A necessary reform.
We are entering a new utopian age. That may seem counterintuitive to suggest as the most right wing government since Thatcher leads the UK into a bleak post Brexit future, Trump prepares to enter the White House flanked by a team of white supremacists in the US, and the far right finds itself in ascendency across Europe, but it is happening.
Signs that a new utopian era is emerging can be read in the way we encounter these events as impossible: Brexit; Trump winning the Republican candidacy, and going on to defeat Clinton in the US presidential elections; even Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership contest. These all represent realities we collectively refused to conceive of as possible, until we awoke the next morning to find ourselves living them.
Impossibility, of course, is the territory of utopia.
It’s been an interesting summer for presidential candidate Jill Stein and Green Party supporters. Excitement has grown around the campaign as polling numbers and fundraising have been on the rise. Multiple attempts were made, albeit unsuccessful, to reach out to Bernie Sanders in an offer of collaboration. Stein even charmed her way into the Democratic Nation Convention before marching with protesters outside after Hillary Clinton was awarded the nomination.
This past week has certainly been no exception.
It started off with a disappointing announcement from a potential vice presidential candidate. In an attempt to garner more disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters, Dr. Stein had offered the spot to former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. However, even after being stripped of her convention credentials and denied the opportunity to speak at the DNC, Turner declined. She explained in an interview, “I’m going to keep fighting in the party, even though I’m disappointed. I’m a Democrat, and that’s worth fighting for”.
Sanders intended on starting a political revolution, and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams – they are continuing on without him. Behind this unrest, not just on the Left, but the Right as well, is a sense that the political machine is rigged in the favor of the capitalist class – the rich. This is something that seems to be almost an intuition, something that was felt by everyone I spoke with. The rise of the Internet and independent media, as well as the obvious crumbling of the system as a whole, has pulled back the curtain and the machinery has been revealed. In a time when the young are facing crippling debt with few job opportunities, when technology has allowed everyone to see the discrimination and brutality that people of color face in their communities in real time, when the prisons are owned and operated by private entities seeking to incarcerate for profit, when the entire world seems to be at war with itself, and when the planet is spiraling rapidly into an unfixable cycle of climate change, the only answer many seem to have is to embrace any potential, any real change. Not ideology; desperation – a sense, right or wrong, that this could be the last chance, and they seem motivated to seize it.
It’s official. Bernie Sanders has thrown his weight behind the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. In a joint appearance on July 12, 2016, Sanders conceded that, “Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination”. He then congratulated her, and went on to say that he intended “to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States”. The process of uniting the party has begun. But what does that mean for the millions of people who believed they were fighting for a “political revolution”, echoing the battles cries of “Never Hillary”, and “Bernie or Bust”? Are they expected to disappear back into the fold of the establishment Democratic Party?
Jill Stein doesn’t think so.
Back in February, I wrote an article speculating about what Donald Trump was trying to achieve with his bid for the presidency. Given the strong social ties between the Trump and Clinton families, I concluded that Trump does not actually want to be president and that the likely reason for his candidacy was to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I argued that his campaign was a deliberate attempt to alienate the demographics that the Republican Party needs to win the general election. Since I wrote that article, Donald Trump has done just that and has become the GOP’s presumptive nominee. Hillary Clinton has also come close to winning the Democratic nomination. In light of these developments, it is worth revisiting my previous theory about Trump.
Since my previous article, Trump’s actions have largely conformed to the theory that I put forth. I argued that Trump would probably gain a following amongst the most extreme parts of the GOP and then leave the party, which would leave the Republicans divided and unable to contest the general election. However, Trump’s campaign has been unexpectedly successful and he has since become the frontrunner of his party. In this position, Trump has been able to sabotage the Republican Party. Trump has increasingly taken extreme “policy positions” and has, in the process, made him and the Republican Party very unpopular with important voter demographics. This has basically assured his defeat in the general election. His antics have also tarnished the reputations of many of the other Republican candidates and are threatening the reelection prospects of Republicans in the House and Senate. This has caused civil war within the party that has left them in disarray.