By Ben Cohen: Watching the Presidential election take shape in modern times is a painful process. I have been following US elections closely for 12 years and each time have been astonished at the spectacle. While half the country lives with chronic food insecurity, billions of dollars are poured into strategists, analysts, makeup specialists, advertisers, planners, managers, advisers and hangers on, all in the name of electing a faceless politician who sounds and looks exactly the same as their predecessors (the only exception being Obama's election in 08).
Gore, Kerry, Bush, McCain, Romney, Gingrich, etc etc all blend into one grey mass of old white people with almost identical policies and identical rhetoric. While there is still a difference between the Democrats and the Republicans (one party is sane and the other isn't), their platforms vary only slightly in the scheme of things. Right now, those variations are important, particularly when the economy is so vulnerable. Electing a free market, deficit hawk into the White House this year could literally tank the economy completely. Having a vaguely Keynesian President has been the only thing propping the economy up for the past 3 1/2 years, and it would be a very wise choice to keep him in office.
But in the long term, a two party duopoly funded by exactly the same financial institutions and beholden to the same corporate interests cannot be sustained. The public knows the election is a gigantic clown show, and that's why voter participation has declined year after year for decades. The scripted events, sound byte debating points and relentless image based advertising has an effect on the public - they know that nothing will change, that no politician is telling the truth, and there's absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.
Mitt Romney's pathetic limp into the Presidential election is a classic example of this. Having thrown several personal fortunes at his campaign and having the big GOP donors line up behind him, Romney is still barely beating the lunatic fringe of his party and the perennial losers like Newt Gingrich. Romney is so fake he can't convince his own party to get behind him. He represents the ultimate expression of a corrupt political system built on image and money - a robotic Ken-doll zombie incapable of individual thought. Romney lies as easily as he breathes, and everyone knows it.
When will this absurd system fall apart? How long can we go on pretending it is real? Corporate interests will pour more and more money into destroying anyone threatening the system, and as we know, money talks. But while their money can destroy, they are having a harder and harder time creating. Their products are not real, and at some point, we will stop buying it altogether.