Democracy’s threats are deeper than Russia.

Mainstream media and the official Democratic Party want us to think that Russia is the main threat to American democracy.  The actual threats are different and much more deep-seated.

While Russia clearly did bad things to American democracy during the 2016 election — and before and since — focusing on Russia is a clever distraction promoted by people who want us to ignore the much more serious threats.

Trump won in 2016 largely because so many Americans were disgusted with the status quo.  Over the years, public opinion polls kept showing increasing numbers of people saying the U.S. is on the “wrong track” instead of the “right track.”  Strong majorities of voters know that.

Voters on the right rejected all of the mainstream Establishment Republican candidates and supported the rebel, Trump, who campaigned against the Establishment and the status quo.

Voters on the left rejected Hillary Clinton, whom the institutional Democratic Party had long ago anointed to be the only viable candidate.  Voters on the left — including many newly inspired voters — came out of the woodwork to support Bernie Sanders, the true populist, who reflected the voters’ disgust with the status quo and who proposed a better progressive future.

For years Barack Obama was telling people how good the economy was, and Hillary Clinton repeated the same propaganda, which the voters knew was a lie.  Everybody knew that Hillary Clinton had gotten rich in recent years by giving speeches to Wall Street banks and similar audiences.  Although she had paid lip service to caring about workers, all of her efforts had been for Wall Street.  She was a vigorous supporter of “free trade” schemes, just like Obama had been, until the summer of 2016 when she finally saw the handwriting on the wall and claimed to oppose the TPP, which she had been vigorously supporting until it became a political liability during her presidential campaign.

American workers’ salaries peaked in the mid-1970s, and they have been declining ever since, REGARDLESS OF WHICH PARTY ran Congress or the White House.  The U.S. political elite in BOTH of the big parties had been hurting the working class and the middle class for 40 years by the time 2016’s election came along.

Hillary Clinton kept telling us how well we were doing economically, and she proposed only minor tweaks in the status quo.  Donald Trump told us we were being screwed.  While Hillary Clinton was A CREATURE OF the institutional Democratic Party, Trump had campaigned AGAINST the institutional Republican Party.

2016’s voters figured that Trump — the off-the-wall radical who was angry with the status quo — can’t be any worse than the bi-partisan status quo that had been screwing us for 40 years.   Voters acted like people who buy lottery tickets with the hope (despite the odds) that they might get lucky.

Although Trump is a global capitalist, he had campaigned AGAINST global capitalism and promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington DC.  Hillary Clinton was up to her neck in that swamp.  Although Trump’s analysis was faulty, voters were angry enough to vent with a “tear-it-all-down” frustration.  Since January 2017 Trump has indeed been tearing down the government’s good parts while ramping up its worst parts.  He has been remaking the government to be a BOLDLY CORRUPT and BOLDLY RACIST and BOLDLY UNJUST regime that violates the spirit of democracy and takes delight in violating human rights.

Evidence now shows that Russia wanted this dissention and destruction of the American system.  The fact that Trump serves Russia’s interest does not excuse the fact that our nation’s problems are institutionalized at a much deeper level than Russia’s messing around. 

The 2016 election resulted from DECADES OF BI-PARTISAN ABUSES:

  • Decades of global capitalism’s abuse of the American economy (workers, consumers, environment, democracy)
  • Decades of “neoliberal” economics that skewed national economies
  • Decades of worsening economic inequality (widening gaps in both income and in wealth)
  • Decades of bi-partisan political corruption (Big Money in campaigns, “pay-to-play” lobbying, etc.)
  • Decades of pervasive racism and xenophobia
  • Decades of extreme nationalism (“America First”) and militarism

Many other countries — including some in Europe — have increasingly been suffering from global capitalism, “neoliberal” economics, racism and xenophobia, youth unemployment, “austerity” budget cuts, etc.  As a result, they have been giving more votes to racist, xenophobic politicians, even without Russian meddling.  The problems in these countries and in the U.S. are much deeper than the Russian factor.

Mainstream media — increasingly owned by billionaires and giant corporate conglomerates — skew their reporting to favor the economically powerful and politically powerful elites.  Mainstream media have been horribly misinforming the public and distracting us with news of sports, celebrity gossip, propaganda, etc.

Ordinary people need to pay attention to what is going on really — apart from the simplistic “news” the mainstream news media are feeding us.  Read alternative, progressive news sources, such as AllterNet, Common Dreams, Democracy Now!, CounterCurrents, Truthout, The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, Z Magazine, and so forth.

Ordinary people need to reclaim progressivism for positive purposes.  If we don’t, the right wing will continue co-opting it for their own racist, greedy, and other cruel purposes.