Republicans have used savvy marketing to successfully pad the pockets of their rich supporters over the past several decades as they misled the remaining majority. In doing so, they've created a duped, angry electorate that now threatens our democracy.
Using emotional social issues in their campaigns to unite their voters, successful candidates subsequently revised the tax code (with some help from democrats) and promoted policies that concentrated wealth among the top 1% as it propagated poverty among the broad working class, much of it Republican.
Once in power, GOP administrations disastrously misused dwindling governmental assets on a costly draining war begun on false evidence, and on unregulated capitalism, enabling overseas flight of US capital and jobs for the benefit of the top 1%. The result? GOP leadership oversaw rises in unemployment and poverty, and financial crises based on fraud.
Ultimately, such con games fall apart when reality can not sustain them. Reality:
- Taxes are needed to run a country, a collaborative social enterprise; as that enterprise grows, so do taxes. Cutting out a large part of the rich tax base cripples that enterprise.
The Faces of Climate Change
- Despite the denial by most Republican leaders, climate change is a reality that is increasingly costly and destructive to our economy and country.
Ignoring such truths eventually undercuts the stability of all, both rich and poor.
Most Donald Trump supporters do not know/care about his financial failures, his legal difficulties or ethnic hatred. Trump simply empathizes, and assuages them with reassuring flattery and forceful bravado.
The strong, successful long-term marketing of nonsensical ideas has created an electorate that now endangers our democracy in two ways :
- By making forceful, unrealistic promises, the GOP party prepped its electorate to be angrily disappointed when GOP failed to deliver.
The resulting disaffection with the GOP establishment and spoon-fed gullibility among its electorate has helped Donald Trump gain their support.
Indeed, both factors created the prime conditions for his successful campaign: intense disaffection combined with a faith-based electorate primed to believe in the best marketed candidate, facts be damned.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster/Salon
Stunningly, the unfolding of this current electoral campaign was predicted 80 years ago in a now little known book.
Disturbed by the rise of the German demagogue Hitler by an angry, disaffected, and gullible electorate, in 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote "It Can't Happen Here" (read it here). His novel describes a possible scenario of the 1936 US election: a disaffected, uninformed electorate is charmed by an ignorant but savvy demagogue, and eschews his socialist rival, an uncanny avatar of Bernie Sanders. The parallels to the present are incredible.
Luckily, a very different campaign scenario unfolded in the real 1936 presidential election, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt won.
True American Heroes: Informed Voters who take the time to base their votes on a critical assessment of candidates' positions, ideas, characters, and experience.
But can Sinclair's scenario unfold this year? In 2016, we can only hope that a majority of thinking, informed, patriotic American voters will rise up on election day and save our democracy from that dark prophecy.