U.S. Presidential Campaign: Soap Opera, Not Statecraft

Although the world is entering a period of maximum turbulence, no aspect of this reality has been a subject for debate in the presidential electoral arena in the U.S.. The first round of the election process, for the Republican Party, took place on Jan. 15 in Iowa, where the caucuses were won,  hands down, by Donald Trump with 51% of the votes, followed by Ron de Santis at 21%, Nikki Haley at 19% and Vivek Ramaswamy at 7.7%.

Despite months of town meetings held throughout the state, one searches in vain for a serious discussion of solutions to the danger that the geopolitical wars in Ukraine and Gaza could expand to world war, with the exception of an occasional reference by Trump saying that he can “fix it” through his ability as a “negotiator”. The media cartel is doing its job of “dumbing down” the voters, by focusing its audience on the “game”, as if choosing a nation’s political leaders were a super-sports event: Will Trump “meet expectations?”; “Who will come in second behind Trump?”, etc. What is presented as a test of passion among the candidates is who seems most capable of standing up against “woke culture”, as if the major danger facing the nation were transgender men unfairly competing against women in swimming meets!  Instead of engaging voters in intense discussion of leading events shaping the future, there is nonstop pandering based on identity politics’ profiles, arousing momentary interest with simple sloganeering, but leaving voters sleepwalking into the most profound strategic conjuncture since World War II.

The reason for the disconnect from reality was inadvertently given in an article in Politico, which reported on the spending by “super PACS”, that is, political action committees that can receive unlimited amounts of money from individuals and corporations. These out-of-state institutions, funded by the major corporate cartels of the “Military-Financial-Complex”, poured $136 million into the Iowa Republican caucuses over the course of 2023.  Most of that was spent on political ads on television: DeSantis’ PACS leading here with more than $30 million, Nikki Haley’s  close behind at $28.7, and Trump’s spending $10.8 million.

Politico reports that these special interest operations are also funding the nitty-gritty organizing that used to be done by the campaign committees of the various candidates, such as organizing door-to-door campaigning and special events.  What Politico doesn’t tell its readers is why they do this: the super PACS use their money to shape the campaigns of both parties, and that’s why both Republican and Democratic candidates are by-and-large supporters of the Permanent War policy.

There are no Democratic caucuses in Iowa this year, as the party leadership decreed that they would not allow any candidate to challenge President Biden. That despite the fact that the  latest ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that only  33% of U.S. adults approve of Biden’s job, while 58% disapprove. Even more revealing, asked whether they think Biden has adequate mental sharpness to serve effectively as President, only 28% (!) responded yes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email