When communism imploded under the weight of its own inherent flaws, the Republican Party lost its great bogeyman. For decades, Republicans had successfully scared people into voting against their own self-interests out of fear of a far-off cruel empire that never was as big or as powerful or as dangerous to Americans as were their own tobacco and chemical and arms industries. Then the Bush team successfully abused for political advantage the national trauma of a terrorist attack its own incompetence had allowed to happen. With the election of Preisdent Obama, it became death panels and Sharia Law and communism and whatever other shrill lies they could concoct from the bowels of their fetid imaginations, even as genuine issues went ignored or unaddressed.
The reality is that we do face real crises, such as climate change, and record wealth disparity, and inadequate educational and economic opportunities, and a healthcare system that is a tragic embarrassment when compared to those of other economically developed nations, and the state of our national infrastructure makes it no exaggeration to say that the United States is crumbling from within. But the special interests that own the Republican Party don't care about any of that, and for the most part create and/or capitalize off it. They want to suck you into voting for them ostensibly to stop terrorists halfway around the world from sneaking across the border and chopping off your head. They want to suck you into voting for them ostensibly to protect you from a disease you were never going to get anyway. In the dark dank back rooms where they strategize how to play you, they must be laughing. At you. Because all too often it works.
A year ago, after yet another Republican government shutdown, the Republican brand was in a seeming death spiral. And then Obamacare was launched, and the website was a mess, and the major media dutifully focused on the technical problems rather than the fact that the website's technical problems wouldn't have been such a big deal if so many people weren't so eager to use it, and that so many people were eager to use it because they lived in states run by Republicans, and therefore didn't have access to their own local systems. Demand was great, but rather than point to the big picture that Democrats were helping people get insured, while Republicans were making it more difficult—and still want to scrap the entire system and thus take insurance away from millions of people—the major media only wanted people to know that the website was broken. They didn't want people to know what happened when the website worked—that millions of people who previously couldn't qualify for or afford health insurance finally had it. Because good news isn't news. And a broken website that stalled the implementation of a vastly improved system became the political story rather than the vastly improved system itself. And that was when the politics of 2014 started to slip away from the Democrats.
This campaign season isn't over. As Markos keeps pointing out, so many races this year are so close, that the results really will depend on turnout. Republicans work very hard to disenfranchise people, which makes it all the more important that people refuse to do their bidding, and get out and vote. But more than anything, once again, this is a campaign season about the politics of fear. Do you, do your friends and loved ones, do your mere acquaintances, do people you merely pass on the streets, want once again to vote against both self-interest and the common good by succumbing to fear of non-existent threats? Or do you want to vote for a better future? Do you want to address climate change, and help craft a more fair and just society, and rebuild this crumbling nation so it finally, finally can legitimately begin to live up to the lofty ideals of its mythologies and make those myths become realities? The choice is yours.
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