Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Rebellion Will Not Go Away


Income of Americans age 20-24 since 1979 compared to other age groups (source; click to enlarge)

by Gaius Publius

The Sanders- and Trump-led (for now) political rebellion is not going to go away. There are only two questions going forward:
  • Will it remain a political rebellion, one that expresses itself through the electoral process, or will it abandon the electoral process as useless after 2016? 
  • Will it be led by humanitarian populism from the left, or authoritarian populism from the right?
Why is this rebellion permanent, at least until conditions improve? Because life in the U.S. is getting worse in a way that can be felt by a critical mass of people, by enough people to disrupt the Establishment machine with their anger. And because that worsening is seen to be permanent.

Bottom line, people are reaching the breaking point, and we're watching that play out in the 2016 electoral race.

Yes, It Is a Rebellion

There's no other way to see the Sanders and Trump surges except as a popular rebellion, a rebellion of the people against their "leaders." If one of them, Sanders or Trump, is on the ballot in November running against an Establishment alternative, Sanders or Trump, the anti-Establishment candidate, will win. That candidate will cannibalize votes from the Establishment side.

That is, Sanders will attract a non-zero percentage of Trump-supporting voters if Cruz or Paul Ryan runs against him, and he will win. By the same token, Trump will attract a non-zero percentage Sanders-supporting voters (or they will stand down) if Clinton runs against him, and she will lose to him.

(In fact, we have a good early indication of what percentage of Sanders supporters Clinton will lose20% of Sanders primary voters say they will sit out the general election if Clinton is the candidate, and 9% say they will vote for Trump over Clinton. By this measure, Clinton loses 30% of the votes that went to Sanders in the primary election.)

If they run against each other, Sanders and Trump, Sanders will win. You don't have to take my word for it (or the word of any number of other writers). You can click here and see what almost every head-to-head poll says. As I look at it today, the average of the last six head-to-head polls is Sanders by almost 18% over Trump. In electoral terms, that's a wipeout. For comparison, Obama beat McCain by 6% and Romney by 4%.

Note that Sanders is still surging, winning some states with 80% of the vote (across all states he's won, he averages 67% of the vote), while Trump seems to have hit a ceiling below 50%, even in victory. The "socialist" tag is not only not sticking, it's seen positively by his supporters. And finally, just imagine a Trump-Sanders debate. Sanders' style is teflon to Trumps', and again, I'm not alone in noticing this.

Whichever anti-Establishment candidate runs, he wins. If both anti-Establishment candidates face off, Sanders wins. The message seems pretty clear. Dear Establishment Democrats, you can lose to Sanders or lose to Trump. Those are your choices, and I'm more than happy to wait until November 9 to find out what you chose and how it turned out. Not pleased to wait, if you choose wrongly, but willing to wait, just so we're both aware of what happened.

The Rebellion Is Not Going Away

I won't be happy with you though, Establishment Democrats, if you choose badly. And I won't be alone. Because even if you succeed with Clinton, Establishment Democrats, or succeed in giving us Trump in preference to giving us Sanders, the rebellion is not going away.

If you look at the Trump side, it's easy to see why. Are wages rising with profits? No, and Trump supporters have had enough. (They don't quite know who to blame, but they're done with things as they are.) Will they tolerate another bank bailout, the one that's inevitable the way the banks are continuing to operate? They haven't begun to tolerate the last one. They already know they were screwed by NAFTA. What will their reaction be to the next trade deal, or the next, or the next? (Yes, it's not just TPP; there are three queued up and ready to be unleashed.)

Trump supporters, the core of them, are dying of drugs and despair, and they're not going to go quietly into that dark night. The Trump phenomenon is proof of that.

On the Sanders side, the rebellion is even clearer. Sanders has energized a great many voters across the Democratic-independent spectrum with his call for a "political revolution." But it's among the young, the future of America, that the message is especially resonant. For the first time in a long time, the current generation of youth in America sees itself as sinking below the achievements of their parents.

The Guardian:
US millennials feel more working class than any other generation

Social survey data reveals downshift in class identity among 18-35s, with only a third believing they are middle class

Millennials in the US see themselves as less middle class and more working class than any other generation since records began three decades ago, the Guardian and Ipsos Mori have found.

Analysing social survey data spanning 34 years reveals that only about a third of adults aged 18-35 think they are part of the US middle class. Meanwhile 56.5% of this age group describe themselves as working class.

The number of millennials – who are also known as Generation Y and number about 80 million in the US – describing themselves as middle class has fallen in almost every survey conducted every other year, dropping from 45.6% in 2002 to a record low of 34.8% in 2014. In that year, 8% of millennials considered themselves to be lower class and less than 1% considered themselves to be upper class.
Of course, that leads to this:
The large downshift in class identity among young adults may have helped explain the surprisingly strong performance in Democratic primaries of the insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has promised to scrap college tuition fees and raise minimum wages.
Will those voters, so many of them self-described "independents," return to the Democratic Party? Only if the Party offers them a choice they actually want. If the Party does not, there will be hell to pay on the Democratic side as well. America is making them poorer — Establishment Democratic policies are making them poorer — and they're done with it. The Sanders phenomenon is proof of that.

Will the Very Very Rich Stand Down?

The squeeze is on, and unless the rich who run the game for their benefit alone decide to stand down and let the rest of us catch our breath and a break, there will be no letting up on the reaction. What we're watching is just the beginning. Unless the rich and their Establishment enablers stand down, this won't be the end but a start, and just a start.

I'll identify the three branches to this crossroad in another piece. It's not that hard to suss out those three paths, so long as you're willing to look a few years ahead, into the "middle distance" as it were. The ways this could play out are limited and kind of staring right at us.

But let's just say for now, America faces its future in a way that hasn't happened since the Great Depression, another period in which the Constitution was rewritten in an orderly way (via the political process). Which means that for almost every living American, this is the most consequential electoral year of your life.

I know. I'm not happy about that either.

(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. If you'd like to help out, go here. If you'd like to "phone-bank for Bernie," go here. You can volunteer in other ways by going here. And thanks!)


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At 8:32 PM, Blogger Moose said...

We need to make sure that this election boils down to Supreme Court. Should the republicans win the White House our goose is cooked. Feel the Bern ---but don't forget the Supreme court----Love Wins

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Monica said...

Moose - I feel you didn't read the blog.

The winner of this race is going to be the anti-establishment candidate. If it's Trump vs Sanders, Sanders will win. If you care about the Supreme Court, you better be working to ensure Sanders gets the nomination.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question was posed: "Will the Very Very Rich Stand Down?"

The answer is provided by Michael Parenti:

"There are a lot of people who still don’t get it. They don’t get it that these guys are playing for keeps, that they are going after you, that they are not going to leave any little bit left for you. There’s only one thing that the ruling circles throughout history have ever wanted, and that’s everything.

There’s only one thing they want: all the wealth, the treasures, and the profitable returns, all the choice lands and forest and game and herds and harvests and mineral deposits and precious metals of the earth, all the productive facilities and gainful inventiveness and technologies, all the control positions of the state and other major institutions, all public supports and subsidies, privileges and immunities, all the protections of the law and none of its constraints, all the services and comforts and luxuries and advantages of civil society with none of the taxes and none of the costs.

Every ruling class in history has wanted only this: all the rewards and none of the burdens. Their operational code is, We have a lot. We can get more. We want it all. And if you don’t know that, you’re in a sad place. If you know that and you don’t know anything else, you know more than if you know everything else and you don’t know that."


IO hope that's clear.

John Puma

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Gaius Publius said...

Terrific quote and find, John. Thanks.


At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Mark said...

I am afraid that if either trump or Sanders win, they will be assassinated. The resulting civil unrest will allow a complete take over by the establishment.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Macon Richardson said...

Mark, why are you "afraid" that Trump or Sanders will be assassinated. It's a given. Live with it but never be afraid. Afraid is the mode of cowards. Be brave! Remember Franklin Roosevelt's great words in 1933? "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Man up! It's fear that has destroyed the country, not the 01%. We were and are 99% and in my book that's pretty good odds--if the 99% are fearless.

Next time the thugs try to muscle you, stand up to them. They can only beat you or kill you. I can live with that. Give it a try! It beats cowering in fear.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, it's premature to call this a revolution. Establishment whores are still getting over half of the votes, though it does appear that, FINALLY(!) a lot of the intellectually dormant are waking up a little.

The conditions have been developing for a revolution, but nobody has died yet (save a few unarmed black kids... but that won't start any revolution since that group is used to it). The "official" unemployment numbers aren't fooling as many as usual... thanks to reality on the ground affecting a quorum plus. But even poor folks can still become obese and drugs are still easy to get. So I think reality must get a lot worse for a lot more before a real revolution can happen.

Bernie is still running as an establishment man, even though he is using the "R" word some. He's playing the rigged game and still "taking" the rigging against him. The so-called "strip and flip" has been in evidence. See this:

Az was especially egregious and it was perpetrated by democrats with the apparent help of Az Rs. Yet Bernie says and does nothing. Read that again.

In a revolution, when corruption so blatant occurs within the establishment, a revolutionary screams, organizes the masses and attacks. Perhaps Bernie knows there *IS* no mass to organize... or maybe he is just playing within the system... thus NO REVOLUTION. yet.

Herr Drumpf is a separate matter. He's no revolutionary. He's a rich asshole with ambition of power and more wealth who has not uttered a single phrase that was not simple pandering to his overly xenophobic, hateful, greedy and sanctified by god base. His stream of consciousness is replete with self-contradiction. He believes in only his own bloodborne greatness. Other than that, he's just trying to belittle his opponents, their wives and families... and in doing so, proving his own superiority. His policy statements are contradictory and in opposition to his prior (that utube thingie) statements. He's only a populist because his base will hear only what they want to hear and ignore all else. He's a used-car salesman who has that natural ability to convince imbeciles to believe him.

So that's why I can't believe the "R" thing just yet. Too much antipathy on Bernie's part; too little voter plurality for Bernie (so far); and too many utter imbeciles on the right.

If someone gets gunned down (if it has to be someone, pleeeeze let it be drumpf or cruz) *AND* if the official stats continue to diverge from reality *AND* reality continues to regress for the 99.99%... there is the possibility of that "R"... but we ain't there yet.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger profmarcus said...

The more I read of you, Mr. Gaius Publius, the more I tip my hat in respect for your clear thinking. Lord knows, clear thinking has been in desperately short supply with a few exceptions, all seemingly in the alternative media.

In all seriousness, I felt tears come to my eyes at your statement that "for almost every living American, this is the most consequential electoral year of your life," a feeling I share and verbalize several times a day. And, when you consider I'm approaching my 69th birthday, I've been waiting a long time to see a candidate with such undisputed integrity.

I had tears in my eyes in Aqaba, Jordan, sitting in front of a TV tuned to CNN International watching Obama's victory speech in Grant Park, only to find my hopes being inexorably crushed a mere six weeks later. No, I didn't do my due diligence on Barack, so my bad. I'm trusting, wisely I hope, that the talk that Bernie seems to walk is the real deal although god help the man if he is indeed elected, taken into the back room and quietly informed that the PTBs know where all of his family lives. Will I vote for Hillary? Ha...! In your dreams. I would much rather vote for The Donald and hope and pray he brings down the whole house of cards, a collapse I've been rooting for anyway.

Keep up the good work.


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