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Progressive Cynicism and Misplaced White Anger: The Far Right’s Two Magic Weapons for 2012


Progressive Cynicism and Misplaced White Anger:
The Far Right's Two Magic Weapons for 2012

By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin' On

If you want a Republican sweep in the 2012 election, follow this simple formula: Keep blaming the White House alone as the main cause of every problem the country faces, and ignore the Tea Party as overblown has-beens.

That's not advice from me. That's from Richard Viguerie, who some might remember as the think-tanker  and skilled pollster of the 1970's New Right that helped usher in Reagan and the era of neoliberal hegemony we've suffered under ever since. That's what he hopes the center and left will do over the next year.

An Aug, 10, 2011 syndicated column by Viguerie reminds us that presidential elections don't require a majority of popular votes, but only a majority of votes in the Electoral College.

"The Aug. 8 Gallup tracking poll shows that Obama is at 50 percent or better approval rating in only 16 states, the majority of which are normally considered Democratic bastions. Those 16 states represent 203 electoral votes of the 270 needed to win the presidency." Then he adds: "Key states, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida that contributed to Obama's 365-to-173 blowout of the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, are in play at this time. It gets better. The states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, which are now in play, were three of the top states where the tea party wave swept new constitutional conservative members into Congress."

Viguerie goes on to discuss the role of the Tea Party insurgency in Michigan and California among angry white voters. He adds an astute point: if the GOP puts up a 'moderate' like Romney, Obama wins narrowly. But if it plays its 'wild cards' like Bachmann and Perry, the far right's  activist base is energized-and at a time when Obama's strategy is dissing his own left-progressive base for the wimpy and ever-narrowing 'center.'

In short, keep the left inactive, the progressives and the center divided, and the Tea Party energizer bunnies get their 270 electoral votes.

It's not a bad projection for the prospects of a neoliberal alliance with proto-fascists, with the latter in the driver's seat. The alternative view is that the majority of serious Wall St finance capital is circling the wagons around Obama. They're not interested in the wilder instabilities that would be fueled by Bachmann or Perry White House.

Maybe so. Serious money matters in American politics. But the far right has some serious money too, and they can combine it with an army of insurgents.

Therein lays our problem. At the moment, we have no candidate for peace and prosperity at the top of the ticket. But we need candidates of that sort at any level if we are to unite and mobilize a left-progressive base in 2012. We have the negative motivator of a possible Tea Party win, but only if we take them seriously. But we need more than that. We need candidates that will fight positively for what working-class people need, not what Wall Street needs. The People's Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is a good starting point. We'll have some candidates who will back it, but we'll need them placed in the states with clout in electoral votes. We don't have enough at the moment.

Don't expect much help from the Blue Dog and upper crust Democrats. No matter how you slice it, it's going to be a tough fight. So organize your co-workers and neighbors independently, and prepare for some fierce battles.

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