Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Figuring Out the 2016 Election Cycle:  What Went Wrong With the Narrative?

Commentary about what underlies the Trump-Sanders upset-the-flimsy-applecart phenomenon is beginning to produce serious insights, after months of confusion when the two most interesting candidates strayed too far from what is referred to as the "mainstream narrative" about political reality.  In fact, what is beginning to emerge (link to the above) is an alternative narrative about how political reality was hijacked by a coalition of Republican and Democrat leaders and corporate interests, including the mainstream news media, who created and enforced a fictional account of reality that justified much of the bipartisan mischief that has passed for policy making in the past quarter century.  It was the stubbornness of Trump's supporters, vilified by Democrats and Republicans alike for supporting Trump in spite of, and indeed because of, his blasphemies against political correctness and his attack on the media--that inspired a deeper look at the Trump phenomenon and a closer look at the underbelly of the bipartisan consensus of the last two decades.

It takes a con-artist to expose a con:  From the Left, Krugman's piece suggests the real anger among Republicans against Trump is that he has exposed the con-job mainstream Republicanism has perpetrated on Trump's supporters (largely white males) by leading them to believe their anger should be directed against Liberals, Democrats, and especially Obama and Hillary.  Instead, Trump tells his supporters that currency manipulation by China (supported by the way by US corporate interests), bad free-trade deals, stupid but expensive wars, and dumb bipartisan and wacko immigration policies--all perpetuated by a well-heeled bipartisan coalition in Washington--are the causes of our national decline.  Take away the racially charged, misogynist, and nativist icing on this cake, and it begins to taste a lot like Bernie Sanders, right?  Add a hint of raspberry campaign finance corruption, a note of cinnamon shovel-money-to-the-one-percent, drop the fragrances of beaten up protesters, and (link to "Why the Working Class...") you would hardly notice the difference!

Get over it and find a job:  From the Right (and mainstream) Mark Thoma ("The Truth About...") reproduces parts of an article in National Review, by Kevin Williamson, telling Trump supporters to quit listening to Trump blame the expensive wars, China's currency manipulation, poor trade deals, and immigration policy for their troubles:  Just rent a U Haul and head to a city with a growing job market:  and, by the way, vote for Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich.  Not exactly a novel idea, but one that is more frequently reserved for the black unemployed, instead of a major component of the Republican base.

Take a look at the inside of Bernie's "corrupt political system:"  The Right has not delved much into what might be behind the Bernie phenomenon.  Analysis of Bernie (even from the Left) has been as shallow as the Left's analysis of Trump six months ago.  In most circles, Republican or Democrat, and in the mainstream news media, he is still desmissed as a hopeless "populist," as though the word itself was an explanation.   But some stuff is beginning to percolate, including the Pro-Market piece, which exposes the blatant, and legal, corruption in the pharmaceutical industry's relationship with doctors, and in the Justin Fox and Thoma pieces.

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