In his latest writing about the brewing 2020 election circus, Pulitzer-winning journalist, lecturer, teacher, and author Chris Hedges continues to demonstrate the remarkable political acumen we’ve come to expect from him:
“The corporate media ignores issues and policies, since there is little genuine disagreement among the candidates, and presents the race as a beauty contest. The fundamental question the press asks is not what do the candidates stand for but whom do the voters like. As for now, Warren—the only nationally known Democrat except Julian Castro to form an exploratory committee for a presidential bid—is not winning this popularity contest. A CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll—yes, polling in Iowa already has begun—puts her fourth, with only 8 percent of support among the Democrats surveyed, behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke.
“Our corporate rulers do not need to denounce democracy. Democratic laws, such as who can fund campaigns, have been subverted from within, their original purposes redefined by the courts and legislative bodies to serve corporate power.”
[Hedges later resumes his analysis of the corporate media...]
“The goal is entertainment. Politicians who are good entertainers do well. The poor entertainers do badly. The networks seek to attract viewers and increase profits, not disseminate information about political issues. Voters have little or no say in who decides to run, who gets funded, how campaigns are managed, what television ads say, which candidates get covered by the press or who gets invited to presidential debates. They are spectators, pawns used to legitimize political farce.
[And proceeds to quote the acclaimed American political philosopher Sheldon Wolin...]
“’At issue is more than crude bribery,’ the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes in ‘Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.’ ‘Campaign contributions are a vital tool of political management. They create a pecking order that calibrates, in strictly quantitative and objective terms, whose interests have priority. The amount of corruption that regularly takes place before elections means that corruption is not an anomaly but an essential element in the functioning of managed democracy. The entrenched system of bribery and corruption involves no physical violence, no brown-shirted storm troopers, no coercion of the political opposition. While the tactics are not those of the Nazis, the end result is the inverted equivalent. Opposition has not been liquidated but rendered feckless.’”
[Hedges goes on to quote Matt Taibbi, another fairly astute commentator on modern American politics...]
“The differences between the right-wing media and the liberal media are minuscule. As Taibbi writes in ‘Insane Clown President: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus,’ they are ‘really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism’… ‘Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they’re about money,’ Taibbi writes. ‘The people who sponsor election campaigns… want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, anti-trust waivers and dozens of other things… They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population.’”
[No doubt. Hedges concludes with his own observations about the dismal place to which American politics has devolved...]
“Trump is the epitome of the human mutation produced by an illiterate, dumbed-down age of electronic images. He, like tens of millions of other Americans, believes anything he sees on television. He does not read. He is consumed by vanity and the cult of the self. He is a conspiracy theorist. He blames America’s complex social and economic ills on scapegoats such as Mexican immigrants and Muslims, and of course the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, in turn, blames Trump’s election on Russia and former FBI Director James Comey. It is the theater of the absurd.”