THE THIRD AMERICAN REVOLUTION has been postponed, but it has not been cancelled. With the American news media (Fox News included!) calling the Presidential Election for Joe Biden, that part of America which still believes in American democracy is allowing itself “a brief period of rejoicing”.
The followers of Donald Trump, sullen and watchful, have yet to accept the judgement of those powerful social forces for whom the news media speaks. With every day that passes without a clear call-to-arms against the fast-consolidating Biden ascendancy, however, the Red Hats’ stomach for a full-scale uprising will diminish. In the words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly”. For Trump, and Trumpism, delay means death.
That a crushing coup d’état was not unleashed the moment the trend toward a Biden victory became clear bears testimony to Trump’s signature lack of organisational talent. While indisputably the master of improvisational political theatre, the President has never demonstrated the slightest ability to stick to a script – let alone write one! The slow and careful accumulation of the human and material resources necessary to seize the American state has proved, thankfully, well beyond Trump’s capacity. Hence his personal tragedy’s rapid descent into farce – as illustrated to perfection in the Veep-like absurdity of the “Four Seasons” press conference!
Were Trump and his rapidly shrinking band of courtiers to issue orders to the United States Military, demanding the forcible impoundment of the ballots in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia, it is now highly unlikely that they would be followed. Nor can Trump rely upon the Supreme Court to pull his electoral irons out of the fire. The nine justices may not see eye-to-eye on many things, but it’s a safe bet that any request to nullify the largest tally of presidential votes in American history would be met with a polite – and unanimous – refusal.
Possession, they say, is nine-tenths of the law; and right now Biden has what Trump most wants: public acceptance of the “facts on the ground”. Confirmation that he will be the next President of the United States.
Where does this leave the Third American Revolution? The answer, sadly, is stalled. What should have happened in the 1970s; what could have happened in 2009 as Capitalism threatened to expire in the death-grip of the Global Financial Crisis; looks certain to be put off again. Why? Because, once again, just as the American system seemed on the very brink of political catastrophe, it rescued itself.
Think about the last time a malignant, mentally-ill President was holed-up in the White House, asking himself if he dared to strike down American democracy. Richard Nixon, in 1974, was considered so unstable that his Secretary of Defence, James R. Schlesinger, distributed a secret memo to the commanders of the military bases around Washington DC, advising them not to respond to any Presidential order to deploy troops onto the streets of the capital unless it was counter-signed by himself. It turned out to be unnecessary. The US system, the US Constitution, ended up working in precisely the way it was supposed to work. The crisis was averted. The overwhelming majority of Americans stood back and stood down.
But, not all Americans. The effective deposition of a sitting President, by putting the rights contained in the First Amendment to the US constitution to effective use, was the last straw for the most reactionary elements of the American ruling-class. Democracy was out of control. The rapid post-war expansion of the “Middle Class” had raised expectations beyond the capitalist system’s capacity to satisfy them. Organised labour was out of control. Blacks, women, minorities of all descriptions, were demanding their place in the sun. The Third American Revolution: the revolution in which the republican institutions arising out of the First American Revolution (1776-1783) and the efforts of the Second American Revolution, usually referred to as the Civil War (1861-1865), to infuse those institutions with genuine liberty, equality and democracy will finally be vindicated and transformed in a radical re-imagining of American freedom – it simply had to be stopped.
In their essence, this is what the four decades since Watergate have been about: delaying the Third American Revolution. Using this insight as a key, it is relatively easy to unlock the recent history of the Republican Party. It’s increasingly strident efforts to drive back the gains of African-Americans in the 1960s; its cynical alliance with the open misogyny and homophobia of fundamentalist Christianity; its packing of the US judiciary with reactionary judges; its deliberate debasement of US political culture and discourse: all of it has been about putting off the evil day when the full revolutionary potential of American democracy manifests itself.
And the Democratic Party? It’s history, over the past four decades, has been all about convincing both itself, and the American people, that it is not the political vehicle for bringing the Third American Revolution into being – even though anyone who pays the slightest attention to the sort of Americans who are voting for the Democratic Party knows that it must be.
Which is why, in a funny/sad sort of way it’s a pity that Biden won. Once again, Americans will convince themselves that the system, the Constitution, has worked exactly as it should. Yes, that same Constitution did allow a man like Donald Trump to wield full executive power for four years. But, it also gave the American people the opportunity to correct their mistake – which they have just done. So, crisis averted. Time for everyone to stand back and stand down. Sleepy Joe and Kamala have got this. (Are you listening Bernie? Do you hear what we’re saying, AOC?)
Except that the most reactionary elements of the American ruling-class can no more afford to stand back and stand down in 2020 than they could in 1974. Forty years on, they have so much more to lose. In 1972, when Richard Nixon won his second term in a landslide of historic proportions, the top 1 percent of Americans controlled roughly 10 percent of their country’s wealth. After 40 years of more-or-less constant counter-revolutionary success that share has grown to nearly 30 percent!
Their shield and their sword, the Republican Party, is not about to help Biden “heal America’s soul”. On the contrary, it’s going to do everything it can to exacerbate the differences within the Democratic Party and, by doing so, break-up the fragile social unity created by Trump’s anarchic improv theatre.
Deep down, the forces of reaction will be glad to see him go. The Republican president they will need to keep the Third American Revolution at bay for another 40 years must be made of much sterner stuff.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 10 November 2020.
Before the US election I sort of decided to capture some of the ....enthusiasm let's say, that the right wing contributors to the various blogs that I follow expressed in their comments.
Biden is going to get shackwackled tonight.
You Marxists have shown the nation your intentions. He'll win in a landslide.
I predict Trump wins re-election, and with over 300 electoral votes.
At this late date, I’ll refine that now and say Trump gets 315 electoral votes.
“And yet Trump will win by a landslide”
It took only ten minutes to grasp the sheer scale of the Democrat's failure. This sad old man, Sleepy Joe Biden, hasn't a hope of defeating Donald Trump. Goddammit! It's a wonder that he still knows how to breathe! Chris Trotter ... Oops
Nice rant, albeit I really didnt understand what you were on about :-)
To me it seems fairly simple.
A Merry Cans were totally over being treated like dumb tax fodder by the elites, ie political leaders of both/all parties for the last ? umpty ump decades
So they went for the ""outsider"". Unfortunately the outsider didnt present like a smooth talking gobblydy gook politician.
But a salesman who had no filter between brain and mouth.
So the a merrycans voted by a slim margin against that model, by voting for anyone but Trump.
I have to say the Biden strategist team took exactly the right approach. Keep Joe and Kamala out of any limelight and campaign on just continuing the 4 year media based slog of ridiculing Trump and applying all sorts of conspiracy/fear theories.
Interesting the tribal reactions on the election result. Buggar all protesting or riots from the GOP
Imagine the outcome if Trump was in Bidens position today.!!!!!!!!
Riots everywhere I suspect and chants of do not concede, fight fight fight.
Its a shame that the Soap opera of the media verses the Trump administration will be over soon.
But let due process take its course. 67 million Americans need to be treated like real people and all votes proved to be valid.
Yes Guerilla Surgeon - Trump might have won 300 electoral votes if the Democratic candidate would have been of the "progressive left", i.e. Bernie Sanders or Ocasio-Cortes.
If the latter become too influential during the Biden government, republicans might still achieve it in 4 years.
How long will it take for the majority to discover, that the most promising future is not in plutocratic nor state monopoly capitalism, but in people's capitalism, which will make even better welfare sustainable for the diminishing proportion of inevitable unfortunates in any society ?
Is it too much to hope he retires to a dacha on the Black Sea where he can see off his days with prostitutes and plastic sheets?
This from the post:
The followers of Donald Trump, sullen and watchful, have yet to accept the judgement of those powerful social forces for whom the news media speaks.
sounds very much what the embedded National supporters said here when Labour won last time.
They were shocked, unbelieving, that NZs 'natural' Party could be overturned by Labour which they have defined as being a group of jerks who don't know their 'a from their e'. Worst still they feared that Labour would do a reverse of the pipeline stunt that Oravida caused; disrupt the flow of money to its rightful owners. This will always be their mantra which will be returned to as soon as normal transmission can be resumed.
Revolution postponed indeed. But both sides have become so partisan that the "truth" of the election has become irrelevant.
*The papers and MSM have for 4 years failed to act as independent reporters and cannot be trusted.
*The organs of state have actively sought to thwart an elected president.
*The losing party of the prior election spread falsehoods that vilified foreign powers poisoning international relations.
*Supporters of both parties have vilified one another to the extent that they may have become irreconcilable.
*The huge tech companies have become partisan in a way that is reminiscent of Citizen Kane and 1984 combined.
None of the above has been recognised or will change. Nobody has any intention of changing this. Trump may be gone, but was he ever the issue for such venting of hot air. I get the feeling that he was the greatest smokescreen ever for Washington and Wall St's evisceration of the poor masses.
Paul Spoonley is impressed by Arlie Russell Hochschild (she/her) author of Strangers in Their own Land Immigrants, minorities seen as "cutting in the line". And so you get "anxieties" caused economic and social change with the rise of digital technology and "a rise in HATE".
Modern sociologists point to the way in which Trump was able to exploit the disaffection of often poor, largely rural White males in particular to produce his electoral victory (Hochschild, 2016), but the rise of tribal politics of course extends far beyond the United States and has effects much more widespread than the election of Trump.
While it may be accurate to blame the exacerbation of identity politics on the Democratic party, and certainly Trump and the Republican elites have played on and exacerbated such divisions, the social and political fractures which underlie the rise of populism in the United States and Europe find their roots far beneath Trump. In reality, identity politics simply represents the overt political manifestation of underlying human needs for affiliation, belonging, and community. These needs are not restricted to any particular political party or ideology but rather emerge from the fundamentally social aspect of human nature. In this way, we are not at all distinct from other social animals who need each other to survive and thrive in a hostile world characterized by limited resources.
The first is sociometer theory (Leary & Baumeister, 2000) which argues that people join groups for reasons of self-esteem; this model provides similar justification and benefits to that offered by older models of social identity theory. The second...
It makes sense after all celebrating diversity, "they are us" devalues a sense of belonging and "antiracism" is a double edged sword. Everything has a purpose.
If the latter become too influential during the Biden government, republicans might still achieve it in 4 years.
Yes Jens... of course.
"As noted by the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, incumbent Democrats in swing and even Republican-leaning seats who co-sponsored Medicare for All were undefeated, while every Democrat who lost their seat took a conservative position on the issue. An analysis of swing seats by Justice Democrats showed that more conservative voting records were actually correlated with decreased vote share among incumbent Democrats. Exit polls showed massive support for a leftwing policy agenda."
What I meant (above) is that peoples sense of belonging & esteem is linked to their sense of nationhood. Trump supporters don't feel special when they are staring "limited resources" in the eye, celebrate diversity doesn't cut the dice although it affects the esteem of the Bidens, Clarks, Blairs and Arderns "on the world stage". The average person can't change a thing because the digital age has concentrated the power to communicate.
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