Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thoughts About the Iowa Caucuses

It’s a far cry from the days when the leading Democrat in Clinton County, Iowa, drove his battered old station wagon around town button-holing pals to attend something called “the caucus.”  Not even the local press and radio paid much attention.

Yesterday virtually every pundit and pontificator in the country was in Iowa to report on the  caucuses and what, if any, portent they had for the ultimate nomination of presidential candidates.  Sanders supporters were thrilled, Hillary’s not so, by the dead heat on the Democratic side.  On the darker side, Cruz and Rubio appear to have taken a lot of the wind out of Trump’s sails.  But if there’s anything besides money that Trump has plenty of, it’s wind, so perhaps not too much should be made of the Republican results. 

Despite the prattling of the press about the differences on the Republican side, they’re all cut from the same bolt of cloth.  The election of any of the top three finishers in Iowa would be the last nail in the coffin of American so-called democracy, especially with the presumption of Republican control of both houses of Congress.

Perhaps the most encouraging conclusion to be drawn from Sanders’s tie with Clinton in Iowa is that the American left is not absolutely comatose.  There may be a breath or two of life in it. In the unlikely event that the Vermont senator goes on to capture the nomination, voters in the United States will actually have a real choice in November. How refreshing that would be!

The strongest support for Sanders seemed to be in the areas around the three major universities (Ames, Iowa City, Cedar Falls/Waterloo).  That’s encouraging, as well.  It suggests that liberalism might still be alive among young Democrats. 

A democracy is not a democracy without a viable left.  In Amerika the left has been on life support for decades, sinking recently into Stage IV metastasis. Rekindling liberalism among young adults would be a huge step in the right direction, yet even so, it might also be too little, too late.

The corporate oligarchy is so rich and powerful, its tentacles so strongly entwined around so much of life in these United States, that a rebirth of progressivism on the campuses and in the streets might be no more than interesting white noise.

But at least a Sanders campaign for the presidency, with a throng of energetic young liberals propelling it, would force American voters to talk about some of the complex problems in the world today, and some of the grand failures of recent U.S. administrations.  

It’s too early, really, to think wishfully about a Sanders run.  Once the Wall Street money kicks in after New Hampshire, The Republican Lite crowd will take over the Democratic primaries, Clinton will capture the nomination, and I will vote for Jill Stein for President. 

Meanwhile, I’m still chuckling over last night’s best laugh line.

“I’m a progressive,” Hillary said.  

No comments:

Post a Comment