Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World
a book by Krystal Ball
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says that Former MSNBC Host and Progressive Activist Krystal Ball dissects what went wrong with the Democratic Party over the last 30 years-culminating in the electoral apocalypse of 2016. Krystal argues that Donald Trump is a predictable response to the massive economic dislocation of the past 40 years.
Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World is not simple Trump bashing, but a powerful and self-reflective critique of where the Party went wrong and what Progressives can do to turn the tide. Krystal Ball narrates the modern descent of the Democratic Party from the party of workers and New Deal Progressives to the party of Silicon Valley elites and the managerial class. Tragically, this working class abandonment happened right when ordinary Americans needed the most help. But Krystal’s critique is radically action focused—what can we do to reclaim the Democratic Party for workers and start winning elections again.
Krystal argues that Donald Trump is a predictable response to the massive economic dislocation of the past 40 years
Krystal has a prescription that includes fielding a dramatically different candidate slate around the country for US Congress, including those earning the minimum wage and those without a college degree. She also argues forcefully that the only litmus tests that matter for Democrats should have to do with economic issues and inclusion—and that the social and cultural issues, such as guns and abortion, need to take a back seat to issues of economic justice.
Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World also takes on the dominant narrative regarding race in the Democratic Party and shows how a narrow focus on "white privilege" and on lecturing well-intentioned working class whites creates closed mindedness and division instead of receptivity to an economic justice message. [She nailed that one right on the head.]
If you want to take your party and your country back, not back in time to some mythical 1950s homogeny, but back to the New Deal Radicalism of the 1930s that saved us from the Great Depression, Reversing the Apocalypse: Hijacking the Democratic Party to Save the World has the answers you've been looking for.
Ball says that "Democrats need to find a way to convince working class and poor white voters who spurned the party, believing that it had ignored them in favor of minorities and elites, both that the party is aware of their genuine concerns and that the pressures they feel in an economy that is not responsive to them are shared by many others, including in minority communities, and the Democrats are working towards policies that will actually help."
We need to shine a light on the political termites who have infested our government under the Trump Administration, destroying it from within and compromising our jobs, safety, finances, and more. See It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America
The problem with this feel-good rhetoric is that Democrats HAD ignored them in favor of minorities and elites, which is why they went with Trump, who showed no favor toward minorities and elites. He even denigrated minorities. His stance toward the elites was more complicated. He catered to their greed, undoing regulations that restricted their activity and reducing their taxes. So they may not have liked Trump, but they loved his Christmas presents. The more Trump dismantled our democracy so it favored oligarchs and rich elites, the more democracy transformed into oligarchy. So the whole Trump disaster was a disaster for the citizenry and the democracy and the republic and the government and the regulations that keep us all safe, but it was a dazzling economic windfall for oligarchs and rich elites, so they quit being anti-Trump. He used his Show Me The Money strategy to get their cooperation. He showed them plenty of money, so they sold us all out, acting like whores.
Millions of Americans chose—with eyes wide open—to elect someone who clearly from his conduct and speeches during the campaign exemplified the absolute worst America had to offer, because to them he was their Ayatollah Trumpowski, their guru of fascist white nationalism
It's important to realize that since the "rejected" working class citizens were not supplying as much campaign money as elites from Silicon Valley and the Koch brothers, there was no Show Me The Money strategy from working class citizens but lots of it from elites from Silicon Valley and the Koch brothers. So guess who got the lion's share of attention from the candidates?
Working class citizens are not supplying as much campaign money as elites from Silicon Valley and the Koch brothers, so guess who gets the lion's share of attention from the candidates?
Ball says for Democrats to find allies from the G.O.P. that are alarmed at Trump's failure to drain the swamp, alarmed at the corrupt kleptocracy that Trump is pursuing, along with Trump's encouraging an even greater role for big money in the campaign system as well as the steady wrecking of democracy. It turned out that Trump, rather than draining the swamp, was actually stocking the swamp.Contrary to his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC, Trump has filled his cabinet with millionaires and billionaires, from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a Goldman Sachs and hedge fund veteran who made much of his fortune foreclosing on homeowners to billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has already put the interests of bankers ahead of debt-burdened students and their families.
Draining the Swamp—Trump promised to 'drain the swamp' in Washington, dumping people who were only there to exploit their positions
Stocking the Swamp—Contrary to his promise to 'drain the swamp' in Washington, Trump has filled his cabinet with millionaires and billionaires who are already exploiting their positions
"Until we address the underlying forces that gave rise to this malevolent character we will be left vulnerable to the rise of another Trump. Except next time, we may not be so lucky as to have our demagogue’s democracy destroying fascistic tendencies mitigated by sheer incompetence. . . . in the post-Bill Clinton Democratic party, we have abandoned a universal commitment to Freedom from Want. Instead, we have become infatuated with the Silicon Valley and Wall Street winners in our meritocracy." (Source: Preventing The Next Trump: How Democrats lost the working class, and what they must do to reclaim it, Krystal Ball)
In the above article in Huff Post, Ball regrettably signs on to the PC nonsense called "white skin privilege." Ball didn't seem to truly understand how much Trump voters disliked all the racism against whites. The majority of whites felt they were experiencing racism against them and that whites were experiencing more racism than blacks were. They saw how the whites-as-villians-and-blacks-as-victims ideology was wrecking the society. Ball sees none of this—she really needs to go out in the countryside and talk to people but NOT just political correctness obsessed liberals! The political correctness obsession of liberals and the media is wrecking colleges and universities.
Worse, the affirmative action policies of colleges and universities were admitting unprepared blacks that don't really have the needed credentials instead of well-prepared whites. The odds favoring the admission of black over white applicants with the same background and academic credentials have skyrocketed. This not only means that whites are being cheated, it also means that all citizens in this country are being cheated, as less qualified doctors and lawyers are available to them while the best qualified individuals are prevented from these fields by racist admissions policies. Whites are being turned down for jobs while less qualified blacks are given the job, so whites are feeling bitter and cheated. But no one pays much attention to the gross injustices done to white students by all this insidious black skin privilege.
The racist admissions policies of Universities and corporations push black skin privilege so much that whites are getting screwed constantly—even if they got degrees, their skin is the wrong color to get hired
In the 2016 election circus, Obama's racism toward whites and Hillary's plan to keep the "whites are victimizers" baloney going so offended the whites who'd had a bellyfull of this nonsense that she handed the election to Trump. We are fed up with the modern white victimizer black victim concept Obama pushed and exploited in his presidency and Hillary foolishly planned to continue as she became Obama 2.0 in a skirt.
Who can blame whites for voting in a man—Trump—with the courage to say he doesn't subscribe to this PC nonsense? Did we really need a white lady beating us with the whip of our "white skin privilege" for 4 or 8 years? All the pro-black racist hiring policies, testing policies, and scholarship policies which set low standards for blacks have empowered incompetence and sown resentment, and ensured that racial tensions persist nearly half a century after the Civil Rights Acts outlawed racial barriers (which should have been written so it protected whites as well as blacks from unfairness). This sheds light on the 2016 election. Nearly 2/3 of whites polled wished for all this anti-white racism to discontinue, since the way "affirmative action" is implemented screws them unfairly out of money, scholarships, and jobs.
Ball has gotten her hands dirty with grass roots politics. She is a passionate progressive Democrat who cares about the party and even more about the country, and is realistic about the threat posed by Donald Trump. In this readable and pointed book, she tells her story, and then pivots to the reasons we got into this mess, and even more important, offers a blueprint for the party and country to get out of it. But she is unwilling to admit black skin privilege or call political correctness the scam that it is. This makes her a more liberal version of Establishment Girl, Hillary Clinton. Not what the people need, although reversing the tax cuts Trump gave the rich is a good idea under any circumstances.
Ball, like so many progressives, has her head in the sand about the election of Obama
Ball, like so many progressives, has her head in the sand about the election of Obama. She was blind to all the broken promises, scandals, lies, corruption, Fast and Furious, lying about surveillance of American citizens, and his smearing and harrassment of our citizens, the doubling of the debt. See How Obama Betrayed America....And No One Is Holding Him Accountable, The Corruption Chronicles: Obama's Big Secrecy, Big Corruption, and Big Government, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington, The Left in Power: Clinton to Obama: Black Book of the American Left: Volume VII, and Obama's Enemies List: How Barack Obama Intimidated America and Stole the Election.
But here we are now, with the sky having opened and our understanding of the world turned topsy-turvy in one day: the sky is truly falling—Chicken Little was right
Ball says that "Filmmaker Michael Moore, one of the few Democrats who continuously sounded the alarm that this authoritarian charlatan could actually win, described Trump as a human Molotov cocktail. That sounds about right. He is also all of the awful things that we said he was during the campaign. A racist, a sexist, an authoritarian, a liar, a con artist, a complete and utter fraud. But Trump’s moral illegitimacy doesn’t render all of the concerns of his supporters illegitimate. . . . But here we are now, with the sky having opened and our understanding of the world turned topsy-turvy in one day." [as we demonstrated above] Ball wonders if democracy will survive Trump and his cons, authoritarianism, demagoguery, narcissism, impulsiveness, et al. Of course, the bad news is that that ship has sailed—as has the free press ship. See Democracy—an American Delusion and Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion.
Respect Trump's authoritah? When their promised savior only brings further destruction and despair to their communities, we must be ready and able to pick up the pieces, says Ball
Ball is anything but optimistic as she surmises that "If today’s conditions could create an outcome as terrifyingly destructive as Donald Trump, can you imagine what that projected situation of mass employment would create? I don’t believe our country could survive. . . . It truly does break my heart that our fellow citizens have been scammed. When their promised savior only brings further destruction and despair to their communities, we must be ready and able to pick up the pieces."
Much of her book concerns how a small town falls apart—no jobs, no incoming industries, no one trained for the technopoly, no innovation, no hope. Poignant, yet rather boring. Perhaps her most insightful writing was when she tackled the challenging subject of preventing the next Trump. The book goes over how the Democratic party and the U.S. have gone wrong and how we can be saved. Not terribly convincing. Little chance people will read this book and then act en masse. But, like she says: we have to try.
Trump is colluding with wrecking-ball Republicans to kill democracy
Trump is destroying the democracy, but building nothing in its place but oligarchy. "Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it took a carpenter to build it,” storied Democratic House Speaker Sam Rayburn famously observed.
Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it took a carpenter to build it
And here are the carpenters of our democracy
The FDR type government programs Ball favors would never pass Congress and there's no money for it anyway. The rich elites would rather die than finance a progressive-taxation-financed fix for the little guy—the working class. They'd move to Canada before they'd let themselves be massively taxed—and they'd take their rich corporations with them. And that is what heroic plans always call for—taxing the rich to enrich the nonrich. We've passed the point of no return on such heroic schemes of income redistribution. "Heroic" social engineering is not going to save the working class, no matter what hollow promises Democratic heroes (or socialistic heroes like Bernie Sanders) promise in campaign speeches that everyone knows will not be honored anyway.
The FDR type government programs Ball favors would never pass Congress
The shadow government will not allow major social engineering. The oligarchs in the shadow government that actually run things in this oligarchical country are getting obscenely rich with things just as they are, so any significant change will be blocked. One of the reasons these neocon warmongering shadow government radicals got control of the reigns of power in the U.S. is to enrich the U.S. oligarchs maximally. The other main reason is avoidance of the tyranny of the majority. This had been a serious issue for the Founders before the Constitution was written as well as during and after it was written. At first the rich just played the wait and see game. But this didn't ensure them that their wealth was safe.
So, eventually—especially since the 20th century, they forced the issue and created a shadow government that would ensure their wealth was safe since they were in control and the threat of the tyranny of the majority was reversed as we became an oligarchy with something close to the tyranny of the wealthy minority, although they're willing to maintain the "democracy" pretense as long as the nonrich majority doesn't get too uppity or rebellious. Tyranny could happen quickly if this majority rebelled. First would come martial law.
Then the C.O.G. (continuity of government) procedures kick in. The C.O.G. government, housed in hidden bunkers, would have gone into operation; civil liberties would have been suspended; civilian authorities in various cities would yield to military Special Forces. This COG (Continuity of Government) program can be implemented in case there is a national emergency—at the president's discretion (or lack of discretion). These COG losers would have godlike powers—they can take your water, your food, your weapons, your house, your property. They can make you work slave labor style. You didn't know that, did you? See Inside the Shadow Government: National Emergencies and the Cult of Secrecy.
The Shadow Government
- The Shadow Government
- Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World
- When Corporations Rule the World
- The Rise of the American Corporate Security State
- The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption
- Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America
- The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America--and What We Can Do to Stop It
- The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
- National Security and Double Government
- A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption
- Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy IMPLODED -- and How to Fix It
Various authors see the shadow government from various perspectives—like the blind men and the elephant, but the overall gist is creepily similar
Ball, unfortunately, believes the old Democratic axioms that are obsolete relics from the past like "to fix something, throw money at it." In the situation FDR was facing during his term, people needed help and he did a great job of supplying it. But our situation in 2018 is very different. Liberals believe that what the government did once, it can do again, as if it was 1930s America. In 2018, government is the answer is WRONG. Social engineering is the answer is WRONG. Hitting our big corporations with monolithic tax bills so they can no longer compete in the world and they have to fire much of their staff is WRONG. Seeing the world from 1930s eyes is WRONG. (Political correctness and affirmative action are WRONG as well. Black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wisely believes that affirmative action or racial preferential treatment is WRONG. He also believes it creates "a cult of victimization" and implies blacks require "special treatment in order to succeed" which is WRONG.)
Ball, unfortunately, believes the old Democratic axioms that are obsolete relics from the past like 'to fix something, throw money at it.'
"Job outsourcing helps U.S. companies be more competitive in the global marketplace. It allows them to sell to foreign markets with overseas branches. They keep labor costs low by hiring in emerging markets with lower standards of living. That lowers prices on the goods they ship back to the United States. . . . [but] it [unintentionally] increases U.S. unemployment." All this is good for the economy except the unemployment. (Source: How Outsourcing Jobs Affects the U.S. Economy, Kimberly Amadeo)
Facing that the most qualified and/or least expensive people (in a global economy where workers are sought globally and no longer nationally) will get the best jobs and everyone else will have to make do with lesser jobs that pay less is called facing reality. We cannot social engineer our way out of it. We cannot buy our way out of it. We cannot tax our way out of it. One of the reasons the wealthy aren't expected to bail out the financial problems of the lower class is that the Constitution was purposely and specifically written so that the majority couldn't extract unfair taxes from the wealthy minority, since that was a key issue they argued about while drafting this document, remembering that many of these Founders were well off.
James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” (he wrote the Bill of Rights as well) said that "Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." The majority must be prevented from carrying out their efforts to oppress—this must be through a republican (representative) form of government, rather than a democracy where majority rules, he says. The great number of factions and diversity would tend to avoid tyranny. Groups would be forced to negotiate and compromise among themselves, arriving at solutions that would respect the rights of minorities. Further, he argued that the large size of the country would actually make it more difficult for factions to gain control over others. Madison meant wealthy people when he talked about minorities, since only white males could vote. He understandably didn't want his wealth to be jeoparized.
Ball needs to see that the republic basis of the Constitution was mostly his doing and he was trying to protect his wealth against the tyranny of the majority. In the spirit of the Founders and the Constitution and Madison's thoughtful brilliance, we need to avoid a grand plan to have the haves finance a social engineering "fix" for all the have-nots as it would not only be unfair but it would be against the letter and the spirit of our sacred document called the Constitution. A reasonably progressive tax structure is as far as we should push it. The tax plan in effect during Obama's term was reasonable. The Trump tax plan is unreasonable and Ball is right that we need to reverse this greedy foolishness from rightwing radical extremists pretending to be "conservatives" and at least return it to being the way it was.
In WWII the wealthy paid up to 94%—a percentage applying only to income above each break point. In 1944-45, the most progressive tax years in U.S. history, the 94% rate applied to any income above $200,000 ($2.4 million in 2009 dollars, given inflation). Citizens had to pay for the war to stop the Nazis so people complied. In WWII, tax law revisions increased the numbers of those paying some income taxes from 7% of the U.S. population in 1940 to 64% by 1944. Very few individuals encountered this top rate, however. The actual proportion of earnings citizens paid as income taxes in 1945 was far lower: for the poorest 20% of Americans, 1.7%; for the next 20%, 6.2%; for the middle quintile, 8.9%, for the upper-middle 20%, 10%; and for the wealthiest quintile, 20.7%. Tax rates have fallen since then: the current top level is 35% of income above $357,000, or $30,000 in 1945 dollars. (Source: Tax Rates of the Mid-20th Century, Philip Scranton)
But that was then and this was now. The chances we will ever remodel the government so it allows for the tyranny of the majority (or call it extremely progressive taxation) are none, zero, nada, ziltch and bupkiss. In the meantime, Ball makes the point that wealthy candidates compete using wealth from the wealthy for funding and they pretend to care about the working class and the little people but in truth they really don't. We need candidates from the working class that care about them and truly represent them, but the system is set up to weed out such people. Let's fix a broken system, she says. Amen, Ball!