Representative democracy has failed black people in America

The growth of political capitalists …

Representation means nothing if the spoils of society are not being delivered for each vote provided by citizens.  Black voters in particular are interested in optimal physical safety, a need stemming from violence perpetrated on them during the Jim Crow era; optimal access to capital, without which economic security is near impossible or very difficult; and the right to exist as a unique and thriving culture.

What I see being exchanged for each vote delivered by black citizens is the acquisition of a title by one or two elected representatives.  Representative democracy has created political capitalism, where owners of the political factors of political output are not creating political outcomes that address protecting uniqueness of black society, optimal black economic security, or optimal protection from violence.  Government, rather, is a feeding trough for black political representatives, with the number of voters they can persuade to vote for their party serving as the tickets for admission to the political feeding spots.

Government as a club you swing, not a club you join …

Blacks should not look at government as a club to send their smoothest talking salesman to.  Rather, blacks should look at government as a club that can be swung in order to generate capital access, physical security, and economic empowerment.  The outcomes should be a result of pressure politics.  This means that black political leadership should not be found embedded in the political machinery.  Black political leadership should be manipulating the political machinery from the outside.

Blacks in America need only go back to 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, vacated the ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, holding that segregated educational facilities were unconstitutional.  This major landmark civil rights action did not flow from the efforts of black members of Congress.  There were hardly any.  This ruling was the result of blacks taking alternative action in the courts, an approach that was focused and targeted on, in my opinion, the most important branch of government.  It is here where the social and public policy goals of law are interpreted and in some cases, where current social policy is brought to light and used to overturn precedent.

Creative chaos versus status quo ….

When black representatives allow themselves to be embedded in the current electoral structure, their priorities shift to satisfying congressional leadership and mining votes for their national parties.  These activities serve the interests of a majority white congressional leadership versus the black constituents black representatives are supposed to be advocating for.  Take for example U.S. Representative Al Green’s attempt to bring forward articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump.  The articles were blocked by the House with Mr. Green, Democrat of Texas, not being able to bring the majority of his own party on board with the proposal.

Mr. Green’s actions were in keeping with the status quo of congressional politics.  But did his actions result in any benefits for black constituents?  Did they lead to an increase in physical or economic security?  Did they lead to increased influence of blacks in the national Democratic Party?

What is likely is that Mr. Green lost political capital and as a political capitalist he must realize that a decreased ability to bring voters with him to the trough means lessened prestige in the Congress.  The other issue he has to face is how his constituents will deal with the knowledge that their congressman has wasted scarce political capital on a go nowhere initiative all because being embedded in the machinery creates the obligation of delivering outcomes that don’t serve them.

Conclusion: Representative democracy is failing blacks …

Representative democracy has failed black people in America.  The representatives from the black community in Washington have been converted into agents for their respective party’s leadership, securing the votes needed so that they can pull up a chair at the trough.  Just like social media has turned subscribers to social networks into resource and product for advertisers, the electoral system has turned black voters into lumps of coal with black congressmen acting as the conveyor belt carrying the coal to the primaries and the national elections.

The question is, what is the alternative approach?

 

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The corporation serves the State, not the other way around …

The eye catcher ….

During last night’s debate among candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, a number of candidates including U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, criticized corporations operating in various industries for the greed they perpetrate on Americans.  From internet to health care to energy companies, the candidates took issue for predatory prices for health care, the anti-trust implications of large internet companies, and the tax breaks companies receive while rank and file Americans struggle.

In short, corporations should be feared …. or should they?

History of the fear ….

As usual when selling a fear narrative it is important to leave out the education component from any assertion that there is a bogey man to be afraid of.  What consumers of the political narrative should be asking is, “What is a corporation?”  “Why should I be afraid of it?”

corporation is an extension of the State.  A corporation’s purpose is to extract resources, process them, convert them into goods and services, and distribute those goods and services using price as the allocating mechanism in order to generate tax income for the state and private income or profit for itself.

To varying degrees this has been the corporation’s role for the last 400 years.  Americans have been so programmed to believe that America was discovered by adventurous Europeans that they overlook or are simply ignorant about its corporate beginnings.

Prior to the 17th century, corporations, originally not-for-profits that received charters from the British monarch, were established to meet some public works need with their duties overseen by government. During the 17th and into the early 18th century, colonial corporations had the primary responsibility of expanding the British monarch’s empire, creating monopolies and controlling trade.  These companies bought or extracted raw resources, sent then to England for manufacture, and then imported the manufactured goods into the colonies for purchase by the colonists.

Americans have forgotten (if they ever knew) that although their ancestors were miffed by the trade monopolies held by these companies and the economic oppression they contributed to, post the American Revolution, corporations were the structure that drove the private investment into the American industrial revolution.

The problem for American government by the 1820s and 1830s that like the monster from Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein: or, The Prometheus Man, the corporation sought their own version of self-awareness and increased freedom from the strictures of the State.  It has been a back of forth battle between the State and the corporation, with the State taking a more interventionist approach by stepping up regulation in the areas of banking, energy, securities, and telecommunications.  Corporations had been created to carry out the State’s bidding in maximizing America’s resources.  Intervention via regulation is indication that the State fears that it may lose control over the corporate power it relies on to administer the Nation’s resources.

Spreading the fear to the consumer …

It wouldn’t be good social policy for the State to drop the hammer on corporation monopoly over resources if the sentiment of the public were not incorporated in its policy actions.  The optics of an arbitrary application of administrative power does not fare well in a democracy.  There has to be an excuse and in a democracy the excuse should include a discussion on the harms an unregulated corporation could have on the consumer.

Americans may be uncomfortable with the ability of corporations to engage in predatory pricing, but they have a bigger fear of a government that exercises power on a whim.  One can always substitute the product of a corporation with another product, but one cannot easily get away from a State with a monopoly on force.

To stem the fear of arbitrary and capricious application of force, the State gives the impression of fairness and due process in its rulemaking by asking the public to comment on or, when applicable to the decision, to vote.  The State gets the public to buy into regulation of the corporation by painting the corporation as harmful to the public’s interest.  It makes the corporation the bogey man; the entity that transfers wealth from the consumer to its treasury unjustly via high prices or non-disclosure of prices, terms, and conditions.

Conclusion: To serve the State …

By substituting the fear of consumer abuse for the fear of reduced power over the Frankenstein monster, the State accomplishes to goals. First, it keeps the public in check by holding itself out as a consumer protector. Second, it reminds the corporation of its role in the American political economy: that the corporation serves the State and not the other way around.

 

 

 

 

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/041515/what-history-corporations-america.asp

 

The World’s First Corporations

People don’t want freedom. They want to be led …

To pursue political power is to realize that people don’t want freedom.  They want to be led.  To be successful at obtaining and wielding political power in a consumerist society operating in and governed by corporate-capitalist republic, a politician’s approach is to create a narrative that is bought into by the electorate in exchange for votes or policy approval.

Just like I am not allowed to go behind the front counter of my favorite Chinese food restaurant and tell the cooks how to make the egg rolls, the electorate should not be allowed to participate in how policy is made.  Contrary to popular belief and false narratives, republics are not about the participation of the populace in the practice of governance.

Rather, the people’s role is limited to the qualified selection of representatives to its government and the constitutional officers responsible for its day-to-day operations.  Too many cooks in the kitchen, the old adage goes, creates a mess.  Inefficiencies in governance occur when there is little check on the number of stakeholders identified or created.  Nothing will get done.

Take the men and women running for the Democratic Party nomination for president.  Most of their campaign speeches are littered with phrases implying that they are going to “fight for you.”  Never mind that the individuals, government institutions, or corporations that they are fighting against are American.  They never assert that they, the elected official, will show you how best to defend yourself against these enemies.

Telling the electorate that you are fighting for them taps into the fear necessary for getting the electorate in line with a candidate’s leadership.  The empowered are not going to follow fear mongers.  The empowered are going to ask how candidates got in such a position of influence that they believe they can deliver promises of affordable health care, free college education, and monthly universal basic income checks.

The vast majority of the electorate, fortunately, do not have the energy, time, or critical thinking skills to ask these questions that amount to the balance of power between the leader and the led.  An “honest” politician does not want the electorate to be that insightful.  Such queries mount a clear and present danger to a politician’s power.

Instead, the “honest” politician should keep the channel to her message wide open by posting a fear-filled narrative during every opportunity that presents itself.  Issues must be painted as complex and that only the politician’s guidance and expertise need be relied on.  She should continually remind her constituents that they cannot lead themselves.

The negative factors that Trump must turn around to secure re-election.

The news …

Since the opening of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Vote Share Market contract on 7 February 2019, the Iowa Electronic Markets has Democrats taking the greater share of votes in the November 2020 presidential elections.  The purchase price of a win by the Democratic presidential candidate has increased by 15.2%, from $.50 per share on 7 February 2019 to $.576 per share as of 17 June 2019.

Meanwhile, the price of a win by the Republican presidential candidate has decreased by 4.71%, from $.467 per share on 7 February 2019 to $.445 per share as of 17 June 2019.

With just over 16 months left until the general elections, there is still time and opportunity for changes in these prices, driven particularly by who is chosen by the Democratic party to vie for the presidency.  During this time period the expected Republican nominee, President Donald Trump, will be expected to work on the negative aspects of his narrative given his unpopularity among the American electorate.  Here are some negative factors that traders in the political prediction markets should expect to see Mr. Trump to make an effort to improve on.

Mr. Trump’s overall approval rating and the areas he has to target….

After 860 days in office, Mr. Trump’s approval rating is at 40%, according to Gallup poll data.  But as Shannon Pettypiece and Mike Dorning point out in a piece for Bloomberg, no president since 1952 has won re-election polling under 48%.  Mr. Trump, according to the article, has never polled above 46%.

To start driving up the value of his electoral stock, Mr. Trump’s management team will have to reassure farm states like Iowa that his trade policies will eventually pan out for them.  Politic prediction market traders should be concerned if they see no movement in this area.

Another area, more along the line of political optics, is Mr. Trump’s activity on Twitter.  As Ryan Girdusky notes, Mr. Trump’s addiction to Twitter is “toxic.”  Both Democrats and Republicans want Mr. Trump to stop using the micro-blog service.  His detractors and some of his supporters express that Mr. Trump’s Twitter activity makes him look petty.  Mr. Trump pushes back on this argument by asserting that social media is an effective way of communicating his policy positions.

Traders should be looking for changes in this political behavior over the next few months as the change in optics may be reflected in prices.

Mr. Girdusky also adds that Mr. Trump has a media problem and that whether stories are true or baseless, the media paints him as corrupt, incompetent, or both.  Mr. Trump’s activities feed this perception.

While the economy is strong, with unemployment falling below the historic full employment rate of four percent, the 2017 tax cut that Mr. Trump credits with spurring economic growth is viewed as unpopular by most Americans, writes Ben White of Politico.  The majority of Americans don’t believe they benefited from tax relief under the law.  Again, Mr. Trump will have to use the next few months persuading the American public that their perception is wrong.

One last area traders will have to look for movement on by the Trump team is the President’s perceived embrace of bigotry.  Marc Thiessen raises the point that the public is not enthused by the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their families.  In addition, Mr. Trump has, according to Mr. Thiessen, not done enough to separate himself from “ethno-nationalists.”

Searching for the “surprise”….

The new information that traders should be looking for is political behavior on the part of the Trump campaign that seeks to turn the above negative factors onto positive ones; that describe the factors either as strengths or transmitting benefits to the electorate.  Mr. Trump will have to be seen as spinning these narratives into political packages the electorate is willing to purchase with the vote.

 

 

 

 

 

Blacks need a new political law game

The political battle between the Executive and the Congress has been intense to say the least over the last twenty-seven months since Donald Trump took office.  With post-Mueller report hearings ramping up next week, the saga only promises to continue way into campaign season.

My friends and family have expressed varying degrees of interest, with a significant number of opinions fueled more by emotion and less by critical thinking.  For example, the constant reference to “collusion”, a term that has no legal meaning, is disconcerting because it provides an example of how people are ignoring the particulars (even when readily available for examination) and rolling with the globs of misinformation thrown onto the plate most times by the mainstream media.

Black congressional leadership wasting political power …

What should also be disturbing is how two of the highest ranking blacks in the Congress, Maxine Waters and Elijah Cummings, are spearheading the charge in the impeachment debate.  Their distaste for the sitting president is evident, but what is less evident is how the use of a potent political law instrument as impeachment is supposed to translate into any increase in political power, wealth, or capital for black people.

If anything, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed caution about pursuing impeachment, appreciating the argument from some inside her party that pursuing impeachment could have a negative impact on the Democrats’ ability to oust Donald Trump from the Oval Office in November 2020.  Mrs. Pelosi’s hesitancy on impeachment should have provided Ms. Waters and Mr. Cummings an opening to show leadership and go against the impeachment grain, not because it would be in line with Speaker Pelosi’s sentiment, but as a signal that the energy expenditure behind impeachment does nothing for their prime constituency: black people.

When you are marginalized, you agitate …

With at least 51 voting members in the U.S. House, blacks in the Congress are in a position to be the pivotal swing vote on a number of issues including impeachment. Numerically, black members of the House, where articles of impeachment would originate, could clog the wheel by holding back approximately 20% of the Democratic vote.  With this leverage, black congressmen could attempt concessions from either the House leadership or from President Trump, though it is less likely that the black caucus would try to negotiate with the President for fear of becoming a pariah in the Democratic Party.

Therein lies a telling dilemma. If the premier block of black congressmen cannot leverage numerical strength without fear of reprisal, what good is their strength?  Another irony is that for a group of congressman that represent a marginalized group, their fear of marginalization within Congress does not put them in a position to do more for their black constituents.

Maybe the answer is to stay outside the box …

On the other hand, maybe blacks, particularly those who embrace their status as marginalized, need an approach to political law that allows them to carve out their own independent niche; one that unapologetically finds the seams or openings in the political economy in order to access capital or create substantive platforms for constructing true communities. Current black leadership is too afraid to do that.