Presidential Power and Primary Horse Races
Political consultants and media outlets that play political ads are rejoicing at the outcome of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire Presidential nomination primary. No clear victor has emerged, though some lesser lights have been eliminated from the Democratic Party and Republican Party contest. The first contested Green Party presidential primary will be contested in California on February 5th. Voting-by mail is becoming the norm in California and such voters have their ballots in hand or may have cast them already.
The funny thing is that the President of the United States is an executive officer. He (or maybe she) does not actually make policy. The President is supposed to see that the executive branch, the bureaucracy, carries out the laws written by Congress, with occasional instruction on constitutionality from the Supreme Court.
So Congress is where citizen voters should focus their efforts. But in most districts in the U.S., and certainly in California, there are no real contests. One party machine or another dominates. Only rarely does a district change hands.
Partly this is because citizens have been trained to accept their politics in bundles. Accept the pro-abortion, pro-ruling class bundle; or accept the anti-abortion, pro-ruling class bundle.
That said, there are differences in the Presidential candidates, and those will make some difference in how the United States and its imperialist possessions are run. Who wins votes tells us political analyst types what people want, even if they and we know the promises are mostly empty.
I like Hillary Clinton the best. I don't like her politics, of course: I think she is pro war and not willing to buck the corporate ruling class in any significant way. Like all the other candidates who were taken seriously by the corporate media and big-pockets donors. I think she can at least try to be fair. I admire a woman getting so far in within our political establishment. I like the fact that the genetic-throwback Republicans hate her so much.
It is every male against Ms. Clinton right now, which shows you how shallow both American politicians and voters are. Barack Obama, on the other hand, is offering hope and a fresh face. It seems to me the last time the Democrats offered hope and a fresh face was when Mr. Clinton ran back in 1992. We got global trade agreements but no health plan from the Clinton-Gore team, which by the way did absolutely nothing about global warming. Still, it would be a change of pace to have Barack as President. He'd be about the least experienced presidents since John F. Kennedy, but he probably would not have the Kennedy family's ties to organized crime to haunt him. John Edwards would have been the best Democratic Party candidate in decades, but had the bad luck to finally have to take the fall for the run of white males we've been having.
On the Republican side, I like Mitt Romney. Of course his free-markets for workers and consumers, subsidies for rich corporations and individuals economic policy would be a disaster. But I think he is honest and however strange their taste in underwear, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints seems to do a better job than most religious cults in instilling values I share like honesty, taking personal responsibility, and working hard at what you believe in.
Unless you can hire a lobbyist, expect the next Congress to do nothing for you.
The most important thing citizens can do right now is to help to build a party that does not have a long history of committing and commitment to war crimes. While there are some other choices, the best party to work with right now in the United States is the Green Party. I hope to write quite a bit about the problems of creating an election-winning Green Party in this blog.
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