This blog chronicles the collapse of democracy, so here’s a post for that.
Chris Hedges, The Politicians Who Destroyed Our Democracy Want Us to Vote for Them to Save It, says it’s too late,
The bipartisan project of dismantling our democracy, which took place over the last few decades on behalf of corporations and the rich, has left only the outward shell of democracy. The courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and the media, including public broadcasting, are captive to corporate power. There is no institution left that can be considered authentically democratic. The corporate coup d’état is over. They won. We lost.
[. . .]
Decayed societies, such as Weimar Germany or the former Yugoslavia, which I covered for The New York Times, always vomit up political deformities who express the hatred a betrayed public feel for a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberalism. The twilight of the Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian empires were no different.
[. . .]
America will descend into a Viktor Orbán-type of authoritarianism without profound political, social and economic reform.
I agree with every word of this exceptional piece except the idea that we could have walked out of the Democratic party. Things were too broken by that point and it wouldn’t have fixed anything. And the neoliberal Dems would have fought it and killed it just like they’re fighting now to kill the progressive wing. (Nader tried to “send a message” which helped Dems to lose in 2000, and the Dems of course still never got the message and just doubled down.)
My feeling is that when the (executives and Boards of) corporations banded together to pool their money to destroy democracy – sometime in the 70s – that was it. Dems not only didn’t fight back, they took the corporate side. Lots of us credit the Powell memo and it at least reflected the broader thinking that was happening then. They eroded whatever protections we had against big money running things, and there was no turning back.
For regular people they thought the Democratic party was their protector and when the Dems took the money and bought into the neoliberal (free markets etc) scam, those voters started slipping away. Then came the 2008 crash and Obama campaigning on getting rid of NAFTA, and then he didn’t and people’s lives only got worse for 8 more years, and now they’ll vote for a Trump even now before they’ll vote for Dems.
“NAFTA” is the popular code word for all of those neoliberal policies that destroyed the “American dream” and wiped out whole regions of the country and Dems squarely get the blame from working class voters.
I was just walking and listening to this about Pennsylvania. It is very much worth a listen to hear how dead the Democratic Party is with working-class people.