Dawn of the Dead: Why American Politics Can’t be Reformed

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Soon after he entered office Donald Trump abandoned the populist rhetoric that got him elected and began pushing programs that benefit connected plutocrats. Soon after he entered office Barack Obama abandoned the populist rhetoric that got him elected and began pushing programs that benefit connected plutocrats. Soon after he entered office Bill Clinton abandoned the populist rhetoric that got him elected and began pushing programs that benefit connected plutocrats. Astute readers may detect a pattern here.

Populism in each of these cases was the purposeful mischaracterization of class struggle as resentment of the hands that nature and the faux opposition party have dealt working people. The unanimity of the ‘solutions’— more deregulation, bailouts, tax cuts and special privileges for the already wealthy, points to interests at work outside of those publically spoken of. Were accidents and human folly sufficient explanations, this unitary direction would be wholly implausible. The half or more of eligible voters who regularly decline to do so suggests electoral populism without a populace.

Graph: while some of the underlying characteristics were made less immediately onerous following the debacle of 2008, debt servitude is alive and well in the U.S. in 2017. Low interest rates, now in the process of being raised, temporarily made high household debt levels manageable. With debt inversely related to household wealth, the poor and near poor, now encompassing a…

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