Question: As the GOP and the Democrats gather for their nominating conventions, how do you assess the candidates?
Answer: I have never seen such poor candidates in my lifetime. Hilary Clinton is the least qualified I have ever witnessed – in fact, given her track record, she is the most disqualified candidate possible. Donald Trump is probably the strangest candidate to capture a party nomination. Trump isn’t a candidate in a conventional sense – he is more of an expression of many voters across the political spectrum. But at the end of the day political expressions don’t get elected!
Q.: What is the state of America’s democracy?
A.: The short answer is that it is in terminal decay. Trump and Bernie Sanders are political expressions reflecting frustration and anger. America’s democracy today – as a system – doesn’t work for the people. What it gets down to is “pay to play.” Sanders was able to raise millions of dollars from individual voters, but that was never going to be enough. Voters do play a role in this election, though it is the donors who count most and the powerful interests they represent.
Q.: Would you agree there are differences between Clinton and Trump?
A.: Sure there are differences! The question whether those differences really matter. This is not an election; it is the political/financial establishment’s self-selecting process of appointing a nominal manager to maintain the status quo. Think about it: neither Clinton or Trump threaten the current order, the same can be said about the major political parties. Clinton and Trump are outcomes of the current order. This explains why Clinton was coroneted before one vote was cast and why the GOP donor elite will never back Trump. The Republicans are willing to forgo the White House in this cycle simply because Trump does not represent the kind of public pedigree acceptable to the establishment. Trump’s policies hardly threaten America’s “deep state.”
Q.: When one has look at the media, one can’t but come to the conclusion there is a raging and engaging political battle going on. You are saying this is not the case?
A.: Interesting: “there is a raging and engaging political battle going on.” Indeed, the media want you to think this – this is part and parcel of the time-honored strategy to legitimize this election and its outcome. Voters are the spectators and the media run a three-ring circus. The media love elections – the more colorful and controversial the candidates the better! Elections are a financial gift that keeps on giving. The donor class opens its wallets and the media cash in – and in a very big way. We are told it is a “tight race” and “too close to call.” This is folly! It’s always a close race until the last dollar is collected (not when the last vote is counted).
Q.: To what degree do scandals (Clinton) and gaffes (Trump) impact this election?
A.: All of these things are notes on the margin. This is how the party establishments, financial elites, and the media ensure the public’s attention and participation in this parody called democracy. Scandals and gaffes substitute for real politics and social justice – both have been absent from American politics for decades. So grab some popcorn and tune into the greatest and most expensive reality show ever produced (and consumed)!
Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His views may or may not reflect those of his employer.