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The Media-Created Front Runners

This writer makes it a habit to review CNN daily. Not because he expects responsible news reporting there, but because that particular outlet seems to provide a good overview of what the corporate-owned, government-supporting media wants the general public to know and care about. This past week, he saw the news that former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are leading in public opinion polls in the (bizarrely) crucial state of Iowa, whose caucuses will actually occur in less than one year (February 3, 2020).

Has it really come to this? Are the Democrats in the Hawkeye state really excited about two, old (76 and 77, respectively), white men? With all the talk about Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and other progressive or pseudo-progressive candidates taking center stage, are Sanders and Biden really seen as dynamic agents of change?

There seems to be a belief within the Democratic hierarchy that as long as a living, breathing, sentient being is nominated, the current occupant of the White House, the clown-like but very dangerous Donald Trump, will be sent back to reality TV-land from whence he came. This is the same thinking that brought Hillary Clinton to the party’s nomination in 2016: a fairly popular (don’t get this writer started on that topic) Democratic president was leaving office, and a repugnant, ignorant, ill-informed, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, egotistical, narcissistic blowhard was to be the GOP standard-bearer. Surely, anyone could defeat him. Of course, that upstart Bernie Sanders had to be thwarted, along with millions of idealistic younger people who had piles of enthusiasm but not of cash, and in the world of electoral politics, the latter is all that matters. So, the party sabotaged him through the use of the ‘Super Delegates’ rule (there is little that is less democratic than that rule), and through Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s dishonest machinations.

And now we are, according to the pundits at CNN, faced with the prospect of Sanders or Biden. Sanders, for all his progressive rhetoric, has a long record of supporting U.S. military interference in other nations, most recently in Syria. He is ‘PEP’ (Progressive Except for Palestine), despite throwing pro-Palestinian activists a bone in 2016 by not speaking at the AIPAC convention. And if someone is ‘PEP,’ he or she is not progressive at all.

And what of the marble-mouthed Biden, who can barely speak two sentences without somehow inserting his foot into his mouth? Another politician who supports war whenever possible (and in the halls of U.S. Congress, it’s always possible), he also panders to whatever special interest is willing to invest in his various campaigns.

But, according to CNN, these are the front-runners, the two now in the lead to defeat the chaotic clown and introduce the nation and the world to a new Utopian society.

This writer begs the readers’ forbearance, but are these really the youthful, fresh-faced new leaders that people seem so desperate for? Both Messrs. Biden and Sanders have been around the U.S. political block for multiple decades; to say that they are more than a bit shopworn is not to exaggerate.

Well, CNN does not leave us without its own perverse version of hope; that august network is forever trying to force former Texas Representative Beta O’Rourke down the unwilling Democratic throat. And as of this writing, he has tossed his hat into the ring. He is youthful, we are told! Charismatic! The new face of the Democratic Party!

Ugh! O’Rourke was unsuccessful in his quest just last year to defeat Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who is often described as the most disliked member of Congress among his peers. Cruz’s ‘likability’ rating is buried in some sub-cellar somewhere. His policies are racist and reactionary, and despite his early criticism of the orange court-jester currently referred to as ‘president,’ he basically votes lock-step with Trump’s erratic demands. And now CNN wants us to believe that this O’Rourke creature, ‘PEP’ to the nth degree, would save us all from the Great Orange One and usher in a new era of change. We might all as well sit by our chimney on Christmas Eve, awaiting the arrival of an obese man dressed in red, landing in his reindeer-powered sled on our roof, and slip down said chimney with a bag full of goodies. Believe one; believe the other.

U.S. government officials would have us believe that if a nation has elections, it is democratic. Thus their continual nonsense about the great Israeli democracy (one wonders when they will realize that most people disregarded that farce long ago), and their holding up the U.S. ‘democracy’ (read: oligarchy; kakistocracy) as a model to which the world aspires (as long as we’re discussing farces…). And every four years, U.S. citizens of voting age, if they have registered, and if they have the required ID, and if their polling places are opened at reasonable hours, and if there are sufficient poll booths at those polling places, are able to cast their vote for the elitist, out-of-touch millionaire who they want to lead the country for the next four years. Then, depending on the programming of the voting machines, and the accuracy of the ballots (let’s not forget those hanging chads from 2000), and the application of the bizarre Electoral College, perhaps the candidate who received the most votes will be declared the winner; perhaps not.

In the two most recent elections in which the will of the small percentage of eligible voters who actually cast ballots had their will thwarted by the Electoral College, the outcome was not pretty (we will not discuss here how the outcomes haven’t been exactly stellar when the voice of that small number of voters is actually heard). In 2000, then Vice-President Al Gore defeated former Texas Governor George Bush by 500,000 votes, but Bush was installed as president. Bush launched the ‘war on terror,’ a trillion-dollar boondoggle that rivals the equally expensive and extremely harmful ‘war on drugs.’  A recent study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs indicates that this ‘war on terror’ has cost U.S. taxpayers at least $6 trillion, and has killed at least half a million people worldwide.

Since Trump lost the presidential election in 2016 by about 3 million votes, he has maintained the ‘war on terror,’ and ratcheted up aggression towards Iran, Syria and Venezuela. The damage he has done to the Supreme Court will reverberate on U.S. society for generations.

Let this writer hasten to say that he knows that neither Gore nor Clinton would have ushered in a generation of peace and prosperity. Gore would probably have waged one or two wars, just to keep the U.S. reputation as the world’s largest bully intact. Clinton would probably have bombed Iran by now, which would have plunged the entire Middle East into a conflagration of staggering proportions. But, one thinks, that perhaps there would have been a slight reduction in bloodletting than we have seen with Bush, Obama and Trump. Because by the time Bush decided to launch the ‘war on terror,’ it was too late for anyone to back down without the risk of being seen as ‘soft on terrorism,’ which is the current political generation’s phobia, having replaced being ‘soft on communism.’

So we are now told who the frontrunners are and, if we want to be in the winner’s circle, who we must embrace. This writer will pass, and will, next year, seek another third-party candidate to vote for.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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