a consequence of a grass-roots transformation. If the country is to become better, it will have to start at the bottom rather than the top.

      The next four years will only help by making this reality clear beyond any dispute. Hopefully, 2017-2020 will be the time when the American people finally give up hope that our politicians and parties can solve all our problems and save America, and realize that it really is up to us, individually and collectively.

  • rheddles

    Did WRM really think the Blue Model was going to be replaced without the collapse of the establishment and its dependent serfs that profited so much from it? More chaotic conditions are to come. My real fear is that one of our enemies will misread our chaos for weakness and make a mistake that results in war. But then wars are good for moral clarity and unity of action. The forge of a new model army.

    • Frank Natoli

      My real fear is that one of our enemies will misread our chaos for weakness
      Are you suggesting that a genuinely contested [Republican] primary race, in a democracy, is “chaos”?
      IMHO, the twice elected President, inarguably the preference of the country [else he would have been cast out on round two], demonstrated catastrophic American weakness with his Iran deal.
      As much as I prefer Cruz over Trump, I do believe a President Trump would never have done an Iran deal like President Obama, and will project a strong not weak America. Europeans who did nothing but complain about “cowboy” GWB, now do nothing but complain about absent BHO, are not to be regarded seriously.

      • Tom

        I think rheddles was referring to the chaos of the collapse of the Blue Model.

        • rheddles

          I’m also thinking of the chaos that could ensue from a third party candidate entering the race after a contested convention and the indictment of a candidate before a convention resulting in a fourth party candidate appearing on November ballots with the un-won elecvtion being thrown into the House.

  • MikePM

    For those of you readers who may be on the younger side, say 35 and under, what you probably don’t know because the media will never tell you, is that almost all of the hatred and invective being hurled at Donald Trump today is basically identical to what was being said about Ronald Reagan back in the ’70s and ’80s.

    Much like now, that period of our history was a period of general economic misery and despair across much of the country. I know, because I was there. In many ways in fact, it was actually even worse back then than it is now. And just like Trump, the core of Reagan’s candidacy was “We’re going to make American great again.” He never used that exact phrase, and he was less crude and a far better wordsmith than Trump is, but that in fact was the crux of his entire campaign.

    And you know what? He did exactly that, and eventually turned the country completely around and became one of the great presidents of the 20th century. Today of course, every old timer republican will tell you that they always revered Reagan from day one, but the real truth is that many in the establishment and the insider groups actually feared and despised him in the early days. Many truly thought that he would singlehandedly cause World War III and start a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. That never happened. In fact, he helped to usher in the Soviet Union’s collapse without ever firing a single missile or bullet at them.

    There’s nothing new under the sun. History runs in ever repeating cycles, and what’s old eventually becomes new again. Don’t allow the hatred of the status quo gatekeepers to unduly influence your opinion. Think for yourself, and go with your heart. You’ll almost always be right.

    • Laurence Levin

      I was around then and agree the situation is fairly similar. I remember being scared when Reagan became president but by the end I was pretty impressed (even with the Iran Contra scandal). The problem is that Trump is no Reagan. Reagan did have experience as being a reasonably good governor of California and more importantly had a strong and deep held set of principles and core values that guided him through his presidency. I don’t think Trump has that. At worst he could be a joke like Berlusconi or more likely, ineffectual like Schwarzenegger was in California. The problem I have with Hilary is that I don’t trust her, that she will end up being very divisive and she will not get little push back from the bureaucracy or the media. At least Trump will get a lot of push back.

      • Gene

        Yep, Trump would drive both Congress and the press so crazy that they might actually decide to do their jobs again.

    • Angel Martin

      it was way worse against Reagan. The left tried to sell the story that if “Raygun” was elected, the world would be come lifeless in the nuclear winter that followed nuclear war.

      Of course, when the Soviet Union and the Warsaw pact collapsed, the Democrats claimed that the Cold War was an equal bipartisan effort, and that they were with Reagan all the way.

      • Boritz

        Their other argument now is that the collapse of the Soviet Union was inevitable and Reagan was simply occupying space when it happen. Proof of this inevitability is the fact that the collapse happened.

      • Fthoma

        They actually credit Gorbachev with the win.

  • Roy_Lofquist

    “Democratic turnout has fallen drastically since 2008, the last time the party had a contested primary, with roughly three million fewer Democrats voting in the 15 states that have held caucuses or primaries through Tuesday,”

    And the Republican turnout is up – way, way up. This strikes me as being very odd, given historic turnout patterns. Firstly, it is a bit of a stretch to call the Democratic primary contested. Sanders is a novelty candidate, hyped by the media to give the Democrats some air time. Secondly, 11 of the 15 primaries/caucuses so far have been “open” – people can vote across party lines.

    I think that there has been a very large crossover. The remaining contests, the winner-take-all states, are closed. We’ll know more after this weekend when 4 states have closed elections. And even more after March 15.

    • Ben

      Well this weekend we see Sanders and Clinton still tieing, so clearly by your logic the democrats are mostly split, we see Cruz and Trump mostly tieing, so clearly the republicans are mostly split. There is massive party disfranchisement on other sides.

    • Walrus

      I think you’re right about the turnout on the Dems side. For one thing in 2008, they actually had a contested primary and a candidate that was causing a lot of excitement. (Republicans have that this year in Trump) However, this is hardly a contested primary. I don’t think anyone thought or thinks Sanders has a snow ball chance in heck of winning or even keeping it close in the delegate count. I don’t dislike Sanders, though his ideas would never work in this country, but he doesn’t have a chance to win the nomination. The funny thing is he’s probably the ONLY candidate that has higher favorability than unfavorability numbers and if the polls on Real Clear Politics are correct (and in 2012 their polls leaned Right), he actually beats every GOP candidate in a hypothetical match up in November and mostly by significant margins. Anyway with it pretty much decided on the Dems’ side, there isn’t much of an incentive for the casual voter to get out and vote.

  • Pete

    1. “…… and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help (superdelegates on the Republican side, ”

    In what way are super delegated a fix? This so-called fix is a sneaky way for the establishment to squash the GOP base.

    2. With affluence comes rot ,and America is very affluent

  • jeburke

    What we need is to bring back party bosses. In the absence of anyone who actually has a stake in the health of the party as an institution, individual candidates chasing their fleeting personal interests will sooner or later cause havoc.

  • Beauceron

    “Our political system is in deep trouble”

    It’s not just the political system that is in deep trouble. The country itself is in deep trouble. Mass immigration that has wrecked livable wages, rising crime, rising racial tensions, and an electorate that is, rightfully, seething with anger in some quarters and numbingly apathetic in others.

    That is a recipe for disaster– frankly, the very best we can hope for is to muddle through. And given the two prospective Presidential candidates, a boorish narcissist and a criminal liar, I don’t think there is much hope for the best.

    I think the US is going to fall at some point. Whether that will be a slow, managed descent or a spectacular without rule of law collapse remains to be seen. One thing is sure: the political parties– the Democrats’ poisonous, hate-fueled identity politics and the Republicans’ Chamber of Commerce “the business of America is business” dehumanizing rancor– has wrecked this country, probably beyond repair.

  • Anthony

    I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them.” (Baruch Spinoza)

    The State of our Union (and the amorphous elite bashing – Newton’s Third Law applied to politics) mirroring a moral and spiritual reflecting frayed bonds declares WRM. Hmmmm…if only so simple. Times are certainly both fractious and serious but I wonder how many Americans want honest discussion of issues that confront us (Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion).

    On the other side as we approach a critical presidential election: “when an economy stagnates…the importance people attach to living better than others against whom they naturally compare themselves is more intense. The fact they cannot do so, or at least on average cannot, then takes on heightened importance in their eyes. The resulting frustration generates intolerance, ungenerosity, and resistance to greater openness to individual opportunity. It also erodes people’s willingness to trust one another, which in turn is a key prerequisite for a successful democracy.”

  • Angel Martin

    “real problems are more dangerous and harder to treat: A moral and spiritual collapse that has frayed the bonds between the country’s ordinary people and those who seek to lead them, a hollowing out of institutions from Congress and political parties to local churches and civic life, and the disintegration of a shared national intellectual and cultural framework”

    Well, all that may be a contributing factor, but I don’t think that any realistic discussion about the state of the country can ignore the economic decline of the middle class.

    The purchasing power of the average wage peaked in the early 1970’s, and has been below that ever since. (40+ years!) And the average masks the decline in blue-collar incomes, as almost all of the gains have gone to the top quartile of income earners.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/09/for-most-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/

    If you want to get people really angry, continuous declines in real income will do it.

  • ljgude

    Sean Trend’s recent analysis of who Trump’s voters are at Real Clear Politics shows that he does best among those with a high school education. His opponents do better among the more educated demographics of Republican voters. It should be pretty clear who these people are to readers here – they are what WRM called Jacksonians. I grew up in the fifties by family and education to be a Jeffersonian, but I also grew up in rural America among Jacksonians. As I have come to know myself better over the years I have realized that while my head might be Jeffersonian, my heart is Jacksonian. Believe me I struggled during the Vietnam War. I was against it, but wasn’t against those who fought that war. I would not stand with those who chanted, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Mhin.” And I was ashamed of the anti war movement when I went to dinner with a friend who had gone to West Point and discovered that he didn’t wear his uniform because of the trouble it caused him on the street. That was after three tours, three years getting shot at on “The Street Without Joy.” But it wasn’t until well after the war that I realized that the US had stopped the North Vietnamese with air support to the South Vietnamese Army the first time the North violated the peace accords and could have done so again, but instead defunded the war. And we all know who did that. The Democrats. And we all know who gave them the opportunity – Richard M Nixon who got himself thrown out of office and left Nice Dumb Gerry to mind the store. And then there was Bush who created chaos in Iraq and restored some semblance of order through Petraeus and a relatively small group of Jacksonian volunteers who fought street by street, house by house in places like Tel Afar, Ramadi and Mosul. As my son asked when the IS retook those towns.:”How must the men who fought so hard to take those places feel?”

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The Republican primary isn’t in “Meltdown”, this is what the “Feedback of Competition” looks like, and it’s a much better condition than the “coronation of the next in line” that has been the norm for the Republican Party. Remember, it’s the “Feedback of Competition” that provides both the Information and Motivation which forces continuous improvements in Quality, Service, and Price in free markets. And the “Feedback of Competition” applies to every type of human activity.

  • Curt A.

    Sometimes there is much more going on than what appears on the surface. I wonder if this will become an across-the-board insurgency against elitism at all levels? Will it filter down to our educational system, particularly the college campuses where rampant and cancerous political correctness has all but killed off vibrant free speech debates about serious national issues? Will it cause education at the elementary and secondary schools to be returned to control of the state governments as it was originally intended? The Trump candidacy may in fact be the vanguard of the long simmering backlash by those who for years, have bristled at being demeaned, disregarded and largely ( in their perception ) taken for granted. This could be the beginning of a tectonic shift in American society. At my age I will not live to see it’s final result but I do hope to live long enough to see the foundation.

  • Sherman Richard

    It’s demagoguery to stop illegals from unlawfully taking American jobs or Muslims from killing us at work?
    No wonder people want to see the American Establishment – on both sides of the political aisle – guillotined.

  • redmanrt

    “The Republicans are suffering from an establishment power vacuum that has allowed a demagogue to very nearly take control of the party”

    The potential power vacuum is on the dim side, and therefore a lot of republican candidates have rushed in to try and fill the vacuum. Apparently they still think it’s fun to be president.

    For ye have the establishment always with you,

  • bruce rosner

    Typical old man blather – things were better in the good old days especially when Women, Blacks, Asians and Latinos knew their place.

  • daniel gaffney

    Donald Trump is winning because of the open primary process. It’s absurd to allow independents to vote in a republican primary.

  • Bo Jiden

    Oh jeez. ‘Superdelegates’ is the solution?

    Let’s be like the dems and squeeze democracy out of a supposedly democratic process.

    If the answer is more unaccountable elites making choices for us, it must have been a pretty stupid question.

  • latetodinner

    Perhaps it can be explained to me how “super delegates on the republican side” would fix things. Rubio at that point would have all the super delegates and still no path to the nomination. Likewise the fix on the democrat side is pretty simple…have morals and ethics and then live by them…don’t nominate someone who potentially could go to jail for her inability to handle classified information. Whether it was Joe Biden, Liz Warren or 15 of the other democratic senators and governors with gravitas…someone should have gotten into this race and not left it to a socialist to be the only alternative to Hillary on the Dem side.

    Perhaps the solution to all this is to let the process work itself out. If the voters choose Trump then let’s put faith in the Constitution and the systems it put in place to safeguard the republic. All this election has really done is exposed those in the elite class that having being feeding at the public trough with no discernible benefit to the rest of us for years. Now all of a sudden these people…on both sides of the aisle are scared the faucets will be turned off. Forgive me if the rest of us do not care for next 4 years.

  • http://henrikmoller.me/ Henry Miller

    “…the clear loser is the United States.”

    Yep.

    Consider where we came from: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson. And consider where we are now.

    And it wasn’t like those three men, our first three presidents were interchangeable political saints. Adams and Jefferson were near-lifelong friends who raged at each other for decades. Jefferson, from behind the scenes, worked hard to deny Adams a second term, and succeeded; the election of 1800 was as vicious as any modern election. Washington was as much a Big Government guy as any Democrat and detested and distrusted Jefferson’s near-anarchic republicanism.

    But those three men led the country through the first twenty years of its existence, a time when even they weren’t sure it, and the Constitution, could survive. As much as their visions differed, all three had as their single, overriding, objective: the good of the country.

    And now what do we have? On the one side, a woman who even her supporters describe* as a “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” “corrupt,” “liar.” And, likely, on the other side, a man described by his own supporters as an “arrogant,” “egotistical,” “narcissistic,” “egomaniacal,” “bully.” Neither has a shred of character. Both are seeking the presidency, not for the good of the country, but for their own gratification. If they’d been our first two presidents, the country would not have survived.

    We’ve come a long way since 1800–in the wrong direction.

    * Both descriptions from “word clouds” compiled by YouGov.

  • JD777

    “superdelegates on the Republican side,” so the GOP machine can sew up nominations like the Democrat machine.

  • axemole

    The elephant in the article is the role that the MEDIA has played, the concerted effort that is PLAINLY visible, even to a dumb voter, to coerce this country into something it does not want to be. Why does this article mentions only the symptoms and not the root cause of the problem? DENIAL and the MEDIA continues to spew manure that only the most naive and ignorant people would believe. However, the state of the race in the Republican party is nothing but what the ‘establishment’ gets for their corruption, and that goes for both parties.

    • MumuBobby

      Following logic leads you to the ‘out of bounds’. How can logic be out of bounds? The media fix is in – party over country.

  • Fthoma

    If the Republican Party goes to super delegates it will be the end of our political system because it would allow an elite to control elections. I think the Democrat party is showing what happens when the people’s votes are ignored or otherwise trivialized. People lose interest in the whole thing.

    • MumuBobby

      I think your last line is most of the story. People lose interest BY DESIGN. That’s why Trump (in particular) and Sanders are important – getting people that long checked out of the dumpster of politics back into the process. That both parties are trying to suppress this ‘re-engagement’ is the problem, not the nonsense in the column.

  • sailplanepilot

    Liberals a just stupid.

    “Our political system is in deep trouble.”

    Sorry Mam,

    That statement is just your opinion. From my observation, the political system, at least on the Republican side, is working exactly as it should. The Democratic side is clearly far more broken. You have one marginal candidate under full FBI CRIMINAL investigation, and on 70 year old Socialist, from a state with 1 congressional district.. Please write a column explaining how that is anything resembling a healthy Primary contest.

    Government of the people, by the people, and for the people will succeed.

  • Democrat EBTbaggers

    Since Reagan, every President has had one thing in common; they all went to Ivy League schools.

    The CEOs of the top 6 investment banks in the world are likewise, Ivy League graduates.

    Clearly the Ivy League is overrated.

  • Stanmo42

    I respect Mead and like to read his stuff. But superdelegates on the GOP side are a mistake. We cannot give the establishment another way to thwart the voting base.

  • TheAntiProgressive

    So the authors solution for the Republicans are super delegates. The system political hacks present on Team Democrat that will shovel the primary onto Hillary Clinton’s plate irregardless of the popular “democratic” vote, should be duplicated on the the Republican side so they also can control the choice because “they know better” than we the people. Fascist.

  • Guest

    The Left destroyed the old political cohesion and societal solidarity of the Old America, and turned the country into merely a place where competing, and sometimes mutually hostile, tribes existed in the same time and space in a zero-sum struggle. In the process America became both artificial and fragile. Such nations do not survive the test of time.

  • ShadowSD

    The diagnosis is correct but the solution (MORE superdelegates?) is asinine.

    The establishment failures show why superdelegates should be gotten rid of completely.

    The media reporting this year has tried to report superdelegates as pre-empting all voter decisions.

    To look at that and say both parties should be doing that instead of just one is the height of establishment stupidity.

  • Po Paul

    Only the fools supporting Trump believe any of your Obama crap. Even as a lame duck president, Obama’s approval ratings grow:

    Gallup: Approve 51 / Disapprove 45 / Margin +6
    CNN/ORC Approve 50 / Disapprove 46 / Margin +4
    Fox News Approve 49 / Disapprove 47 / Margin +2
    Reuters Approve 47 / Disapprove 47 / Margin 0

    It is not the Democrats who are worried.

    • LVTaxman

      Until the recession, which he will blame on Bush.

  • Steve in Greensboro

    The state of our union is bleak? I agree, but the Trump candidacy gives us reason to hope.

    Democrats: I agree that a choice between an unindicted felon and a self-professed commie is not a good thing. But in what way is it worse than the current Executive, who is farther left than either of them and a racial grievance monger to boot?

    Republicans: Establishment power vacuum? In Trump, Republican voters have a presidential candidate who claims to represent their interests instead of the interests of the Ruling Class.

    Post-Reagan, the GOPe has been run by the Ruling Class, the same Ruling Class that runs the Dems, and it has been run for the same purposes, expansion of the FedGov, open borders and overseas military adventure. The shared philosophy of both parties has been “invade the world, invite the world”. There is no material difference between Bush’s Iraqi adventure and Obama/Clinton’s adventures in Libya, Egypt and Syria.

    The GOPe represents the Ruling Class and does not represent Republican voters who are trying in this cycle to wrest power back from the neocons that have made the party a mere imitation of the Dems.

    Trump is a demagogue? No. Insults are not arguments. The fact that you have to resort to insults shows just how weak your arguments are.

    The clear loser is the United States? No. In Trump, ordinary Americans have a chance to triumph over the Ruling Class that currently runs both Parties. In the election cycle, we have a battle between Americans (represented by Trump) and the Ruling Class (represented by Rubio, Mrs. Clinton, Kasich, the Bush family, Romney and the rest).

    If the GOPe fail in their mission and allow Trump to be the Republican nominee, then the clear winner will be Americans and the clear loser will be the Ruling Class.

  • http://markenriquez.tekcities.com/ menriquez

    yes how dare all those ignorant, hard working citizen voters have a say in the corrupt Washington leadership that has broken promise after promise for the past decade!

  • TrustbutVerify

    That disintegration of our society is what Obama, and decades of Dems before him, have actively sought and promoted! In order to remake America, you must tear down what is already there. That they have nearly succeeded tells you the stakes in this election. We are at a tipping point and if we don’t draw back now, we will fall into the abyss of history.

  • Geoffrey Montierth

    You don’t really appear to know whats going on, do you?

  • dscottv

    Super delegates on the Republican side? So the will of the people can be subverted by the elites/donor class? No thank you.

  • homebasedtrader

    <>
    This is nuts. The LAST thing we need is RIGGED elections ON BOTH SIDES.

  • homebasedtrader

    **and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help (superdelegates on the Republican side, **
    This is NUTS. The last thing we need is RIGGED elections on BOTH SIDES

  • conservativechick

    So the problem in the author’s mind is that the people actually have a say in their representation.

  • esterc

    The founding fathers of this nation created a form of government that is based on Liberty, giving the people and the states sovereignty over the federal government (a Republic). Unfortunately, that government has been hijacked by greedy, power hungry politicians and a population that will vote for the person who will give them more free stuff than the other guy.

  • http://CharlieLimaKilo.com/ CharlieLimaKilo

    “Our political system is in deep trouble, and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help (superdelegates on the Republican side, stronger and more impartial enforcement of government rules on information security and conflict of interest in the case of the Clinton machine)…”

    Ah, yes. What the republican Establishment needs here is a democrat Establishment-like “thumb” on the whole process to prevent outbreaks of actual “democracy in action”. Can’t have that now can we? So, yeah. Oligarchy is just the thing here.

  • BayouKiki

    Yeah — let’s get superdelegates on the R side so they can decide who the candidate is instead of the rank and file.

  • esterc

    The State of the Union is starting to look bleak for the parasites who want to rule the American people. Hopefully more Americans will wake up and throw more establishment criminals out.

  • http://ram.org Ram Samudrala

    The Closing of the American Mind?

    Yeah, I think it’s our extinction that we have to worry about in the next century or so, and within a decade or two, the die will be fully cast. See Limits to Growth published in 1972.

  • PierrePendre

    A moral and spiritual collapse that has frayed the bonds between the country’s ordinary people and those who seek to lead them

    ______________________________

    This is one of the driving forces behind the campaign to take Britain out of the EU and for the rise of protest parties on both the Right and Left in other of the biggest and richest EU countries. Germany, Italy, France and Spain all have these parties. In France only a concerted effort between the two governing parties and the quirks of the electoral system have kept the National Front from bidding for power.

    The breakdown of relations between the EU political class and its electorates has now, as with Trump in the United States, reached a critical point and it is one reason why the EU has effectively refused to compromise with Britain over its demands for reform.

    The continued power of the political class depends on the future of the wholly undemocratic EU acting as a buffer between it and voters. If Britain were to have received preferential treatment, other countries would have come forward with demands of their own for privileges which would have weakened the EU’s bureaucratically homogenous character, seen as essential to its survival.

    Brussels regards Brexit as a safer option for the EU than compromise with London.

    The Trump phenomenon is of a piece with what is happening across the democratic West which is that voters realise it is becoming steadily less democratic and accountable and they don’t like it.

    It can’t help in the United States that the three likeliest nominees are widely loathed even in their own parties.

  • Andrew Konigs

    The core culture of America for 300 years; white, Christian, middle class is being replaced. It is not the same as when the Anglo -Protestant culture absorbed millions of other white Christians from Europe who adopted American culture within 2 generations. Today, mass immigration is coming from vastly differently cultures , is harder to absorb because of racial differences and it is in such high numbers that the country is being changed. It will be a one party socialist state like Mexico within 10 -15 years.

  • Mike M

    One can lament the loss of civic virtue (moral and spiritual collapse) but what WRM (and other commenters here) fail to connect this with is the rise of consumerism that has accompanied modern free market capitalism. There are deep connections here and the same conservatives who rail against “leftist elites” would do very well to caste a critical eye towards what their staunch embrace of neoliberalism since the 1980s has wrought.

  • Walrus

    The system has always been corrupt from the beginning of time. Benjamin Franklin himself once said “It has always been my belief that since Parliament corrupts good people that I shall vote for the bad and spare the good”. Power and the need for money to achieve that power will always keep the system corrupt. Citizens versus United certainly help make it even easier to corrupt the system. Even if someone enters politics with the noblest of intentions, the need for money to win elections will make them make deals with the devil. If there was a way to take money out of the system, then maybe things will improve but that can never happen.

  • RCPreader

    While the editors are correct about a moral and spiritual collapse and a hollowing-out of institutions, such commonplace observations don’t help much.

    Bizarrely, the editors display a striking lack of basic knowledge and understanding when they identify superdelegates as a (partial) Republican fix. In the first place, there ARE Republican superdelegates; it’s just that there are only half as many (proportionately) as on the Democratic side. In the second place, superdelegates are of very limited use. You simply can’t set up a system in which people cast votes to determine the nominee and then disregard their votes. If no candidate gets a majority, yes the GOP can potentially decline to nominate the front-runner, but this action will throw the election to the Democrats by alienating most of that candidate’s supporters. This is why the Democratic superdelegates in 2008 –virtually all of whom had endorsed Hillary — failed to use their power to nominate Hillary and instead flipped to Obama; the fact that Obama had won a few more delegates was enough to establish him as the only legitimate winner.

  • Mike CJ

    This guy knows nothing. Trump won’t stand for establishment bullying, fights back, and that is EXACTLY what people want. To stand up to the bully requires you to be harsh yourself. The bullies in the media and GOP establishment can’t stand being challenged, so they smear Trump.

  • WWITK

    Trump is no “demagogue”. Why do you throw that word around as if the majority of Americans agree with the use of such a derogatory term when it does not apply at all? After Trump becomes president are you going to continue telling lies and distorting the Truth about Trump?

    We are going to follow you on the social media platforms and 100% denounce you whenever you use false terms and labels,

  • odetocentipede

    Super delegates are for the preservation of a party, not the political system.

    How about we abolish the 17th amendment and get power to select Senators back in the hands of the states where average citizens have more control and access to those being elected?

    How about we hold the Executive Branch accountable and stop making the Supreme Court a lifetime job since lifetimes are much longer than they used to be?

    Let’s also get rid of the gerrymandering of districts so single parties cannot entrench themselves in power with politically homogeneous districts.

    Finally, we need greater transparency in government (still), smaller government (still), and greater local control. Enough of DC using taxpayer funds as a carrot to bribe states into doing their bidding.

    Start there and see where we are in 10 years time.

  • Paul_in_Colorado

    Mr. Trump is using the Republican Party to triangulate the general election. He is playing to the broad middle of the country that feels abandoned by parties that pander to their extremists. Mr. Cruz, for instance, campaigns on his stated refusal to compromise with Democrats on any matter whatsoever, while Mrs. Clinton refers to Republicans as enemies who must be destroyed. From abortion to border control to health care there is much that moderate Democrats and Republicans can agree upon, but no one can secure a nomination without embracing their party’s most divisive positions. They must grovel before Code Pink and Iowa’s biofuel lobby or go home. But now Mr. Trump praises Planned Parenthood and brings new voters to the Republicans, while evangelicals support him over the holier-than-thou Mr. Cruz. Most Millennials are deeply suspicious of all institutions, correctly sensing that they are not managed by angels, and young Democrats are refusing to be railroaded by Hillary. Neither party can assume their support.

    This is not a presidential campaign; it’s a peasant rebellion against the Ruling Class. The Republican and Democratic parties, Wall Street and the media are squarely in the path of a prairie fire, and all bets are off.

  • bronx61

    I’d express similarly deep pessimism but in a different way, using a couple of WRM’s favorite categories. The “blue model” is in large measure no longer operative, but no one in either party has put forward a new model to replace it. The biggest losers have been and continue to be the blue-collar workers, the lower middle class, and the debt-laden young, and they are the major components of the angry voters threatening with condign punishment the Establishments of both parties. The insurrectionary Trump and the Sanders campaigns are the result. Despite their obvious differences, Trump and Sanders supporters are in effect demanding the resuscitation of the “blue model,” and they do so not out of mere nostalgia but out of real desperation. Until and unless the purblind, arrogant party Establishments develop appealing alternatives to the “blue model’ instead of trying to capitalize economically, socially, and politically off its remnants, anger, fear, and frustration will continue to mount and our increasingly reactionary politics will indeed resemble a demolition derby at best and a second Weimar Republic at worst.

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