"MORIEL EDITORIAL OF THE WEEK" - THE VITAL FACTOR THAT CONSERVATIVES ARE OVERLOOKING
BY RUBIN ROTHLER LL B, LL M
Critical election outcomes in Virginia delivered Biden an emphatic defeat and lay testament to mainstream disillusionment with the Democratic party. The Republican Glenn Youngkin pulled off a victory in Virginia not seen in over a decade, winning the governor's race in a state Joe Biden took with ease just a year ago. It was Youngkin's relentless focus on culture issues, notably race and covid mandates in schools that won the day. There was push back amongst parents to the government policy that kids should be forced to wear masks and have vaccines and be taught critical race theory in schools (the theory that America is still institutionally racist). The problem for Biden is that it wasn't just Republican parents who embraced Youngkin's stoking of culture wars, but suburban swing voters too - who just a year ago went Democrat. There's a sense that what happened is a harbinger for next year's midterm elections and the Democrats' ability to cling to power. When you lose the white educated mothers you're going to be in trouble.
Youngkin was endorsed by Trump, but he was careful not to align himself with the former President who still remains a polarizing figure. Youngkin may still have won narrowly by standing shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump, and indeed could not have been victorious without Trump's MAGA base. Yet instead he strategically adopted a more cautious lukewarm approach to not make Donald Trump an impediment to gaining support Democrat voters in Loudin County and the Washington suburbs. . The GOP is in a similar predicament vis a vis Trump. Youngkin came into politics from the Carlyle Group. The Carlyle group is the Bush/Cheney wing of the Republican Party and owns the Republican Party. Youngkin has provided a framework for the Republicans to sweep the board in Democratic states so that the Republicans take back the House and Senate in 2022 regardless of what Trump does.
Nations, tribes and clans rehearse a particular rendition of the historical narrative that explains where they came from, and more importantly where they are going. At difficult times such as our own day, the tendency has been to harken back to the intrepid spirit of our forebearers. But something is different now. There has been a fundamental break in the American psyche. We are entering a unique historical moment. We face a confluence of severe challenges. Some so severe that failure to address them will terminate organized human society. The two most prominent are global warming and nuclear war - threats that are increasing. There are lesser crisis looming. We have collectively slept walked into a horrifying Orwellian surveillance dystopia. Covid elucidated the vast disparities in a bereft society. The American mythology of exceptionalism is left destitute.To a very substantial extent today we are in a period that is close to when Capital mostly controls. And how it plays out is quite revealing. It can tell us quite a lot about the socio-economic and political order and how they work. And also the direction in which our own society is going. That's a matter of deep concern in some of the most sober and astute circles of intellectual inquiry. The world's leading business journal, the Financial Times recently warned that US democracy is on the brink of complete collapse. We're living with a collapse of the social order.
Given extraordinary US power, what happens here has immense consequences for the rest of the world. In Europe what happens is secondary. But we can gain some insight by considering what is occuring in countries like France. France's far right is now imposing the subject of public debate. Macron, who in 2017 ran on a centrist platform, appears to have been moving further to the right for at least a year, with a tough-on-crime discourse and recent legislation against separatism that many view mostly targets radical Islam. Polls are indeed indicating that the French are becoming more right-leaning. One survey, published by right-wing French think tank Fondation pour l’Innovation Politique in May 2021, reported that 38 percent of French voters defined themselves as right-wing, compared to 33 per cent four years earlier. This raises the level of confrontation to a higher level, with politicians like Le Pen and Zemmour contending for power. After profits for the rich and political expediency, the core of politics consists of mobilization and activism. It won't be easy for the right to overcome Macron. But if the grassroots activists continue pushing forward there's a fair chance that a right wing candidate will win next year's Presidential election.
In Israel for Likud to regain power, much will depend on Netenyahu being shown the door. The electorate will not tolerate him reemerging once again to head a new government. The politicians already know this, the question is whether they can be pressured to act. As the Times of Israel reports: "Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman suggested on Friday that opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to prevent the approval of the state budget signaled the end of his control over the Likud party, saying that he had “lost his magic.” In Virginia Republicans may have won a crucial election by keeping a distance from Trump. In Israel, the right-wing opposition is faced with an extended period out of power if it doesn't find a way to shun Netenyahu. The Associated Press summarizes well: "The man whose shadow loomed so large for so long over Israel, whose rule sparked both mass protests and cult-like devotion, has been relegated to the backbenches as opposition leader, far from the levers of power and exposed to serious corruption charges".