In 2008 the American public was fed up with the disastrous status quo politics of George W Bush, so they came together and elected a progressive candidate who campaigned on hope and change to replace him.
But no progress happened; the hope and change never came. Barack Obama continued and expanded all of his predecessor’s most depraved policies at home and abroad, and it wasn’t long before the initial elation wore off and the illusion that things were looking up evaporated. It was as if Bush had never left office.
Worn out and disgusted by crushing neoliberal policies at home and murderous neoconservative policies abroad, Americans elected a political neophyte who ran on a populist platform which criticized both Bush and Obama. Trump promised to “drain the swamp”, end the wars, and fight the establishment in the interests of ordinary people. This time for sure there would be change.
But the wars kept going, and the swamp got even fuller, and the US empire kept chugging along on the same trajectory it had been on throughout the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Despite all this, the Democratic Party and its allied media institutions acted as though some drastic deviation from the norm had taken place, insisting that the United States had been plunged from a free democracy respected around the world into an isolationist fascist dystopia.
Every few years the public gets to choose between two reliable lackeys of the oligarchic empire, and then all of the evils of that empire get pinned upon the winner. The public then directs their rage at the lackey rather than the actual power structure which has been oppressing them, after which they have another election to rid themselves of the scoundrel once and for all. They hug, they cry, they celebrate, and the oppression machine continues completely uninterrupted.
And that’s all mainstream electoral politics ever is in the US empire: a fake, decoy revolution staged for the public every few years so that they don’t have a real one. A symbolic ceremony where the public pretends to cast the abusive status quo into the sea so they feel like the battle against their oppressors has been won. And then their oppressors just keep right on oppressing them.
“It doesn’t actually make any difference whether the President is Republican or Democrat. The genius of the American ruling class is that it has been able to make the people think that they have had something to do with the electing of presidents for 200 years when they’ve had absolutely nothing to say about the candidates or the policies or the way the country is run. A very small group controls just about everything.”
That small group is the plutocratic class whose legalized bribery and propaganda machine has immense influence over US politics, as well as the imperial war machine and special interest groups with whom the plutocratic class is allied. It is necessary to form coalitions of support within that power cluster if one wants to become president in the managed democracy that is the United States, and no part of that power cluster is going to support a president who won’t reliably advance the interests of the oligarchic empire.
From this point of view, the oligarchic power cluster is essentially running its own employees against each other and having them promise to end the injustices which are inextricably baked in to the oligarchic empire. Americans live in a totalitarian state whose most important elections are rigged from top to bottom, and they’re fed news stories about Evil Dictators in other countries rigging their elections to remain in power.