November 8, 2012
-- by Dave Johnson
In the last election the forces of concentrated wealth and corporate power played the same old divide-and-conquer game they have been playing for decades, but this time it didn't work! They tried to divide us by race, religion, sex, sexual preference, class and every other wedge they could find, and it didn't work! The era of dividing the people for profit is over. Democracy pushes forward.
The Conservative Con Game
For decades a simple formula has played out. Divide us by religion, race, whatever, divert our attention, get us to vote out of feat and hate or just get us to stay away from the polls, and they can pocket the spoils. The game has been to pump a few hundred million a year into the Karl Rove/Grover Norquist/conservative movement con game and pull out billions in tax breaks, subsidies, wars-for-profit, grants of monopoly and the other fruits of the lobbying/corruption game.
This time it didn't work.
The Era Of Division Is Over
Today TPM's Josh Marshall wrote about the Nixon years, when Pat Buchanan prepared a strategy memo titled "Dividing the Democrats," advising Republicans to "cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have by far the larger half." They've played it out that way in the decades since, usually with great success. Marshall notes, "But now, in this election, you see the Republican party still cutting the country in half but now having the smaller part."
This time it didn't work, and won't work again. Businesspeople and investors are practical and pragmatic. They don't like to pour money down a rathole. The conservative movement con game has turned into a freakshow, and the money it sucks up has nearly stopped paying off. They still have the House -- largely the result of gerrymandering Congressional districts and not by the preference of the people. So the game is ending.
Division didn't work. Absorb that -- the implications are vast. The professionals who look at the electorate and figure out how to manipulate us into giving them tax cuts and free reign are certainly absorbing this. The billionaires and corporations are not going to pump more hundreds of millions -- billions, in fact -- into the same old politics of division because they understand that now it is a bad investment. The demographics have passed them by. It didn't work. They don't get the big payoff. They aren't likely to play the game again.
Dividing us didn't work, and won't work again. This is a center-left nation. The "brown people," gays, poor and working class, single women, union members, combined with people in other demographic groups who "get it" -- We, the People -- are together enough and strong enough to fight back, so it didn't work.
Fiscal Cliff -- The Next Fight
Now we face another DC elite manipulation designed to shovel even more favors to the wealthy and their corporations. It is called the "Fiscal Cliff" fight.
This is what is going on: Very soon the Bush tax cuts expire. And then the "sequestration" budget cuts -- the result of the "debt ceiling" hostage-taking fight -- begin to slowly kick in. Some of these cuts, like cutting the huge, vast, bloated military budget, are good, and others will hurt as they are phased in. But this is not an emergency, they phase in and can be changed.
In typical "shock doctrine" fashion, the end of the tax cuts and the beginning of the budget cuts are being cast as a "fiscal cliff" that will destroy the economy. A "grand bargain" is proposed to head off the military cuts, cut Social Security and Medicare, and cut tax rates for the wealthy and corporations.
The negotiations for the Grand Bargain take place soon, after the election and between elites, so that democracy is kept at bay. Democracy is messy and gets in the way of the things the elites want. But this view is just wrong.
The Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand anti-democracy belief that the public consists of "takers" is just wrong. Our prosperity comes up from the people. We, the People invested in good schools, infrastructure, public structures like our system of laws and courts and universities and libraries and scientific research and we demanded good wages and worker protections and that is what brought us prosperity. Democracy brought us our prosperity.
The fruits of democracy – Social Security, Medicare and health care, good wages and benefits, worker rights and worker safety and the rest of the things We, the People get out of the bargain – are not the problem.
Repeat: the fruits of democracy are not the problem.
And democracy is not the problem. Democracy is what brings the prosperity. A “grand bargain” struck after the election so the bargainers cannot be held accountable is a mistake. It is a corrupt deal and it will hurt our economy.
Let's stop them. If we stop them again, so soon after we stopped them in the election, they will have to face that this is a bad investment, that the demographics have passed them by, that the public has wised up, that democracy pushes forward.
Now We Move Forward
Democracy has pushed forward. It is not an accident that the economy does best in the periods when our democracy is strongest. It is not an accident that the "regular people" economy has stagnated in the decades since Reagan, when the plutocracts corrupted our democracy.
We are on the road to taking our country back for We, the People. Democracy will push forward.
Just before election day Politico presented the official DC elite view that minorities, single women, etc. are not "real" Americans that count, writing,
If President Barack Obama wins, he will be the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites. That’s what the polling has consistently shown in the final days of the campaign. It looks more likely than not that he will lose independents, and it’s possible he will get a lower percentage of white voters than George W. Bush got of Hispanic voters in 2000.
A broad mandate this is not.
The elites understood where power rested, and it was not with the people. But that was then, and this is now. What a difference a few days makes.
If minorities, women, gays, working people, elderly, students, clap their hands, does it make a sound in Washington? Does it make a mandate? They think not, we think so. They will find out that it did. Democracy will push forward.
Posted by Dave Johnson at November 8, 2012 8:49 AM
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