America is on the brink of revolution, and if it goes, Australia goes with it. And about time too.
This is the American Revolution 2.0.
These are exciting times to be alive. Now I know I’ve copped a bit of flack for my love of the Donald. But I’m not backing down. Trump’s been a hero of mine for a long time before he got into politics, and for me, watching him carve his opponents and the media into pieces is pure joy. He’s a master at the height of his game.
It’s like watching Diego Maradona play football.
But I’ve also got to admit I’m feeling the Bern. Suddenly a “democratic socialist” Yoda has emerged as a serious contender.
And I’m loving it.
If Trump loses, I’ll be bummed. But if he loses to the Bernie Sanders, I’ll be alright with that. Either way, it will be a big day for our so-called democracies.
In case you missed it, both The Don and The Bern smashed it in the New Hampshire primaries this week. The way US politics works is that both the Republican and Democrat parties hold a series of votes around the country, state by state, to determine who will be their contender in the Presidential election.
Donald’s win was expected. He’s been dominating the polls for months. But Bernie Sanders’ win (over long-time favourite Hilary Clinton) was unexpected. A shock upset you might say.
And suddenly we’re looking at the prospect of a Trump vs Sanders presidential election. Can you imagine?
Trump and Sanders come from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Trump embodies capitalism and the American Dream. Sanders embodies egalitarian humanism and helping old ladies across the street.
And so it’s the Trumpenator vs a commie Troll doll. Or it’s Gandalf the White vs the great white Satan. Depends on how you look at it.
And while they might be poles apart in some ways, they’re closely aligned on what for me is probably the biggest issue of the day – money politics.
With self-funded Trump, and crowd-funded Sanders, corporate big-money has been sidelined for the first time in a long, long time.
This is huge.
To me it’s one of the great idiocies of modern life. This idea that you can allow individuals and corporations to donate money to politicians without corrupting the political process.
Its so stupid as to almost go without saying, but somehow we just go along with it. We think it’s ok.
And in Canberra, there are brothels full of lobbyists giggling champagne through their powdered noses.
But maybe we’re about to ‘wake up’ to this idiocy.
Because if two people as far apart as Trump and Sanders can agree on something, then it’s a done deal. There’s no argument any more.
Sanders has been campaigning on this for years. Listen to what Gandalf has to say as he slams his staff into the ground:
The Citizens United decision (a supreme court ruling that allowed donors to PACs – groups that pool money together for campaigns – to be anonymous and unlimited) hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption.
We know, for example, that the Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America, have made public that they and their network intend to spend at least $750 million on politics during this election. This is more money than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party will spend.
Let’s be honest and acknowledge what we are talking about. We are talking about a rapid movement in this country toward a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what this country is supposed to be about.
And now listen to the Donald, as he shouts into a microphone.
“I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to money to many politicians before this — before two months ago I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. That's a broken system.”
Or from his famous twitter finger:
There is something a little odd about the line: “I’ve bribed politicians therefore I know how corrupt the system is.” But hey, it puts the issue front and centre.
And in the same week, the issue flared in Australia, with Labor Senator Sam Dastyari saying that the Australian political system is “fundamentally wrong and rotten” and that 10 big companies dominate the political agenda.
“Four banks, and we all know who they are – the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac, and ANZ – three big mining companies, in Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, and Fortescue Metals, you've got your two big grocery chains, and you've got your big telco, which is Telstra. They have an unprecedented concentration of corporate influence in Australia.”
This is the stuff revolutions are made of. The Arab Spring happened because a bunch of countries woke up, looked around and said, Hey! It’s 2011. Why are we still living under dictatorships?
America and Australia might just be about to do the same. Hey! It’s 2016. Why are we still letting big money corrupt the political process?”
Now, I reckon Wall Street and corporate Australia are going to fight it pretty hard. Look for some dirty tricks.
But don’t underestimate the power of the people.
Viva la revolución!
Do you think Trump or Sanders could pull it off? Who has the best shot?