When I saw him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan’s spell
– Don MacLean
he Mahatmas have spoken. The great Baltimore Evening Sun columnist HL Mencken originated what has morphed into “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” And here we are.
On July 26, 1920, Mencken wrote this: “As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron.”
CRYSTAL BALLS, PART DEUX. The working person’s film maker Michael Moore was one of the few who predicted Czar Donaldov’s 2016 win. But he wasn’t alone and he was not the first. He made the call in July. Here’s the Barbwire of Feb. 16, 2016:
History foreshadows a GOP November win
“The cycles of history predict a Republican president’s election in November. If that doesn’t motivate Democrats, nothing will.
“Folks a lot smarter than me have long identified cycles of presidential and party power.
The best references are The Cycles of American History (1986) by liberal Kennedy historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and The Politics of Rich and Poor – Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath (1990) by conservative Republican Kevin Phillips.
“ ‘Phillips traces unbroken presidential cycles dating back to Thomas Jefferson,’ I wrote on 8 Nov. 1992.
“Each contains a ‘minority interruption.’ The 20th Century’s blips on the screen were Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter, I noted.
“In 1990, Phillips stated that ‘All six presidential cycles to date have begun with two decades of lopsided success by the newly ascendant party, and no similar domination has occurred at any other time.”
“Years before, both scholars accurately predicted a 1992 Democratic victory. Phillips also proved correct that the 1968 election of Richard the Rotten indeed foreshadowed The Emerging Republican Majority, as he titled his groundbreaking tome published right afterward.
“Certainly, a lot of asterisks may be added to the above and new ones appear below. For instance, could Ross Perot have been the first non-major party candidate elected had he not gone psycho? Perhaps, as ‘92 was a change election.
“The longest presidential cycle came with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, 1932-1968.
“ ‘All six of these eras began with watershed elections in which (1) the previous incumbent party was defeated and (2) a new alignment of party presidential voting – resting on a new coalition – was established, which kept its shape for at least 20 years,’ Phillips wrote in 1990.
“ ‘Interestingly,’ he added, ‘all three Republican hegemonies have produced a ‘capitalist heyday’ during the second half of the cycle.’
“The current cycle started with Bill Clinton in 1992, a scary 24 years ago. That’s exactly the duration of Nixon to Bush the Elder (1968-1992).
“CONTRA-ARGUMENTS. (1) The ‘minority interruption’ has not yet occurred because Bush the Lesser demonstrably lost Florida in 2000 and was installed by the Supremes. (Meaning that the current cycle has not expired.) This reinforces the case for the real GOP aberration happening this November followed by continuation of the 1992 cycle in 2020. Can you say President Elizabeth Warren?
(2) There has arguably not been a liberal in the White House since Lyndon Johnson left after 1968. Jimmy Carter and his Democratic successors would have been moderate Wall Street Republicans in previous eras.
(3) In his 1998 book The Cousins’ Wars, Phillips noted that in Britain and France, restoration of defeated dynasties led to collapse of their factions. He asserted that a Bush restoration could result in the collapse of the GOP. So far, he’s right on.
(4) Donald Trump can crack the Democratic base with angry blue collar voters. Bernie Sanders appeals to the same group and can hold serve. Hillary Clinton cannot. (See what actress Frances Fisher told me about “NRA cowboys” / Barbwire 2-23-2016.)”
BACK TO THE FUTURE. Last week in The Guardian/UK, Michael Moore noted how the presidential race has tightened up in key states.
“ ‘The Biden campaign just announced he’ll be visiting a number of states – but not Michigan. Sound familiar?’ Moore wrote, presumably indicating Hillary Clinton’s 2016 race when she made the error of avoiding some states that then swung to Trump.
“ ‘I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much,’ he later added.
“He continued to voters: ‘Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!’
“Moore cited CNN (August) polling of registered voters to assert that ‘Biden and Trump were in a virtual tie’, including a poll that showed the pair tied at 47% in Minnesota. Moore said that Trump ‘has closed the gap to 4 points’ in Michigan.” (Mike’s from beleaguered Flint.)
PSYCHO CHAOS. Mayhem is Trump’s M.O. Fomenting riots in the streets? That’s how Nixon won in 1968. Who sez the prez don’t read history!
More relief for the jobless? Hell, no. First, cripple the post office. Next, kill any more federal aid for renters. Homeless people will have a very hard time getting ballots. How do you forward mail to a van down by the river?
Nevada is trying to take up some of the slack. Gov. Steve Sisolak has extended the moratorium on evictions thru Oct. 15 and some state aid is available. Go to housing.nv.gov or call State Treasurer Zack Conine at (775) 684-5600.
FALSIES. I lament the fake news media falling into a rerun of the Pentagon conundrum. When the Bush dynasty was leading us into phony wars, the media covered “both sides” of the story: Anti-War vs. Support the Troops. Huh? Nobody was pro-war. Amazing.
Now, it’s Black Lives Matter vs. Trump supporters. Not a freedom-loving racist in sight, apparently.
We are besieged by burgeoning dictatorship and besotted by false equivalence.
The Mahatmas prove right again: Be very afraid. Now get off your ass and move some votes this Labor Day weekend.
Take care of each other and be careful out there.
¡Sí se puede!
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 51-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.