Connecting the Dots, Part 5…

I’ve been chewing on what to write, post convention(s), for a while now. This is WAY long, and there are lots of links, many of which have OTHER links, so it could take a long time to get through. You could just skip to the end, but you’ll miss all the supporting material if you do.

Ready? Here we go…

I don’t know about you, but I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the events live, even though I entertained (however briefly) a thought that I might consider signing up to represent Bernie Sanders at the Democratic convention. Not even President Obama’s speech was enough to get me to turn on the events of the last week, though it got me closer to paying attention, thanks to NPR’s live broadcast while I was stuck in the car driving home after a show.

All the speeches I care about are below, starting with NPR’s article featuring Michelle Obama’s speech. The rest are linked below:

Elizabeth Warren:

Bernie Sanders:

Bill Clinton:

and President Obama
(With transcript)

I’ve been talking about history since I started paying attention to politics and current events, way back in high school. I started watching elections the year McGovern went down, thanks to Nixon’s Southern Strategy.

I’ve live-blogged events in the past, including the 2012 election. For me, there was an impulse to see history in action, to record the experience live, in person, as it happened. I thought about volunteering as a delegate, but I just couldn’t seem to get the enthusiasm to sign up, and it’s probably just as well.

I think I know why.

If you go back and search the archives of this blog, you might notice some things. Maybe the biggest one is my enduring hope that Romney just couldn’t win in the face of facts regarding his past. He was out of touch, even more than McCain and Palin, with the rank and file of his party. He didn’t speak for them so much as he spoke to them. And when he made the mistake of going on record (however clandestinely that record was) about the true nature of his base, that was really about all there was to his election.

2008 was trickier, and I was too distracted with small children and recent separation to spend a lot of time pondering the differences between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to take the time out. I had just recently joined Facebook, and spent much less time on my original personal blog as a result.

The funny thing about Facebook is how much of a memory hole it truly is.

I just took a trip back through history and determined that I’ll be better off deleting most of it and recording it in my own personal database, because there’s no way to just go back and grab what I posted there. It’s fragmented nonsense without any connections or context. You can go grab your own, and see what I mean.

But I digress. What I’m really talking about here is how the world has shifted since Bill Clinton took the oath of office in January, 1993. The ugliness started far earlier, when it became clear that Bush was going to lose, exacerbated by Ross Perot’s leap into politics. The election never recovered, folks had two years to get used to good times, and then?

And then Newt Gingrich took office and explained to us in great detail how our country was going to hell and what his buddies in the House were going to do to fix it.

That, right there, is the start of Orwell’s “Hate.” I swear: If Hillary Clinton’s name was Goldstein it might be clearer, but it’s not. And as I’ve said before, if 1984 was required reading instead of a banned book, this would be obvious. It’s not, because god forbid we should educate our children about the rise of fascism and its effects on society. And god forbid they should take part in the full process, because after all, only the November election actually matters, and only every four years.

Here’s the first set of stats that see what I see:

Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees

This is totally in line with my own spreadsheet of stats: 2016 Election Prediction based on Primary Votes. But the real randomizer is this: How many Pro-Bernie people were really Anti-Hillary, who will now vote for Johnson or Stein instead of following Sanders’ instructions for taking back the country?

A sizeable chunk, but not 50% of the Democratic votes went to Sanders. If even half of those vote Johnson or Stein, and they take the rest of the undecided voters who didn’t bother with the primaries with them, we could easily be looking at a Trump presidency, regardless of whether Diebold machines still in operation are hacked or not.

When you add up voter obstruction and voter suppression with rank and file hatred inspired back in 1992 by GOP strategists Ken Starr and Karl Rove, you get a truly nasty cocktail of reactionary stupidity combined with pure corporate greed.

1992. Remember that year? How old were you then?

I was just shy of my 29th birthday, and had already voted in two presidential elections. (Hint: First Reagan, and then Bush won.) I was over the moon when we finally had a Democrat in the White House again. And for a brief shining period things looked great. Well, okay, not great for everyone, but certainly better than it was. We were at the start of a tech boom. I owned my own place. We seemed to be moving forward.

That’s when the machine started moving. Chugging out propaganda and pushing the conservative agenda, continuing to shove “trickle down economics” down our throats. Everyone…EVERYONE…was gonna be rich!

Only that isn’t how it actually worked. And with the law of unintended consequences in full force, every single post-Reagan attack on the left took us farther and farther away from the path to the actual American Dream.

That, friends, is how we got here:

The rise of American authoritarianism
A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what’s driving Donald Trump’s ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016.

It’s all there. All the hate, all the misdirected anger, courtesy of the men behind the curtain. And if they get their way, none of it will be traceable, because we are now an electronic society. Burning books? Who needs that when all you have to do is delete the files. Got Kindle? Nook? Read everything online? Get your news from Facebook? Who needs a propaganda machine when you have one at your fingertips.

If Trump loses the election, that will not remove the threats and social changes that trigger the “action side” of authoritarianism. The authoritarians will still be there. They will still look for candidates who will give them the strong, punitive leadership they desire.

And that means Donald Trump could be just the first of many Trumps in American politics, with potentially profound implications for the country.

It would also mean more problems for the GOP. This election is already showing that the party establishment abhors Trump and all he stands for — his showy demagoguery, his disregard for core conservative economic values, his divisiveness.

Fortunately, not everyone believes the demagoguery. Some high profile GOP members actually realize how bad he could be for the country.

Unfortunately, they’re not the bulk of Trump’s supporters. This is what we have in store, if Trump wins. Petulance, lies, misogyny, and fraud. And if he doesn’t, he can cry foul, and his followers (who believe all the lies, all the false flags, all the Hate) are likely to take their personal arsenals and eliminate the people they think stood in the way, and he might just win anyway.

Not that they need to do it, mind you, because that’s not how Hitler ultimately rose to power. Nope. He did it with an election. And liberals gave him what he needed.

And if we’re not very, very careful, it will happen all over again, here in the United States.

See the previous Connecting the Dots posts here:

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