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July 10, 2016


We are in an era of transformative politics, as Harold Meyerson writes in the current Summer Edition of The American Prospect. There are powerful demographic forces and new understandings of the roles of citizens with their government that have come to the fore with the unmasking of the thinning veneer of respectability of the Republican Party, an unmasking led by Donald Trump, who had to be good for something. That party’s simmering racism has now come to full boil, but it isn’t working out as old white right wing people are dying and tomorrow’s electorate, the millennials, are color-blind and liberal.

A majority of Americans polled now find nothing wrong with socialism, for instance. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” where he traded racism for votes has come back to haunt the Republican Party as the chickens have come home to roost. Republicans in the South and elsewhere have demonized minorities, stranded some eleven million immigrants in legal limbo and have done everything they can to suppress voting by minorities. Demographic trends of the voting electorate show that Republicans are about to pay the price for their perfidy.

The northern white working class that has responded to Trump’s invective constituted 65 percent of the electorate in 1980; they constitute just 36 percent today. They are, of course, picking on the wrong people with their racism, anti-immigrant views and our African-American president; they should check out Wall Street greed for their plight.

Can the Republican Party survive its internal chaos and survive as a united party (as I have often asked in my blogs) or will it fade into the mists of history as it has done in California, where we used to elect Republican governors and legislatures but no more since Republicans there made the fatal mistake in the 1990s of demonizing Latino immigrants in a rapidly increasingly multiracial and now solidly Democratic state. As noted by the minstrel, “the times they are a-changing,” and indeed they are. White people are about to constitute less than 50 percent of the nation’s population, a fact that racists find abhorrent, but a fact nonetheless, and unless the Republican Party decides to accommodate this reality, it may go the way of the Whigs into political oblivion.

John Kennedy famously intoned, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Noble words indeed, but lately one can fairly ask “what can my country do for me?” in light of how our country’s resources are being ladled out to the rich and corporate class to such an extent that little or nothing is left over for ordinary Americans.

FDR best set forth this unfairness when in a speech after carrying 46 of the then 48 states in 1936 he took on the “economic royalists” of the 20th century by noting that “It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. . . . At a time when totalitarian regimes were rising around the world, the success of American democracy – of democracy itself – depended on its ability to create a more broad-based prosperity, a more egalitarian economy.”

“Ours,” he continued, “is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy.” He concluded, “This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny,” (as indeed it did in the midst of deep depression and impending war).

Stirring and historical words to be sure, and I think they have application to present-day politics in that we are engaged with the “economic royalists” of today and their attempts to assume “control over Government itself.” We collectively refer to such royalists as Wall Street these days but not much has changed. Our present-day “royalists” are up to the same old tricks as those in the 20th century in their money-funded attempt to take over our government today, and our democracy along with it.

I hope that history will record that the new generation of those involved in what I have called a “rendezvous with destiny #2” will reject such royalist/Wall Street attempts to take over our government and that such a generation instead strengthens and preserves our most important asset and one of the last few things worth dying for, American democracy.   GERALD     E




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