The United States Constitution is failing: Its anti-democratic structures are creating a crisis of legitimacy and an inability to address a cascade of social crises. This is a problem endemic to liberal democracies, as the contradictions between political democracy on the one hand, and the tyranny of capital and ruling class control of politics on the other become heightened. Part of the crisis we face is the disjuncture between the sense of horror and urgency from the events of the last months and the gross inaction from politicians, particularly Democrats. Less than two weeks after a white supremacist attack on Black shoppers in Buffalo, New York, another gunman murdered children and their teachers in a school in Uvalde, Texas. In the same month as these mass murders, a leaked Supreme Court decision from an abortion case in Mississippi threatened to undo 50 years of legal precedent and end the right to abortion.
By Paul Street for CounterPunch. The bigger if related problem is the long rightward, neoliberal drift of the Democratic Party further away from any last commitments to social justice, democracy, peace, and environmental sustainability. Trump may be appalling and dangerous on numerous levels, but he wasn’t wrong when he pointed out (in his usual clumsy manner) that the Clintons and other Wall Street-captive Democrats sold the nation’s “forgotten” blue collar working people down the river in the name of “free trade.” The co-presidential Clintons’ advance of the North American Free Trade Agreement – a disaster for the U.S. working class – and Barack Obama’s championing of the arch-authoritarian and global-corporatist Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) speak volumes about neoliberal-era Democrats’ service to the nation’s covertly reigning Deep State Few over and against the Many and the common good.
2014 was fundamentally a democratic debacle. It likely heralds a new stage in the disintegration of the American political order. Our cautious guess is that turnout in this year’s Congressional races will finally weigh in at around 36 percent of the potential electorate that had legal rights to cast a ballot. That’s a shocking statistic. Put aside for a moment all talk of 1942 and absolute levels of turnout. Instead focus on changes in turnout between presidential elections and the next off-year election. Across the whole sweep of American history, the momentous dimensions of what has just happened stand out in bold relief. The drop off in voting turnout from the presidential election of 2012 to 2014 is the second largest of all time –24 percentage points. Only 1942’s decline from 1940 was bigger – 29 percentage points. But then there was an excuse. Millions of Americans were hurriedly fanning out across the globe to wage total war. But this year the decline is broad and to levels that boggle the mind – rates of voting that recall the earliest days of the 19th century, before the Jacksonian Revolution swept away property suffrage and other devices that held down turnout.
In this episode clip (watch the full show here) Shahid Buttar outlines why he thinks the biggest enemy to the U.S. Constitution is a domestic enemy. Also, Kevin Zeese makes the point that the U.S. government is illegitimate. “Every member of congress swears an oath of office to protect the constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic,” explains Buttar “and the principle enemy to the U.S. Constitution is a domestic one with three letters. The only debate in my mind is whether it is the NSA or the FBI.” Kevin Zeese adds: “It’s a harsh reality for the country to face. The corporate main stream media’s job is not to give us the truth but to give us the myth that we are the greatest democracy on earth, when in fact I think the democratic legitimacy of this country is disappearing. We just had Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer make that point in his dissent to the (Supreme Court) McCutcheon decision."
The open Internet may soon become a thing of the past. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal dropped something of a bombshell with leaked news that the Federal Communications Commission is planning to abandon so-called “net neutrality” regulations—rules to ensure that Internet providers are prevented from discriminating based on content. Under the new proposed system, companies such as Comcast or Verizon will be able to create a tiered Internet, in which websites will have to pay more money for faster speeds, a change that observers predict will curb free speech, stifle innovation and increase costs for consumers. Like so many problems in American government, the policy shift may relate to the pernicious corruption of the revolving door.