2016: Year of the Wheel
The grinding wheel of American politics has once again turned towards the primary season. A time where hopeful politicos start burning through piles of cash in an attempt to whip the the fervor and fury of base supporters in arbitrarily important states. The media, smelling blood and gristle, begin their rise from the depths and charge up to a quadrennial feeding frenzy.
This year isn’t all that different, except that everything is different. Everything except for the media, that is. They’re still thrashing around in the red water, giddy at their own incompetence and sway. What is different, what will and is changing everything, are the two possible dark horses, Sanders and Trump. And while I understand the challenge and folly of making any direct comparisons between the two, but there is one real truth behind their rise, and possible victories… the electorate is becoming a fractured steamroller, ready to smooth out the tar of the broken political class. Sander’s popularity comes from the rejection of a broken system of bank schemes and play favor for favor politics. And, to some degree, the millennial imagination, which is a bit frightening in it’s own right.
Now, I don’t want to play my hand on my own personal politics too heavily, but in the interest of full disclosure, I would be happy to vote for an unholy hybrid of Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul. But that’s not what what we have this year (or likely to have anytime soon). What we do have is one long term senator, who I fully believe is probably one of the more sincerest politicians in operation. Then there is the daddy-made, self-branded rich guy, whose popularity is partly a combination of the direct and overshot reaction to the silly, annoying, and disingenuous PC crowd and whatever is left of the rag tag tea party groups. That and the normalization of the abomination known as reality television culture. Of course there are a handful of republicans wondering what in the world just happened and Hillary Clinton, who must be spinning with deja vu.
Enough words have already or will be written, dissecting what his election means, but I’m a bit more interested in what it will mean. It seems there are three possible scenarios that could play out. Trump wins, just south of half the electorate refuses to recognize him as president. If Sanders wins, a bit less than half the electorate panics. If Clinton or a not Trump wins (the primary), large scale dissent within the party ensues, very possibly guaranteeing victory for the other side and bringing use back to the first two scenarios.
In years past, this would have only meant a bunch of angry posts, some semi-clever memes, and protests that are virtually ignored by the media. However, these are different times, uncharted waters. A totally polemic world where communication is instant and emotions are bleat out of every shivering finger. And beyond that, a collective desperate undercurrent. For a country that seems to place everything on the symbolism of the executive office, a country cranked up on quick memes and easy slung slogans, it’s anyone’s guess what the song will end up being. But we can say with certainty, it won’t be quiet.
Maybe it’s time, or well past time for drastic changes. I’ll touch on the that sometime down the road. Until then, the best you can do is vote your conscience as best as the current crop allows, or don’t. Apathy has it’s own voice. Listen, and be careful not to mistake the sound of the wheel finally churning to capacity for Nero’s fiddle.