Get Smart: The Real Lessons from the 2018 Midterms

What does it all mean? What can we do to get vital changes?

So, now that the results from the midterms are in, was there a bluewave**? Was there a progressive takeover of the “Democratic” Party?** (Psst... the answer to both is no. But let’s get into how to make real change.)

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(Note: The label “progressive” here stands for pro-people, anti-oligarchy, good lives for all instead of demons ruling us.)

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O.K., let’s get started answering these questions and drawing important conclusions...

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I. Main Lesson – Inside-Takeover Attempt, Twin-Party Tyranny, and I/O-Strategy

If you don’t know the answer, yet, let’s briefly look at the main outcomes: The House Of Representatives has shifted from Republican dominance to “Democratic” dominance by a relatively small but definite margin. The Senate has stayed Republican-dominated (they even added 3 seats, I heard). And as for progressive-labeled candidates gaining seats in Congress or governorships or such, there has been only a small handful, literally countable on one or two hands (even considering that I may not know all of them). Details are coming up very soon in the next post: this week’s Political Awakening Video Weekend. Editorial addition: There is also a brilliant detailedarticle on IVN looking into the “Democratic” Party takeover attempt from within and calculating that only two new establishment challengers actually made it. That’s how strong the establishment parties’ barriers are.

This handful of wins is nowhere close to taking over the hundreds of seats in Congress. It’s no people’s takeover of any state governments, either. The modern money aristocracy remains firmly ensconced as the oligarchy, the callous parasitic ruling class, gouging and oppressing us from the top.

So, I suspect we have no choice but to agree that the answer to my two questions is no. (just as I predicted)

Blue Wave? Nah. Just a trickle. Too many people have awakened to the fact that both major parties are a fraud. Hence no wave.

Progressive Takeover of the Dems? Nah. As usual, red switches a little to blue then back a little to red, in an endless cycle, both parties bar progressives, and the betrayal of the American people continues unabated. That’s the game both parties have been playing together in a kind of secret alliance to trick Americans into thinking their vote matters while they are actually trapped in this twin-party tyranny (as long as we vote for those two corrupt parties). Whether blue or red takes over matters little, since both major parties serve the billionaire class. The red-blue back-and-forth is only for show. True progressives (meaning true people’s candidates who actually wish to bring about changes we want) usually run outside the corrupt major parties, and we must learn to skip the major parties and vote for the outsiders who are outside the establishment and inside with us.

Basically, what these midterms gave us was the same old business as usual: our government held in an armlock by the two corporate major parties who betray us and serve the oligarchy of robber billionaires who think only of themselves, not you or me. It’s the same old game continuing as before — both major parties serving the oligarchy like two attack dogs vying for the favors of their master. No matter which of these two parties holds the majority, things get worse and worse year after year for you and me.

If your life hasn’t been getting worse and worse and your future doesn’t look dark, then you are one of the remaining 10 to 20% privileged people I and most of my readers don’t belong to. We are suffering and angry. And even in your position of privilege, the future may be scary... But let’s get back to the cause and cure of this mess...

The betrayal by the two pretending-to-stand-for-different-goals parties goes back several generations by now. After some preceding ups and downs, the current downward spiral has been going on for many decades, starting as early as the nineteen-sixties or seventies, then taking off in a big way during the Reagan years, and accelerating ever since. The vast majority of Americans (~80%) are in serious trouble. When I was a kid, a single working parent could sustain a family, quite commonly. Nowadays, both parents struggle and yet fail to make ends meet. The majority of Americans either lives in poverty or goes deeply into debt to prop up a middle class lifestyle a little longer. Why do you think countless families are now breaking apart over opioid addiction? They can’t bear this Hell on Earth anymore.

For sure, there is a little bit of cause for taking a breath of relief after these midterms, as some planned major blow-ups of our lives by the oligarchy’s wrecking crew known as the GOP — such as the scrapping of Social Security — will now probably not happen around the next corner, where it would complete the scheme of their criminal tax heist for the rich. But, with the corrupt establishment parties still in power, we will keep going down the drain. You can count on it. Things like the repeal of Social Security (A.K.A. privatization, A.K.A. Wall Street takeover) will merely be delayed. We keep spinning down the drain.

So, what did people try this time around to rectify the situation? What worked? What options do we have going forward?

Since the DNC’s cheating of Bernie Sanders out of the race for nomination two years ago, lots of people have been calling for – and some even attempting – a people’s takeover of the “Democratic” Party from within, the one major party who at one time in living memory had been standing up for everyday Americans... at least to a point. I myself, back in 2016, suggested we try a tidal wave takeover from the bottom within that party: gather friends, flood local party meetings, take the party over locally, move up from there... However, I soon realized this wave, large or small, would likely break on the many rocks placed in the path by the corrupt party establishment.

It didn’t take long for me to see the breaking happening. Many progressive candidates for office, as well as many policy and party reform proposals, in 2016 and 2017 were blocked, deflected, and discarded by the party establishment, while lots of the few famously winning and loudly toted “progressive” candidates turned out not to be progressive after all — voting, for example, against lower drug prices or Medicare for All.

State-level superdelegates were overruling the party base much like the national superdelegates did in the 2016 primaries. Local foot soldiers were being called to heel and put to use for the establishment. Progressive party members (including candidates) were fought and marginalized by the party bosses and blocked out by the equally oligarchy-serving corporate media. Many of us have therefore never even heard of most of the truly progressive candidates we could have voted for in these midterms. Some chance to be voted into office then (as long as we – the people – don’t adopt the counter strategy of voting exclusively for non-R and non-D candidates unless we know with high certainty to have a true people’s candidate running on a “D” or “R” ticket, which is rare)! To make things worse, even the big social media corporations have wholeheartedly joined the game of dis- and mis-information this year, blocking and censoring with a vengeance.

In 2016, Brand New Congress was formed by former Bernie campaign members for the purpose of boosting progressive candidates. It was soon joined by Bernie’s own Our Revolution and by the Justice Democrats. Did they succeed? Look again at the bleak midterm results again. The takeover attempt has failed and will with 99% certainty continue to to fail.

It looks to me like mice trying to take over a mouse trap from within.

I think, the main lesson to draw from this is that our two establishment parties are highly immune against a people’s takeover from within. They have been fully sold to the filthy rich and bribes-spewing oligarchy for ages. They are built and structured to serve Big Money and cheat the American public. And yet, for a few decades, both parties (mostly the “Democratic” Party, but the GOP to some degree as well) did bend a little to the will and needs of the people, namely after the early 19th century Great Depression. They bent in the form of the “New Deal”, giving us Social Security and Medicare for dignified retirement, unemployment insurance to give us a chance to survive lay-offs, free college to adapt to modernity, and so forth.

So, with enough pressure, some positive changes can be made with these establishment parties in power.

However, be aware of this:

  • (A) The pressure must not only come from within. Outside pressure is of vital importance, such as once existed with strong labor unions plus socialist and communist parties and movements without which the New Deal would never have happened. Without third strong parties and movements, the party bosses tell themselves and their wealthy donors (as well as their voters) that we, the people, have nowhere else to go on our ballots (and a lot of us voters believe it, too, making it come true at the ballot box despite of third parties, independent candidates, and write-in options!)

  • (B) Such positive changes like the New Deal are only temporary in nature. They are band-aids for appeasing a public that is about to revolt. They are, however, not fundamental changes that can last.

This is why, for about two years now, I have been arguing for a strong outside pressure for true, fundamental change.

However, I have also argued for an inside-outside strategy: putting pressure on the establishment parties (mostly the DP) from both inside (takeover and reform attempts) and outside, the outside pressure being a strong new party or coalition of third parties and independents.

Reasons for the I/O (inside-outside) strategy:

  1. History showed time and again that outside pressure was vital to get meaningful change.
  2. Both attempts are already happening. It’s not like we can swerve completely from one to the other overnight.
  3. If one fails, the other may still succeed.
  4. A working nutcracker needs to apply pressure from at least two sides.
  5. Only political champions who are not locked into either major party can stay loyal to their voters. Put yourself in a representative’s shoes and ask yourself: How can you succeed and advance your voters’ goals within a party that opposes you?

Famous example for point 5: Bernie Sanders. For decades, he ran successfully as an independent, associated with – but not swallowed by – the “Democratic” Party, and he kept opposing the oligarchy. On the other hand, when in 2016 he ran on the “D” ticket because he figured that America wasn’t yet ready for electing an independent candidate into the White House, he eventually ended up bending his knee, endorsing a corrupt corporate arms dealer (HRC), and trying to sheepdog people back into the “D” Party in exchange for getting media coverage and some leverage inside the party to try for reforming it back to its New Deal values. He even joined the hair-raising Russia gobbledygook. Ugh!

Bernie’s inside pressure and constant pushing of the envelope in the public discourse is a good thing I will forever be grateful for. Still, seeing him kowtow to the party bosses on a bunch of issues is painful to watch and a strong indication that we need more outside pressure and more candidates running for office from outside the establishment parties. And to lift them to success, we – the people – must move in this direction as well. To liberate ourselves from the twin-party tyranny we must give up the idiotic notion that voting for someone or something we want is throwing away our vote ’cause he, she, or it is not on a major party ticket or for whatever reason might not win. In reality, voting for someone or something you don’t really want is throwing away your vote. In fact, it is even worse than just throwing it away. You are giving it to the wrong candidate! Literally throwing away your ballot would be a lesser mistake.

To conclude this segment, both mainstream parties betray us and together form a voter trap playing a meaningless “take back the government” game every election cycle for pure show while they hand our government to the oligarchy that bribes them. The only way for us voters to overcome this trap is not to step into it in the first place and to destroy it from the outside (with ideally some inside pressure, too, but mostly from the outside lest you wish to be trapped). Therefore, let’s surge up a strong new party and/or coalition of third parties, and let’s adopt my no-more-R-or-D votes strategy.

But that’s not all. There is more to bring on maximum pressure. Read on...

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II. Lesson 2: Non-Candidacy Strategy

An old American hero, now mostly forgotten by younger Americans and successfully smeared by the party establishments among older folks, did try to run as an independent or third party candidate (Green) for the presidency years before Bernie tried it on a major party ticket.

With us – the people – still being largely ignorant and not ready for such a move, he had no chance to win and was smeared into near oblivion for trying (as a “spoiler” even though election fraud and other spoiler effects far exceeded his small vote count and one cannot really “spoil” an already rotten system).

This man, from whom we can learn a lot (his name is Ralph Nader to whom we owe safer cars, the watchdog group Public Citizen, the Freedom of Information Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Clean Water Act, Consumer Product Safety Act, and Whistleblower Protection Act) has been arguing for doing a people’s movement the smart way: not just spend all our energies and donations on candidacy races which go up in smoke right after election day, but build a policies agenda, focus on pushing these policies, and do citizen-lobbying of Congress (by spreading a web of organizers across the nation, raising public awareness of the most important issues most of us will agree on, and financing not just candidacy campaigns but paid people’s offices and lobbyists to put pressure on our existing members of Congress), similar to what he did when he was young and energetic. I think he may have a good point there, and I am squinting in the direction of the Movement for a People’s Party to maybe adopt this as part of their strategy (in addition to being the spearhead for the outside pressure recommended in the previous segment). The idea: Don’t only try to replace public office holders but pressure the current holders into changing their policies. Rope them in to work for the people, as our Constitution intends them to do.

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III. Further Lessons

Other lessons have mostly to deal with election rigging (please don’t think that all progressive candidates who were not listed as winners this week did in fact lose the vote!). The establishment ruling us not only decides almost unhindered who does or does not get on our ballots and who we do or do not hear about in the mass media, but – as a last safeguard – they also block voters, draw insane gerrymandering voting districts to shift the outcomes, and even flip the outcomes by tampering with our voting machines and vote count machines. Then, when asked for recounts or investigations, they stall (long enough for many Americans to go back to sleep), block investigations, and even destroy evidence. There, too, we – the people – have work to do (watching, reporting, exposing, suing, organizing...).

Big Money is the ultimate problem. It pushes money into politics, warps the mechanisms of democracy to become a mere sham, and pays think tanks and mass media to warp our sense of reality, as well. So, we need to push for outlawing private campaign funding, install public campaign financing (to create a level playing field in politics), outlaw corruption (bribes and the revolving door between public office and corporate lobbying) and ultimately restructure our economy away from the steep wealth pyramid to one that no longer has Big Money in the hands of a few to begin with — and no broad base stuck in poverty, either. Result: a good life for all and no more aristocracy lording it over us (whether they call themselves an aristocracy or not).

It’s up to us to keep waking up, looking around, informing and educating ourselves and everybody else we can. We, the good people, the harassed and oppressed people, are the majority. We are stronger than the oligarchs and corrupticians since we vastly outnumber them, but we need to get our clues, vision, good ideas, working tactics and strategies, as well as organize and implement the working tactics and strategies, to bring our power to bear.

So, then... What are we waiting for? Let’s each do at least one of those many things on the table, and we will soar.

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Summary:

  • Taking over the “Dems” (or GOP) from within hasn’t worked, again. It pretty much can’t work.
  • Outside pressure is needed for real change. (meaning from outside the major parties)
  • An inside/outside strategy applies the most pressure and is happening anyway. So, let’s embrace it.
  • We need to focus not just on candidacies but on a broad people’s agenda: policies most of us agree with. We need to spread awareness and gather huge public support (donations going for that rather than just candidate campaigns), push them forward beyond election cycles, not only supporting people’s candidates but also citizen-lobbying of current members of Congress, because once we get, say, the House of Representatives on our side, the whole playing field will change (like back when in the sixties and seventies Ralph Nader and a few thousand volunteers gave us massive changes for the better).

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Appendix:

The video shared at the top is of an interview taken shortly before the midterms. It digs into the matter of the “Democratic” Party establishment edging out progressives within the party while pretending to a certain portion of potential “D” voters that the party supports their goals:

Here is the link to it:

(Note: If this video gets deleted, you may search the Internet for The Real News and the title: "Progressive Races to Watch ")

Ralph Nader was allowed to speak on Nov. 6th, talking about the American people’s coalition we can and must build:

This is another informative video:

(Note: If the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for The Real News and the title: "Ralph Nader on how the Democratic Party 'Almost Blew it Again'")

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This article first appearedhereon Beanstock's World. Feel free to share links to it.

Comments
Philip Carino
Philip Carino

After reading this, the only thought that I had in mind is if you can possibly identify at least 2 groups with such influential power that could effectively do the pushing from the outside against the 2 established parties. Because I can't think of any.