US Elections: A Story Outside the Box
Reem Issa Reem Issa

US Elections: A Story Outside the Box

The box of ideas related to the US elections, not only the current ones, but throughout many decades, appears to be tightly locked within the limits of the competition between the two ruling parties.

In other words, the US elections story starts right when the two ruling parties announce their presidential candidates, one of which will definitely win. This has been the case for 167 years, and specifically since 1853 with the 14th President, Franklin Pierce, who was the Democratic Party candidate. Starting with Pierce, there have been 12 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the US presidency.

Since the same conventional story continues in the current elections, our attempt to tell a parallel version might seem outside the box, pointless, and perhaps meaningless. Nevertheless, we claim that it is an entertaining story that deserves to be told. Moreover, stories are usually told after they are over, but may also be told when signs of their end are looming.

Trump’s victory in 2016 marked the beginning of the end of the conventional story. Although Trump is a Republican, there is widespread recognition from Republicans, Democrats, and others that Trump was the first infiltration from outside the “ruling establishment”, perhaps since 1853. Meaning, if Trump – who came to the presidency in a Republican costume, but from outside the two-headed leading party – wins again, this will raise to an unprecedented extent the possibility of undermining this establishment that has been dominant for more than a century and a half.

Of course, we are not talking about a president from outside the dominant establishment, the giant capital system with its formations and contradictions, but we are talking exactly about being from outside the political system that established a very long American film about a pseudo-democracy that resembles a game of musical chairs, but with one chair and only two predetermined players.


One Spotlight and a General Blackout

Theoretically and legally, forming political parties not only is permitted in the US, but also relatively easy. However, the fact of the matter is that the two-party system in the US is nothing more than a simple alteration of a one-party dictatorship, where the two ruling parties present conflicting narratives on various secondary issues, while they are in agreement on working to serve the capital.

The roots of the two-party system in the US can actually be traced as far back as when the US constitution was ratified in 1788, where the supporters of the ratification thereof called themselves the “Federalists” and the opponents called themselves the “anti-Federalists”. This division can be looked at as the basic note that became fixed in US politics with slight variations in tone and arrangement.

Taking on different names, shapes, and forms, the two-party system continued, leading to the two parties dominating US politics today. These two parties emerged in the 1800s – Democratic in 1828 and Republican in 1854 – and one of them has won every US presidential election since 1852 and controlled US Congress since 1856.

Since theatrical elements should achieve a required minimum balance and integration, the Democratic Party played the liberal or “left” role, and the Republican played the role of the conservative or right-wing. Although it is not clear to the left of what this “left” stands, because in application, the left and right as political concepts in their simplest forms between those who express the interests of the general public and those who express the interests of the elite, makes us say that the Democrats are indeed standing to the left of the Republicans, and both of them stand on the far right.

Due to this, the stage would be off balance, which necessitated using a very important theatrical mechanism: manipulation of the lighting and the blackout. The entire light was focused on one spot, that is on the Democrats and the Republicans, and anything aside from them was obscured, including through the media that is monopolized by the elite, through McCarthyism in the past, and now through the new McCarthyism.


Great Similarities

In essence, with regards to the overall political sphere internally or even at the international level, there is little difference between the two parties. This is evident from the general direction the US has taken in its policies, particularly in terms of waging wars and intervening militarily.

At the domestic level, the two parties have succeeded in distracting the majority of Americans from political life and reducing political participation to a set of issues along which people take one of two positions – with or against. Meanwhile, in reality, neither party presents a comprehensive political program, and over the last two decades, political platforms are nearly entirely based on demonizing the other, in order to win elections.


Reversed Voting

Focusing on demonizing the other side and confining the battle to secondary issues, has been effective in keeping the system limited to two parties, completely eliminating the possibility of the rise of other political parties, even ones that might actually appeal to the majority of Americans, if given the chance. The last presidential elections that had a third party on the ballot receiving at least 5% of the popular vote were the 1996 elections, where the third party candidate, Ross Perot, got 8.4% of the popular vote and 0 out of the 538 electoral votes (it is worth reminding that the electoral votes are determined based on a majority vote system in the states, so a candidate can either win the entire state’s votes or none at all).

The deep entrenchment of the two-headed one-party system, especially with the majority vote system for the states’ electoral votes, has clearly generated growing frustration with the general US system and a widespread feeling of being unrepresented by either side. For the average American, the voting process has become limited to an attempt to determine the worse of the two evils, or more specifically, to oust the one that seems worse. That is, the electoral process is no longer a vote for the candidate supported by the American citizen as much as it is a vote against the candidate they oppose.

Moreover, even if a candidate from a third party (that is not supported by one of the two parties) presents issues that are appealing to some Americans, they likely would not vote for that candidate. The simple calculation that the American citizen performs is the following: first, whether you vote for the third candidate or not, he will not succeed; secondly, since he will not succeed, my vote will be wasted, and I will lose my opportunity to use my vote against the candidate I see as the worst among the two main candidates.


Between 2016 and 2020

Going back to recent history, one of the main matters in explaining Trump reaching the presidency may be related to him personally. Trump presented himself as someone from outside the conventional establishment of the two-headed one-party system, even if he wore a Republican outfit. The truth is that within the deep US divide within the elite, that has resulted due to the unprecedented existential crisis of the dollar as a global currency, Trump first and foremost actually represents a specific current within the American elite that wants to reshape the official establishment as a whole, including its foreign policies in the first place, as part of a regression process that this current deems necessary to maintain its existence.

On this basis, we believe that his victory to a second term will perhaps make him unleash in annihilating the expired two-headed one-party system. Not to be mistaken, he will not do that to take the US towards real democracy instead of the current pseudo-democracy, but towards a blatant and direct dictatorship, and through a repressive police state of the traditional type, and perhaps through a brutal civil war (we have previously discussed that we believe this “war” is inevitable regardless, but when and how is not clear).

Therefore, what happens on Tuesday, 3 November, will probably bring with it, in contrast to many previous presidential elections, huge and unprecedented changes.