Remember how as a kid you’d build sand castles below the high water mark and then spend your time trying to shore it up against the incoming tide? Remember running at the back of a receding wave to throw hopeless handfuls or bucketfuls of sand on top of your newly worn and rounded creation? Remember gouging out a ditch on the seaward side of your sand castle knowing it wasn’t going to work, but doing it anyway? And remember how sometimes you gained a brief respite as that last wave didn’t wash up the beach with quite as far as you’d expected…meaning you got to bolster your heap with two buckets of sand and even a stone or three before the next surge.
Today, the kids, the defenders of things built on sand are liberals.
Now sure, like as when I was a kid, I’ve misjudged which wave would be the one to inflict irreparable damage on hopeless structures. So following the SNP’s decimation of Scottish Labour in 2011 and the Independence Referendum in 2014, I thought the tide was coming right up that beach when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of UK Labour in 2015.
I had also hoped David Cunliffe would mark the beginning of the end for liberalism in NZ. The same hope was vested in Jean Luc Melenchon and his La France Insoumise in the French Presidential elections of 2017.
Each and every time, while a social democratic alternative to liberalism has gained ground, it has failed to repeat what the SNP achieved in 2011 by running on erstwhile and wholesale abandoned Labour values of old. And the reasons for that aren’t very hard to fathom. In all cases bar Scotland, entrenched political establishments saw it coming, and so ran down the beach to, as it were, scrape out ditches and stack rocks against the incoming wave.
Specifically, concerted media black-outs and smears have assailed social democratic politicians, and in the case of NZ Labour and UK Labour, half of the parliamentary party fought against the party and its social democratic leader during election campaigns. In New Zealand, the Andrew Little’s and Grant Robertsons’ went one better and ousted David Cunliffe following NZ Labour’s electoral defeat. In the UK, and only thanks to the greater degree of democracy put in place by Miliband, the liberals within UK Labour, not for want of trying, couldn’t jettison Corbyn.
Last time around in the USA, the establishment fell before a charlatan and game show host who simply made all the right anti-establishment noises. This time around there’s Bernie Sanders. As at the time of writing, I don’t yet know the caucus results from Iowa. I won’t be surprised if Bernie Sanders wins it and the Iowa Caucus later comes to be seen as the event that marked the beginning of the end for liberalism in the US. And that’s a wave that washes around the world.
Here’s the other side of the coin.
If Sanders doesn’t win the Democratic Party nomination, then Trump will likely win a second Presidency and the US establishment will plunge itself into fascism. And understand. That won’t be Trump’s doing. Trump will merely be the impotent figurehead of a liberal establishment coming to its natural fascist destination.
I don’t want to end this post on a dark note. So grab your tissues…
They have tried a media black out on Bernie’s campaign. It hasn’t worked. They have tried smearing Bernie as sexist. It hasn’t worked. They have tried smearing his campaign as anti-semitic. It hasn’t worked. They have tried and failed to promote any number of alternatives to Sanders. No-one’s listening.
And now (or so it seems) they are positioning a billionaire to take the reigns from Joe Bye and Done on Super Tuesday. Because, y’know, US democracy is still the best democracy money can buy. They haven’t been listening
update – Lots of shananigans in Iowa and results not being released until tomorrow. Pete Buttigieg gave a hammy “victory” speech before a front row of carefully positioned African Americans while Joe Biden’s lawyers pinged a “stiff” letter off to the Iowa Democratic Party demanding “answers” and…Bernie Sanders’ campaign released their internal polling taken from 40% of representative Precincts that showed a second vote tally of –
Sanders – 29% Buttegeig – 24% Warren – 21% and Biden 12%