Donald Trump wants to neutralize the power that the Establishment holds over Washington by making dramatic changes to this government. He believes he can make America “Great again.” Bernie Sanders wants to implement universal health care, free tuition at public colleges, address inequality in America, and remove Corporate America’s money, power and influence from this government.
While the tone of their messages is distinctly different, Sanders and Trump are both traveling down similar paths to bring long overdue changes to this government. They both know that the embedded political Establishment that governs both the Republican and Democratic parties stands in the way of facilitating this process.
But, no matter what Sanders and Trump want to do, no matter how many of these revolutionary initiatives they want to put into effect, the members of that Establishment will fight them tooth and nail and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to carry out their agenda. No incoming president, no matter how powerful he or she claims to be, can overcome this massive embedded power alone.
While Trump seems to think that he can force the powers that currently control Washington to bend to his dictates, Sanders clearly acknowledges that he would not be able to further his agenda unless he has the vast majority Americans strongly supporting him at every turn. Sanders is on the right track with his grasp of political reality while Trump is fooling himself.
So we can expect that Washington will remain in a state of gridlock and obstruction until the people use their immense power to force Congress to govern this nation as the Founders intended. Yes, I said “force”, which should be interpreted as the use of “people power.” Nothing will change for the better in America until that power is unleashed; the good news is that it appears that this process is gathering momentum.
Now, we can talk all we want to about using this power to enact change but how would this actually work in practice? Do we think that the American people will somehow organize themselves to take action on important issues before Congress and demand change? That’s simply not going to happen.
But there is a way by which it can happen. In the White House, there is a presidential tool referred to as the “Bully Pulpit”, a term originated by President Theodore Roosevelt, who called it a “terrific platform” by which to motivate Americans to strongly support what he wanted done. The Bully Pulpit was also used successfully by Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
In recent times, President Obama, a very eloquent speaker, has acted as if he didn’t even know the Bully Pulpit existed. He could have used it time and again to rally the American people to support critically important legislation that was being obstructed by the Republicans. He could have lit that fire and energized the people to shake the foundations of Congress and force through needed changes. He did nothing of the kind, he failed to use that presidential pulpit to effectively connect with the people; and, as a result, it has adversely affected this country and society.
These primary contests are a study in contrasts. We have Trump stirring up the people’s anger and frustration, trying to take the Republican Party in a direction which it doesn’t want to go; the GOP hierarchy seems to be powerless to stop Trump’s momentum and his intent to move the GOP away from its rigid conservatism; to take it more to the center of the political spectrum.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton wants to move the Democratic Party further to the right of center and become the champion of the Establishment. Rubio and Cruz are the Republican equivalents of Clinton. Rubio represents the cornerstone of the Establishment and Cruz is little more than a zealous war hawk; both are cut out of the same hubristic, militaristic cloth as Hillary. Neither Cruz, Rubio, Kasich nor Clinton has either the inclination or the capability to ignite that fire within this society but Sanders and Trump, quite obviously, do.
Trump’s mantra is to make America “Great again” and other politicians and Americans continue to insist that this is the greatest nation in the world. The reality is that America can never achieve true greatness until it completely transforms its government into one that backs away from its objective of dominating and controlling the world and, instead, makes the needs and interests of the people its #1 priority.
To escalate this process here is what Sanders, together with the Democratic Party, must do. A strong, continuing message must be sent to the American electorate that it’s time for them to rise up, stop sitting on the sidelines and become directly involved in electing the next president. Americans need to stop listening and watching the many mind-conditioning political commercials and think for themselves. They need to think deeply about the issues and assess the individual candidates’ positions on them.
They need to watch the debates of both parties; listen closely to what the participants say; tune out the bluster and boring repetition and see which candidate seems to have the best grasp of this country’s many pressing problems; see which candidate offers up substantive solutions. Get a feel for that candidate who seems to have a vision for the future and the direction into which this country should head.
And most important of all, to keep this movement’s momentum going, the American people must go to the polls in massive, record-setting numbers, exercise the power that they possess, and begin to lay the groundwork needed to change this broken, corrupted political system. No Super Pac, the Koch brothers or the Wall Street bankers can withstand the power of the people when it is fully unleashed.
I must say that I totally agree with Trump’s rallying call to make America “Great Again.” Unfortunately, he never gives us the details on how he would achieve that objective; so in the absence of his specific plan here is mine:
Keep America very safe and secure by maintaining a strong military, but not by engaging in endless war; stop interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, make this country’s major priorities: the improvement of our education system, the creation of millions of new jobs by restoring our manufacturing sector, building our workforce, rebuilding our infrastructure, and developing solar power.
Reverse the Citizens United case, remove corporations and their lobbyists from any involvement in governmental affairs; restructure the corporate tax code, end corporate tax evasion involving overseas tax havens and tax inversions. If corporations want to continue doing business in this country they must be loyal to this country and its people. Over a period of time identify those members of Congress who continue to refuse to do what is right for this country and its people and send them home packing; prosecute and send Wall Street white collar criminals to prison.
When the people of America use their power to see that this government operates in this manner then this country will be on the path leading to true greatness.