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Elizabeth Warren Would Make an Awesome President

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John Beagle View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar 11 2019 at 9:43am
(Why) Elizabeth Warren Would Make an Awesome President
It’s a Crowded Democratic Field — but Warren (Really) is Different



by umair haque

I don’t normally wade into the murky waters of Presidential politics, but since there’s a fascist in the White House putting little kids in camps — you know what? I’ll make an exception. Let me speak plainly and get to the point.

Elizabeth Warren would make an awesome President.

In a jam-packed Democratic crowd of aspiring nominees — some days it seems like everyone and their puppy is running for President — she stands out, by a very long way, for the transformative, revolutionary, and thoroughly intelligent stance she’s taken. And it seems to me as if there’s an issue of character — not “likability” mind you here, too. Let’s think about all that for a moment — and I’m going to begin a slowly and boringly, so skip ahead if you want the good stuff.

The Democratic would-be nominees for President can be roughly divided into three groups. Neoliberal centrists — old school Democrats: the Kirsten Gillibrands of the world. Let’s dispense with them — because they’re neither the future, thoughtful, or interesting. Everyone else has basically moved further to “the left” — by which we should mean something like: they resemble conservatives in other rich countries, because US politics have been so skewed to the extreme right by decades of crackpot thinkers and extremists who’d be right at home with the Taliban.

Now, everyone in this group basically — which leaves Kamala and Cory Booker and so on — supports things like the Green New Deal and Medicare For All. Or at least they say they do. So how are we to distinguish between them? Pretty simply, I’d say: in two ways.

The first is to ask whether they really support those things, aka basic public goods for Americans — or whether they just say they do, because it’s fashionable, convenient, and at this moment, easy. In other words, we should ask whether they’ve moved left to get elected, because right about now, they don’t have to anything but make promises — and whether once they are elected, they just might backtrack on those promises like the Democrats have done for, oh, our entire adult lives.

(Now, interestingly Kamala and Cory have already waffled on the idea of Medicare for All — they appear either not to really understand what it means, or to be promising more than they really want to deliver. Nor do their voting records really bestow much confidence that they care, in a serious and lasting way. You’re welcome to disagree with me furiously, I’d say there’s a very real issue of trust here — which will only grow, as time goes by, and America’s problems grow more severe.)

That brings me to my second way to distinguish between this crowded field of Democratic candidates, which is this: how transformative and intelligent are the things they want to do? And did they actually lead these ideas — or just hop on the bandwagon once someone else did? It’s a simple enough question or two, isn’t it?

Many of the aspiring Democratic candidates are effectively followers — not leaders. They haven’t come up with anything original — they just hop on bandwagons. That’s how you get to a Cory and Kamala waffling on Medicare for All, really — because they’re not the ones leading these revolutions, mostly signing on when its convenient, their main job appears at this moment to be to wait for others to make the first move. It’s a strategy of minimizing risk, of playing strategic games with a nation’s fate. Is that really who we should want for President.

What marks Elizabeth Warren out in this field is that she really is different. In three ways, which, if you ask me, are crucial. The first is that she’s proposed transformative and intelligent ideas — which the others haven’t. The second is that she’s leading the field in these ideas — she’s not waiting for someone else to propose things, and then hopping on a bandwagon. And the third is that that approach is exactly what suggests she will be the kind of President America needs — a genuine leader, not a follower, a game-player, a bandwagoneer. All that marks her out as someone who means to do what she says — not simply someone who says things she has no real intention of accomplishing, just because they’ll win her votes.

Let’s start with what she’s actually proposed. It isn’t getting nearly enough attention because she’s getting Hillaryed — first you obsessively ignore them, then you obsessively demonize them: it’s patriarchy’s most basic move (how men are taught to approach women in general, in fact.) Yet the fact is that when we look at Warren’s run seriously, like it deserves to be looked at, she’s proposed three genuinely radical and transformative things that nobody else has — things which America desperately needs.

First, a plan for the government to manufacture basic medicines. The crackpot right — by which I mean the entire modern GOP — dismisses this as Stalinism, which is stark evidence we should dismiss them as half-wits. Making medicines that Americans — who currently can’t afford insulin — desperately need isn’t sending people the gulags, my friends. American healthcare is so badly broken that life expectancy is now plummeting. If we want to lead the world again — we’d go way past Medicare For All — and realize, as Warren has, that predatory capitalism shouldn’t be given the responsibility of supplying basic needs, whether water, air, schools, or medicine. That’s a massive tick from me, and it should be from any thinking person today, too.

Second, a plan to put 40% of corporate boards into employees’ hands. Oh my God! Stalinism?! Hardly — it’s copied lock, stock, and barrel from Germany, where that model of corporate governance is the legal norm — and it’s what has kept Germany a relatively healthy economy: one that makes the best things in the world, one in which people earn good livings, and one in which CEOs don’t earn billions for running companies into the ground, but actually get punished. All that’s down to a very, very different model of governance, which gives real power to the people who actually do the work in organizations, not just their administrators and managers. When the average person grows poor, remember, when a middle class declines — bang! Fascism. Germany learned this the hard way — and its model of governance is yet another bulwark against it. America should want to learn the world’s leading countries now — and Warren is perhaps the only leader, and certainly the only political, who seems to understand this vital lesson.

Third, a wealth tax. One of the greatest problems in the American economy is inequality — but we don’t often understand what it really means. It just means this: there’s a shortage of money for the average person, thanks to predatory capitalism. Capitalism’s point is to pile up profits, which are money, in the hands of the already richest — but the problem which emerges in purely capitalist economies is that everyone else doesn’t have enough anymore to make ends meet. Hence, people in even nominally “rich” countries live a strange, bizarre contradiction — they become poor people in rich countries, broke people in wealthy ones, powerless people in powerful ones.

Nothing much is going to change America’s central problem of economic stagnation as much as a wealth tax. What point is there for the ultra-rich to have piled up trillions in bank accounts they don’t use? Does an extra dollar in the bank benefit a rich person — or one struggling to pay their mortgage more? Does dollar number three trillion seventy two million and one benefit an ultra rich person at all — or is it just a kind of extractive tax on the prosperity of the rest of us?

The real effect of what we casually call “inequality” is that the middle class has imploded — because there’s not enough money left to reach them. Bang! That way lies every fascist and authoritarian implosion in history — when a middle class shrinks, as it’s done in America, watch out: the politics of demagoguery, of demonization, of outright fascism, are rarely far behind. That doesn’t mean that you, good read, are a fascist — but it certainly means enough Americans headed that way to destabilize the country, and that cycle of destabilization will continue, the longer and harder inequality, and its concomitant shortages of basic things, whether money, food, medicine, or retirement, is allowed to bite.

So. What do these three things really add up to? Why are they transformative? All this is essentially a plan to modernize America, so that it joins the rest of the rich world, finally. To transform from the rich world’s last purely capitalist economy — to a social democracy, like everyone else is now.

Capitalism should only ever be just a phase in the growth of a society. If a society gets stuck there, capital sucks up all a society’s money, resources, time, energy, ideas — puts them to work making the super rich even richer — everyone else grows poorer — wham! Society implodes into fascism. When the great thinkers of the 20th century thought about all this, they saw it clearly, hence, we often say today, “capitalism degenerates into fascism.”

Societies are a little bit like living things. They are transformed and renewed — or the atrophy and decay. America’s future as a purely capitalist society is stark and simple — perpetual implosion into fascism. Even if its perpetually fought off, that just leaves America perpetually on the brink. Not a very nice place to be. America’s true challenge is becoming a social democracy now, joining the modern world — or hurtling backwards into the Dark Ages. Warren’s plan is the only one that gets us towards the next wiser, smarter, more prosperous step in the evolution of societies, from predatory capitalism to social democracy.

And that, my friends, is why they’re ignoring her. Have you noticed that she’s being Hillaryed yet?? Kamala and Cory and so on get plenty of airtime — but it’s almost as if the patriarchy which runs America’s public sphere has decided to exile Warren to the hinterlands. That’s not a coincidence — they know she threatens them the most, by a very long way. That’s unfortunate — because while her ideas are the best by a very long way, they’re being discussed the least, which is how American democracy grew poisoned — we were taught that discussing the same old bad ideas pushed by a bunch of rich old white dudes — healthcare is communism!! — was the best and only thing to ever do. Guess where that ended up? With the Donald Trump mafia in power.

And so it should be the best indicator of all that she’d make an awesome President, to the rest of us, that Warren’s ideas are being mostly ignored by the very same coterie of addle-brained pundits, thinkers, intellectuals, columnists and so on, who got us into this mess. We should have learned by now that the stale, tired ideas they want to push on us — the ones they do discuss and obsess over and bicker over and so forth — are the least thoughtful and transformative ones of all. It’s always “quick — cut the deficit!”, not “Uh, Tucker? People need insulin, you jackass.”

So Warren being Hillaryed, ignored, when she’s not being demonized, mocked, taunted, and insulted, should be a sign to us that here is someone we should get behind — because they are a genuinely a danger to the powers that be, who are the ones that got us into this mess. The question, my friends, if we are smart enough to see it. In that way, democracy is a test of peoples — not just leaders.

Umair


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John Beagle View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote John Beagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2019 at 1:16pm
"I don’t normally wade into the murky waters of Presidential politics, but since there’s a fascist in the White House putting little kids in camps..."

Really, this was started way before Trump. Any other fascist spin on the man? What is the goal of the article, bash Trump or promote a lying indian?
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
-Joseph Campbell
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote basser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2019 at 11:05pm
My own thoughts....
Years ago, it was the young Americans who ended the Vietnam war, which was devastating and one we should never have been involved in. These young people had different thoughts about American politics...young people with young thoughts. Now, fast forward to today. Young women have broken all records in our elections. Rashida Tlaib and Omar Ilhan were the first Muslim women; Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland are the first Native Americans; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Puerto Rican and the youngest woman ever elected. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are terrified of all these young women coming to power. If your age is greater than 40, your political ideas on how this country should be run are likely outdated. Move out of the way.
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