Like many people I meet, I am totally depressed about our upcoming election. Unlike a lot of them, I think it is a very big deal. Beneath the rancor and name calling, may lie a hidden agenda that signals the end of democracy as we know (or knew) it.
One of the things I am good at- or so I am told – is making connections between events. Individually, events don’t mean much, but woven into a logical whole, a pattern emerges. Call me crazy, but I see just such a pattern in the current election.
I can make an argument that the whole process was rigged from the beginning by the Clintons. Something most may have glossed over is that Donald Trump met with the Clintons prior to declaring his candidacy and entering into the Republican primaries. Why he made this enigmatic gesture remains technically unknown, but given subsequent events, it may have been the beginning of a collusion between Trump and his supposed adversaries. The deal may have been this. Trump would, with the Clinton’s encouragement and perhaps financial support, enter the primaries to bring havoc down on any viable Republican candidate to Hillary. The idea was the Trump would knock out those who offered a broad based and reasonable alternative to a Hillary presidency.
What would be in it for Trump? I doubt it would really be cash (he has enough of that apparently), but rather future favor from a Hillary administration. I don’t believe it for a minute that Trump’s decision was civic minded. He had never been in the forefront of philanthropy and public mindedness. Why would he change at that point?
Be that at is it may, Trump became one prong of a more comprehensive strategy that involved jobbing the Democratic process for selecting a candidate. The victim here was Bernie Sanders, who managed to inspire millennials by focusing on issues that resonated with them. There was actually no way Sanders would ever get the nomination in a system that chose its candidate by preloading the selection process with super delegates festooned with Hillary buttons. The fact that Sanders beat Hillary in primary after primary mattered little. As planned, Hillary got the nomination.
Meanwhile Trump mowed down Republican candidate after Republican candidate. First it was “low energy” Jeb Bush and then “little” Marco Rubio, who, with John Kasich, represented the electable center of the Republican Party. The final two standing were Ted Cruz (lying Ted) who was a niche candidate appealing to a narrow but loyal base, and Kasich, who had never mounted much of a challenge. The Kasich position was so non-threatening that he never did merit a Trump-imposed nickname.
I don’t believe the intention was that Trump actually become the nominee. The problem was his tactics worked too well. Trump discovered he had tapped into a significant vein of discontent and played it to the hilt. The result was that he won primary after primary by a plurality and became inevitable as the Republican nominee.
Even if not the original intention, the Trump candidacy offered some interesting prospects to the Clintons. He could be framed as a rival unfit for the presidency both in temperament and understanding. The goal, which appeared attainable, was to force the public to back Hillary since Trump couldn’t or shouldn’t do the job. Such measures were necessary to offset Hillary’s own plentiful baggage and her sheer inability to connect with the electorate. (Forgive me, but whenever I see her campaigning, I am reminded of an old Randy Newman song, I believe it’s called “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today”. It has the line, seemingly prophetic of Hillary, “Scarecrows dressed in the latest style. Frozen smile keeps love away”). Her efforts to woo anyone beyond the democratic core were consistently lame. The woman card, which surely should have been a powerful ace in her hand to capture social progressives, including younger voters, was a played with a good dose of ineptness. To support the point that electing a woman would be a landmark event, she trotted out Madeline Albright, a Methusalah-like matron who most millennials had never heard of, much less were likely to be impressed by.
So much for Hillary’s well established deficiencies. What happened next is that Trump, never controllable by anyone, started to take has candidacy seriously. Worse yet he got mad at the Clintons. When he hung on in the polls and could not be put away, Clinton started to attack. In fairness, the Donald was an easy mark. He was baited into uncivil comments aimed at the Muslim man who had spoken at the Democratic convention and blasted Trump. The bait was perfect in that the man and his wife had lost a son in Iraq and could be called a Gold Star family. Trump could be cast as insensitive, anti-immigrant (the family was of Pakistani descent), anti-Muslim or even anti-military. Other personal attacks involved Trump’s views of Putin, his tax situation and finally the now viral tape of Trump talking about women.
Trump grew madder and madder and has now refused to go quietly, as the Clinton’s may have hoped. Not to worry, the media pundits now have given the election to Hillary and that well may happen. Many will hold their nose and vote for her or rather against Trump. In this sense, the strategy worked perfectly in its goal to get Hillary elected despite herself.
The problem is that Trump continues to have support from the disenchanted. Hillary has branded them bigots and worse and none are likely to join her cause. Worse, this will leave a large indigestible, unhappy element in the population, which will likely continue to elect anti-Hillary candidates to congress and make governing all but impossible.
This leads to the prospect of the president attempting to rule by decree, a system that is eerily typical of despotic regimes. We will call it executive action, of course, but it amounts to the same thing. It will further embitter those who don’t support whatever action it is and continue the gridlock we have today. It isn’t a pretty picture
So, watch the returns on election night. It may well be the night they drove our democracy down.