For Americans, the result of the 2016 elections, whatever it may be, will not trigger any significant change for their country – the publicist comments.
In the press, more and more information emerges about both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump because the election is coming soon. Indeed, these analyses are professional, but they have only been focusing on the candidates’ views on some issues and so far they have not touched on the wider socio-political context in which America finds itself, or they have touched upon it only superficially. Meanwhile, the U.S. is sliding (although not as fast as Western Europe) into a deep social crisis. If this were not true, the phenomenon of populist Donald Trump would have never occurred. The billionaire’s presence on the political stage vindicates the thesis that the socio-political crisis has already gone so far in the U.S. that its political elites are unable to hide it from voters anymore.
The System of Interest Groups
The current system is the result of a process that has endured for almost 200 years. The pioneer of dirty actions in political and business issues was Andrew Jackson, who not only made his fortune by illegally taking Native American land, but was also the first person who ever used patronage (the strategy of strengthening one’s political position by promising political appointments) to secure the presidency. This patronage was perpetuated by Abraham Lincoln: from 1,500 political positions which had to be filled in the federal government, he removed 1,200 Democrats and increased the number of civil employees from 41,000 to 195,000. In this way he strengthened the bonds of his victorious party with federal appanages (all these examples, apart from one, come from the book “A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption,” written by Jay Cost in 2015).
But this is only “the tip of the iceberg.” The last decades of the 19th century were the so-called Gilded Age. It was a time when corrupt and unprecedented connections between business and politics became the basic foundation of big business. Contemporary historian Henry Adams wrote: “One might search the whole list of Congress, Judiciary and Executive during the 25 years 1870-1895 and find little but damaged reputation.”
This problem was not the result of politicians’ dishonesty, but the tradition of interpreting the U.S. Constitution loosely, specifically the Commerce Clause. To sum up, the checks and balances between the political authorities – legislative, judiciary and executive – were replaced with the growth of their importance in ruling the whole country and particular states. As the result, a system of interest groups appeared in the place of the system of checks and balances.
It did not matter that, for instance, a congressman could receive a huge bribe; instead, what was more important was how his political decisions would impact a particular state's economy (particularly the state he represented and where he would be re-elected). This is the origin of the political-business system, which has been a well-functioning machine up to today, and the strength of the connections between big business and lobby groups has been growing.
How the Democrats Attract the Young
In 1968, less than 100 lobbyists registered by the House of Representatives were working in the Capitol; in 2000 there were 15,000 lobbyists in the whole Congress, and in 2006 more than 30,000. It is unbelievable, isn’t it? For comparison, in the times about which Cost wrote his book, the percentage of former congressmen working as lobbyists was 50 in the House of Representatives and 43 in the U.S. Senate.
Since Roosevelt’s New Deal, trade unions and all the agendas connected with social security policy have become lobby groups; however, not as powerful as those connected with business. The trade unions co-finance the elections, while the latter do not, but they still have influence on the functioning of the state and wasting huge amounts of money. It is unnecessary to add that these agendas have such great power because of the voters for whom they were created in the past.
The Democratic candidate would never have much chance for the White House, if his party did not support the country’s welfare policy. This is proven by research on voters: after 1964 African-Americans’ votes provided the Democrats with victory (they and other ethnic groups still do). That is the American conservatism that does not exist nowadays. And this is how democracy works, a sick system, which was renamed as interest group liberalism.
This system is sick because it backs the parties’ interests instead of the common good. I will use this anecdote: Lyndon Johnson, who pushed the Civil Rights Act and the welfare program (named the War on Poverty Act) through Congress in 1964-1965, probably did not know that his war on poverty would trigger the moral degeneration of African-Americans, and he was indifferent to it. But after conversations with similar racists in the Democratic Party, Johnson was aware that this strategy would provide the Democrats with Negroes’ votes for the next 200 years. (Of course Johnson did not use the word “Negroes,” but “niggers.”)
This year, the Democrats are trying to attract youth with a slogan of almost free studies. The cost of such actions would be covered by the country, which would increase the debt to be paid back by citizens. In other words, fees for studies would be postponed and would be paid by today’s youth’s earnings in the future. The huge and still growing debt of the state finds attention from both parties only when it can be used against political opponents.
Elites without Purpose
What is even worse is that this great power in the politicians’ hands serves not only the previously mentioned interest groups, but also the world of finances and big business, which does not care about the good of the American people. This power serves also a new lobby group – this time a moral one – born from the tradition of progressivism, which has transformed into ultra-progressive social engineering. Both progressivism and party favoritism have led to moral degeneration among African-Americans and poorer white people.
A deep sociological analysis of this situation has been carried out by the famous researcher Charles Murray (I recommend reading his books: “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” published in 2013 and “By the People: Rebuilding Liberty without Permission” from last year). And indeed, this situation is very dangerous: The percentage of white Americans aged 30 and 49 who do not earn enough to maintain a double household (regardless of whether this is through their own fault or not) was 8 in 1967. But since that year, the percentage started growing, to reach 27 in 2007.
Murray has also shown that the current upper class is very separated from the rest of society. In contrast to poorer Americans, they follow a traditional moral code but do not spread it (which is against the elites’ social role) and can only justify their way of life by pragmatic matters. Every observer of the American political scene sees that the new upper class has adopted the language of liberalism and political correctness, so that it has lost the ability to make distinctions. Similarly to the whole Western world, the American upper class has stopped understanding itself. This fact led to a situation where the American middle class has been left alone in a country whose elites do not represent the nation and have rejected the mission to lead.
The current presidential campaign reflects the social crisis in the U.S. very well. To cut a long story short, it is obvious that Trump broadly defines the middle class’s voice of opposition.
It is more interesting, though not surprising, that Clinton – who is seen as “the preacher of moral evil” (she backs the war on Christianity, legalization of abortion and homosexual marriages, but despite her views she was praised by the radical leftist organization Planned Parenthood in 2009), has the tendency to make bad political decisions in the Middle East (Iraq, Libya), is responsible for the death of four people in the U.S. embassy in Benghazi in 2012 and who has been combining politics with business (very often illegally) – despite all these facts is still the most excellent candidate for U.S. president according to the Democrats.
For Americans, the result of the 2016 elections, whatever it may be, will not trigger any significant change for their country. A large part of American society is well aware that the government with all its agendas does not represent their interests. They know that the government violates the American tradition and legacy, including the legacy of self-government. They realize the fact that the federal government has extended its power (especially the power of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, who are not elected by citizens) and expanded the federal bureaucracy, and that the average citizen has no influence on the government’s actions. In the U.S. citizens have become the subjects of a “lawless legal system,” as Murray put it in his newest book. This fact cannot be changed by presidential elections or congressional ones. If the Americans want to escape unscathed from this crisis, they have to awake from their stagnancy. So far America has experienced at least three periods of social (or in the past, religious) agitation, whether with good or bad consequences. The first awakening started in the ‘30s of the 18th century; the second took place in the last decade of the 18th century and endured to the fourth decade of 19th century. The third one started in the ‘50s of the 19th century and endured to its end.
But it is a task for generations and it is not about creating another lobby group, a political breakthrough or even a rebellion. It is a great task of rebuilding social communities from the bottom, to revive the national tradition, common legacy and local partnerships, which would hand the subjectivity back to citizens and would restore their sense of responsibility for themselves and their communities. Everything that has already been written here does not mean that the current presidential race has no importance for American social and foreign policy. It is also very interesting to consider if Trump and the Republicans want to win this race at all. But that is a theme for another passionate article.
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