One of the few myths that most Americans believe is that they are not a class-based society, but it is a myth.
What’s happened in this election, so far, is that two old white guys – Sanders and Trump – set out to win their parties’ nomination with the same strategy
: talk about class advantage and disadvantage, how bad it has become and how to fix it.
Sanders says the corporate top dogs have taken over the political system and are screwing us, the American people and much of the world, to accumulate ever more monstrous piles of wealth and power for themselves. Trump tells his followers that the people who are screwing them are poor migrants from Latin America, poor Black Americans from down the street, poor Muslims who’ll shoot you at the mall, the Chinese who’ll take over the world unless he stops them, and above all women who won’t stand by their men.
These overlapping worldviews have propelled these two guys to within centimetres of being nominated, and each of them is geared up right now for a huuuge showdown as both their parties’ NY state primaries loom on April 19.
Both men were born in New York and they will be joined in a battle for America’s biggest city over the next fortnight by Hillary Clinton, who was a two-term senator from NY state and has lived in New York for 25 years.
It’s going to be a wild ride, folks, but it might be just the start of a year of extremely dangerous living in the USA.
Clinton is the candidate of continuity with change, Bernie’s the sensible big-change-maker, but Trump is, above all, a dangerous man. He’s a bellowing crusader shouting down the nit-pickers and nannies, promising to sweep away the modernist crap like seat belts and bring back the days when white men owned homes, had jobs, fast cars, obedient wives, secret affairs, and spoke while others listened.
So what could happen?
Here are a few scenarios that could play out between now and election day:
Conventional: More than half the delegates to each party’s Convention vote for Clinton and Trump, who choose Sanders and Cruz respectively as their vice-presidential candidates, and the usual 60 per cent of eligible voters choose between them on November 8.
Last-minute upsets: Sanders gathers even more millions of $27 contributors who believe in good government, beats Clinton in the big states (New York and California), and the Democrats are obliged to give him the nod at their Philadelphia convention in July. As for the Republicans, their frenzied and fractured big shots could create enough negativity toward Trump that the last 25 states’ primaries give a majority to Cruz (who says he’s just standing in until Jesus returns), or Kasich, who’s Mr Bland.
Blow-up in Cleveland: The severely disunited billionaires, Christian crusaders, and pseudo-libertarians who constitute the power centres of the Republican Party might have to launch a series of tactical manoeuvres to block Trump at their Convention in Cleveland. I say ‘a series of’ because there is no functional Republican Party and the many contending parts won’t coordinate. Manoeuvres could include changing the rules so delegates can vote for someone other than the guy they were charged by their state’s primary voters to vote for. That could happen before the Convention, in which case Trump would pile up enough lawsuits against the Party to sabotage their campaign – or a rule change during the Convention could lead to a lawsuit tsunami immediately after it.
OR – a rule change, or any other kind of block-Trump manoeuvre at or before the Convention, could lead to a donnybrook in the hall, and/or in the streets outside. And that could lead to blood, especially since Trumpeteers like to travel with guns, and so do other Republicans. In fact 52,000 of them have signed a petition demanding that attendees inside the Convention be allowed to carry loaded guns. The US Secret Service said no, but they’re just Big Gov’mint nannies.
Shooting could break out over Trump-blocking, and underlying resentments over power and wealth inequities roughly corresponding to divisions of class, race, religion, and gender could erupt across the country. America’s past is full of uprisings, mostly by people locked out of the white male halls of privilege and power. Today’s angry white Americans – Trump’s people – are angrier than they’ve ever been, and they could get even madder.
And there are 357 million firearms in the US – 40 million more guns than people.
Phillip Frazer writes about the dis-United States, and the relatively gun-free state of Australia, on his blog at coorabellridge.com.