It’s not his extremism that is attracting and winning voters, it is Ted Cruz’s hard work and his undiscussed, exceptional organizational skills. He organizes county by county. He has at least one pastor in each county who sells and supports his message. He enlists 100s of volunteers. More than any of the Republican candidates, he understands politics is retail.
Trump missed this point and lost in Iowa. The others rely too much on the money paradigm, broadcast ads, super-PACs, media messaging, the tools that President Obama twice showed could be easily defeated. Right now, Cruz’s ground game is winning; his message reinforces and amplifies the teams that do the work of convincing their neighbors that Cruz’s anti-democratic positions are only defiant to the mainstream, a message they have grown accustomed to hearing but until Cruz had seldom seen acted upon.
Politics is focused on inconsistencies. Cruz’s rigid line on his many positions make him difficult to attack by candidates who do not want to appear weak or eager to appease the middle. The irony is the guy who is the most extreme is the least vulnerable!
The kids in the New Era don’t remember the Old Paradigm, its variations, its code or virtues; instead they have entered a world dominated by invisible wealth and retail serfdom, overlaid with absolutes of ephemera–77,000 “liked’ the make-up meeting between Kanye and Wiz over twitter posts involving a former girlfriend. From outliers and spree killers to couch surfing and snapchat, they live in a world of temporary absolutes. Their passion moves like the wave in stadiums; massive participation, short term, gone. Can Bernie ride this wave? Can a generation without limits discipline itself? What will they craft from freedom? Will they vote?
In the other planetary tier are the Old School, its warring coalitions still carrying the biases and teachings of virtue and hate from early generations, a rapacious group with bitter tongues whose hooray is a last cause. They are looking not so much for settled resolutions on big issues (race, safety nets, the environment, marriage and abortion, women’s rights, whether opportunity restricts freedom, government, justice) as they are seeking wins–clear victory over the returning zombies that have haunted the paths of both sides.
So Hillary the zombie slayer goes to Flint, an Old School, New World battleground. Bernie remains behind. His view of identity politics and poverty is tied to income inequality and big banks.
If one candidate integrates these two schools, Old and New, these warring souls within one party, with a common message on jobs, wages, and the dangers of the opposition–in the rhetoric of Trump, Cruz and the conditions in Flint–America’s dilemma will build a wider path and will step progressively along its moral arc and promise.
Take note twice, Michigan’s governor and legislature thwarted the will of the people to set forth the most severe, draconian anti-democratic measure in the history of American democracy. A law allowed a governor to upsurp the powers of duly elected public officials, taking away their authority without due process or accountability.
Michigan voters statewide then overturned Public Act 4 of 2011 by a state wide petition and ballot initiative, the Michigan’s Emergency Manager Referendum, in one of those strange votes in which voters had to vote no to defeat the law! Against the will of the people, the Governor reintroduced legislation and added a clause that prevents the new act from being overturned by petition–which the Republican legislature passed in a straight party vote!
The party of “small government” twice expanded the powers of government and against the will of the people, put absolute power into the single hands of governor without oversight, leaving 100,000s vulnerable to a legal dictatorship disguised as help for the balance sheet. This thin disguise does not hide that the actions repeated and inured against the people’s will are anti-democratic.
No matter how justified or explained, the Michigan law suborns democracy. It is anti-democratic! It consolidates absolute authority, it removes review; it eliminates due process, it overrides checks and balances or accountability, it obstructs and restraints the people’s will. It is slowly killing a city.
Republicans have decreed the end of America began after the last term of George W. Bush. His $700 billion TARP bailout for the world’s biggest banks is met with silence by both parties; as Democrats fight over war votes, the war’s obscene, off-book budget of death seldom receives the attention focused on breaking up the big banks and financing the new opportunity safety nets Bernie proposes.
The focus should be on the broader political economy: Halliburton is no different than the banks; BP is remainder of why we need strict environment regulations and safety measures; Duke Power’s pollution of North Carolina’s Dan River and the fish kills in the Catawba-Wateree basin from 82 million tons of coal ash (containing arsenic, mercury, among deadly toxins) has much in common with Flint, where the state is the agent that turned off clean water, failed to prep the new source and approved water that damages skin and brains, and slowly kills.
Overlooked examples are replete with missed connections between real crises: a woman jailed in Indiana for an abortion demonstrates corrupt justice and a common tie to teenagers shot dead for “attitude,”crazy fears over diseases show the need for the tough work of education; the return of white supremacy (its faithful canvasing for Trump in Iowa!) puts racism in the spotlight–Bernie’s right, who carries about emails?
Start with hatred and deconstruct it: its venom has become talking points, debated for its influence on voters minds. But real issues weigh on our souls, waiting to be judged. A new vision of real connections must defeat candidates who are anti-democratic.