I haven’t been writing about the US midterms much, because I don’t care about that nonsense anymore. The whole thing’s a fake pro wrestling performance staged every couple of years to give a heavily armed populace the illusory sense that they have some degree of control over the things their government does.
By this I do not mean that the votes aren’t real or that the outcomes are predetermined, I simply mean that both mainstream parties are controlled by plutocrats who benefit from the status quo and are only interested in their own power and profit. No matter who wins on Tuesday, the wars are guaranteed to continue, the oligarchs are guaranteed to keep siphoning more and more money out of the pockets of ordinary Americans, opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies are guaranteed to continue expanding intrusive surveillance practices and narrative control psyops in collaboration with powerful Silicon Valley corporations, and we’re guaranteed to keep hurtling toward climate catastrophe on the back of an economic system which requires infinite growth on a finite planet. The only thing that might change a tiny bit is America maybe temporarily having a government which pretends to care about oppressed minorities sometimes.
But there’s a sharp tension in the air about this performance. Whenever I mention how it’s all an act staged to profit nobody but Vince McMahon, I get a bunch of people yelling and cursing at me, with even those those who kind of know it’s fake saying “Okay, but you still gotta cheer for The Undertaker though, come on!”
That tension is there because on paper the outcome of the 2018 midterms is still uncertain. The slight lead Democrats held in polls has narrowed further today, with some analysts going so far as to predict Republicans retaining control of both houses.
Which is, on its surface, bizarre. It is bizarre not only because a new president almost always takes congressional losses at this point in their administration (the only exceptions being the historically significant years of 1934 and 2002), but also because the Republican Party is under the leadership of the most despised presidential candidate of all time.
If US politics were real, this would not be happening. If the Democratic Party were a real political party, a party which advances popular agendas in order to get its members elected to the government the way kids are taught in school, it would be on the cusp of a massive landslide of victories in both the House and the Senate, instead praying Hail Marys that they at least gain a slight advantage in the House. The last two years would have been spent promoting the virally popular agendas of the Bernie Sanders movement like single payer healthcare and getting money out of politics, after a thorough and radically honest autopsy of everything that went so catastrophically wrong in 2016.
Instead, what did Democrats do? They spent the last two years babbling about Russiagate conspiracy theories, and then in a tacit admission that they’ve never believed a word of that nonsense suddenly went completely silent on the issue before midterms and switched to the “We’re not Trump” platform. Oh yeah, and they’re telling Green Party candidates to drop out.
Democrats have done almost nothing in the last two years to fight the Republicans in any way that will ensure victory. Using his personal Twitter account, conservative media lackeys and an army of sycophants, Trump has completely dominated the narrative that his presidency has been a godsend for the economy. Fighting this narrative should have been Democrats’ first and foremost priority from day one, which would have been extremely easy to do since the narrative is entirely false. Job growth has continued on the trajectory it’s been on since 2012 and ordinary Americans don’t have any more money in their pockets than before; the wealth has stayed at the top no matter how much the economy has grown. An entirely factual counter-narrative about money being siphoned upward to the dollar-hoarding billionaire class with the help of Republican tax cuts would have been an extremely easy sell, but hardly anybody has attempted to do this.
Or war. It’s simply taken for granted that Democrats aren’t going to campaign against war, but how easy would it be for them to win elections if they did? There is no shortage of footage and statistics which could be used to attack this administration’s unforgivable rate of civilian casualties from airstrikes, its expansion of military presence in Syria, Afghanistan and Africa, its horrifying escalations against a nuclear superpower in Russia, its continued facilitation of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world in Yemen, and its depraved implementation of starvation sanctions against Iran. Democrats could have been shoving these horrors into the public eye since January 2017 and it would have not only galvanized liberals and leftists against Trump but also crippled his appeal with the anti-interventionist paleocons, libertarians and nationalists on the right. But, of course, they did not, because that would have alienated their war profiteer sponsors.
Instead of advancing popular positions to win the votes of the majority as kids are taught happens in school, all Democrats are doing currently is attacking the Republicans over Trump’s obnoxious tweets and generally successful anti-immigrant fearmongering. Since both parties support all oligarchic agendas in essentially the same ways, the only wiggle room Democrats have left is on issues the billionaire class doesn’t care about, like racism and other forms of bigotry. Plutocrats don’t care if gay people get married or if the president says racist things, they only care about power and profit, so civil rights and opposition to racism are the only means by which Democrats can significantly distinguish themselves from Republicans in a way that helps them get elected. The fact that both parties support the same oligarchic agendas which hurt disadvantaged groups first and worst goes unmentioned by either side.
It was telling when the Democrats lost to the single most beatable presidential candidate of all time in 2016. It was even more telling that they chose to spend two years spouting gibberish about Russia instead of building an actual platform with actual positions that actual people care about. The fact that there is any doubt whatsoever about the donkey party making gains in 2018 proves conclusively that they have been making zero effort to help advance the interests of Americans.
They do not care. It should be as clear as day to everyone by now. And why don’t they care? Because a pro wrestler gets paid the same whether his character wins the match or loses it.
US politics work nothing remotely like how kids are taught in school. The difference is night and day. If the American education system really wanted kids to learn about the way their electoral system actually functions, teachers would bribe student government candidates with Monopoly money to betray the interests of their classmates, and whichever candidate accepted the most bribes would get advertised on the school PA system as the clear and obvious choice to vote for.
By all means go ahead and vote on Tuesday, my American readers, in whatever way you feel might make some difference. But please also remember that you are ultimately participating in a game rigged for your oppressors, and that you deserve a much better system than this.
That’s where the real fight is.