The Real Campaign of 2015-2016
August 6, 2015
What’s with all these Republicans – and an increasing number of Democrats – seeking the nomination for president? What’s with Donald Trump and is “craziness”? It all might seem kind of weird, or like “the train has gone off the tracks” accidently. But it is anything but an accident.
That it is not an accident so long as one recognizes that politicians and political parties view elections as potentially “dangerous” events, i.e., events that could “realign” the prevailing power arrangements [the “regime”] and displace the prevailing politicians. From this vantage point, the current “circus,” involving multiple candidates, saying really strange stuff, is merely another phase in the current campaign of voter suppression.
This phase supplements the more formal phase of this campaign – and this is the real campaign right now – in which some states have passed laws whose effects will be voter suppression. And the method of the current phase is pretty simple: Make the political process look like a “joke” or a “circus,” thereby turning people off and making them less likely to vote. The “Trump phenomenon” helps accomplish this, as does such campaign ads as Ted Cruz’s “machine gun bacon” ad! And, of course, as our comedians play up these things, their effects are fortified. And some of those who see themselves as challenging the status quo are actually fortifying it.
An additional plus to this “circus” is that it makes it seem that those who are angry or irate about our current situation can be dismissed as they gravitate toward those allegedly “loose cannons” running for president. This serves the established political class well because it not only dismisses these people but it disses their anger as well, making it seem unwarranted or a product of some personal “quirk.” It is as if the message is: “Obviously, things aren’t so bad as these people claim they are. So ‘Stay Calm and Carry On,’ as the saying has it.”
Overall, then, what we are witnessing is part of the 2015-2016 campaign. But that campaign is not only – not even primarily – about electing a new, unblack president. It is also about preserving the established social and political order in the face of a clear case that the established governing class has failed over and over during the last twenty or thirty years. There is, as many like to say, “A method to their madness.”