“The Republican victory does not represent a shift by the American population to the right, but demonstrates the bankrupt and reactionary character of the Democratic Party and the mass disillusionment with the Obama administration. In the absence of any progressive alternative to the two right-wing, corporate-controlled parties, the majority of potential voters stayed home. Voter turnout hit another record low, with only 38 percent going to the polls….Voter participation by young people fell particularly sharply. Barely one-third of eligible voters went to the polls in California, the most populous state.” Patrick Martin, Republicans win control of Senate in US congressional elections, World Socialist Web Site
“You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches, and then pull it out six inches, and say you’re making progress.” Malcolm X
The White House has denied claims that the midterm elections were a referendum on Barack Obama, but the polling data shows that they were. According to a CBS News exit poll:
“Fifty-four percent of those surveyed said their opinion of the president influenced their vote… 34 percent said they wanted to make a statement in opposition to Mr. Obama, while 20 percent said they voted in support of him.”
Those differences were more stark among Republican voters “61 percent (of whom) said they cast ballots to take a stand against the current administration. (Only) Thirty-five percent of those who voted for GOP candidates said Mr. Obama didn’t play a role in their decisions at the polling places.” (2014 midterm elections look like a referendum on Obama, CBS News)
There’s no doubt that antipathy towards Obama played a significant role in Tuesday night’s bloodbath. Even so, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insists that, “Most voters are deciding who to vote for based on the name that’s on the ballot, not the name that’s not….It’s up to those individual candidates, those Democratic candidates, to make decisions for themselves about how best the president and his support can be used to their benefit in the elections.”
In other words, the Democratic candidates that went down in flames on Tuesday, can only blame themselves. While that might be a good way to deflect responsibility, it certainly doesn’t square with the facts. Just get a load of these exit poll results from Forbes:
“45% of voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country. It was the top issue of four listed on the exit poll ballot. Voters were generally pessimistic about it. Only 1% checked the box that said the economy’s condition was “excellent.” 70% said it was not so good or poor. 78% were worried about its direction in the next year. In another question, voters split pretty evenly: around a third of voters said it was getting better, getting worse, and staying about the same.
More voters expected the life for the next generation of Americans to be worse rather than better, 48 to 22%.” (Election Results From A To Z: An Exit Poll Report, Forbes)
What a damning survey. What a damning indictment of Obama. The vast majority of the people think the economy still stinks and that living standards for their kids are going to get a whole lot worse. And you wonder why the Dems got their heads handed to them on Tuesday? It’s because they failed on the number one issue, that’s why.
But the implosion of the Democratic party pales in comparison to the bigger issue, that is, that more and more people are dropping off the radar and out of the system. THAT is significant. Take a look at this from NPR’s All Things Considered on Wednesday:
Robert Siegel: “…as of today, according to numbers from the Associated Press, a bit over 83 million people voted. As a share of the voting-eligible population, that is 36.6 percent … if the national turnout rate doesn’t reach 38.1 percent, it would be the lowest turnout since the midterm elections of 1942. And as Michael McDonald points out, that was in the middle of the Second World War.” (Midterm Elections May Have Had Record Low Turnout NPR All Things Considered)
Now you might think that the bigshots in Washington don’t care if you vote or not, but you’re wrong. They do care. You see, they put together this shiny-new system called “democracy” that conceals their looting operations behind a masque of “public approval”. That approval comes in the form of balloting which they see as a necessary component for keeping the serf-sheeple in line and for shifting ever-larger amounts of the nation’s wealth to their criminal friends on Wall Street. Only now, it looks like the curtain has slipped a bit, and more people are opting out of this Potemkin-charade of “representative government”. Check this out from the World Socialist Web Site:
“Voter turnout was at record lows, with two-thirds of those eligible to vote staying away from the polls. This mass abstention was particularly pronounced among the poorest and most oppressed sections of the working class—those most disillusioned by the empty promises of Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
In Michigan, for example, voter turnout in Detroit was only 31 percent, well below the 40 percent level predicted by city officials. This shortfall accounts for the entire margin of defeat for the Democratic candidate for governor, Mark Schauer, running against Republican incumbent Rick Snyder…
Perhaps the most revealing finding in the exit polls was that two-thirds of those who cast ballots Tuesday viewed the US economic system as deeply unfair and rigged in favor of the wealthy. There was evidence in the exit polls that millions are losing faith in the capitalist system altogether, and not merely expressing discontent with the conditions of economic slump that have prevailed since the financial crash of 2008.” (Republicans, Obama prepare post-election escalation of war, social attacks, Patrick Martin, World Socialist Web Site
People are throwing in the towel, they’ve had it up to here with this crummy system that only delivers for the 1 percent. Everyone knows that the country is ruled by an oligarchy of racketeers who don’t give a rip about anything except pumping up the bottom line and stiff-arming working people. Why participate in a system like that?
And don’t give me that hogwash about the “differences between the two parties”.
What a laugh. Did you notice how Obama snuggled up to Mitch McConnell just hours after the Dems took their biggest shellacking in history?
It’s all a show. These guys are all in bed together. They don’t care about you and me. It’s a joke.
Just look at the cynical game the Dems are playing to convince their constituency that they actually have “heartfelt convictions” and that they’re true liberals. They’re always blabbering about same sex marriage and “a woman’s right to choose”. Why do you figure that is?
It’s because their corporate Sugar daddies tell them to steer-clear of any issue that might cost them some of their precious money, like higher wages, better benefits, job security, health care, pensions, unions etc; all the things the Dems say they care about, but never lift a finger to support.
Remember how President Dipstick flew over Wisconsin blowing kisses to the people below while Scott Walker was busy dismantling collective bargaining rights for public workers?
That’s the Dems attitude towards working people in a nutshell. That’s why they’re all about gay rights and abortion. It’s because they threw working people under the bus 30 fu**ing years ago. Abortion is the last thing they can hang their hat on. It’s pathetic. Here’s how Joseph Kishore sums it up over at the WSWS:
“The Democratic strategy of appealing to affluent layers of the middle class on the basis of identity politics while working with the Republicans to step up attacks on workers’ jobs, wages and living standards produced an electoral disaster. In a contradictory way, reflecting a system monopolized by two right-wing parties of big business, the election showed that appeals on the basis of race, gender and sexuality move only a small fraction of the population, while the broad masses of people are driven by more fundamental class issues—issues on which the Democrats have nothing to offer…
Underlying these processes is a profound crisis—not only of the Democratic Party, but of the entire political system. Both parties represent the interests of a tiny layer of the corporate and financial elite in alliance with the military-intelligence apparatus. Beyond the confines of the top 5 or 10 percent of the population, the state confronts a working class that is angry, dissatisfied and increasingly hostile.”
(The Democratic Party implosion, Joseph Kishore, World Socialist Web Site)
The system is in crisis, and the reason should be obvious to anyone willing to pull his head out of the sand long enough to see what’s really going on. It’s because capitalism doesn’t deliver the goods. It’s that simple. Everything is stacked in favor of the moneybags bloodsuckers on top. They don’t even try to hide it anymore. Have you noticed how Maserati sales are threw the roof?
It’s true. America’s a great place if you got dough. And if you don’t, well, then you might want to get yourself a nice, comfy cardboard box and a dry-spot by the river.
Is it any wonder why people under 30 have checked out entirely? They’re not buying this “capitalism is wonderful” horsecrap. They feel the sting of this system every damn day. Do you really think that a college grad with an MBA in engineering who’s living in his parent’s crawlspace, who’s wracked up a heaping $65,000 in student loans, and who has over 200 job rejections stacked a mile-high on his desk, gets up every morning thinking, “God I’m glad I live in America. Isn’t it swell to live in a country where everyone has a chance to get ahead?”
Right. These people have already quit the system and they’re not coming back. Among young voters (aged 18-29) only 13 percent cast ballots on Tuesday. There’s your ringing endorsement of capitalism in one dazzling data-point: 13 freaking percent. That’s a system that has out-lived its shelf-life if you ask me.
One last thing: We should give a hat tip to some of the people who figured out what Obama was all about from the get go, like the editors of Counterpunch, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. Counterpunch has been skewering President Flim Flam for more 8 years now, even when the liberal “thought police” blasted anyone who as much as uttered a cross word about him. (I wonder how many of those die-hard Ombamabots have the stones to admit now that they were wrong? Not many, I’ll bet.)
Anyway, take a look at this Cockburn article I dug up from the CP archives. It pretty well sums up the editorial position of the magazine… And it was written back in November, 2003:
“In these last days I’ve been scraping around, trying to muster a single positive reason to encourage a vote for… Obama-Biden, as opposed to the McCain-Palin ticket?…
In substantive terms Obama’s run has been the negation of almost every decent progressive principle, a negation achieved with scarcely a bleat of protest from the progressives seeking to hold him to account. The Michael Moores stay silent. Abroad, Obama stands for imperial renaissance. He has groveled before the Israel lobby and pandered to the sourest reflexes of the cold war era. At home he has crooked the knee to bankers and Wall Street, to the oil companies, the coal companies, the nuclear lobby, the big agricultural combines. He is even more popular with Pentagon contractors than McCain, and has been the most popular of the candidates with K Street lobbyists. He has been fearless in offending progressives, constant in appeasing the powerful.”…
“Obama invokes change. Yet never has the dead hand of the past had a “reform” candidate so firmly by the windpipe.” (Change You Can See, Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch)
Cockburn knew that Obama was a fake and that the Democratic leadership had no intention of changing anything. The plan was to crank the Bush agenda up to full-throttle; expand the wars, increase the surveillance, eviscerate civil liberties, and shift more of the nation’s wealth to their feral-tycoon bosses on Wall Street. That was the plan and that’s what they did.
Tuesday’s electoral meltdown was just blowback from the many rank and file Dems who were either too mad to vote the party ticket or too distraught to even drag themselves to the polling booths. And therein lies the silver lining to this mess, which is that people are disillusioned, frightened and angry. They hate Wall Street, the media, the do-nothing Congress, and the sell-out-loser Democrats. They want change and they’re willing to move further to the right or left to get it.
That should be fertile ground for even the most fainthearted revolutionary. There’s no reason why the public’s frustration and can’t be channeled into more productive activity, like a general strike, a mass exodus from the two-party duopoly, or a thundering march on the Capital.
Why waste all that rage on whining and handwringing? The system is broken. Deal with it.
Organize. Grab a pitchfork. Do something!
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.