Thursday, August 18, 2016

Breaking Out Of The Corporate Duopoly

This presidential election year the citizens of the U.S. are faced with two of the most unpopular nominees of the major parties in our nation's history, Hillary "neoliberal warmonger" Clinton and Donald "spoiled bigot" Trump. It is quite a toxic choice for most Americans, many of whom know little or nothing about the Green and Libertarian options, which also exist just outside of the duopoly. And many who do know a bit about Jill Stein and Gary Johnson will still vote out of fear; they will cast their precious ballot for what they view as the lesser evil in order to defeat the greater evil.

The truth with the American corporate duopoly running the U.S. government is that there is precious little separating the two parties. True there are some differences on social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion rights -- both reveal that the days are numbered for the G.O.P. However the Democrats, from the 1990s until recent years, have shifted sharply to the right with a full embrace of neoliberal policies -- favoring privatization of many areas of the public sphere and pursuing programs of austerity. Today's Democrats are 1980s Republicans, and with some issue areas President Obama's administration, particularly the draconian crack down on government whistleblowers and record high deportation rates, are a bit to the right of Reagan's administration.

In 2016, the duopoly's picks are both unabashed neoliberals who are extremely hawkish (Trump actually being a bit more reserved on military interventions), and have both played roles in exporting millions of jobs outside of our nation. Both are now adamantly against comprehensive universal single payer health care (like what the rest of the Western developed world has). And both have revealed their racist leanings ("super-predators," "rapists").

Last night Green Party nominee Jill Stein took the stage at the CNN studio with her running mate veteran human rights activist Ajamu Baraka in a televised town hall. This gave the Green Party a great deal of exposure they very seldom have had. However, Libertarian Gary Johnson has already been given two town hall appearances by CNN. Despite Chris Cuomo's subtle and obnoxious racist badgering of Mr. Baraka and his naysaying of several of Dr. Stein's proposals, the Green duo performed extremely well, and received warm applause from the audience.

Don't expect a third party win this cycle, but there will be extremely significant gains from where they were four years ago (0.99% for Johnson, 0.36% for Stein) -- the time is ripe in our nation's history, job growth remains sluggish, wages are stagnant with more people working longer hours while seeing many of their benefits trimmed (if they are lucky enough to have a job that offer benefits, such as a pension). Americans are people who are fed up and increasingly disgusted by the duopoly and their corporate funders. A couple in depth polls this year show a solid 60% of Americans want a strong third party. As for Stein and Johnson their numbers are definitely looking up.

This is indeed a long term struggle to reshape American politics, but with more and more Americans aware of how our government has been subverted by the billions of dollars of corporate dark money flooding into our presidential, gubernatorial, senate, and congressional races the corporate duopoly as it now exists is endangered. Thirty years -- perhaps even 20 years from now, I predict the Republican Party will cease to exist, and the Democrats will again have faced another Bernie Sanders-type dilemma: Reverse course and return to its FDR/New Deal soul, or continue its betrayal of hardworking Americans in its rightward march. This struggle is just beginning and as Millenials increasingly flirt with -- some already gravitating toward -- the Greens, this progressive party will have an increasingly significant role to play.

For me, I am quite proud to be a Green. It's the party which has been fighting hard for green renewable energy for about four decades, universal single payer and LGBT rights for more than three decades, and marijuana legalization for just as long. I invite my readers to review the party's 10 Key Values, and if you agree with all of them join us! The future has never looked greener.
A leading criticism of the Green Party that needs to be addressed is that we are really not much more than our presidential nominee popping up every four years. This is simply not true, as our party runs candidates at every level of government every single year. This year we have more than 130 Green candidates running. Just to highlight a few -- Joshua Harris running for Baltimore mayor is an African American millennial (and shown some extreme strength with that age group) already deeply involved in the Baltimore community; Arn Menconi running for U.S. Senate from Colorado is a former Democrat who was an Eagle County Commissioner; and Charlotte Pritt running for Governor of West Virginia is a former Democrat who had previously run for governor. Current Green officeholders include Mayor Bruce Delgado of Marina, CA; County Commissioner Art Goodtimes of San Miguel County, CO; Town Meeting Members Frank Gatti and Vincent O'Connor of Amherst, MA; City Council Member Cam Gordon of Minneapolis, MN; Mayor Jim Sullivan of Victory, NY; and City Council Member George Altgelt of Laredo, TX.

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