In the United States, as in most other non-democracies, national politics is a moral sport of the wealthy.
The wealthy players fielded by America’s Red Team feel varying amounts of actual heartfelt care, ranging from the frigidly mercenary to the heatedly passionate, but are for the most part selfishly negative in their agenda. The wealthy players who take the field for the Blue Team are generally more empathic and positive. But both teams’ players perform in a steel-shielded arena where winning or losing may be ecstatic or hurt like hell, may earn roars or ridicule, but won’t affect their personal comfort or lifestyle or that of almost anyone they know.
American presidential and congressional politics, like the NFL or NBA or any other corporate-sponsored contest, is a cage match among fiercely-driven elite gladiators who, regardless of who wins or loses, will all leave the ring rich and surrounded by validators.
That is why Hillary Clinton and the Democrats lost in 2016. That is why mainstream media reporters and pundits have become irrelevant to what Americans feel and believe. Insulated by corporate cash, with its gilded chokehold on who gets to compete for national leadership, the Blue Team has confidently hogged the mainstream “progressive” mic while growing ever more more clueless about what its voters have to say and need to hear. And the Red Team has increasingly cornered itself with the clash between its lunch-bucket rhetoric and its robber baron policy.
So, with the official political podium and official media closed off to angry and hungry voters who have known for decades (for people of color, make that centuries) that this nation and its economy have been broken by its masters, where could people go for attention?
To Twitter. And Facebook. Where, unlike the ruling American news operations and political parties, it is still permissible to truthfully say, “The system is rigged.”
Problem is, competent and decent potential Blue Team leaders were either self-silenced on this built-in function of economic inequality (Clinton), or blocked within the party (Sanders). And Red Team leaders were happy to exploit anger but incapable of blaming the rich for anything. So the field was left wide open for a celebrity demagogue named Donald Trump to declare, with veracity, “The system is rigged” – while lying about everything else and steering white rage toward people of color, women, and Muslims. All while he and his henchmen exploited Twitter’s and Facebook’s vulnerability to fake news and false accusations.
So the kinder corporate Blue Team lost this election because it convinced itself that it understood working people while having barred them from the actual field of play since at least the Reagan years. And the meaner corporate Red Team lost its stature and what was left of its self-respect in its cave-in to Trump’s white faux-populist scam, but in so doing it rode the coattails of his audacity.
And now, with fascism in the wings, the callow wealthy Reds and the outraged wealthy Blues regroup on the field, with as little to lose in their actual lives as before.
But for those who stand to lose everything, the Red and Blue game is over.