This may be a far afield reach on my part, but am I the only one that sees the current Democratic primary season as an extension of the Occupy movement from a little over 4 years ago?
Bernie Sanders has long been the voice of those who seem to have been forgotten by the political establishment. When he felt that the issues of those forgotten were not getting enough voice in the race for the presidency, he took it upon himself to become that voice. Much as the Occupy movement grew large as those forgotten gathered to voice their concerns, the Sanders campaign has grown immensely as the voiceless seem to have a champion.
(video @ 2 minutes)
Meanwhile the more establishment and more established campaign of Hillary Clinton is waking up to realize the those disaffected by the political process will be voting and she wants a part of that vote. Her concession speech in New Hampshire Tuesday night sounded like the campaign had a new focus: (video @ 10 minutes)
Call it populist if you will, call it opportunist if you want. It appears that the quiet protests that took place from New York City to San Francisco, including spots in Iowa has now gone mainstream. The frustrations that led to people quietly protesting the power of money in politics has become the central issue in the Democratic Party primary.
In truth this is the Democratic Party returning to the roots set down by Franklin Roosevelt when he took over a country shattered by Republican policies of the 1920s. Today the country still suffers from the Republican economic policies started by Ronald Reagan and continued through his Republican successors. President Obama has been handcuffed by nothing less than a revolution in the US Senate that has forced every piece of legislation to need a super majority of 60% to pass any legislation in this country. 60% is nearly impossible to get for anything in this country. Thus Republicans have been able to stifle nearly every attempt to move the economy forward by Obama.
So Republicans have used some extraordinary, even revolutionary, measures to keep their bad policies in force and the populace has become frustrated to the point where their backs were against the wall and something has to give.
Even the Republican party is not immune to the frustrations of the common man. Yet their expression of frustration seems to be channeled into a strange vehicle in billionaire Donald Trump. The reasoning seems to be that since Trump is already rich he can stand up to the rich and stop the power of their money in politics. They seem to forget that Trump is a deeply embedded member of the group they are against. As in many things within the Republican party they have created a Bizzaro version of a solution.
Can the momentum be preserved and channeled into a victory not just at the top, but in lower races from the US House to the state house? Remember that our political system was designed to be complex so that it is nearly impossible for one faction to gain control of the three branches of government plus state governments at the same time.
One could say that what has happened since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 has been a series of small revolutions that has moved our government from democracy to oligarchy while maintaining the outward trappings of democracy.
First the Reagan Administration upended the laws of economics with the implementation of supply side economics.
Second was the selection of George W. Bush to be president by the Supreme Court with no constitutional basis and before the votes were fully counted.
Third has been the Supreme Court upsetting precedent on a grand scale and often without constitutional basis.
Finally the rules of the Senate have been altered in such a way that a majority often loses because it can’t muster the 60% supermajority therefore giving veto power to a minority of 41%.
Sanders talks of a revolution. Perhaps a counter-revolution would be a better description. Whatever it is, it is well past time for this country to return to Lincoln’s description of a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people” rather than the current “of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.”