To win at chess, you have to think at least a few moves ahead. Let’s take a moment to apply that principle to this election.This week I watched a talk between Noam Chomsky and Yanis Varoufakis. They were asked about the 2016 presidential election—specifically, what they thought about the spectre of fascism in America, given the increasingly ripe conditions for fascism and the rise of a fascist candidate in Donald Drumpf.
Varoufakis made the compelling assertion that, if not for the New Deal, the United States might have turned to fascism in the 1930s. He added that without a “new New Deal” now, it’s only a matter of time before fascism rises—if not via Drumpf today, then someone worse tomorrow. He’s not the first person I’ve heard make this argument.
To win at chess, you have to think at least a few moves ahead. Let’s take a moment to apply that principle to this election.
So let’s assume that Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in 2016—a huge assumption given her lackluster polling against Donald Drumpf, lack of support from young people and independents, and most crucially her missing multiplier effect.
We don’t need to assume that Clinton won’t give us a new New Deal; she’s said as much. She’s basically against everything Bernie Sanders has proposed (the basis of a new New Deal).
If the management of our present economy is any indication, simply maintaining the neoliberal status quo will more than likely continue the downward slide of the American middle class—which today is no longer the majority—intensifying already record-breaking inequality. The student debt crisis will deepen despite Elizabeth Warren’s continuing unsupported efforts. Our legally mandated health care premiums and overall costs will continue to escalate. The ecological crisis will not be seen as an existential threat, but if past performance (and present-day rhetoric) predicts future results, Hillary Clinton will escalate America’s involvement in existing and new armed conflicts.
Given the strong likelihood of this forecast, if we think ahead to 2020, the conditions for a fascist candidate will be even worse. What’s to keep Drumpf from winning against an incumbent Hillary Clinton then? And eight years from now, what’s to keep an even worse fascist from succeeding him?
If the only thing that can stop the ascent of fascism in America is a new New Deal, shouldn’t we think ahead and make that move now, before fascism puts us in check?