Words, Words, Words
At present, both the Democratic and Republicans Parties are beset with accusations of sanctimony and sabotage, and not undeservedly. Bernie Sanders, who has swept eight of the previous nine primaries, and his supporters inveigh against the so-called superdelegates—party bigwigs who vote as they choose. Truly super, since they possess votes worth 10,000 times more than the ordinary, undecorated citizen. 469 of these special individuals have already sworn fealty to Hillary Clinton. Sanders can muster up only a paltry 31. That Sanders could obliterate Clinton in New Hampshire by 22 points in February, yet still emerge with no advantage in delegate count due to support from the party elite, is the clearest proof of the system’s inadequacy.
On Monday, President Obama delivered a gentle chiding to a gathered crowd of political journalists, who, in his words, have been missing substance in order to “fill the void and feed the beast with instant commentary and Twitter rumors.” Just the day before, Nicholas Kristof offered his self-flagellation blaming the usual suspects: initial dismissal of The Donald as a living laugh line, followed by lavish airtime and little fact checking.
Thinking about Trump in dystopic terms, as I tend to do, leads me to seek sanctuary in literature. A little before Huey Long’s political ambitions were cut short by a bullet, Sinclair Lewis penned his great political satire “It Can’t Happen Here.” Of course, the impossible does happen—the authoritarian Buzz Windrip wins the presidential election and marches America steadily along the road to totalitarianism. Perhaps also instructive in the matter is Phillip Roth’s more recent “The Plot Against America,” in which the fascist Charles Lindbergh rides a wave of anti-Semitic, populist support to the White House.
Almost everyone promises radical political reinvention, as if the hopelessly recalcitrant Congress would dissipate if he or she wished it so.
On Bill Maher’s show the night before, Gloria Steinem made that shaky premise even more dubious, offering that women supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders were too busy chasing men to form their own opinions. “And when you’re young, you’re thinking ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” she said, apparently endorsing the same sexist, estrogen-emphasizing arguments of her past opponents.