Two years ago, I wrote in Wake Up Progressives about the danger of weak, centrist leadership from the Democratic Party enabling a right-wing fascist in his rise to power. I quoted Chris Hedges from Wall Street and Corporations are Pulling the Strings:
“When you have the figures like Obama who continue to speak in that traditional language of liberalism and yet cannot respond to chronic unemployment, underemployment, you know, foreclosures, bank repossessions, and everything else, and in fact are running a system where the assaults against the underclass are only getting worse, then what happens is there becomes a deep disdain for not only liberal ideology but traditional liberal institutions—you saw the same thing in Weimar—so that when there is an uprising, oftentimes people want nothing to do with not only liberal elites, but the supposed liberal values, quote unquote, that these elites were purportedly espousing,” Hedges says.
“And that is a very real danger,” he continues, “because when you have figures like Obama that present themselves as traditional liberals and yet are unable to be effective in terms of dealing with the suffering and the misery of the underclass, that—and this is what happened in Yugoslavia—that when things exploded, you vomited up these very frightening figures—Radovan Karadzic, Slobodan Milosevic, Franjo Tudman—in the same way that the breakdown in Weimar vomited up the Nazi Party. And that’s what frightens me, because we don’t have the movements, the populist movements on the left, and because we live in a system of political paralysis.”
Ultimately, based on a combination of Hedges’ reasoning and my own, I raised this question:
Could America vomit up a Ted Cruz or Steve King?
So here we are two years later, with Ted Cruz very much in contention for the Republican nomination.
Am I suggesting we may be about to vomit up a Ted Cruz in 2016? Not exactly. I’m suggesting we may be about to vomit up a Ted Cruz (or a Donald Trump or…) in 2016 or, perhaps more likely, someone far worse in 2020.
Dodging the election of a lunatic in 2016 likely means the election of Hillary Clinton. In that regard, here’s Jeffrey Sachs in Hillary Clinton and the ISIS Mess:
Hillary Clinton’s speech on ISIS to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) showed clearly what to expect in a Clinton presidency: more of the same. In her speech, Clinton doubled down on the existing, failed U.S. approach in the Middle East, the one she pursued as Secretary of State.
The CIA-led policy in the Middle East works like this. If a regime is deemed to be unfriendly to the U.S., topple it. If a competitor like the Soviet Union or Russia has a foothold in the region, try to push it out. If this means arming violent insurgencies, including Sunni jihadists, and thereby creating mayhem: so be it. And if the result is terrorist blowback around the world by the forces created by the US, then double down on bombing and regime change.
Think that’s discouraging? Actually, the prospects for change in a Hillary Clinton presidency are even worse on the home front. We heard her pathetic explanations of her Wall Street ties at the last Democratic debate. To paraphrase: “How dare you impugn my integrity. I was there after 9/11 and the majority of my contributions are from women.” In Wall Street: Democrats Work To Block New Regulations After Flood Of Campaign Cash, Andrew Perez of the International Business Times describes the Democratic crew in Congress who will be carrying Wall Street’s water:
The discrepancy between Democrats’ rhetoric and their actions could be crucial as Congress moves to close out the year with a flurry of bills designed to undermine regulation of the financial sector. Lawmakers may use unrelated, must-pass spending bills as vehicles to deliver legislative victories for Wall Street — while the financial industry sends cash to their campaign committees.
One package of deregulatory riders would allow more banks to receive exemptions from new mortgage rules. Another would reduce the number of banks subject to added oversight from the Federal Reserve. Lawmakers may also vote on a bill to reduce prosecution of white-collar crime.
In each case, these votes are expected to be close, meaning some Democratic support for the Republican-backed initiatives would be crucial for passage. Democrats like Tester are also working with Republicans to block executive branch rules that would force investment advisers to prioritize clients’ financial interests over their own.
Since 2011, after Dodd-Frank became law, Democrats have raised over $330 million from the financial industry, and their party’s presumptive incoming Senate leader, New York’s Chuck Schumer, is considered a close ally of the financial sector.
I can’t hazard a guess as to whether we’re in for a Cruz or Trump or Rubio presidency in 2016. My best guess is it depends on how the economy is performing next summer.
The scarier prospect is who we might vomit up in 2020 if Hillary wins next year. I doubt it will be Cruz. By that time, he’ll be considered too moderate.