Tag Archives: Republicans

Why I align with BLEXIT …

BLEXIT is a movement that asks black Americans to think critically about their relationship with the Democratic Party.  The movement’s primary premise is that the Democratic Party has taken the black voter for granted, offering nothing of substance in exchange for the decades of significant support the black electorate has provided to Democrats.

Like most blacks I have been put off for years by the brush off Democrats impose on blacks especially during and after election season.  You always know when it is election season when a politician of the white, Democratic hue drops by a black church in search of good optics, electoral support, and donations.  You have to wait two, four, or six years before most of them come around and visit again.

The usual push back from Democrats is, “If you blacks leave us, who are you going to turn to? The Republicans? The GOP hasn’t done anything for you.”  Of course the GOP has not done anything for blacks.  Blacks haven’t received anything from the GOP because blacks haven’t offered a vote in exchange for anything from the GOP.  That is how politics works.  Besides being a blood sport, politics is about an exchange.  If blacks want something from the GOP, they will have to offer the vote or some other thing of value, i.e. donations, in exchange for a political package.

But the aversion blacks display to the Republicans should now be spread to the Democratic Party.  The Democrats and the Republicans have a duopoly on the electoral process having secured their positions as the two most dominant parties and grantors of political packages in America’s politics industry.  They have successfully kept third parties from mounting significant challenges to their market dominance, but as in any consumer society, the rational move for black voters should be to play off the two competitors against each other.  Make the parties compete for the vote and donations.

With 13% of America’s population, BLEXIT has to take on more meaning than just walking away from the Democrats.  BLEXIT should be about holding the vote back until one party decides to offer something of greater value that the other party cannot match.  Effective BLEXIT will require rank and file voters and black political leadership to design a strategy and implement tactics that keeps blacks relevant in a changing political environment.

It is doable, and my intent over the next few weeks is to demonstrate how it is doable.

The GOP demonstrated that political power is not about fairness

The Republican caucus of the United States Senate voted 51-49 to not consider and debate any motion to subpoena witnesses or documents during its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.  The “trial”, in essence, becomes an appellate hearing where instead of impersonating triers of fact in a trial court, the Republican caucus opted for the de novo approach where it would consider no more evidence than that gathered by the Democratic caucus in the U.S. House during its hearing on whether to approve two articles of impeachment against the President.

With a final vote reportedly set for 5 February 2020, Mr Trump is near assured that the Democrats will not conjure up the 67 votes necessary to remove him from office.  Democrats may then proceed with their real end game, using the results of their impeachment attempts as ammunition against Republican senators who decided to vote against allowing testimony from additional witnesses.  The Democrats likely believe that if they can get control of the Senate, their chances of removing Mr Trump during his second term would improve.

America must be doing real well if Democrats have this much time on their hands to go after Mr Trump.  On the ground level here in Atlanta, Georgia’s democratic stronghold, people here in this Democratic city seem to be doing quite well.  It is a Friday night, after all, and the youthful and credit access-blessed are out and about having a good time.  I am not hearing any anti-Trump hisses and boos by the after-work crowd here at The Whole Foods Market on 14th and West Peachtree.  Unless these people are closet Republicans, people here so far have accepted what was expected; that the Republicans would support the flag bearer of the GOP versus facing the wrath of his base.

The bond market saw yields on ten-year treasurys climb 3.215% while the S&P 500 fell 1.77%.  With the United Kingdom officially leaving the European Union and the coronavirus scaring the shit out of governments and travelers, I won’t blame the markets’ performance solely on the Senate vote outcome.  I would argue that expectations be the opposite, that given the stock market’s relatively strong performance over the last three years that bond yields should have gone the opposite way signaling an affirmation of Mr Trump’s handling of the economy.

In the short term what we can take from the vote and the expectation of an acquittal is that Mr Trump exercises enough political power over Senate Republicans such that most will not defy him lest they suffer in the voting booths either during the primaries or the general election.

The other political power takeaway is the brazenness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take the calculated risk that squashing the trial early without witnesses would not come back to harm senators running for re-election this year.  Mr McConnell and the GOP apparently believe that calls from the voting public for fairness could take a backseat to a preference for a speedy review and disposal of the House’s articles of impeachment.

Many Democrats believe that these moves by the GOP should lead not only to losses in the Senate but to the complete implosion of the Grand Old Party.  For those who believe in the electoral process, they would rather see Democrats beat Republicans based on solid arguments over issues with a little dirt dug up via campaign opposition research thrown in.

I believe the Democrats are in for a surprise.  They have an optics problem.  They are seen as unable to beat Mr Trump in the ballot booth, and if impeachment is a strategy that they want to rely on going forward, they will not look like a party that actually believes in democracy, preferring to allow a few elected politicians reverse the election process.  The Democrats may be the ones who end up imploding.

Pure political power has no room for the phony optics of “fairness.”  The aim is simple: acquire the  power to get what you want, when you want it, from who you want it.  The concept of fairness is not one that has to be served, but, when resources and opportunity permit, be circumvented, especially where there is confidence that the costs of circumvention is lower than the benefits that flow from garnering political power.

I think McConnell’s power play was the right move. If you have political power, you use it.  Whether this move implodes will depend on how well the Democrats campaign this spring, summer, and fall.  An effective campaign means coalescing quickly behind one candidate, the one voice they believe can out argue Donald Trump.

Republics are to keep the masses at bay, not to include them…

The purpose of governance …

The purpose of taking over government is to control its spoils.  The tricky part is to keep the barbarians from knocking down the gates, an act that may result from the perception that those who have captured government will not allocate an equitable portion of goods, resources, and capital i.e the spoils, to the masses.

The governing class in a republican form of government must then find a way to maximize the prestige and power it garners from taking over government while minimizing the amount of public capital allocated to appeasing the people it rules.  Resources are finite and the governing class can’t afford to have the instrument used for the day-to-day management of the citizenry and the channeling of power and prestige to the governing few to go bankrupt.

The issue then, for those who wish to take over government, is which approach to governance will bring about maximum prestige and power at the lowest cost of paying off the barbarian.  I recommend a political market approach based on transparency.

The market approach of American democracy …

American political governance is limited by the vote buying/selling transactions of the political market.  To garner the right to govern as an elected official, you have to win the vote.  What the candidate is willing to pay for this vote depends on her view of government’s role and her ability to convince the electorate to align its perception with her view.  She will not be transparent about her personal gains from winning office, preferring to tout the benefits that she can help shuttle to Americans as her rationale for running.  She will make the mistake of painting herself as selfless or altruistic.

All market transactions, including political market transactions, are two-sided. The voter/consumer seeks some type of economic relief via a government program, or some cultural win via a statute or regulation, and the elected official is willing to sell her a program in exchange for support in the form of donations, campaign volunteer time, or a vote.  All political parties participate in these transactions.  The voter/consumer must remain aware that these offerings are not being done for altruistic reasons.  They are being done out of the elected official/producer’s self-interest in garnering the power and prestige that comes with elected office.

The benefits of elected official/producer transparency …

When sitting across from the person you are negotiating with, you want as much transparency as possible as to their interests.  Knowing the real value they place on an item they intend to buy from or sell to you helps you to better price your offer.  As an elected official/producer, being transparent with the voter/consumer has three immediate benefits.

First, if the candidate for an office is upfront about their self-interest in running, they can avoid or mitigate the consequences that come from a lack of clarity.  The voter cannot come back and claim that the then candidate now elected official was anything but honest, a virtue many Americans claim to adhere to.

Second, if the candidate is transparent as to their self-interest, she creates a channel within which she can gauge the reasonableness of the voter’s demands.  In other words, the voter has a better understanding of the value of his vote for the candidate and can adjust his demands accordingly.  There will be fewer surprises as to the cost the candidate has to pay in order to secure a continuous flow of power and prestige.  She has a better idea not only of the voter costs for garnering her power and prestige, but can now explore a wider array of options for meeting voter needs at the lowest costs possible.

Another benefit of transparency is that by establishing up front her desire to garner and maximize power and prestige, the candidate will be viewed as transparent going forward during other transactions.  This creation of “good will” can only create for the elected official more opportunities to increase the political capital necessary for deploying the cost effective programs that she can exchange in the future for more votes.

It won’t be the programs that keep the barbarians from knocking down the gates.  It will be the transparency and the perception of honesty that flows that will keep the masses at bay.

Conclusion: Republicans can be transparent without being ogres….

Strength flows from transparency.  Republicans should not be afraid to tell the electorate, “I seek the power and prestige of the office because of the benefits (emotional, psychological, financial) that will flow to me, but I acknowledge those benefits won’t flow to me unless I meet your needs.”

America is a republic and as such, its political power is held by the people and its elected representatives.  What the definition does not tell you is that both groups do not, cannot, and should not rule equally.  What too many choose to describe as “American democracy” is a system that is not based on mass rule, but based purposefully on minority rule.  Because American democracy is in fact based on minority rule (one only need look at the discarding of the popular vote after the November 2016 general election), Republicans especially should take the lead in transparency in governing.  Transparency has a chilling effect on political tension and can only serve to secure Republican political power going forward.