Andrew O’Hehir makes the point that,

... the extreme and ingenious gerrymandering of congressional districts locked in by Republican state legislators after the 2010 census virtually guarantees a GOP House majority until the next census and at least the 2022 midterms.

Wake Up, Liberals: There Will be No 2018 'Blue Wave,' No Democratic...

His perspective is that,

American politics has almost entirely become a symbolic rather than ideological struggle — a proxy war between competing signifiers whose actual social meaning is unclear.

Despite their abundant differences, Barack Obama and Donald Trump were both semiotic candidates, who appeared to represent specific worldviews or dispositions (the espresso cosmopolitan; the shameless vulgarian) but presented themselves as a disruption to “normal” politics…

... reduction to symbolism, in which everything is said to stand for something else and democracy becomes pure spectacle.

My position is that Donald Trump is a symptom of the fundamental brokenness of American politics, not the cause. [emphasis mine]

While it's dispiriting, I have too agree. People no longer seem capable of voting for their self interest. It's too intellectually and emotionally challenging. Instead we treat politics as if it were entertainment, where symbolism would be enough.

image source

Pictures, LOLs, symbols. That's how we think now. Actual policy discussions would require mentally exhausting grammatical sentences and stuff.

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Replies to This Discussion

"There's no quick fix for Trump or our damaged democracy — and the Democrats still look hopeless"

This opening subtitle is a result of feeling hopeless, not the reality of being hopeless. Democrats are not helpless, weak, or dependent and never have been. They and others who stick to unrealistic means to reach goals create the conditions of people feeling hopeless. 

The author reconstructs the statement of Montana's new Senator, "Forget about the “blue wave” of 2018. Forget about the Democratic majority of 2019. Forget about the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Have you even been paying attention? Because none of that stuff is happening and it’s all a massive distraction." 

That is a true statement! The US government is not run of, by, or for the people. Our nation is run by the interests of corporations that control or attempt to control the resources of the Earth. 

It is also a true statement that Trump is not the cause but the effect of a nation of people who sold out to corporate interests. 

Elections exist as symbols of dreams unrealized. 

I agree that Obama and Trump represent symbols of the nation's death throws! The alternatives for the office of POTUS were no better; they were only symbols of denial. 

The knock-down blow by Gianforte allegedly assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs provides another anecdote of the hopeless group of people in the sparsely populated state of Montana and felt by the entire nation. Fists do not provide the answer to our problems. Angry outbursts represent symptoms of helplessness. 

The cure for helplessness is to

1) Stop and breath,

2) Define your goals  

3, Build coalitions with others who share concerns,

4) Explore options,

5) Develop Plan A,  

6) take Action using Plan A,

7) Evaluate outcomes: if Plan A works and gets you toward your goal, continue until task is completed;

8) if Plan A does not move you toward your goal, think until you develop Plan B,

9) wash, rinse, repeat. 

OK, Step 1) Let's just stop for a minute and take a deep breath.

Step 2) Think about the problem, not just for the individual, or the state, or the nation, or the planet, What is it that you feel, need, want? What do people of the world want? What do we need? How are the individuals of Executive, Legislative, Judicial performing in their tasks of representing me/you/? 

Fill out the rest ....

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