George Graham

America’s Mad, Mad Political World Falls Apart

I cannot make sense of the political scene in America, and I suspect nobody can. New groups are springing up and old groups are rising again as various factions seek to grab power in next year’s general elections. Basically, politics in America is a battle between billionaires. Election results are determined by psychological techniques and “dirty tricks” developed over many years and funded by Machiavellian power brokers.

Fortunately for the rest of us, the billionaires are fighting among themselves.

The most obvious malcontents are the Tea Party members, who were funded by the diabolical Koch brothers and organized by  former House speaker Dick Army and his ilk. Under a motley banner stained by racism and religious intolerance, and overlaid by the Confederate flag, the Tea Party is proving difficult to control and is managing to create chaos in Washington.

Power brokers like Karl Rove are struggling to put these hurry-come-ups in their place. And despite the billions at their disposal, they are finding that far from easy to do.

The disarray among the Republican following is illustrated by the defection of two former presidential candidates – Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson.  Roemer has joined a group called Americans Elect and Johnson is reportedly running as a Libertarian. Both are former Republican governors, Roemer in Louisiana and Johnson in New Mexico.

You know what the Libertarians want, of course. They want the federal government to go away and leave them alone. Ron Paul used to be the party’s standard bearer before he started trying to be the Republican candidate for president.

But nobody knows what Americans Elect stand for. They call themselves “centrist” (doesn’t everybody?) but beyond that their lips are sealed. It took determined digging by the press to flush out the billionaires behind this group. Here’s how Salon’s Alex Pereene describes their findings:

We do know that Peter Ackerman initially funded the group. Ackerman is a private investment firm executive who became extremely wealthy while working for “junk bond king” Michael Milken in the 1980s. He’s got a history of interest in “strategic nonviolent conflict” as a means of regime change, and founded an organization dedicated to promoting that cause internationally. He was, at one point, on the libertarian Cato Institute’s Board of Directors, but no longer appears to be. His basic thesis — that a successful civil resistance movement requires strong top-down leadership and meticulous planning — is interesting, and he argues it intelligently. If this group is an extension of his belief that radical political change is best achieved through elite-driven populist movements, then I think he’s doing it wrong. Unless a well-funded internet petition to put Buddy Roemer on the California ballot is just the first step in this revolution. (What it won’t be is an actual effort to get a popularly selected third-party candidate on the ballot. The group’s big pitch — lots of talk of letting THE PEOPLE have the power to pick a candidate! — is belied by the fact that a corporate board of directors is actually in charge of making all decisions, according to an arcane set of rules and bylaws.)

Of course the Americans Elect board also includes vacuous rich moron Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, and duplicitous hack Doug Schoen is involved, so maybe it’s just a standard-issue idiotic rich centrist group with no clue what the hell it’s doing.

For more, click here.

You might think nobody would vote for a crowd like that, but if they spend enough money on the right ads, who knows?

Even more bizarre is the rumor that Donald Trump is considering running as a third-party candidate – probably for Americans Elect. But Trump considers all kinds of things, so I’ll believe that when I see the announcement in the paper.

You would think that the Republican Party’s troubles would make it easy for the Democrats to win next year’s elections and usher in a period of relative sanity and fairness in Washington.

But that’s not necessarily how it goes in America.

Some of the candidates who run as Democrats are surprisingly conservative. They apparently believe in the basic Republican theory that the rich know best (or they wouldn’t be rich, perhaps?) and the government works best when it does as little as possible. So how do they get nominated to represent the Democratic Party? Well, there’s this primary system in America that… Oh, never mind, I couldn’t sort out those crazy primaries and caucuses no matter how hard I tried. In some primaries, for example, members of other parties are allowed to vote and I bet they make a point of voting for the candidate they think they can beat. Wouldn’t you?

Click here to read about the primaries, caucuses and so on.

To complicate matters, many Americans simply wouldn’t vote for a Democrat under any circumstances. They’re fans of the Republican Party, the way some people are fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, loyal to the end, no matter what. I figure they make up about a third of U.S. voters.

I don’t know what motivates them. I hesitate to call them stupid. But what else can I call them when they insist on cutting off their nose to spite their face?

Poll after poll shows President Obama in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney, for example.

Does that tell you something or what?

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for