The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy

Photograph Source: Office of Public Affairs – CC BY 2.0

I never cease to be amused by the brazen hypocrisy of the dismal, dollar-drenched Goldman Sachs-Citigroup-JP Morgan Chase-Council on Foreign Relations Democrats. Yesterday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Net Worth: $101 million, D-CA) blessed the drafting of Articles of Impeachment against the demented fascist oligarch Donald Trump. She gave the nod in a short oration that cited the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution to accuse the rancid and rogue President of the United States of trying to enlist foreign leaders in helping him undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

The tangerine-tinted Twitter-tantruming tyrant Trump is guilty as charged. Trump’s Insane-in-the-Ukraine gambit is a removal-worthy crime. It would have been recognized as such by the infant U.S. republic’s wealthy slave-owning and merchant capitalist “founders”/owners.

It’s an obvious intra-ruling-class offense that would lead to constitutional defenestration but for the trumping of republican checks and balances by the Republican Party’s dominance in the US Senate, where archaic apportionment rules inherited from the nation’s 18th century charter drastically over-represent the nation’s most reactionary, rural, and white (-nationalist) regions – the Trumpenvolk bastions.

Democratic democracy-Subversion

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party and its allied media organs remain guilty of subverting the electoral U.S. process in service to the nation’s homegrown corporate and financial oligarchs. The dangerous laughingstock Trump owes his tragic presence in the White House and I think the distinct possibility that he could get a second term (how about a third?) to the Democratic establishment’s insistence on ramming neoliberal centrism down the throats of a citizenry that leans well to the left of both reigning U.S. state-capitalist political parties.

Most U.S.-Americans want progressive change, including Single Payer national health insurance for all, free public college, student loan forgiveness, massive Green Jobs programs, strong civil rights and environmental protections, genuinely progressive taxation, serious gun-control, rational immigration reform, a significantly increased federal minimum wage ($15 an hour), the removal of private money from public elections, the break-up of corporate monopolies, and the re-legalization of union organizing along with other parts of the longstanding progressive Bernie Sanders-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agenda.

A people’s and opposition party committed to democracy, social justice, and indeed to the popular mobilization required to win elections would fight meaningfully for these things during and beyond elections and outside as well as inside elected office. It would be Sanders’ party, if not something to the left of a Sanders-style party (as it would need to be to meaningfully confront the Pentagon System, which cancels out much of the progressive agenda with massive war spending).

The Democrats’ failure to fight meaningfully for these things both inside and outside of elected office is no small part of why the Democrats lost the White House to a demented fascist oligarch in 2016. Much the same can be said for the Democrats’ electoral failures in 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004, not to mention the party’s significant defeats at the state and Congressional levels over the long neoliberal era.

So what? Who cares? The Democratic Party and its powerful allied media isn’t about social justice, environmental sanity, racial equality, and democracy. It isn’t even mainly about winning elections. It is first and foremost about serving corporate sponsors and keeping the electorate chained to a narrow and binary choice between (a) corporate, financial, and imperial oligarchy with a more culturally diverse, metropolitan, professional class, bi-coastal and liberal veneer and (b) corporate, financial, imperial oligarchy with a more white-nationalist “heartland,” “Christian,” and frankly neofascist feel. The party’s big-money backers and bankrollers’ dirty little secret is that they’d rather lose to the right-wing neofascist party than to “the [big bad] Left,” even the moderately progressive small-L left wing of its own party.

Killing the left in its own party is a bigger priority than defeating Republicans for the Democratic establishment. Sanders (for whom I have never quite been a cheerleader) is the party’s best hope to rally the no-show voters who have checked out of the big money and media-dominated political process since U.S. “democracy” is controlled by and functions for privileged elites. If the Democratic Party cared about winning above all else, it would mobilize the non-voters by pushing the issues and values backed by the progressive working, lower, and middle-class majority.

Centrist-Chasing Nonsense

But since the dismal demobilizing establishment dollar Dems’ top goals are serving and in even joining the nation’s financial cream, they insist against all historical evidence and experience that the way to win is to get a bunch of centrist Independents back from Trump. Never mind that centrist Independents make up just 7 percent of the electorate.

Hatred of their own party’s big bad “L”eft is so extreme among Wall Street-corporate Dems that they feel compelled to warn against the excessive “radicalism” not just of the progressive populist Sanders but even of the vaguely half-progressive liberal Elizabeth “Capitalist to My Bones” Warren, who is eminently co-optable by, well, capitalists.

Warren and especially Sanders, running in accord with majority progressive sentiment, are consistently disparaged and ignored on CNN, MSNBC (MSDNC), and “P”BS. In Sanders’ case, it’s almost as if he doesn’t exist on these venues – this even as he has quietly moved into a solid second place close behind Joe Biden in the early Democratic caucus and primary states.

Establishment Panic: Joke Biden’s Bourgeois Back-Ups

Joke Biden, the self-described “anti-populist” – the ridiculous right-wing, billionaire-defending corporate imperialist, gaffe-machine, and dithering racist who is clearly suffering from dementia? Everybody with the slightest hint of political common sense knows that the vicious orange sociopath will make mincemeat of that Corn-Poppingphonograph-promoting-child-groping “never called me boy” hairy-legged buffoon, whose fading mind is wasting away into Malarkey Ville? Biden’s a bum and it’s not just because of his age. He was a pathetic presidential candidate in 1987 and again in 2007, a mediocre politician sheltered for two-plus decades by Wall Street money in the rotten corporate borough called Delaware. He attained the Vice Presidency because of Obama’s desire to reassure the nation’s unelected dictatorship of money that the first Black president would show proper respect to the financial bourgeoisie after the masters of the universe blew up the global economy.

Kamala Harris was supposed to be an insurance policy with an identity politics double-shot for Wall Street Democrats when the preposterous plagiarist Biden’s brains too visibly leaked out of his ears. But Harris’s recently cancelled campaign has been an epic fail. Hence:

+ A flood of elite financial election money and corporate media attention to Pete Butiggieg, a silver-tongued neoliberal Rhodes Scholar imperialist who is likely doomed in a general election by his small-town background and, sadly, by anti-gay bias.

+ Strange media efforts to promote the intense purple-state centrist Amy Klobuchar.

+ A continuing influx of backing from private equity firms not just to Wall Street darling and no. 3 Dem contender Buttigieg but even to the marginal Black and centrist candidates Cory Booker and Deval Patrick, both of whom are polling at less than 2 percent.

+ The recent entrance of the nauseating New York City mega billionaire and media mogul Michael Bloomberg, a whiny little oligarch who has no chance of finding a mass constituency.

The panic of the Democratic establishment is transparent. It can’t stomach Sanders or even the capitalism-boned Warren on their presidential banner despite the strong likelihood that a Sanders-Warren ticket would clean up in a general election, bringing out the no-shows required to win – and thereby possibly force Trump to declare the 2020 election fraudulent and to try to enlist fascist-leaning military commanders, soldiers, cops, militia members, and “tough guy” bikers on the side of a White-Nationalist Trumpenvolk uprising.

Stephanie Class Ruhle vs. Leon Sanders and Elizabeth Zedong

Just a minute or two after Pelosi gave her brief morning oration yesterday, MSDNC’s smarmy morning host Stephanie Ruhle brought on to the cable news waves two pollsters who purported to show that Trump is wrong to claim that voters who invest in the stock market have no choice but to support him. By Ruhle’s analysis, the Dems can count on the votes of those who play in “the markets” as long as they don’t run some “far left” candidate like Sanders or Warren — you know the Trotskyist Senator from Vermont or the Maoist Senator from Massachusetts. The thing to do, Ruhle told the pollsters, is to run someone like – I am not kidding – Michael Bloomberg. When one of the pollsters noted that Bloomberg has little chance of being nominated, Ruhle said, “okay then, run Joe Biden.” Yeah, Loser Joe Biden…or any other ludicrous centrist to the right of Bernie Bolshevik Sanders and Elizabeth “Shining Path” Warren.

An interesting question: who really owns stocks in the U.S.? As New York University finance professor Edwin Wolff has recently determined, the nation’s top 10 percent of wealth holders owns 84% percent of the nation’s stocks. The top fifth owns 93.3% of the nation’s stocks. The bottom 80 percent owns 6.3%. Americans of modest and low incomes are massively less invested in the stock market than wealthier Americans. Trump’s great “stock market boom” is passing them by. Those are the people the Democrats would have to turn out in significant new numbers if they were serious about winning.

Ruhle worries, though, about the voting behavior of the stockholders. But, of course. Stephanie Class Ruhle is a Wall Street veteran who made a killing in global finance, specializing in the toxic financial mechanisms that did so much to distribute wealth upward and crash the U.S. and world economy in 2008. According to Wikipedia:

“Stephanie Ruhle (born December 24, 1975) is an NBC News correspondent since April 2016 and anchor of MSNBC Live. Previously, Class Ruhle was managing editor and news anchor for Bloomberg Television and editor-at-large for Bloomberg News. Ruhle co-hosted the Bloomberg Television show Bloomberg GO. Prior to joining Bloomberg…Ruhle spent 14 years working in the finance industry. While in college, she spent a summer interning for Merrill Lynch. In 1997,she joined Credit Suisse where she spent six years working in hedge fund sales. During her time at Credit Suisse First Boston, she served as a vice president and became the highest producing credit derivatives salesperson in the United States. In 2003, Ruhle joined Deutsche Bank as a credit salesperson covering hedge funds. She ended her eight-year career there as a managing director in Global Markets Senior Relationship Management.”

A true “progressive neoliberal” schooled in the art of woke identity-politicized virtue-signaling, Ms. Ruhle is reported to have a net worth of $5 million to and receive $1 million a year for hosting her highly caffeinated MSDNC show. She claims to feel for the working-class and above all for “women and girls” while inhabiting a lavish $7.5 million townhouse on Manhattan’s uber-tony Upper East Side.

Things Not to Impeach Trump For

Like everyone else at MSDNC and CNN, Stephanie Class Ruhle is heavily into impeaching the Orange Menace for its intra-ruling class Ukraine infraction but says nothing about impeaching it for things like, well, you know, ripping migrant babies from their mothers’ arms, placing children and families in concentration camps, letting children die in for-profit detention centers, accelerating global warming, muzzling government climate scientists, raping the public lands, promoting and supporting criminal coups, pardoning murderous war criminals, inciting political violence, instructing Border Patrol guards to violate the law, and threatening nuclear war among Trump’s numerous other high crimes and abuses of power.

Meanwhile, as Class Ruhle and her fellow neoliberal talking heads chatter themselves silly about the ongoing painfully constricted ruling-class Trumpeachment, the demented fascist oligarch has formalized sadistic neo-Darwinian work requirements that will deny life-sustaining Food Stamps to 700,000 poor Americans next year.

“If the Democratic Leadership Forces Sleepy/Creepy on the U.S. Electorate….”

How’s it all going to play out in November of 2020? 2016 taught me to make no certain predictions. We continue, of course, to be saddled with the absurd Electoral College, another great living legacy of those sacred 18th Century Founders, for whom – as neither Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff nor many of their Republican opponents would ever admit – democracy was the ultimate nightmare. That’s right, U.S. “citizens”: you still don’t elect presidents by popular one-person, one vote here in the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest democracy.” “If we had a popular vote,” Left historian and journalist Terry Thomas writes me:

“I would say the Democrats could probably even run Biden and win (although that might be iffy.) Certainly any of the candidates who did not demonstrate obvious senility would likely win a popular vote. But with the Electoral College and voter suppression (which right wing courts mostly support), the Orange Victim of the Greatest Witch-Hunt in History has a decided advantage. I’m not ruling out foreign interference to assist Herr Leader either. Only Sanders has the grassroots operation and the message of change in people’s lives that could take those rustbelt states Trump got in 2016. If the Democrat leadership forces Sleepy/Creepy on the US electorate, Trump will just kick his demented ass. He doesn’t need any help from Ukraine to do that.”

Even if Trump loses the election, there’s a strong chance he’ll make a stink about the count, claiming fraud, and do everything he can to stay in the White House. He will make trouble. Be warned: he won’t leave without bloodshed.

Forget removal by the Senate. It’s not going to happen. Maybe even forget removal through election next year. It isn’t about elite and liberal saviors: they caught the last train for the coast a long time ago. Hoping for liberal, constitutional and electoral salvation is magical thinking.

If people really want the demented fascist oligarch and his henchmen out of power and behind bars where they belong, we will have to mobilize in the thousands and then millions in the streets and stay there until the malignant Trump-Pence regime is forced out. While we’re at it we will need to take an honest and hard look at the whole damn system and the entire debased political class that birthed this vicious presidency in the first place.

Paul Street’s latest book is This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America (London: Routledge, 2022).