The Politics of Bullshit
Did Democrats learn nothing from 2016?
It pains me to write this article. I had hoped that things would not come to this, but it seems that I have been too optimistic. One would have thought that the election of Donald Trump would have taught the Democratic party a lesson. Such a surprising defeat should have been accompanied by major criticisms within the party.
It has apparently led to the opposite. Instead of self-reflection, the Democrats have doubled down on the same strategy that cost them the 2016 election: offering meaningless dialogue while engaging in self-serving and hypocritical behavior.
They have repeated the mantra that hatred for Trump is enough to win. It isn’t.
It never was.
Americans drink their own Kool-Aid more than anyone else. Most of my countrymen will point to China and claim its citizens are brainwashed by the Communist party.
There’s an old saying that you can only see yourself in a mirror. China is the mirror.
America employs the most sophisticated mass manipulation apparatus the world has ever seen. It’s the kind of tool sycophants and religious cults have always dreamed of having at their disposal.
Everyone knows Hollywood conjures visions of dinosaurs and space ships. But it also conjures heroics, patriotism, and nationalist fantasies. Fantasies like the belief that our military is a force for good in the world.
It’s one thing to peddle lies to the masses, but our leaders also buy into the propaganda. Everything gets worse despite the media reporting constant economic progress.
People turn to conspiracy theories to explain the disconnect.
Democrats should recognize it now. Even as COVID-19 delivers the coup de grace to the American worker, Wall Street reports record earnings. Trump cries fake news, but it’s the fake news keeping him afloat.
And Democrats think they can win with better fake news. Don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work.
In reality they have nothing to offer other than not being Trump. And it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. Even if they were selling Medicare 4 All like Bernie Sanders suggested, they would probably have a hard time winning.
And it’s because Trump is a better bullshit salesman than they are, though they’ll never admit it.
Democrats offer opportunity to everyone, but it comes at the expense of ever-widening inequality. The assumption for a long time has been that the economic prosperity of the past would return and bring a new era of growth that made up the difference.
But the prosperity never came. Instead, American living standards have declined rapidly. The US has seen its reputation in the world fall dramatically. Its military is lost in endless war. Its people have proved extraordinarily incapable of dealing with the pandemic.
For the first time in modern history people are saying, “Thank God I don’t live in the US.”
What is needed now is real reform. The US needs to look itself in the mirror and deal with the mistakes it has made. Mistakes like the Iraq War. Mistakes like the Patriot Act.
Mistakes like overthrowing governments and murdering innocent people in the name of increasing our GDP. Mistakes like electing billionaire television stars to make life “great again.”
Unless the Democratic party can offer an achievable vision that addresses our mistakes and promises a way forward, they will not stand a chance against Trump.
And it’s not because Trump offers something they don’t. It’s because he’s a far better salesman than they are.
The lesson of 2016 was simple: Don’t try to out-bullshit Donald Trump.
And here they come with the bullshit.