2017 was a rough experience. We don’t need to give a run-down on everything that took place, because if you are reading this I can almost guarantee that you are well aware of the turmoil. It is natural to feel bitter about why we had to endure the inauguration and resulting policies of Trump’s administration. If you are a visitor to this website, the odds are that you would have preferred that Trump had faced a certain Senator from Vermont as opposed to the highly-polarizing former Secretary of State and First Lady. Our collective contempt for what transpired in 2016 encompasses everything which happened from the primary campaign through to the general election debacle. If the opinion polls throughout the period of late-2015 to mid-2016 had been accurate, there is a legitimate reason to believe that Trump would not be our president right now had he faced his true counterpart in the populist revolution which swept him into power.
The revolution had more success in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party. In part, this was because the Democrats had stronger protections against populism. Yes, Trump faced solid opposition across the board of virtually every party leader, but they were incapable of stopping him because none of his primary opponents wanted to hurt their ego by giving up and uniting behind a single viable candidate in a timely manner. On the Democratic side, there was most certainly an organized effort to prevent the revolution from achieving its objectives. These safeguards in the Democratic presidential nomination process had stood for decades after the 1968 and 1972 primary debacles, but they were undeniably abused and exposed for their corruption in 2016.
Yet, the Democratic Party’s nominating rules were not the only hurdle that the leftwing counterpart of the revolution had to confront. Only one side of the uprising benefited from having a household name celebrity serve as its champion. The media’s fascination with the story of a conman entertainer who played a billionaire on TV running for president while co-opting half of the revolt ensured that the people heard his message of change (no matter how vile his message was). On the reasonable and collective end of the spectrum, our revolutionary efforts received minimal exposure to the general public, because the media – with an agenda to promote a story so as to boost consumption of their product, thereby satisfying their advertisers – saw it as more appealing to create a narrative that the Democratic nominee could not possibly be anyone other than the one whom had long been portrayed in popular culture as the logical choice for America’s First Woman President.
Trump hijacked the revolution not because he was better at leading it, but because the established order – driven largely by capitalist lust for profits in conjunction with a fear of empowering the people – put its thumb on the scale for the conman and the quintessential and safe politician over the promise of a true people’s champion. 2016 represented a collapse of the American political order, where every assumption of what’s normal crumbled. Trump was not supposed to win. Rather, he was the comic relief of an otherwise depressing election cycle where we already “knew” who was going to win (at least, this was arguably the way our entertainment-based media saw things). Nothing was supposed to change, and the rigging of the system on behalf of the few while lulling the many to sleep regarding this backdoor theft of our power was supposed to persist. Yet, the unthinkable happened on Election Day 2016, as the American public soundly rejected any attempts at allowing the establishment of this country to dictate to us what the expectations of our future should be. On that fateful day, no matter how horrifying the result of Trump’s triumph, the American people spoke out and demanded that they be given the steering wheel.
No, Trump did not win the popular vote, and yes he won via the outdated and very (intentionally) undemocratic Electoral College. Still, every vote not cast for his establishment-minted adversary was a vote cast to reject the order’s dictation on its vision for us all. A revolution had attained its greatest victory to date, and the reason Trump won had less to do with him and more to do with a public fed up with being ignored. The problem with how 2016 turned out is that the lack of a genuinely democratic process – that is, one unfettered by nomination gimmicks or media bias towards sensationalism – produced a false populist (or, more appropriately, a fascist) as the benefactor of this revolution. 2018 represents an opportunity to reset the revolution so as to reject the regime which has poisoned its mandate.
This is deeper than and must be separate from any partisan consideration. The political parties – ALL of them, not just the main two – are part of the problem and distract us from the goal of a populist revolt. Supporters of the revolution must resolve to consider every potential candidate, regardless of their label or lack thereof. Any viable revolutionary candidate ought to earn your support, and if you see a lack of such candidates then it may well be imperative for you to run yourself! Attention to the issues of the long-ignored working class, a willingness to hear the people out, and a backbone in taking on the failures of this system should be the primary litmus tests of said candidates.
Regarding the media, the arduous objective of the revolution is to force a change of the narrative. Right now, the media – still obsessed with the sensationalism of all things Trump – is peddling the notion that the “Resistance” to Trump will likely tame his dangerous, unstable tendencies by forcing a reversion back to the preferred regular order: just as the establishment wants it. The problem with this mindset is that it is accompanied by a continuation of the propaganda insinuating that the populist demands of the collective are out of order and will be intolerable as part of this “resistance”. Our job is to assert our will and loudly proclaim that the revolution is far from over and that the progressive changes we demand will be realized.
Penetrating the wall erected by the media will not be easy, but the internet makes this attainable. This is why the regular order is really not all that disturbed by the recent developments with respect to Net Neutrality. They don’t appreciate much that a truly free and open internet empowers the people to circumvent the obstacles and mainstream our revolution. Changing the narrative must become one of our central focal points in 2018 and beyond, and we have to do so using every form of media and social interaction. We have to be opportunistic here and take advantage of every opportunity to shine a light on the uprising’s renewal.
Partisanship needlessly divides us, but if there is a realistic shot at reforming a section of any party in a way that truly empowers the revolt then it would be nonsensical and counterproductive to ignore such. Likewise, if it seems as though a nonpartisan/independent approach can be exploited to the benefit of the revolution, then that should be pursued. In truth, this must be determined in each community on a case by case basis. In future articles, you will see more discussing what I mean with respect to this particular aspect of the objectives we must achieve.
Finally (for now), we must avoid – at all costs – the temptation to engage in hero worship and succumbing to the cult of personality such as what we’ve seen with President Trump. Yes, we have a list of potential leaders at every level of government, but these leaders are all human and are naturally fallible. If they prove their worth and maintain their dedication to our cause, then they will be popularly chosen to help lead the way. No one person created this revolution; rather the revolution has – over time – adopted its warriors and that should continue to be the case.
Never relent in your tireless advocacy for a better tomorrow. Do not despair in the wake of setbacks. Hope is on the horizon so long as we maintain the flame of our movement for justice. WE will win in the end…if we want to.
Onward fellow revolutionaries, the reset has begun.