The Main Political Question For 2018: Is Democracy Over In The U.S?

When the real analysis begins years from now about the demise of the United States empire and its democracy, two major occurrences will be at the forefront of why the country collapsed.

One, a major political party in the U.S.—the Republican Party—embraced a lying, corrupt authoritarian as president and chose to embrace his politics of corruption and the resulting de-centering of truth to openly bolster and serve a small, elite American oligarchy intent on destroying the country through its greed.

Two, the other major political party in the U.S.—the Democratic Party—couldn’t conceive itself as an opposing force to the Republican Party in any real, tangible sense. Instead, it relied on old-guard political strategies and wishful thinking as “oppositions,” unable to unite a majority of American citizens with clear arguments and proposed policies that would help their lives. In fact, its leadership alienated a sizable portion of its members by also selling out to the oligarchy.

Right now, at I write this, progressives who lament the collapse or think the very thought of it is sheer hyperbole, are wishing desperately for an electoral uprising opposing the Republicans and Trump, but the worst from the GOP and the man-child liar has yet to come, and even if Democrats do make gains in 2018 and recapture the White House in 2020, it probably won’t matter in terms of our country’s demise.

This is no doomsday scenario. People will still live and get by somehow—some will even prosper through complicity—under future authoritarian regimes beholden to foreign countries once considered our adversaries. Others will leave the country if they can. A real resistance will then form here. It will be something entirely different than the hollow sloganeering on social media right now used mainly as an excuse to not hit the streets and stand up to tyranny.

The passing of the GOP’s recent tax-cut scam, which Trump and the party’s leaders lied about shamelessly as a jobs incentive, will grow income disparity in this country that will far surpass what helped precipitate the Great Depression in the 1930s. The richest one percent, which includes Trump and his family, will reap the gains while the bill’s reduction in Medicare spending and the GOP plans to destroy the Social Security system will mean a dramatic increase in illness and poverty among ordinary Americans.

There’s a lot more that should be making people worried as well. Here are some fundamental developments to consider as 2018 approaches:

  • Trump and the GOP will continue to demonize people of color, members of the LGBT community, immigrants and Muslims. Newly emboldened white supremacists will continue to increase their public expressions of hatred.

  • The GOP is stacking our court system with judges who have little to no respect for the law and will hand down rulings based on ideology and tainted in many cases by corruption that will benefit the oligarchy. This will have a permanent effect of diminishing the rule of law, which all democracies demand for their existence.

  • Our Congressional districts will continue to be gerrymandered in ways by conservatives that will assure Republican majorities in the future at the same time it also takes away any sense of responsibility for lawmakers to meet the needs of the vast majority of voters in this country.

  • Russian hackers, under the direction of Valdimir Putin, will continue to manipulate our elections as long as Trump is president and the GOP holds majorities in the House and Senate.

  • Under the guise of deregulation, Trump and the GOP will actually mandate, in a sense, that the Environmental Protection Agency commit great damage to our planet, accelerating global warming, which will result in more and even larger weather disasters, such as destructive hurricanes and wildfires.

  • The abolishing of net neutrality, Trump’s radical attacks on “fake news,” i.e., the mainstream media, and the rise of Fox News as a lying propaganda arm for the White House administration and the GOP means we now live in a post-truth era, according to many pundits and academics. We’re not going back to a truth era anytime soon.

  • Trump will obviously fire special counsel Robert Mueller if he thinks Mueller has enough evidence to charge him or his family with crimes or can prove they illegally colluded with Russian operatives to sway the presidential election. Given the current lack of protest in the streets, the firing may well go unchallenged in any major way.

    Democrats can argue about whether Trump is a “real” fascist or not or they can take to the streets now to protest his corruption and the loss of our democracy because frankly it seems foolish to believe we still live in a functioning democracy. One major problem is the party’s leaders—people like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, among others—are not organizing meaningful protests or supporting those who are speaking up and organizing protests.

    One Senate seat gain in red-state Alabama doesn’t mean anything. A few scattered election wins here and there in blue and even some red states don’t add up to anything. Thinking that a Trump backlash in 2018—if there even is such a backlash—will make it all go away is sloppy, wishful and even dangerous thinking in these perilous times.

    The more one puts off the risk of speaking out against the lies and corruption, the more the personal risk grows, making it even more difficult to speak up to stop the fascist juggernaut taking over our country.

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