James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist was wrong when he said, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ As Obama’s triumph shows, it’s not the economy that decides elections these days, it’s the corruption.
For the 2012 US presidential election, along with all others in the West, was utterly corrupt – and the guilty party were not the officials who counted the votes but the people who cast them.
Those who still worship at the altar of universal suffrage must realise that their church was desecrated a long time ago. The building still stands, but it’s an empty shell stripped of any meaningful content.
In the process yet another blow was delivered to the widespread myth of Americans being rugged individuals, firm believers in individual attainment, hard work and the rags-to-riches American dream. They used to be all those things. But they’ve been corrupted to become something different.
They certainly vote not as rational individuals but as ideological blocs. For example, among the Hispanics, who make up 10 percent of the vote, Obama beat Romney by 40 percentage points – a landslide that suggests a collective allegiance free of any consideration of merits and issues. The only thing this group cared about was its own parochial interest: Romney’s tough, and utterly correct, stand on immigration decided the issue.
Yet compared to the 87-percent majority Obama won among black voters, his triumph among Latinos looks like a cliff-hanger. Again parochial interests came into play: Romney was clearly intending to trim welfare rolls, in which Hispanic and black voters are represented out of all reasonable proportion. Add to this the chromatic incidental of Obama’a skin colour, and Romney’s solid 18-point advantage among white voters wasn’t sufficient to offset this electoral racialism, tacitly promoted by the media.
Now that institution is utterly corrupt in that it fails in its mission to cover news in a fair and unbiased way. All major US media, and especially the three main TV networks, traditionally act as the propaganda department of the Democratic party, resembling in their ideological bias our own dear BBC – the difference being that at least American networks aren’t financed by the public.
In the run-up to the election Obama was largely absolved of any blame for the state of the US economy. Yet according to the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute, media coverage was much more hostile in 2004, when the economy boasted higher growth, lower unemployment, smaller deficits and cheaper fuel than today.
Back then TV screens were filled with icons of Republican heartlessness: the homeless man, the poor sod without health insurance, the unemployed woman with a football team of fatherless children, the old chap having to choose between medicine and food. This time around, with the economy worse off than at any time since the Great Depression, such tear-jerkers no longer regaled the viewing public.
In parallel, the gaffe hunters had a field day with every mildly controversial remark made by Romney, while ignoring major policy blunders committed by Obama. For example, when the hard-left magazine Mother Jones secretly taped and published Romney’s generally correct remarks about the unsupportable numbers of welfare freeloaders, the networks described them as an ‘earthquake’ and ‘hurricane’. Their self-fulfilling prophecy was that the hurricane would blow away Romney’s chances.
Yet Obama’s idiotic and demagogic ‘You didn’t build that’ speech, in which he explained to the nation that it wasn’t so much private enterprise as the state that was responsible for America’s greatness, was hushed up for four days. Only when Romney attacked this subversive nonsense in his own speech did the networks acknowledge it, and then rather sympathetically.
The latest policy outrage committed by Obama was his reaction to the murder of four Americans, including the ambassador, in Benghazi. He and his staff knew immediately that this was a terrorist attack timed to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Yet he and his spokesmen claimed that the carefully planned and successfully executed murder was a ‘spontaneous’ reaction to an anti-Muslim video watched on YouTube by a dozen people.
Now imagine someone like George W. Bush caught in a lie like that. Why, he wouldn’t be allowed even to contest the election, such would be the outrage whipped up by the media. And in this instance? According to NBC’s flagship Today programme, the event was a feather in Obama’s cap, ‘reminding voters of his power as commander-in-chief’. When this nonsense was disproved by hard facts, the Benghazi story quietly disappeared off the screen.
This election provides yet another proof that America has gone the way of Europe. Popular corruption has reached a point where a thoroughly corrupted electorate is no longer capable of casting their votes in an honest, responsible way.
Corrupt politicians, ably assisted by corrupt media, have created an electorate in their own image. The corruption is self-perpetuating: the more politicians preach and the media extol the virtues of socialism and PC rectitude, the more people will see nothing wrong in having the state supporting them. Once the number of those wholly or partially dependent on the state has reached a certain critical mass, a strong statesman will never be elected – or if by some fluke he is, he won’t be allowed to change anything.
This situation isn’t a transient downturn in the fortunes of one-man-one-vote democracy, but its structural defect. For as long as the vote of a man working his fingers to the bone remains equal to that of a welfare recipient, the crack in the edifice of democracy will continue to grow wider. The task of getting elected will be even further reduced to the ability to make incredible promises credibly, appealing to the basest instincts rather than the highest aspirations.
Obama has proved to be exceptionally good at that. America is in for a tough time.