Deep Trump

In previous posts I have included some quotes about what an American Deep State might look like. Many thanks to Felicity for linking to DONALD J. TRUMP AND THE DEEP STATE by Peter Dale Scott on Who.What.Why. Part 1 is mostly about what constitutes the Deep State, and how at least two factions are in opposition:

… those who saw the election as a contest between outsider Trump and a “deep state” tended to give two different meanings to this new term. On the one hand were those who saw the deep state as “a conglomerate of insiders” incorporating all those, outside and inside the traditional state, who “run the country no matter who is in the White House…and without the consent of voters.”[8] On the other were those who, like Chris Hedges, limited the “deep state” to those perverting constitutional American politics from the margin of the Washington Beltway — “the security and surveillance apparatus, the war machine.”[9]

But both of these simplistic definitions, suitable for campaign rhetoric, omit the commanding role played by big money — what used to be referred to as Wall Street, but now includes an increasingly powerful number of maverick non-financial billionaires like the Koch brothers. All serious studies of the deep state, including Mike Lofgren’s The Deep State and Philip Giraldi’s Deep State America as well as this book, acknowledge the importance of big money.[10]

It is important to recognize moreover, that the current division between “red” and “blue” America is overshadowed by a corresponding division at the level of big money, one that contributed greatly to the ugliness of the 2016 campaign. In The American Deep State (p. 30), I mention, albeit very briefly, the opposition of right-wing oilmen and the John Birch Society “to the relative internationalism of Wall Street.”[11] That opposition has become more powerful, and better financed, than ever before.

It has also evolved. As I noted in The American Deep State, (p. 14), the deep state “is not a structure but a system, as difficult to define, but also as real and powerful, as a weather system.” A vigorous deep state, like America, encompasses dynamic processes continuously generating new forces within it like the Internet — just as a weather system is not fixed but changes from day to day.

In Part 2, Scott links the often-bankrupted Trump to lenders with ties to Russian financial interests, making a better case for Russian hacking of the recent election than I have seen elsewhere.

The existence of a Deep State is dispiriting, and makes me feel like a rat in a cage. It is one thing to talk about opposing conservatives, or electing progressives, but that seems like throwing rocks while the apparatchiks of the deep state are targeting drone strikes.

A Way Forward

During the recent presidential campaign, I noted that it was very obvious that the mainstream media (except Fox) and a good deal of the so-called new internet media were pulling for the multicultural globalist candidate. Even though having the media being so clearly in the bag for Clinton may have helped galvanize the support for Trump, it seems that the media are using much the same playbook to try to oppose the new regime. We see very funny skits on Saturday Night Live, impassioned awards speeches by celebrities, and sharp opinion pieces about the new administration. On the Sunday talk shows we see the same old news anchors and pundits that gave Trump free airtime during the campaign now trying to whip up an existential fear of his administration.

The same flimsy news sites that claimed Sanders would win over super-delegates, then that Stein would prove voter fraud, now offer up the false hope that Trump is just about to be impeached. Slightly more serious outlets claim that he is already failing and that our existing institutions will step up to stop him before he goes too far. So what are they waiting for?

The Democrats should be the first line of defense. But though they make some pretty speeches they haven’t, except for Gillibrand, shown the stomach for any serious opposition. Even if they did, they don’t really have the votes. Plus, they are still fighting over whether they are going to continue to be the party that attracts big donations from technocrats, or the party that could possibly attract young Sanders supporters.

In old black-and-white movies the people would be saved by the court system, but in our high-definition world, the Supreme Court will lean solidly conservative with my fellow GP alum Neil Gorsuch replacing Scalia. We’ve seen that attorneys-general can be fired, and that judges can be replaced. The Deep State has been cited, but many entrenched bureaucrats prefer to keep their jobs, and those that don’t are already being purged. Some articles even claim that the Republicans will eventually rein in Trump – though they’ve haven’t shown that ability so far.

No, if opposition doesn’t come from the people, it won’t happen. We’ve seen a lot of peaceful marching, but public protests also provide the stage for black bloc-type thugs to provide violent images for media. Unfortunately, violent opposition plays in to the hands of an alt-right that is already well-versed in violence, is well-armed (with all those guns that Obama was supposed to take away), and, according to the FBI, has infiltrated many local police departments.

Just marching will not be enough. A Counterpunch article, Class War, Yet? suggests an alternative, but it requires work and organization:

The way forward for progressives today, however, is becoming increasingly clear. A new book by George Lakey, co-founder of Earth Quaker Action Group, describes how such egalitarian societies have been formed in other developed countries. His book, “Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right and How We Can, Too” traces the mostly peaceful revolutions of the 1920’s and 1930’s in several Nordic countries, and how much further they went then our own New Deal.

In Norway, for example, workers formed a new “oppositional” party, separate from the existing ones controlled by the oligarchs. The new party established its own newspapers as well since the oligarchs owned the media too. There were strikes and mass actions, but ultimately the workers’ party won by running on a platform that emphasized jobs for all, as well as universal healthcare, free education and pensions for retired workers, all paid for by significant tax increases on the very wealthy. There were no “poverty programs,” vulnerable to cutting by the oligarchy. Basic economic rights were established for each and every citizen, and it became the basis for the culture of the entire society, as well as the source of Nordic pride.

In a recent interview I did with George Lakey, he explained how Norwegian workers came to understand their plight. The majority of the people realized that they had been living in a “pretend democracy.” Even though they had a parliament, free elections and choice of their MP’s, “it was the economic elite that made the main decisions and directed the economy.”

The effect of educating the workers led to a necessary “polarization” of public opinion. The workers “finally understood that there was an economic elite running things and that it opposed what the people wanted, getting rid of poverty. But poverty is just fine for the elite; they are doing great. So we need to polarize, we need to understand that this is a we versus they situation.”

While that sounds good, I doubt that the Norwegians had nearly as fractured a society as we do. We have large groups of European, Hispanic and African ancestry and significant groups of Jews, Muslims, Asians, and Native Americans. It has been fairly easy for the oligarchs to keep us at each others’ throats.

A Silly Idea

Your revolution is a silly idea, yeah
All your friends are feeling sad

Hopes that Ivanka and Jared Kushner would be a moderating influence on President Trump seem to be fading as the machinations of adviser Steven Bannon dominate the news cycle. Anyone who is, is related to, or is friends with immigrants, persons of color, women using birth control and even sick people hoping to use medical marijuana has to be dismayed by the current direction of the Trump administration, in particular the latest Supreme Court nominee. Their hopes and dreams probably won’t stand for much under the new regime. And though Trump has extended an order banning discrimination against LGBTQ federal workers, that community is not very reassured.

An article, rebuttal and reply in Dissent Magazine go back and forth on whether social progress was just a carrot used by financial interests to promote neoliberal globalism:

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism

… Trump’s victory is not solely a revolt against global finance. What his voters rejected was not neoliberalism tout court, but progressive neoliberalism. This may sound to some like an oxymoron, but it is a real, if perverse, political alignment that holds the key to understanding the U.S. election results and perhaps some developments elsewhere too. In its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives.

There Was No Such Thing as “Progressive Neoliberalism”

… Fraser’s argument carries an undercurrent of blame toward feminism and other social movements for having participated in what she dubs “progressive neoliberalism.” It was, she argues, a revolt against progressive neoliberalism that led to Trump’s victory over Clinton. By shifting the analysis away from the capitalist class offensive that ushered in the neoliberal order, and which is primarily responsible for the U.S. political drift to the right, Fraser ends up attacking “identity politics” in favor of “class politics.” While her conclusion is that of course the left must embrace anti-sexism and anti-racism, her analysis implies the opposite—she’s clearly suspicious of multiculturalism and diversity.

Against Progressive Neoliberalism, A New Progressive Populism

Johanna Brenner’s reading of my essay misses the centrality of the problem of hegemony. My main point was that the current dominance of finance capital was not achieved only by force but also by what Gramsci called “consent.” Forces favoring financialization, corporate globalization, and deindustrialization succeeded in taking over the Democratic Party, I claimed, by presenting those patently anti-labor policies as progressive. Neoliberals gained power by draping their project in a new cosmopolitan ethos, centered on diversity, women’s empowerment, and LGBTQ rights. Drawing in supporters of such ideals, they forged a new hegemonic bloc, which I called progressive neoliberalism. In identifying and analyzing this bloc, I never lost sight of the power of finance capital, as Brenner claims, but offered an explanation for its political ascendance.

In a broader take, an article in the NY Review of Books looks grimly at the European Union, and what is called populism. In, Is Europe Disintegrating?, Timothy Garton Ash imagines his reaction had he been frozen in 2005, when the Eurozone was robustly expanding:

Cryogenically reanimated in January 2017, I would immediately have died again from shock. For now there is crisis and disintegration wherever I look: the eurozone is chronically dysfunctional, sunlit Athens is plunged into misery, young Spaniards with doctorates are reduced to serving as waiters in London or Berlin, the children of Portuguese friends seek work in Brazil and Angola, and the periphery of Europe is diverging from its core. There is no European constitution, since that was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands later in 2005. The glorious freedom of movement for young Poles and other Central and Eastern Europeans has now contributed substantially to a shocking referendum vote by my own country, Britain, to leave the EU altogether. And Brexit brings with it the prospect of being stripped of my European citizenship on the thirtieth anniversary of 1989.

Ash and the authors he cites lend credence to the Mark Blyth prediction that the EU will collapse very soon. He goes on to express fear about populists invoking “the people”:

Populists speak in the name of “the people,” and claim that their direct legitimation from “the people” trumps (the verb has acquired a new connotation) all other sources of legitimate political authority, be it constitutional court, head of state, parliament, or local and state government. Donald Trump’s “I am your voice” is a classic populist statement. But so is the Turkish prime minister’s riposte to EU assertions that a red line had been crossed by his government’s clampdown on media freedom: “The people draw the red lines.” So is the Daily Mail’s front-page headline denouncing three British High Court judges who ruled that Parliament must have a vote on Brexit as “Enemies of the People.” Meanwhile, Polish right-wing nationalists justify an ongoing attempt to neuter Poland’s constitutional court on the grounds that the people are “the sovereign.”

The other crucial populist move is to identify as “the people” (or Volk) what turns out to be only some of the people. A Trump quotation from the campaign trail captures this perfectly: “The only important thing is the unification of the people,” said the Donald, “because the other people don’t mean anything.” UKIP’s Nigel Farage welcomed the Brexit vote as a victory for “ordinary people,” “decent people,” and “real people.” The 48 percent of us who voted on June 23, 2016, for Britain to remain in the EU are plainly neither ordinary nor decent, nor even real. Everywhere it’s the “other people” who now have to watch out: Mexicans and Muslims in the US, Kurds in Turkey, Poles in Britain, Muslims and Jews all over Europe, as well as Sinti and Roma, refugees, immigrants, black people, women, cosmopolitans, homosexuals, not to mention “experts,” “elites,” and “mainstream media.” Welcome to a world of rampant Trumpismo.

Beam Us Up, Mark

Professor of political economy Mark Blyth has been on a roll. The Brown University lecturer with the disarming Dundonian accent predicted that Brexit would pass, that Trump would win, and that Italy would vote No. So it makes sense to at least consider what he’s saying now. On January 4th he told the BBC that the European Union would fold in 2017. Wait, that’s this year:

“For all this… about Brexit and whether Britain should have left, it might be the case the EU ceases to exist before Article 50 is invoked.

“You have an election coming up in France. It’s entirely plausible the National Front will win the first round.

“At that point everyone in France is meant to organise a giant blocking collation to stop them being elected.

“That would mean everyone on the French left would have to vote for someone who basically wants to bring Thatcher’s economic policy menu to France, and that’s after eight years of stagnations – that’s going to be a very hard sell.”

Last week on NPR’s Marketplace (which is probably doomed to be defunded), earnest-sounding David Brancaccio interviewed Blyth:

Brancaccio: It’s interesting. President Obama had an industrial policy. He put federal dollars into, for instance, the alternative energy sector. He tried to promote robotics and advanced manufacturing and so forth. But one couldn’t imagine a Democrat, would you say, going as far as Mr. Trump has in terms of trying to pull the strings of the economy.

Blyth: Well, you can always invoke the “only Nixon can go to China” rule on this one. So let’s go back to the notion that what Trump’s trying to do is get at this collective action problem for capital by reassuring businesses, giving them incentives to stay at home. We’ve seen this before. It was in the 1930s, and it was called the National Industrial Recovery Act. Because what this leads to, if you follow it through, is very big corporations — a kind of oligopolistic structure. And that type of big, strong cartelized structure seems to be the type of economy that Trump and the people around him want to build. And that’s definitely an industrial policy. Whether it’s a feasible one is a different question. It didn’t work in the 30s and no reason why it should work now.

Yesterday in Paste Magazine, Ben Gran tried to summarize Blyth’s rationale in, Trump Is Not a Fluke: Why “Trumpism” Is a Global Phenomenon. After restating much of what Blyth has laid out in his lectures, Gran writes:

Mark Blyth is oddly optimistic about America in the age of Trumpism, especially compared to Europe. He says that America has an advantage over Europe because Europe is bound by the Euro currency, which Blyth says is a “disaster” because individual countries within the Eurozone (such as Greece vs. Germany) have different conflicting political agendas that cannot be addressed by monetary policy. Trump might turn out to be a flash in the pan, a Black Swan event brought on by a one-time bizarre confluence of events and a bad matchup with the Democratic nominee.

One might point out that “Greece vs Germany” isn’t that different than US Rust Belt vs US Research City right now. Yet we all pay about the same for food and other necessities.

Trump might even have some positive effects, in Blyth’s view, because the U.S. would benefit from a more isolationist foreign policy with fewer costly, unending military interventions in other countries. As Blyth says in this discussion on the 2016 election results, if Europe is left to pay more for their own national defense and find their own accommodation with Russia, without relying on American military power, that would not be a bad thing for the U.S. Blyth is skeptical that Trump will actually enact any of his trade protectionist promises, since U.S. voters won’t want to see higher prices for their iPhones (imported from China). It’s possible that Trump’s presidency will be less frighteningly radical than many liberals have feared.

I think the scary part will be what happens to us while the nationalists and neoliberals fight it out. Neither side is particularly concerned with what happens to ordinary people, except so far as we keep buying their stuff.

Aside from Trump’s immediate outrages, the broader challenge for America, and the world, is that the neoliberal political order of the past 30 years in the Western democracies is breaking down. We’ve elected a president who campaigned as a populist, but who’s likely going to govern as a traditional Reagan-style “trickle-down economics” Republican. Those Upper Midwest swing voters who voted based on economic populism and “bringing jobs back” are not remotely going to get the populist politics that Trump promised; so the question is, can the Democrats deliver a real populist alternative instead? Will the American Left be defeated by Trumpism, or can they co-opt Trump’s appeal to the middle-class and working-class, and create a new politics that truly speaks to the concerns of the people who have been left behind by globalization and our new era of wealth inequality?

I’d ask whether the Democrats will even survive as a party without neoliberal elites to back them. So far they’ve offered no real opposition to President Trump, and shown no clue about connecting with the working class.

Loyalty Test

The most controversial of the many executive orders issued by President Trump (so far) has been to institute a 90 day entry ban on people from seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen), an indefinite entry ban on refugees from Syria, and a four month ban on all refugees. Full text at CNN.

In response, protesters demonstrated at international airports around the US, Pope Francis and many politicians from both aisles condemned the order, opposition cases were filed in several states, and the acting Attorney General Sally Yates refused to defend it in court.

Yates was quickly replaced, as was the acting Director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Some pundits are calling this the Monday Night Massacre, invoking Nixon, but it seems to me that this and other provocative executive orders and memorandums are effectively a loyalty test by the incoming administration. And they won’t be the last.

During the election, we saw a nearly-public test of strength between the FBI, which seemed to support Trump, and the CIA, which seemed to lean towards Clinton. As described in The Intercept:

Trump values loyalty to himself above all other traits, so it is surely not lost on him that few entities were as devoted to his victory, or played as critical a role in helping to achieve it, as the FBI. One of the more unusual aspects of the 2016 election, perhaps the one that will prove to be most consequential, was the covert political war waged between the CIA and FBI. While the top echelon of the CIA community was vehemently pro-Clinton, certain factions within the FBI were aggressively supportive of Trump. Hillary Clinton herself blames James Comey and his election-week letter for her defeat. Elements within the powerful New York field office were furious that Comey refused to indict Clinton, and embittered agents reportedly shoveled anti-Clinton leaks to Rudy Giuliani. The FBI’s 35,000 employees across the country are therefore likely to be protected and empowered. Trump’s decision to retain Comey — while jettisoning all other top government officials — suggests that this has already begun to happen.

Trump and his advisers are well aware that they are taking over a bureaucracy that is still riddled with supporters of the neoliberal globalist regime. That’s why Trump brought in his own security detail.

Thus commences a long purge, and the first task is to discover who is loyal to the executive, and who is not. The old guard has a lot of power and includes much of the mainstream media, but Trump has the power to replace senior officials, who will presumably work their way down through the ranks.

Spitballing the Future

Every now and then I look for Daniel Larison at the American Conservative, and sometimes I get sidetracked to Rod Dreher, who had a piece called, Trump Disrupter-in-Chief, with the tagline, “How he’s realigning both parties, and no elites can do a damn thing about it.” Dreher was actually going paintballing, though, and just cited two other pieces.

The first, This Is What the Future of American Politics Looks Like, was posted on Politico way back in May 2016, by Michael Lind. Lind summed up what he saw then as the realignment of the two leading parties:

Today’s Republican Party is predominantly a Midwestern, white, working-class party with its geographic epicenter in the South and interior West. Today’s Democratic Party is a coalition of relatively upscale whites with racial and ethnic minorities, concentrated in an archipelago of densely populated blue cities.

In both parties, there’s a gap between the inherited orthodoxy of a decade or two ago and the real interests of today’s electoral coalition. And in both parties, that gap between voters and policies is being closed in favor of the voters — a slight transition in the case of Hillary Clinton, but a dramatic one in the case of Donald Trump.

With regard to the Republicans, Lind either leaves out all the well-to-do white folk that went for Trump, too, or is using a very broad definition of working-class. Also, he scarcely mentioned young Democrats flocking to Bernie Sanders, and ignores that many, many young independents didn’t want any part of Clinton or Trump. So I would say that the Democratic realignment is still being played out, and may end up more populist than he expects.

What is more interesting is that Lind sees a larger struggle between populist nationalists and multicultural globalists – though he very much wants to divide them along party lines. He clearly favors the nationalists, and takes pains to distinguish them from white nationalists, hoping that, “a populist American nationalism untainted by vestiges of racial bigotry might have transracial appeal, like versions of national populism in Latin America.” Elsewhere, he notes hopefully that many American Latinos and Latinas see themselves as white (and Republican):

The outlines of the two-party system of the 2020s and 2030s are dimly visible. The Republicans will be a party of mostly working-class whites, based in the South and West and suburbs and exurbs everywhere. They will favor universal, contributory social insurance systems that benefit them and their families and reward work effort—programs like Social Security and Medicare. But they will tend to oppose means-tested programs for the poor whose benefits they and their families cannot enjoy.

They will oppose increases in both legal and illegal immigration, in some cases because of ethnic prejudice; in other cases, for fear of economic competition. The instinctive economic nationalism of tomorrow’s Republicans could be invoked to justify strategic trade as well as crude protectionism. They are likely to share Trump’s view of unproductive finance: “The hedge-fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.”

Of course this was written before Trump stocked his cabinet with Goldman Sachs alums, and before his team started hinting that Medicare and Social Security were back on the chopping block. Who knows where an again-betrayed working class may go in 2020?

The Democrats of the next generation will be even more of an alliance of upscale, progressive whites with blacks and Latinos, based in large and diverse cities. They will think of the U.S. as a version of their multicultural coalition of distinct racial and ethnic identity groups writ large. Many younger progressives will take it for granted that moral people are citizens of the world, equating nationalism and patriotism with racism and fascism.

The withering-away of industrial unions, thanks to automation as well as offshoring, will liberate the Democrats to embrace free trade along with mass immigration wholeheartedly. The emerging progressive ideology of post-national cosmopolitanism will fit nicely with urban economies which depend on finance, tech and other industries of global scope, and which benefit from a constant stream of immigrants, both skilled and unskilled.

Although the Women’s March and last weekend’s airport rallies might support a view of Democrats obsessed with multiculturalism, there is, as I wrote in my last piece, no clear picture of where the Democrats are going. Many will continue to serve their liberal elite donors’ others may follow the Sanders path. If the gang at dagblog is any indication, older liberals don’t seem inclined to build any sort of coalition with the white working class, but younger folk may feel differently.

As of a few days ago, Lind and Glen Bottoms in, An Infrastructure Fix, were urging Trump to think about trains and bicycles, instead of highways, and even a gasoline tax. Those are great ideas, but the Heritage wish list of defunded government agencies and programs – which many think Trump is following – include both Amtrak and Washington DC Metrorail.

Dreher also cited Peggy Noonan’s, Trump Tries to Build a ‘Different Party’. Noonan thinks Trump’s barrage of executive orders and memoranda will look like progress and promise-keeping to his base.

The significance and velocity of the orders unnerved and upset Mr. Trump’s critics and took aback some of his friends. But those orders — even though their use makes the presidency more imperial, even though it’s no way to govern, even though Mr. Obama did it, too — will likely not be unpopular in the country. It actually looked as if someone was doing something.

More important than the orders were the White House meetings. One was a breakfast with a dozen major CEOs. They looked happy as frolicking puppies in the photo-op, and afterward talked about jobs. Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin said she was “encouraged by the president’s commitment to reduce barriers to job creation.” In a statement after the meeting, the glassmaker Corning, whose CEO attended, announced plans to expand its U.S. manufacturing base significantly over the next few years. Because I live in New York and work at the Journal, I see and talk to American CEOs. I’ve never heard them bang on about a need to boost American jobs and manufacturing, ever. They usually talk about targeted microloans in India, and robots.

More important still — the most important moment of the first week — was the meeting with union leaders. Mr. Trump gave them almost an hour and a half. “The president treated us with respect, not only our organization but our members,” said Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, by telephone. Liuna had not endorsed Trump in the campaign, but Mr. O’Sullivan saw the meeting’s timing as an expression of respect: “He’s inaugurated on Friday and we’re invited in Monday to have a substantial conversation.” The entire Trump top staff was there, including the vice president: “His whole team — we were very impressed.” They talked infrastructure, trade and energy. “The whole meeting was about middle class jobs, how do we create more?” Mr. O’Sullivan believes the Keystone pipeline will eventually generate more than 40,000 jobs. Mr. O’Sullivan said he hopes fixing “our crumbling transportation infrastructure” will be “the largest jobs program in the country.”

Noonan believes that Trump will prevail because Democrats, “don’t have a playbook,” to use against a populist. That’s true, but Trump’s main opposition isn’t coming from Democratic weebles; it is coming from neoliberal globalists in the Deep State.

Democratic World

Comet TV has been showing Futureworld – the poorly-received 1976 sequel to the 1973 hit film Westworld – over and over. So I watched it today. Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner and Arthur Hill are capable-enough actors, but the original had Michael Crichton on board, and the sequel didn’t. The sequel shares a major plot hole with some Jurassic Park sequels in that even though customers and staff were slaughtered in a theme park, both operations were again open for business in just a few years … and customers came flocking back.

Do customers do that in real life? Well, right now, the Democratic Party expects us all to flock back after snatching defeat from the least popular candidate in history. (Trump Rex?)

I needed more stim than just a bad movie, so I also looked at my blog stats and found that ArtAppraiser had included a link to A what struggle, my previous post, in a comment on a Danny Cardwell article on dagblog, so I read that article and the Hal Ginsberg article to which he was responding. They were hashing out arguments for and against finding common cause with the white working class, and as I expected several commenters had indeed found the idea unpalatable.

I left dag before either Cardwell or Ginsburg started posting, so I don’t know much about either of them, but many of the old characters are still there. Though dag founder Michael Wolraich has raised the alarum that the Democratic Party is almost irrelevant politically, most dagsters are stuck rehashing the primary between Sanders and Clinton.

Common cause between Democrats themselves has been difficult to find. Current officeholders are doing everything to hang on to relevance except changing their neoliberal strategy.

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks is spearheading an anti-corporatist group, including former leaders of the Sanders campaign team, called Justice Democrats. JD is dedicated to finding candidates to primary and replace the current crop of Democrats (Schumer, Booker, etc.), who speak bravely but vote pragmatically. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is enjoying a moment of fame for actually voting against every Trump cabinet appointee.

In a short Sane Progressive Facebook video, Debbie Lusignan has criticized the Justice Democrats because she feels that neither Sanders nor The Young Turks have been sufficiently concerned about the sort of voter suppression reported by Greg Palast. If Trump is able to reinstate voter ID laws, Democrats may have no chance to win an important election.

And as I’ve mentioned before, many pundits believe the real struggle is not between parties but between factions within the Deep State or Shadow Government. In that case, both parties truly are irrelevant.