Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Two connected points I’d like to express here.
(1) I keep seeing FDR’s presidency trotted out as a reason to support the Sanders candidacy, specifically in terms of his policies being in line with the democratic socialism that Sanders preaches. “The last time a democratic socialist ran for office they elected him FOUR TIMES!” etcetera.
FDR took office at the height of this country’s worst economic moment, when the unemployment rate was nearly one out of every five working-age citizens. He held onto his office during a grim global conflict in which the country broadly supported his leadership. And throughout his 12-year tenure, the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress ranged from around 59%-77%, which played no small part in his ability to accomplish those democratic socialist initiatives.
Which brings me to my second point…
(2) While exhausting on an emotional level to watch many people I respect tearing at each other over the Clinton / Sanders question in this primary, I’m ultimately happy to see people this engaged about an election. I wish I saw this more often–and that includes from myself–during midterms, during state legislature elections, during mayoral elections, during judge retention ballots, during city and school council elections. Most of the candidates you despise at the presidential contest level could have been held in check long before now, even the ones that come from places you don’t live. They need to be stopped at the lower rungs of the ladder and then forgotten about. Rubio doesn’t hit this level of national stardom as a member of a weak and ineffectual Tea Party minority. Cruz doesn’t get to hold himself up as the savior of the theocracy in a nation where Congress can’t even pretend they have the votes to defund Planned Parenthood.
Trump, I suppose, always gets to be Trump. Charlatanism succeeds on charisma and sheer force of will, and even if somebody hadn’t decided to build a game show about business acumen around a man with a history of going bankrupt, he’d find a way to be here now if he wanted.
I’m still ready to believe the country’s systems are fixable, but focusing all of one’s civic duty on the most high-profile contest and then staying home during the relatively boring ones is a bit like replacing the windshield on a wrecked car while leaving shards of metal in the tires.