June 28, 2016

Trump, Brexit, and that 'power to the people' myth

Across blogs and social media, and on the air, it's very common to find pundits and screen warriors praising populist rejections of globalization as important "wakeup calls" and breaths of fresh air. Such claims are either deliberately misleading or dangerously uninformed.

As with the late Meir Kahane and other demagogues, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump -- and the Tea Party -- can sometimes hit on some of the very real shortcomings of our society and in our global order, and the solutions they offer are both popular and counter-productive, and ones in which they themselves probably don't even believe.

We know for a fact that the 
Brexit and Trump campaigns have routinely been lying outright and inciting violence just to gain power.

Are we serious about power to the people, about ensuring everyone has a voice and everyone gets a fair shake? The "NRA" is 
disproportionately funded by the gun manufacturers and not by citizens seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The defense industry plunks down millions in political contributions and hires the very generals and government officials who decide where to buy new systems. The pharmaceutical industry hires Committee chairs mere days after they push through favorable legislation.

As long as the rich can keep using their government-subsidized windfalls to drive more legislation and regulation in their favor, the 98 percent really stand no chance.

Why not start by fixing the bipartisan campaign finance reform championed by Senators McCain and Feingold? Why not assign Congressional redistricting to commissions of career professionals? Anyone who thinks Trump would ever act in the interests of the people is naïve enough to make the elites of both parties look prescient.

Let's watch how the British handle Brexit's increasingly real consequences, including the buyer's remorse in just the first few days since the vote. Now imagine what America and the world will feel like on November 9, or next January 20, should Trump actually manage to get elected.