When you set out to bemoan the state of political events, as people do with great frequency on social media, it’s a good idea to understand the political realities you are confronting. When a populist, liberal political wave captured by a Bernie Sanders isn’t met with immediate results consistent with a what people might expect from a direct, popular vote style of democracy, the wailing is loud, but the results are the same. The system is what it is. If you want things to change, you have to be in it for the long haul of changing how it is built.
What do I mean by that? America is a republic; there are mechanisms built into being elected to all constitutionally designated offices designed to slow down any populist movement that might endanger the one thing conservatives, and most liberals, want to preserve most – wealth. Nothing produces nervous moments among the moneyed class more than uncertainty, especially the kind of uncertainty that popular elections bring about. The rationale behind the absurd dog-and-pony show that is the American primary system is to give the wealthy of both parties the opportunity to slow the speed of popular will down to the speed of profit-making at the corporate and individual level.
I have no idea why the people of Iowa or New Hampshire get a first shot at all this, or the rationale behind the SEC championship of primaries that follows. Let people run for president; let’s vote and the winner takes the oath. But markets wouldn’t have time to adjust to the political possibilities that such a speedy change might bring about. Large businesses wouldn’t know how much to produce to meet a new political and economic climate. When stock market know-it-alls tell me that oil prices are having a negative effect on the economy and on the markets, I wonder how that is possible when it is doing the one thing every politician claims the Obama administration hasn’t done – putting cash in average American’s pockets. It isn’t oil that is giving the market fits, it’s uncertainty. Ultimately they could care less who are the winners and who are the losers as long as the latter category never includes them.
If you travel as I do for a living, lower gas prices adds up to more than chump change, and, no, I do not feel any sorrier for people put out of work by the oil glut any more than they felt sorry for me when I was doling out four bucks a gallon to fill up. That put a lot of people out of work, too. What I do lament is that people don’t see the system for what it is and the need for a constitutional convention to rewrite the rules so that We the People end up electing our federal officials and not We the Wealthy. Read the Constitution and the documents at the state level that it was framed on. Look at the status of indentures whites, slaves, non-landed people and Indians. Disenfranchised from day one would describe their lot, but it is at least a clear indication of the structures wealthy white landowners built into the system. The absence of any mention of women – a testament to their political invisibility in the minds of the Founding Fathers – is an omission that cries out for a reexamination of the whole document and the attendant Bill of Rights and the Amendments.
If you do read these documents, take the time to read the Federalist Papers written by three very influential framers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay and you will see even more clearly the awareness in the minds of the men who built our political system that the masses, and women, are fickle and not to be trusted with the affairs of state and the wealth of the nation. When you see that, for them, the wealth of the nation meant the wealth of states and ultimately the wealth of individuals, you will understand the reason why no one gets to the U.S. Senate or the White House and gets anything done without the right dollars behind them.