Kunstler shows the essence of the Democratic primaries

Summary – Campaign 2020 looks to be among the weirdest ever. No analysis can do justice to it. James Howard Kunstler finds a better alternative: mockery. Here he shows the essence of the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries.

“They have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.”
— Talleyrand speaking in 1796 about the Bourbon émigrés in exile (paraphrased). It is us, too.

Clowns on the streeet. ID 128496492 © Aleksii Sidorov
ID 128496492 © Aleksii Sidorov | Dreamstime.

House Party

James Howard Kunstler at his website.
Reposted with his generous permission.

As the first of 12 presidential debates blows in at mid-week like an evil patch of bad summer weather, twenty candidates vie for the position of Ole Massa on the Democratic Party plantation, and the air is gravid with bad vibes.

One highly-favored entry, Mayor Pete (Buttigieg) of charming South Bend, Indiana, stepped into (and tripped over) a big fresh patty of mule poop over the weekend at a “town hall” meeting that was called to address the June 16 shooting of one Eric Logan, 54, by a police officer dispatched to check out “a suspicious individual going through cars” at 2:30 a.m. The officer said the suspect came at him with a knife. The officer failed to switch on his body-cam, or so the police department said. Conclusions were jumped to. Then, in the wee hours just before Mayor Pete’s June 24 town hall, another black man was killed and 10 other people wounded in the shoot-up of a watering hole called Kelly’s Pub.

God knows what that was about – no police were involved in the shoot-up – but Mayor Pete caught the blame for it, of course, and the Sunday town hall meeting turned into a shriek-in by outraged “community” members. He was hardly allowed to admit his failures, issue apologies, and promise to do better. After the ordeal, Mayor Pete struggled to hold in his tears talking to the media. No doubt he will be pressured to keep ‘splainin’ these matters until either his campaign folds up its tent or he is anointed at the national convention in Milwaukee.

Leader-of-the-Pack (in the polls, anyway) Joe Biden stepped into it perhaps even deeper than Mayor Pete last week when he bragged about how well he was able to work with the old southern segregationist fossils, Herman Talmadge (GA) and James O. Eastland (MS), who were still around in the Senate when “Uncle Joe” first came on the scene decades ago. “We didn’t agree on much,” the former Veep said, “but we got things done.” What’s more, the candidate averred, going perhaps a bridge too far, Senator Eastland “never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son,’” as if Mr. Biden might have been mistaken for a waiter in the senators’ dining room, with its old fashioned-ways and renowned bean soup.

Senator Cory Booker (NJ), a.k.a. “Spartacus,” aiming to “speak truth to power,” as gladiators are wont to do, jumped on the remarks as “hurtful and harmful to African Americans.” Mr. Biden, something of a political fossil himself now, shot back that Senator Booker should apologize to him for imputing he had racist proclivities. The rest of the pack joined the feeding frenzy. Bernie Sanders backed up Mr. Booker’s call for a Biden apology. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), criticizing her leading rival said, “I’m not here to criticize other Democrats, but it’s never okay to celebrate segregationists. Never.” Senator Kamala Harris piled on, calling Mr. Biden “misinformed and wrong.”

The week’s doings left the impression that the Democratic Party has turned into one big race hustle, with reparations for slavery as the centerpiece on the banquet table and recriminations for “white privilege” as the main course. Senator Warren added a gender hustle amuse bouche to the menu over the weekend with demands for “reparations for gay and lesbian couples” who had to file income taxes as individuals in the pre-gay marriage days.

African Americans comprise about 12.3% of the US population and about 4.5% “identify as” LGBTetc. The Hispanic demographic is 18.1% and the Democratic Party has already got them covered with its official opposition to the immigration laws – though there is evidence that Hispanic US citizen-voters are not uniformly on-board with that pander.

Now the party will be hard put to come up with some goodies for the rest of the US population. But it appears that it has only punishments and persecutions in mind for them. This may be the way the world ends for the party first consolidated by Andy Jackson, the old white slavemaster rascal, whose sins were later redressed with the election of Barack Obama. Hustling their way to an election disaster in 2020, they play right into the small-ish hands of Mr. Trump, the Golden Golem of Greatness.


Editor’s afterword

“Hegel says somewhere that all great historic facts and personages occur twice, so to speak. He forgot to add: ‘Once as tragedy, and again as farce.’”
— The opening of Karl Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1869).

Each presidential election becomes stranger. The 2008 election was odd, with the elderly (age 72) erratic faux-maverick McCain and his dim and inexperienced sidekick Sarah Palin (whom so many on the Right though would be a dandy president if McCain died in office). In 2016 we got Trump. This election seems likely to be even odder.

The fall of the Weimar Republic was a tragedy. We are flouncing down the same path, making the West into Clownworld. There is no excuse for this. The price of our apathy and passivity will be high.

“But in the present exhaustion of the old values, men must be brought to the abyss, terrified by their danger and nauseated by what could become of them, in order to make them aware of their responsibility for their fate. They must turn within themselves and reconstitute the conditions of their creativity in order to generate values.”
— From Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind.

James Howard Kunstler
Photo by Charlie Samuels.

About James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler (Wikipedia) worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, before working as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he began writing books on a full-time basis. Kunstler is the author of 12 novels and has been a regular contributor to many major media, writing about environmental and economic issues. He is a leading supporter of the movement known as “New Urbanism.”

He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, and many other colleges. He has written five non-fiction books. See more about the most recent one below.

See some of his recent posts about America. They’re all well worth reading!

For More Information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about the Democratic Party, about the left wing of US politics, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these …

  1. Visions of America if the Left wins.
  2. The Democrats will open the borders & make a New America.
  3. The Left goes full open borders, changing America forever.
  4. The Left pushes America down a slippery slope – about reckless social engineering.
  5. The Left can win in 2020 and dominate US politics.
  6. 2020 will continue the revolution that Trump began.
  7. The Democrats will own America. Their past will sink them.
  8. The Left hates America and will destroy it.
  9. Kunstler sees the psychology of the Democratic primaries.

About Kunstler’s most recent book

Too Much Magic.
Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation.

Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation
Available at Amazon.

From the publisher …

“Kunstler’s critically acclaimed and best-selling The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century (2005) quickly became a grassroots hit, going into nine printings in hardcover. Kunstler’s shocking vision of our post-oil future caught the attention of environmentalists and business leaders alike, and stimulated widespread discussion about our dependence on fossil fuels and our dysfunctional financial and government institutions. Kunstler has since become a key commentator on the future, profiled in The New Yorker and invited to speak at TED and other events.

“In Too Much Magic, Kunstler evaluates what has changed in the last seven years and shows us that in a post-financial-crisis world, his ideas are more relevant than ever.

“‘Too Much Magic’ is what Kunstler sees in the bright visions of a future world dreamed up by overly optimistic souls who believe technology will solve all our problems. Their visions remind him of the flying cars and robot maids that were the dominant images of the future in the 1950s. Kunstler’s idea of the future is much more sober: he analyzes the various technologies (vertical farms, fracking, corn ethanol) suggested as overnight solutions to the energy crisis and finds none that he thinks will work long-term to cure a society dependent on gas-guzzling cars, in love with an inefficient ideal of suburbia, and unwilling to fundamentally change its high-energy lifestyle. Kunstler also offers concrete ideas as to how we can help ourselves adjust to a society where the oil tap is running dry.

“With vision, clarity of thought, and a pragmatic worldview, Kunstler argues that the time for magical thinking and hoping for miracles is over and that the time to begin preparing for the long emergency has begun.”


5 thoughts on “Kunstler shows the essence of the Democratic primaries”

  1. I’m glad to see you like Kunstler. He’s the sort of squeeky wheel we need more of. Although I fear the dysfunction is out of control now. a bit of fancy talk won’t hurt. I always read him with anticipation as he does have his ear to the ground.

  2. The primary problem (no pun intended) with the current US presidential selection process is that we, the people, have mistaken entertainment value for leadership values. This started happening, to a tiny degree, as far back as Ronald Reagan and now dominates the election cycle.

    Call me an outrageous optimist but I still have moderate hope that somebody with some coalition and leadership skills will arise from the admittedly mucky Democratic party list of 24 presidential contenders. At the same time, I have to admit that while I see some potential in the list of Democratic party contenders, there is not a single one I would fully support at this time (mostly because I don’t know most them at all well and I know a few all too well).

    The Democratic Party nomination winner may be the candidate who best stretches their limited campaign funds to meet their publicity needs after Joe Biden finishes flaming out. Why that man thinks he is Presidential material has always been totally beyond me.

    1. Pluto,

      “we, the people, have mistaken entertainment value for leadership values.”

      We’re not fools. We haven’t mistaken anything. From Marx was right. Social class explains American politics.

      The outer party is the largest body of people interested in current events and with the money to either pay for it or to attract advertisers. It is a happy hunting ground for media firms. To survive they must understand what the outer party wants: simple stories that explain events in terms of good guys and bad guys. Cheer our team! Thrill at tales of the bad guys’ dastardly deeds! They want stories that provide entertainment and catharsis plus a sense of belonging to a community (a virtual tribe). Politically ineffectual, they want to believe themselves engaged. So they consume information to become well-informed and online comments (21st C letters to the editor).

      This explains American’s disinterest in experts’ record of failed predictions and bad advice (e.g., scientist Paul Ehrlich on the Left, economist Larry Kudlow on the Right). So what if what we read about the world is inaccurate, since we have no intention of using this information? Collectors of maps do not care if the maps are correct. They want pretty maps with colorful dragons on edges. Only people with goals demand accurate charts.

  3. Great post Larry. You wrote a great afterword and I read your excellent post about Marx when you originally wrote it. I repeat it as much as possible along with your posts about history of immigration and “We’re Well Governed”.

    Kunstler has a way with words. I like his sense of humor and outlook. Loved the description of President Trump, “The Golden Gollum of Greatness”. Hilarious!

    Great commnts too.


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