What Happens When the Elites Collapse in Both Parties

If there’s one quote that captures what the 2016 election is really all about, at least on the Republican side of things, it’s what one Trump supporter in Texas said about why the Donald has won him over.

Flagged down while watching a Ted Cruz rally, a voter identified as Mr. Voor said that he “just kind of want[s] to watch the establishment burn.” He then added, “What’s the point of being conservative anymore? It’s a failing ideology.”

Now, for people who’ve spent the past few decades gobbling up the media’s red state-blue state/conservative-liberal dichotomy, it’s probably pretty shocking to hear a supporter of the Republican front-runner all but give up on the conservative movement.

But for anyone who’s actually paid attention to what’s been going on this election cycle, it should make total sense.

Donald Trump is now the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination not because he’s the purest conservative around -- he’s obviously not -- but because he’s sticking it to the man: the big economic and political interests who control the Republican Party.

You see, for years now, the Republican Party has been running a scam on its mostly white racist base.

By giving lip-service to old-timey racism anti-immigrant xenophobia, it’s tricked that base into supporting candidates who really care about just one thing: pushing through economic policies that help out the billionaires and corporations that fund the Republican Party scam.

At the same time, Republicans have also used dog-whistle racism to make their billionaire-friendly economic policies more attractive to white bigots.

Reagan advisor Lee Atwater described this process in pretty blunt language back in the 1980s.

This strategy of suckering poor white people into voting for Republican politicians by appealing to their bigotry and fear was successful for a long, long time.

It helped put Reagan and both Bushes in the White House, and it’s one of the reasons why the GOP controls both houses of Congress.

But running this scam always came with some big risks.

Sooner or later the scared and bigoted white people who vote Republican were going to realize that the people they were voting into office didn’t give a damn about them and only cared about the billionaires and big corporations who wrote their campaign checks.

Sooner or later the mask was going to fall off and the base was going to revolt against the elites.

Well, sooner or later is now, and with Trump, the chickens are finally coming home to roost for the GOP.

Trump is channeling the racism that’s always motivated the Republican base, but he’s also railing against the economic elites that have used the conservative “movement” to enrich themselves.

Republican voters are sick and tired of getting screwed, and they want a straight-shooter who will take the establishment and burn it to the ground.

Unfortunately for Republicans, there is no easy answer to the Trump “problem,” if you even want to call it that.

It’s the logical result of how they’ve run their party for the past 36 years, and the only way out is chaos.

This, of course, is great news for Democrats.

But they shouldn’t starting popping the champagne bottles just yet.

And that’s because the very same forces shaping the Republican presidential race are also playing a huge role in the Democratic one.

Just like the Republican base, the Democratic base is sick and tired of the elites running the show.

It wants the party of FDR back and it’s rallying behind Bernie Sanders to make sure this happens.

There’s one huge difference, though, between the populist revolt that’s going on in the Democratic Party and the one that’s going on in the Republican Party: the Democratic revolt isn’t going to result in chaos.

Unlike the Republican Party - which is an incoherent mix of billionaires who want to bleed the people dry plus low- and middle-income people who hate minorities but have been tricked into voting Republican - the Democratic Party is an actual and natural coalition.

It cuts across all racial and class lines because it brings together everyone who wants a more progressive future.

It’s a coalition of values, not interests, which means that the fight within the Democratic Party right now - because it’s ultimately a fight about values - should, if anything, strengthen the Democratic Party in the long run.

It should reinforce what always made people want to become Democrats in the first place.

That is, if the DNC plays its cards right.

Although there’s a big opportunity here to really make the Democratic Party a 50 state party, the worst thing the DNC could do is ignore the populism that’s inspiring so many voters this election cycle.

Republican officials ignored and laughed at and exploited the populist wave in their at their own peril, and while Democrats don’t face quite the same risks, flat-out ignoring the progressive populist wave could mean the difference between Democratic control for decades to come or years of Republicans in charge in Washington.

The bottom line is simple - when the Republican Party fractures, there's chaos; when the Democratic Party fractures, there's a progressive movement.

The choice for Democrats is clear - embrace the progressive movement or end up like the Republicans.

Let’s hope the DNC makes the right choice.


bernie.williams's picture
bernie.williams 7 years 13 weeks ago

Nice analysis, Thom. (Watching developments from Australia with horror!)

WindyCity's picture
WindyCity 7 years 13 weeks ago

Fat chance, Thom. The Democratic Party belongs to the corporate elite. The politicians in it serve the interests of the plutocrats. Poll and after poll has shown majority support for progressive policies that the Democratic leadership ignores. Reforming the Democratic Party is a pipe dream.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 7 years 13 weeks ago

The Democratic party at least has a chance to clean itself out, blue dogs, etc. Whereas there is no hope for the Republican party. There are a lot of good Democratic party members, your broad brushing of the Democratic party is a little off the mark.

delster's picture
delster 7 years 13 weeks ago

Wow ! I just don't see a lot of space between the two parties. I really don't ! Election day is really a day of adulation for every billionare in the world not just the US. Thats the day they buy who ever gets crowned the leader of the free world. Policies don't change, just the recognizable face of the policies change. The retohric may sound different but the Gospel remains the same.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 13 weeks ago

Wait a minute, the Republican Party is already owned and controlled by billionaire/Fascists like Thrump, who himself admits to purchasing government to feed his out of control thirst for endless wealth and power......yet the Republican base, one that is admittedly sick and tired of the establishment/conservative status quo, an ideology that nurtures and rewards extreme greed, wants Thrump for President?????? Really???? The pompous billionaire will make things better if we crown him president??? Oh that's right, the billionaires have always looked out for us...the Waltons, the Kochs, but of course. The corpse media is truly reaping what it sows...misinformation and thus a clueless and misinformed population. Look how well that is working out for our Democracy.

Instant-RunOff-... 7 years 13 weeks ago

Trump can't win against Bernie. And Hillary can't win against Trump. All Hillary is doing is beating Bernie in Repug states like South Carolina which is useless in the general election. That's why Trump is focusing his attacks on Bernie now, and he doesn't say much about Hillary except her emails. He knows Bernie would beat him. Trump will eat Hillary for lunch in the general election.

So those progressives who are willing to acquiesce to Hillary are just enabling Trump. Draw a line in the sand, stand firm and force the Democrat establishment to face up to the reality it is Bernie or it is Trump - pick one.

Vegasman56 7 years 12 weeks ago

America supposed to have the finest political system in the world, what the hell happened. I live in Las Vegas Nevada I met a man from Denmark and I asked him how did he like his health care system that they have in his country of Denmark, he told me he wouldn’t give it up. This was just after the first Republican debate, and this is his words, what the hell is wrong with your Republican Party? Often times myself I wonder if these people are adults running for the presidency or any other public office. This to me was embarrassing; they do not represent our country’s political system having any form of intelligence on governing a country!

This coming November if we want to take our country back from the rich white zealot man, we have to remember who brought the most freedom, the most prosperity and the most equal rights and equality to our nation, and it’s not Republicans/ conservatives, it was the Liberals/Democrats that did. If you have not registered to vote do it, get active in your community, encourage your neighbors friends and relatives to register to vote as support their community. If we do not take an Active Interest in our lives and our Community, We will lose it to The Aristocrats, The Wealthy, The 1%. Go Vote in November, We Have To, Vote Back in the Control of Americas Working Family, Instead of The Aristocracy class

RLTOWNSLEY's picture
RLTOWNSLEY 7 years 12 weeks ago

WindyCity; Right on WC ! All one need do is go to Wikipedia and lookup Neoliberalism, the philosophy that has ruled the DNC for the past 25 years as well as the Clinton and Obama administrations. But I'll save you a trip to Wikipedia and type a synopsis of the Neoliberal agenda that is essentially Reaganomics from the 1980s;

"Neoliberalism advocates support extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal Austerity, deregulation, Free Trade and massive reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the Private Sector in this economy".

No surprise that the DNC has moved further to the Right than some moderate Republican groups who have long been in favor of purging the Tea Party faction from their party !

The Glenn Beck Review's picture
The Glenn Beck ... 7 years 12 weeks ago

Hillary hasn't collapsed yet, but Revolt Against Plutocracy is doing everything possible to provide Sen. Sanders with Convention insurance he'll need if he earns the majority of pledged delegates.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 12 weeks ago

What a weird system where the best and the good lose

And, the crap and heartless win

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 12 weeks ago

I agree that appealing to bigotry helped elect George Bush, but ultimately it was election fraud that put him in the White House, not once, but twice. That's why we need NATO to agree to oversee our elections, including our primaries.

Speaking of bigotry and racism, I see the KKK and several other racist nutjob groups have thrown their support behind the Republican Party, that's right, a Republican Party candidate, not a Democratic Party candidate. How embarrassing is that? One would think that alone is enough to convince a huge vast majority that the Republican Party is living in an ugly, dark, and ignorant past. Their legislative efforts both reflect and verify this. I don't give a damn, you have to be a total fool to vote Republican.

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