Wednesday, January 27, 2016
The establishment left out
By Mike Krauss
Washington just got clobbered by a gigantic winter storm. There is another one on the way. It’s going to hit Iowa and New Hampshire first. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are taking American politics by storm.
The GOP conservative establishment has emergency services out, trying desperately to clear out Trump after completely misreading the first storm warnings. The GOP moderate establishment likes the guy in second place, Ted Cruz, even less than Trump, and are going after him. Cruz looks to them like some kind of suicide bomber, throwing hand grenades in the Senate any chance he gets.
The jihadist from Texas.
On the Democratic side, the establishment watches in a kind of “déjà vu all over again” funk as Hillary gets overtaken by a candidate they dismissed, steadily gaining as Hillary’s “experience” comes back to haunt her: Iraq, Libya, Wall Street, Bill and a cynical disregard for the rules that apply to others.
Bernie Sanders’ language is more careful than Trump’s, but the appeal is the same: a promise to restore the stolen prosperity of the American people and take back control of their future from the same class of robber barons that Theodore Roosevelt confronted at the turn of the last century.
What is emerging was described in 1956 by the American sociologist, C. Wright Mills in his classic study, “The Power Elite.” Mills argument was that the United States is dominated by an interlocking political, military and economic elite. But he theorized that this elite can govern only so long as the elites and non-elites remain separate, and the elites are able to maintain power and position through an essentially controlled media and message.
The economist Michael Hudson recently compared this to how parasites work in nature; secreting an enzyme to convince the host being devoured that they — the parasites — are good for them. The media are the delivery system for the enzyme secreted by the economic parasites of today: propaganda.
Mills theorized that the control of the power elite would break down into what he called a “mass society,” if the one-way street of media access of elites to non-elites was matched by equal access of non-elites to elites: a two-way avenue of communication and information. The explosion of electronic media and the introduction of social media have created that two way street.
Something similar has happened before in American society and politics. As previously throughout history, it was a function of a great technological change in the means of communication. Trump gets this like no one else.
Just as Teddy Roosevelt understood and harnessed the growing power of an emerging mass print media at the turn of the last century, made possible by modern, high volume printing presses and the telegraph, Trump understands as no candidate before the uses of the many channeled electronic media and the emerging social media.
Communication is increasingly lateral and not vertical; collaborative and not hierarchical.
It is often said that “all politics is local,” but it is better said that all politics is personal. The new media are made for expressions of the personal. The authentic, like Trump and Sanders will rise.
The establishments are in a panic. They can’t control the front runners in either party. Enter former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. He calls himself an “independent.” Nice try. He’s Wall Street’s fall back. Good old Joe Biden will be another.
Wall Street has had an ally in the White House for the past 24 years, if not longer — Clinton, Bush and Obama. They mean to keep it that way. Otherwise, Wall Street is left out. The political establishment is left out.
Most Americans will say, “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.” The Rolling Stones wrote their epitaph. It could be the Trump and Sanders theme song:
“You’re out of touch my baby
My poor discarded baby
I said baby, baby, baby you’re out of time…
“You are all left out
Out of there without a doubt
Cause baby, baby, baby you’re out of time…
“You’re obsolete my baby
My poor old fashioned baby
I said baby, baby, baby you’re out of time.”
Mike Krauss is a thirty year senior executive in the international distribution and logistics industry andformerly an officer of Pennsylvania county and state government and ED of the PA Republican State Committee / firstname.lastname@example.org