13. Meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss

The Republican and Democratic "Parties" — neither of which, in truth, is much fun at all — appear to be in the process of nominating two deeply unpopular candidates for the presidency — Donald John Trump, Sr., and Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll indicated that 63% of voters have an unfavorable view of Trump, while 57% have a negative view of Clinton. Furthermore, 56% are "afraid" of a Trump presidency, while 48% fear the election of Clinton.

Due to our distaste for power-hungry authoritarians, we confess our own fear of either candidate seizing the Rings of Power. People wonder how two such reviled personalities reached this point, and to some degree, we share their incredulity. However, Clinton's ascension may be readily explained by her establishment bona fides, while Mr. Trump's nomination was driven by a wave of populist discontent, though we're skeptical of the common characterization of 'The Donald' as an "outsider."

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Each political party has the means to ensure the nomination of a status quo candidate — somebody who will protect and further the interests of the most powerful players backing each party (and, frequently, both parties). Those who pose a genuine challenge to such politically-entrenched interests as the financial industry, AIPAC, the 'Deep State,' government unions, or the military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC) are effectively blocked by the nomination process.

For instance, the Democratic Party's "Superdelegates" provide a firebreak against the rise of perceived renegade candidates like Bernie Sanders, and the recent WikiLeaks release of Democratic National Committee e-mails shows the lengths to which political-party officials are willing to go to maintain the status quo. Similarly, Republican operatives freely change the rules of the game to block a principled challenger such as Ron Paul, and with the rise of Trump, they're pushing for procedural changes to re-tighten their grip on the process. Furthermore, the rules imposed by this political duopoly effectively prevent competitive viability by third parties or independent candidates, and as the public-relations arm of the American political establishment, mainstream-media channels can be counted upon to marginalize or smear anyone who presents a genuine threat to the interests of the Power Elite.

Americans take pride in the country's reputation as a democracy, but if the political establishment and its media effectively control the process to preserve their privilege, is this reputation deserved? No matter what happens in November, the "permanent government" will be re-elected, the Deep State will march on, and the country's increasingly authoritarian trajectory will remain intact.


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