“The Envy of the World”: Still No Functioning Democracy Here

Photograph Source: Derek Simeone – CC BY 2.0

Those who own the country ought to govern it. – John Jay

You have owners. – George Carlin

Nobody Said Biden’s Name

I walked up to Chicago’s Trump Tower down the middle of Michigan Avenue last Saturday night. Within four blocks of the hated structure, both sides of the street were jammed with cars full of young LatinX, Black, and white folks honking their horns, hanging out car windows, waving, roaring their engines, playing YG’s chart-topping hit “(FTD) Fuck Donald Trump,” and aiming bird flips at the Trump building. Young people of all races and ethnicities danced on all four corners of Michigan and Wacker.

It was one Hell of a celebration. As well it should have been. Donald Trump is a vicious, pandemic-spreading white-supremacist, eco-exterminist, uber-narcissist, and instinctual fascist who richly deserves Noam Chomsky’s description of him as “the most dangerous criminal in human history.” A second Trump term would be a tragedy from which the nation and world might never recover.

Anyone on the “the left” who wouldn’t like to see Trump removed from the world’s most dangerous job is morally and intellectually comatose.

I say “like to see” because Trump is challenging the election with the backing of much if not most of the Republican Party. A Trump coup seems like a bridge too far to me but so did a Trump presidency and I see little basis for confidence in the supposed “resilience” of America’s “democratic” and constitutional institutions and values in light of recent history. I’ll believe the orange beast is out the door when he gets flown off the White House Lawn for the final time.

Contrary to news broadcasters who called the demonstrators “Biden supporters,” there were few Biden-Harris signs on display. There were lots American flags, Mexican national flags, and Black Lives Matter banners.

I didn’t hear one person say Biden’s name. Not one.

“Stop Counting”

Assuming he is ushered out of power next year (sooner would be better), the wannabe fascist dictator Donald Trump will be remembered, among other terrible things, as the one-term president who wanted the country to stop counting. Stop counting COVID-19 cases and deaths Americans needed to keep track of because they made him look bad. Stop counting poor and nonwhite people in the U.S Census because completing a credible count and categorization of the populace would hurt the white-nationalist agenda. Stop counting the disastrous amount of carbon in the atmosphere. And, of course, stop counting the millions of mail-in ballots required by the pandemic he spread.

How pathetic. A letter writer in last Saturday’s New York Times puts it very well: “Trump’s early claim of a victory on the night of the election and his news conference Thursday night reminded me of playing Candy Land with my 5-year-old nephew. It only counts if he wins and forget about the rules. If disappointment ensues, the whole board will be flipped upside down. Is this what the United States of America has come to? When is the intervention?” (NYT, November 7, 2020, A18).

“We Are Still in a Very Dangerous Moment”

When indeed. The orange-brushed authoritarian man-child will never willingly concede. As his psychologist niece Mary Trump warned and has been saying the last few days, acknowledging defeat is simply not in Trump’s make-up. The Narcissist-in-Chief is incapable of humility.

Like the fact that 71 million people voted to give this lethal fascist lunatic a second term, this nothing to laugh about. “He still has the power of the presidency for 76 days and we need to be prepared for anything that he might have in mind,” Ms. Trump told an interviewer five days ago.” If he thinks he’s going down, he’s going to try to take the rest of us with him.” Trump is engaged in “an attempted coup. “We can’t be delicate about this. We need to be very straightforward about what’s going on here,” Ms. Trump said.

Trump and his dead-enders – his two demented sons, his personal attorney general William Barr, fascist propagandists Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, the re-installed Nazi Senator Lindsey Graham et al. – are apparently playing along with his effort to use Republifascist control of the Supreme Court and some state legislatures to reverse the will of the voters. Along the way, Trump is trying to spark his hard-core Amerikaner base – including the near-third of U.S. citizens who would welcome a right-wing military dictatorship in the U.S. – to rush into the streets and wage “cival war” on the “radical Left Democrats.”

On Tuesday, the nefarious white nationalist neo-McCarthyite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) endorsed Trump’s refusal to concede. The Republifascist Party is aligning with the final madness of their Dear Leader, who has 70% (!) of the nation’s Republicans behind his baseless claim that Biden’s victory was fraudulent.

Axios’s Alayna Treen reported Monday that “Trump plans to brandish obituaries of people who supposedly voted but are dead — plus hold campaign-style rallies — in an effort to prolong his fight against apparent insurmountable election results, four Trump advisers told me during a conference call this afternoon.”

“These actions could amount to inciting insurrection,” a friend writes me: “He’s not done, and we are still in a very dangerous moment.”

“God Help Us”: Fired for Failing to Crush Civil Rights Protest with Federal Troops

Consistent with these warnings, Trump on Monday Twitter-“terminated” Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Trump nearly fired Esper last June 3rd for publicly contradicting the fascistic president over the possible activation of the 1807 Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty military units against protests in Washington and other cities. Esper said the circumstances did not merit use of the act, which Trump had threatened to invoke two days earlier. It was widely understood in Washington that Esper would resign before he would agree to deploy U.S. troops against U.S. citizens protesting the theft of the 2020 presidential election.

It is an extraordinary move for a president to fire his Defense Secretary just days after losing an election. Esper’s replacement, Christopher C. Miller, is head of the National Counterterrorism Center. It is reasonable to guess that Miller is a racist Trump-fellator who will be more amenable to using military personnel to quash “civil unrest.”

The Esper firing could just be payback for his earlier public contradiction of Trump and his determination to move ahead with stripping of Confederate names from U.S. military bases. Or it could be about something more ominous.

You never really know with a frenzied, power-mad maniac like Trump.

Esper offered some interesting commentary to Military Times on his potential firing just days before it occurred: “Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”

“A System of Governance That’s Been the Envy of the World” for 240 Years

With the December 8th “safe harbor” deadline for states to choose Electoral College electors just one month away, millions of Americans should prepare to stop all paid work and take to the streets, town plazas, public squares, and central cities and highways to make it clear to the American ruling class that this nation will be ungovernable and unprofitable if the terrible tangerine-tinted, tiny-fingered, Twitter-tantruming tyrant insists on trying to stay in office past his formal expiration. (My own preference is for Trump and Pence to be forced out now, before the orange monstrosity can do any more damage).

Don’t look for Joe “Nothing Will Fundamentally Change” Biden, a died-in-the-wool defender of the status quo, or any of his fellow corporate and imperialist Democrats, to spark or endorse such mass action. Keeping the people off the streets is very much at the heart of their core institutional and ideological mission. The corporate-captive Democrats are about conciliation, pacification, and inauthentic opposition.

Last Thursday night, the soon-to-be President Elect told Americans to cool their jets while Trump tried to invalidate the election. “Democracy’s sometimes messy,” Biden said, in words that could easily (and may well) have been written by Barack Obama or one of Obama’s speechwriters[1]. “It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.” (NYT, November 6, 2020, A1)

What an offensive and idiotic comment – nothing new for Joe Biden, who said earlier this year that Trump was “America’s first racist president.” There’s little real and functioning “democracy” in the United States. And there was never supposed to be as far as the U.S. Founders were concerned “more than 240 years” ago. Popular self-governance, the rule of the people, was the last thing the new nation’s aristo-republican slave-owner, merchant capitalist, and publicist rulers wanted to see break out in their “infant republic.” Popular sovereignty was the Founders’ nightmare, a threat to their wealth and proper class rule in their militantly propertarian world view. Leading Constitution advocate John Jay put it very well: “those who own the country ought to govern it.” The new nation’s leading intellectuals and politicians were very explicit about this in The Federalist Papers and in the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, where the framers constructed a government dedicated to keeping We the People at bay.

The openly anti-democratic Electoral College, required to appease southern slaveowners, was just one of the many ways in which the Founders’ holy parchment was designed to check the power of the people. Under its openly absurd reign, Americans still don’t elect their president through a national popular vote and presidential elections come down to winner-take-all Elector slate contests in a small number of contested states. Constitutionally speaking, by the way state governments are technically free to send to Elector slates that contradict the popular presidential vote in their jurisdictions (more on this below).

How enviable.

“It’s Like You Want to Stop People from Voting”

A New York Times editorial published last Saturday reflected on the curious difficulty of getting one’s tally properly taken and tabulated under Biden’s “system of governance that has been the envy of the world” for 240 years:

“From the endless lines to the pre-election legal wrangling to the president’s constant effort to undermine the process, every ballot cast this year was a leap of faith: Would it get there in time? Would it get there at all? Would they try to toss it out because you voted from a car? Would they throw it out because you signed your name carelessly? Would judges be called upon to alter the mail-in deadline after the election had already begun? Would you ever be able to find the one drop-box in your sprawling county? And, after all that, would anyone believe the count, anyway? All of this uncertainty is unworthy of the ‘world’s oldest democracy.’ American elections are broken, and because the legitimacy of the entire political system rests upon our votes, their brokenness mars every other part of our democracy” (NYT, November 7, 2020, A18).

A short Times video on “How U.S. Elections Look Abroad” showed people from other nations reacting to various pathetic aspects of the United States’ bizarre and byzantine voting system(s)” “From gerrymandering to voter roll purges,” the Times reported, “we showed people around the world how the American system works. It didn’t go well.” The foreign interview subjects shook their heads and rolled their eyes in disbelief over numerous voting rules and practices that plague elections in the nation that calls itself the homeland and headquarters of democracy: partisan gerrymandering, replete with bizarre “Jackson Pollack” voting districts; absurd voter registration deadlines; absurdly low voter registration; rampant non-voting; voter purging; absurdly long lines at minority polling places; the failure to make elections a national holiday and to otherwise make voting convenient; discriminatory and unnecessary voter ID laws; felony disenfranchisement laws and more.

The judgement of a New Zealander: the American voting regime “is just not acceptable in a democratic country.” A woman from India said, “it’s like you want to stop people from voting.”

That’s not exactly “the envy of the world.” More like global laughingstock. Or worse.

More Fully Constitutional Absurdity

Sadly, the Times video and editorial said nothing about the Electoral College, the systematic disablement of third and fourth parties, and the United States’ preposterous and only plutocratic campaign finance laws and (see below) rulings. Even if voting itself was made more suitable, practical, and efficient in the U.S, these authoritarian characteristics of America’s supposedly grand “system of governance” would continue to badly dilute the supposedly sacred power of the American ballot.

1 State with 40 Million People and 2 U.S. Senators v. 22 States with 37 Million People and 44 U.S. Senators

Another anti-democratic legacy of the Founders’ supposedly glorious “system of governance” ignored by the Times video and editorial is the assignment of two U.S. Senators to every state regardless of state population size. California has nearly 40 million people. Wyoming is home to less than 600,000 citizens. Both have 2 U.S. Senators – a brazen violation of the elementary democratic principle of one-person one vote. As the Atlantic noted last year, “Today the voting power of a citizen in Wyoming, the smallest state in terms of population, is about 67 times that of a citizen in the largest state of California, and the disparities among the states are only increasing.” The nation’s 22 least populous states are home to roughly 37 million people and 44 U.S. Senators. On top of this grotesque absurdity (from a democratic, one person, one vote perspective), neither the U.S. taxpaying province of Puerto Rico (more populous than 20 U.S. states!) nor the U.S.-taxpaying District of Columbia (home to a total population greater than that of 2 U.S. states – Wyoming and Vermont) has a single representative with voting power in the U.S. Senate.

The nation’s small-population states are disproportionately white, rural, and Republifascist. This abjectly authoritarian set-up grossly overrepresents the nation’s most backwards and racist, right-wing regions.

Thanks to this open violation of democracy’s most elementary principle – one person, one vote – the Senate stands far to the portside of the U.S. populace.

How enviable.

Never forget the absurdly venerated U.S. aristo-republican Founder James Madison’s case for the U.S. Senate (originally beyond any popular election) at the 1787 Constitutional Convention:  

“In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.”

Senate Confirmation and Judicial Review/Veto

To make things yet more egregiously reactionary, the Senate holds confirmation power over the president’s appointments to the federal judiciary, including the absurdly all-powerful appointed-for-life Supreme Court, which has (under the 1976 Buckley Valeo and 2010 Citizens United decisions) granted giant corporations unlimited financial input on the American candidate selection and election processes.

The 6-3 right wing Supreme Court crated malignant sadist Trump could soon end American women’s right to an abortion and remove millions of Americans from health insurance in the middle of a pandemic. It has the technical power to invalidate Biden’s election, something the Trump administration says it’s still counting on while ginning up its ugly, heavily armed Amerikaner Death-Cult base with the evidence-free charge that the election was “rigged against Trump.”

The Supreme Court’s power of final judicial review – established as American legal doctrine in the 1804 Marbury v. Madison decision – effectively gives the right-wing the power to veto any policy it sees as antithetical to its white nationalist and oligarchic world view.

Envy that, world.

Another Ghost of 1804: The Twelfth Night Amendment

Yogi Berra was right: “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” One scheme for Trump staying in power is fully constitutional. It was explained concisely by the insufferable neoliberal Fareed Zakaria in The Washington Post five or so weeks ago:

“Imagine the scenario during election week: Trump is leading on Nov. 3, but Democratic nominee Joe Biden gains ground in the days following.  Republicans file objections to tens of thousands of mail-in ballots. Democrats file countersuits. Taking account of the confusion, legislatures decide to choose the electors themselves…Of the nine swing states, eight have Republican legislatures. If one or more decide that balloting is chaotic and marred by irregularities, they could send what they regard as the legitimate slate of electors, which would be Republican…Democrats may object and file lawsuits. In some of those states, Democratic governors or secretaries of state could send their own slates of electors to Washington. That would add to the confusion, but that might well be part of the Republican plan. When Congress convenes on Jan. 6 to tally the electors’ votes, there would be challenges to the legitimacy of some electors. Congressional Republicans would agree that disputed states should not be counted. That would ensure that neither candidate would get to 270 electoral votes…At that point, the Constitution directs that the House of Representatives vote to determine the presidential election. But it does so with each state casting a single vote. If the current numbers hold, there would be 26 state delegations that are Republican and 23 Democratic (with one tied), so the outcome would be to reelect Trump. Trump does not need to do anything other than accept this outcome, which is constitutional.”

While they maintained a total majority of individual representatives in the U.S. House, the Democrats failed to win a majority of the state delegations in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2020 election.

It is true that most states have passed laws committing their Elector slates to the candidates who won the popular vote in their jurisdiction. But those are just state laws that have never ruled as federally constitutional by the Supreme Court, which is currently under the command of the right after Trump’s three appointments (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney-Barrett).

The specific part of the Constitution that would send the election to the House is the Twelfth Amendment, passed in 1804. “But in choosing the president,” the amendment reads, “the [House] votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each State having one vote.”

I’m not saying that the election is going to the U.S. House of Representatives. But I’m also not ruling out the possibility and cannot help but sadly register some agreement with the title of Zakaria’s reflection: “Trump could stay in power even if he doesn’t win the election. The Constitution allows it.”

Wow. Something to make the world green with envy!

Whether five Republican-appointed justices (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney-Barrett) have the courage to spark a mass popular rebellion by backing Trump’s Ahab-like war on the electoral process is another question altogether. They probably do not have the guts to pull something as fascist as that (part of me hopes they do: it would put millions in the streets, where they belong until racist, sexist, eco-cidal, capitalist and imperialist American regime is overthrown). But maybe they do. Never say never.

“The General Public Has Been Virtually Powerless”

What “democracy,” Joe Biden? Where is it, New York Times? Twenty-three decades after the Constitutional Convention, the Founders’ nightmare has yet to break out and take over in “the world’s oldest democracy.” University of Kentucky history department chair Ronald Formisamo’s published a book titled American Oligarchy.  By Formisamo’s detailed account, U.S. politics and policy are under the control of a “permanent political class” – a “networked layer of high-income people” including Congressional representatives (half of whom are millionaires), elected officials, campaign funders, lobbyists, consultants, appointed bureaucrats, pollsters, television celebrity journalists, university presidents, and executives at well-funded nonprofit institutions.

This “permanent political class,” Formisamo warns, is taking the nation “beyond [mere] plutocracy” to “the hegemony of an aristocracy of inherited wealth.”  It “drives economic and political inequality not only with the policies it has constructed over the past four decades, such as federal and state tax systems rigged to favor corporations and the wealthy; it also increases inequality by its self-dealing, acquisitive behavior as it enables, emulates, and enmeshes itself with the wealthiest One Percent and .01 percent,” creating “levels of poverty and disadvantage for millions that exceed almost all advanced nations.”

Formisamo is one of many astute and mainstream U.S.-American experts who understand that the U.S. is an oligarchic nation. As the distinguished liberal political scientists Benjamin Page (Northwestern) and Marin Gilens (Princeton) showed in their expertly researched 2017 book Democracy in America?:

“the best evidence indicates that the wishes of ordinary Americans actually have had little or no impact on the making of federal government policy.  Wealthy individuals and organized interest groups – especially business corporations – have had much more political clout…[so that] the general public has been virtually powerless…Majorities of Americans favor…programs to help provide jobs, increase wages, help the unemployed, provide universal medical insurance, ensure decent retirement pensions, and pay for such programs with progressive taxes.  Most Americans also want to cut ‘corporate welfare.’ Yet the wealthy, business groups, and structural gridlock have mostly blocked such new policies [and programs].”

Even conservative elites like the veteran federal jurist and economist Richard Posner acknowledge this elementary reality, which is well understood and relished in ruling class circles.

A perfect example of American oligarchy was the arch-regressive Republican tax bill signed by Trump in late 2017. Predictably enough in a nation where the top tenth of the upper One Percent already possessed nearly as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, the tax law was opposed by three in four U.S. citizens.

So what? Who cared? The oligarchy wanted a tax-cut the nation hated. Money talked and bullshit walked.

Seven in ten Americans back Single Payer health insurance, Medicare for All (M4A). Super. So what? Who cares? M4A wasn’t on the 2020 presidential ballot and barely made it into more than a tiny percentage of Congressional races, thanks to the longstanding capture of the Democratic Party by the nation’s unelected dictatorship of capital.

Money screams, quietly, behind the scenes, rendering the mere citizenry “virtually powerless.” As George Carlin used to say, we don’t have “choices” in America, we have “owners.”

How enviable. How jealous people outside the United States must be!

The Democrats’ corporate establishment is already launching rhetorical assaults on their party’s small progressive contingent, accusing mild social democrats like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of supposedly evil purported “socialism” and other forms of alleged “radical extremism.” In the wake of its painfully narrow defeat of Trump’s large and absurdly over-represented minority and with an eye to appeasing the right wing, corporate Democrats are already reaching out to the nation’s reactionaries while playing along with the Republifascists’ neo-McCarthyite rhetoric when it comes to demonize those who would seriously advance decent humanistic and egalitarian policies supported by most Americans.

So what if progressive Democrats like Sanders and AOC busted their butts to defeat Trump and elect Biden? Who cares?

Money talks. So does corporate media, where huge commercial revenues from the insurance companies mean that AOC and Sanders are considered to be wild-eyed “bomb-throwing Marxists” (to use the language of the insufferably arrogant CNN anchor Jake Tapper) for wanting to save the human race from climatological self-immolation with a Green New Deal. No wonder AOC is floating the possibility of getting out of American major party politics altogether.

“A Dark Cloud Enveloping Society and the Political System”

In 1932, during another moment of crisis, the great American philosopher John Dewey observed that “politics is the shadow cast on society by big business.” Dewey significantly observed that U.S. politics would stay that way as long as power resided in “business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by commend of the press, press agents, and other means of publicity and propaganda.” Four and a half decades into the neoliberal era, the moneyed elite’s domination of the nation’s political and policy processes reached a level that almost defied belief. Noam Chomsky put it well during the first Obama administration, in the wake of the elite-manufactured debt-ceiling crisis, when the leaders of both of the major parties agreed to slash government expenditures in defiance of majority citizen support for increased public investment to address mass unemployment and poverty. “Since the 1970s,” Chomsky observed, “[Dewey’s] shadow has become a dark cloud enveloping society and the political system. Corporate power, by now largely financial capital, has reached the point that both political organizations, which now barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.”

Envy that, world.

“Nothing Will Fundamentally Change”

Chomsky’s “dark cloud” is how and why the fake-populist racist monster Donald Trump got elected in the first place [2] – and how he damn-near pulled off a second term with no coup required. The cloud darkened and grew during the Trump years. Fresh from a profit bonanza thanks to de-regulation, tax-cuts and bail-outs under Trump and Pelosi, the corporate and financial oligarchy eagerly anticipates a center-right Biden presidency combined with a persistently Republican Senate and a far-right Supreme Court. American “democracy’s” owners will be quite content with that configuration. Investors are pushing the stock market up in expectancy of a “calming” corporate president (Biden) who will be “prevented” by the Senate and judiciary from acting to any significant degree on progressive pressure from “the left” and the technically irrelevant citizenry.

Not that Biden is a threat in that regard. He’s a “reach across the aisle” conservative Democrat in the Clinton-Obama mode. Like the last two Democratic presidents, Biden will be all about mollifying the ever more fascistic American right and corporate/financial capital while dismissing and denigrating progressive Democrats. “Reaching out to your opponents” means extending a hand of appeasement to the right-wing while refusing solidarity with the hated left inside your own party. Think Rahm Emanuel. If he becomes president, Biden he will be happily “hamstrung” by a Republifacist Senate and Supreme Court. That will give him cover he wants to more easily be the center-right corporatist and imperialist he is: he can tell the populace and progressives that he can’t act on their demands for urgently needed policies like Single Payer, seriously progressive taxation, a peace dividend, free public college, a Green New Deal, and the re-legalization of union organizing.

So what if those policies are backed by most Americans? Who cares? An open tool of big insurance capital, candidate Biden suggested that he would veto M4A, extraneously backed by a super-majority of American citizens, if it if came to his presidential desk.

This was consistent with his promise to elite Manhattan campaign donors last year: “nothing would fundamentally change in a Biden presidency

That’s right: nothing would fundamentally change. He meant that.

How about that great “democracy,” that “envy of the world” for 240 years!

It has worked out nicely for America’s oligarchs. The masters of capital preferred the stable Goldman Sachs neoliberal Hillary Clinton to the destabilizing fascist oligarch Trump in 2016 but they got a sweet deal from the tangerine hate machine: a bunch of deregulation and tax cuts along with huge military budgets and a populace ready for “relief” from a malevolent, pandemic-spreading provocateur in the form of a sleepy corporatist like Grandpa Joe.

On Patience

Imagine how Frederick Douglass would have responded to Biden’s claim that Americans’ “patience” with their propertied masters’ “system of governance” has been “rewarded for 240 years.” Black chattel slavery lived on for nine decades after the American Revolution, which was driven in no small part by North American leaders’ desire to preserve and expand slavery. Slavery was deeply protected in the Founders’ holy charter, which continues to cripple American “democracy” well into the 21st Century. Black slavery came back with another name after another contested election – 1876, which finalized the death of Reconstruction, of the nation’s final retreat from any lingering commitment to freeing and empowering the Black masses of the South.

Maybe one of Biden’s staffers can get him a synopsis of historian Edward Baptiste’s prize-winning study The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Baptiste’s remarkable volume shows that the cotton slave system that thrived in the South a half century after the American “revolution” was a forced labor regime of pure racist terror and murderous torture. Just exactly how was Black Americans’ supposed “patience” rewarded under the American “system of governance” during the long nightmare of slavery and its horrific Jim Crow aftermath, not to mention up through contemporary mass ghettoization, mass incarceration, and persistent race-class residential and educational apartheid?

How is patience is working in regard to the capitalogenic climate crisis, the biggest issue of our or any time, slated to cancel hopes for a decent future and organized human existence in the near future? The officially unchallengeable, growth-addicted profits system, the underlying cause of the COVID-19 crisis, is hard-wired to poison livable ecology beyond repair.

It’s good that Trump, a malignant fascist, may soon be removed from the world’s most deadly office, but his nightmare presidency is a clear outcome and reflection of an underlying and insidious, bipartisan, corporate, imperial, patriarchal, white-supremacist and eco-cidal authoritarianism. The “real issue to be faced” remains, in the words of the democratic socialist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “the radical reconstruction of society itself.” That will mean a thoroughgoing overhaul of the nation’s “system of governance” in accord with the Founders’ ultimate nightmare: popular sovereignty. And that will mean tearing down the corporate state. It is a matter of life and death for the whole species now.

We must do what young Frederick Douglass did: rise up against our owners.


1. Consistent with my suspicion, Biden in his Saturday victory speech stole a moronic but emotionally potent line from Obama’s instantly famous, career-making speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention: “there’s no Blue State America and Red State America, there’s only a United States of America.” Really? Sleepy Joe might want to take another look at the 2020 Electoral College map: there is a clear division between blue and red states. Biden has received congratulations for his clear election victory from a grand total of four Republican U.S. Senators as the GOP has rallied around the absurd claim that his victory was fraudulent. There’s a Red State America and a Blue State America.

2. Please see Chapter 3 (titled “Barack Von Obombdenburg”) of my new book Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement (CounterPunch Books, October 2020)

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