Dear America,

Last week, a portentous event happened in Missouri; Missouri voters repealed the state's "right to work" law in a referendum.  It was portentous for two reasons.  First, the state is generally regarded as a Republican state.  Donald Trump won there handily in an open primary before the 2016 election.  Second, unionization is an issue primarily for working people, the preponderance of Trump's base.

The referendum barely got mentioned in the media though there was still much hand-wringing over the things the Democrats needed to do to prevail this November, not to mention in the 2020 election for president.  It still doesn't seem to have sunk in that Hillary Clinton, who was not even terribly popular among Democrats, beat Trump by 2%--nearly 3 million--of the popular vote and the Democrats gained six seats in the House of Representatives and two seats in The Senate.  The only thing the Republicans won was the electoral college, which is an irony in that it was intended to prevent a popular wave from electing a wild card like Trump to be what Alexander Hamilton referred to in the Federalist Papers as our highest "magistrate."   So the question that keeps recurring in my mind is whether the Democrats need to change anything from what they did and advocated in 2016.  Now, the result in the Missouri referendum seems to echo that question.  If the majority of the Trump, Republican working-class base sees unions as necessary to protect them from the predation of upper class, mainly Republican, capital owners, that is business people and "entrepreneurs" as the Republicans would have them called, how much do Democrats need to change?

Today, there are primaries in four states and there have been many of them in recent months across the country.  Here in Connecticut, as in few other states, there will be a gubernatorial election this fall and our airwaves are bursting with the effulgent images of people who want our votes, though very few have said anything revealing about their specific plans for change here in a state in which the Democratic incumbent, rightly or wrongly, is very unpopular.  In Wisconsin, Scott Walker has expressed his apprehension about this election not just for himself but for his Republican Party.  In fact, pundits on television have seemed to become univocal about their perception of the November prospects for the two parties.  The Democrats appear positioned for a wave in their favor, including in the House of Representatives where quite a few Republicans have declined to seek reelection, seemingly in anticipation of defeat. 

I am watching our gubernatorial primary with great interest.  We have one candidate who ran for one of our senate seats some time ago and got the Democratic nomination beating Joe Lieberman in the party primary.  But Lieberman ran as an independent and beat both the Republican and the Democrat.  Many years ago, Lowell Weicker switched from Republican to independent when he lost his party primary and he won as well.  And it seems that the mainstream Republicans have suffered several blows recently when Trump-style conservatives have taken party nominations, especially in the south.  It will be interesting to see if that phenomenon results in independent candidates come November, which seems to me the way we're headed as a nation.  At some point, the two main political parties will cease to be viable sources of representative candidates for most people and we will turn to a more syncretic form of politics.  People will stop voting party lines and begin demanding of the candidates that they wear their hearts on their sleeves and vote out of principle rather than partisan zeal...or at least subjugation.  At some point, the American people will, I hope, come to realize that what counts in a candidate is who he or she is rather than who he or she votes with.  The majority of individuals will want people in Washington, D.C. and in their various capitals who will vote the way they would on issues as opposed to electing people who just happen to belong to the same political club that each of them belongs to.

That's what interests me about this election.  In general, since the ascent of Donald Trump I have developed a kind of ennui related to the futility of talking about politics to anyone.  No one will change his or her mind in this political climate because everyone's mind is either Republican or Democratic, which determines the conclusions everyone reaches about the implications of the facts if the facts are even important him or her.  Why bother.  But his election might be the beginning of the end of that kind of mindless partisanship, and a return to, at least here in Connecticut, the last era of independent thought in which party didn't matter.  It was who you were, what you believed and what you had done that counted.  The candidate who beat Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic senate primary, Ned Lamont, is running for governor now, and he has been the only candidate of either party who has actually said anything substantive in his television ads rather than slamming the other candidates.  If he wins this primary, and if he then wins in November, there is a chance that maybe...finally...we have arrived as a democracy, which means that the people rule, not the political parties.   

Your friend,

Mike

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