The End of the Republic and the Coming of the Neo-Kinship World
I say this sort of thing is what Citizen’s United was handed down to enable, and I give Trump (or his minions) credit for seeing it, because I pointed it out in 2011 (I think it was) and Trump & his minions are the first billionaire crowd to use it and win. Now we need to use it to end Citizen’s United and get private money out of elections for good.
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States signals a revolution in American politics. For the first time in American history an oligarch has succeeded in buying his way directly into the highest office in the land. By reaching out directly to voters in a self-financed campaign, Trump managed to by-pass the traditional paths to power. Running nominally as a Republican, his independent, direct appeal in the primaries allowed him not only to dispense with the support of the party apparatus and the special interest donor class behind it, but to ridicule and scapegoat them.
Rather than the party establishment dictating their choice of a presidential nominee, Trump effectively dictated to the establishment that he would be the nominee and that they would have to support him, and most have, even if reluctantly, and even as furious efforts to discredit him continue. Trump saw that he could win without the support of other elites. No need to build a coalition. He would appeal directly to the people in rallies and social media. Along the way, he coupled his self-financing with a shrewd instinct for free news, based on his ability to speak, unlike others, freely outside the confines of polite political discourse. He called out the system in general, as a corrupt machine no longer serving the national good, and voters responded. Put a hold on globalization, he said; instead let’s put America first. In the general election, he outmaneuvered the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, who was almost entirely a creature of her party establishment fatefully wedded to what Trump denounced as the insider elite politics of corruption. Yes, he is a member of the wealthy elite, but a rogue member. He is our first magnate, the Don, a wholly-owned, independent power source.
This means the end of the republic as we have known it. Trump will not be the last oligarch to buy his way into the highest office. Ambitious magnates no longer need work behind the scenes as king-makers when they can be king themselves. The vastly inflated wealth of the one per-centers guarantees that those among them who wish to do so can establish their own political infrastructure and appeal directly to voters. This means the end for traditional political parties and the donor support system which has driven them. The new era will be one of demagogic mass politics, where the new leader will relate directly to voters. With the power of Supreme Court appointments in his pocket, our new leader has potential opposition only in Congress. But the leader’s electoral coattails, his ability to mobilize over 20 million followers on Twitter, plus the power of federal patronage and executive orders, will ensure that most politicians will fall in line.
What we face is an elective monarchy, or dictatorship. The American Constitution was modeled on the Roman Republic, and it seems destined to share its fate. In ancient Rome vast wealth, particularly after the Punic Wars, created a powerful plutocratic class. Obscenely rich magnates—the Grachii, Sulla, Lucullus, Pompey, Crassus, Caesar–competed for political power. Their struggles turned into civil wars, which ended in the one-man rule of the Emperors. We too are likely to drift into increased conflict among magnates focused on advancing their personal power, which brings with it the temptation to override precedent and the law, even if the outward forms, as in Rome, remain in place.libodem, Koko, Two way street and 1 otherarendt like thisIt ain't the things you don't know that hurts you, it's the things you know that ain't so.
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