Circus Politics: Will Our Freedoms Survive Another Presidential Election?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.” ? Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Adding yet another layer of farce to an already comical spectacle, the 2016 presidential election has been given its own reality show. Presented by Showtime, The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth will follow the various presidential candidates from now until Election Day.

As if we need any more proof that politics in America has been reduced to a three-ring circus complete with carnival barkers, acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, lion tamers, animal trainers, tight rope walkers, freaks, strong men, magicians, snake charmers, fire eaters, sword swallowers, knife throwers, ringmasters and clowns.

Truly, who needs bread and circuses when you have the assortment of clowns and contortionists that are running for the White House?

No matter who wins the presidential election come November, it’s a sure bet that the losers will be the American people.

Despite what is taught in school and the propaganda that is peddled by the media, the 2016 presidential election is not a populist election for a representative. Rather, it’s a gathering of shareholders to select the next CEO, a fact reinforced by the nation’s archaic electoral college system.

Anyone who believes that this election will bring about any real change in how the American government does business is either incredibly naïve, woefully out-of-touch, or oblivious to the fact that as an in-depth Princeton University study shows, we now live in an oligarchy that is “of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.”

When a country spends close to $5 billion to select what is, for all intents and purposes, a glorified homecoming king or queen to occupy the White House, while 46 million of its people live in poverty, nearly 300,000 Americans are out of work, and more than 500,000 Americans are homeless, that’s a country whose priorities are out of step with the needs of its people.

As author Noam Chomsky rightly observed, “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars.”

In other words, we’re being sold a carefully crafted product by a monied elite who are masters in the art of making the public believe that they need exactly what is being sold to them, whether it’s the latest high-tech gadget, the hottest toy, or the most charismatic politician.

As political science professor Gene Sharp notes in starker terms, “Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.”

To put it another way, the Establishment—the shadow government and its corporate partners that really run the show, pull the strings and dictate the policies, no matter who occupies the Oval Office—are not going to allow anyone to take office who will unravel their power structures. Those who have attempted to do so in the past have been effectively put out of commission.

So what is the solution to this blatant display of imperial elitism disguising itself as a populist exercise in representative government?

Stop playing the game. Stop supporting the system. Stop defending the insanity. Just stop.

Washington thrives on money, so stop giving them your money. Stop throwing your hard-earned dollars away on politicians and Super PACs who view you as nothing more than a means to an end. There are countless worthy grassroots organizations and nonprofits working in your community to address real needs like injustice, poverty, homelessness, etc. Support them and you’ll see change you really can believe in in your own backyard.

Politicians depend on votes, so stop giving them your vote unless they have a proven track record of listening to their constituents, abiding by their wishes and working hard to earn and keep their trust.

Stop buying into the lie that your vote matters. Your vote doesn’t elect a president. Despite the fact that there are 218 million eligible voters in this country (only half of whom actually vote), it is the electoral college, made up of 538 individuals handpicked by the candidates’ respective parties, that actually selects the next president.

The only thing you’re accomplishing by taking part in the “reassurance ritual” of voting is sustaining the illusion that we have a democratic republic. What we have is a dictatorship, or as political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page more accurately term it, we are suffering from an “economic élite domination.”

Of course, we’ve done it to ourselves.

The American people have a history of choosing bread-and-circus distractions over the tedious work involved in self-government.

As a result, we have created an environment in which the economic elite (lobbyists, corporations, monied special interest groups) could dominate, rather than insisting that the views and opinions of the masses—“we the people”—dictate national policy. As the Princeton University oligarchy study indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. As such, the citizenry has little if any impact on the policies of government.

We allowed our so-called representatives to distance themselves from us, so much so that we are prohibited from approaching them in public, all the while they enjoy intimate relationships with those who can pay for access—primarily the Wall Street financiers. There are 131 lobbyists to every Senator, reinforcing concerns that the government represents the corporate elite rather than the citizenry.

We said nothing while our elections were turned into popularity contests populated by individuals better suited to be talk-show hosts rather than intelligent, reasoned debates on issues of domestic and foreign policy by individuals with solid experience, proven track records and tested integrity.

We turned our backs on things like wisdom, sound judgment, morality and truth, shrugging them off as old-fashioned, only to find ourselves saddled with lying politicians incapable of making fair and impartial decisions.

We let ourselves be persuaded that those yokels in Washington could do a better job of running this country than we could. It’s not a new problem. As former Senator Joseph S. Clark Jr. acknowledged in a 1955 article titled, “Wanted: Better Politicians”: “[W]e have too much mediocrity in the business of running the government of the country, and it troubles me that this should be so at a time of such complexity and crisis… Government by amateurs, semi-pros, and minor-leaguers will not meet the challenge of our times. We must realize that it takes great competence to run a country which, in spite of itself, has succeeded to world leadership in a time of deadly peril.”

We indulged our craving for entertainment news at the expense of our need for balanced reporting by a news media committed to asking the hard questions of government officials. The result, as former congressman Jim Leach points out, leaves us at a grave disadvantage: “At a time when in-depth analysis of the issues of the day has never been more important, quality journalism has been jeopardized by financial considerations and undercut by purveyors of ideology who facilely design news, like clothes, to appeal to a market segment.”

We bought into the fairytale that politicians are saviors, capable of fixing what’s wrong with our communities and our lives, when in fact, most politicians lead such sheltered lives that they have no clue about what their constituents must do to make ends meet. As political scientists Morris Fiorina and Samuel Abrams conclude, “In America today, there is a disconnect between an unrepresentative political class and the citizenry it purports to represent. The political process today not only is less representative than it was a generation ago and less supported by the citizenry, but the outcomes of that process are at a minimum no better.”

We let ourselves be saddled with a two-party system and fooled into believing that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats, when in fact, the two parties are exactly the same. As one commentator noted, both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty.

Then, when faced with the prospect of voting for the lesser of two evils, many simply compromise their principles and overlook the fact that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Perhaps worst of all, we allowed the cynicism of our age and the cronyism and corruption of Beltway politics to discourage us from believing that there was any hope for the American experiment in liberty.

Granted, it’s easy to become discouraged about the state of our nation. We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.

It’s harder to believe that change is possible, that the system can be reformed, that politicians can be principled, that courts can be just, that good can overcome evil, and that freedom will prevail.

So where does that leave us?

Benjamin Franklin provided the answer. As the delegates to the Constitutional Convention trudged out of Independence Hall on September 17, 1787, an anxious woman in the crowd waiting at the entrance inquired of Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic,” Franklin replied, “if you can keep it.”

What Franklin meant, of course, is that when all is said and done, we get the government we deserve.

A healthy, representative government is hard work. It takes a citizenry that is informed about the issues, educated about how the government operates, and willing to make the sacrifices necessary to stay involved, whether that means forgoing Monday night football in order to attend a city council meeting or risking arrest by picketing in front of a politician’s office.

Most of all, it takes a citizenry willing to do more than grouse and complain.

We must act—and act responsibly—keeping in mind that the duties of citizenship extend beyond the act of voting.

The powers-that-be want us to believe that our job as citizens begins and ends on Election Day. They want us to believe that we have no right to complain about the state of the nation unless we’ve cast our vote one way or the other. They want us to remain divided over politics, hostile to those with whom we disagree politically, and intolerant of anyone or anything whose solutions to what ails this country differ from our own.

What they don’t want us talking about is the fact that the government is corrupt, the system is rigged, the politicians don’t represent us, the electoral college is a joke, most of the candidates are frauds, and, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we as a nation are repeating the mistakes of history—namely, allowing a totalitarian state to reign over us.

Former concentration camp inmate Hannah Arendt warned against this when she wrote, “No matter what the specifically national tradition or the particular spiritual source of its ideology, totalitarian government always transformed classes into masses, supplanted the party system, not by one-party dictatorships, but by mass movement, shifted the center of power from the army to the police, and established a foreign policy openly directed toward world domination.”

Clearly, “we the people” have a decision to make.

Do we simply participate in the collapse of the American republic as it degenerates toward a totalitarian regime, or do we take a stand at this moment in history and reject the pathetic excuse for government that is being fobbed off on us?

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Ignatius's picture

The Presidential selection has little to do with the gain/loss of our freedoms.  The real powers make sure of this.

Timmay's picture

"2 is the minimum number required to maintain the illusion of choice, it is also the maximum number allowed to keep absolute control." - Timmay

Supernova Born's picture

Trump has and will continue to upset the MSM oligarch applecart.

As far as the debate, Trump says he will talk to Rupert Murdoch or nobody.

Trump knows who dictates the message of Faux News.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Circus if fun, especially dancing bear, but clown with squirrel hair is scare woman and children, so, um, maybe is nyet!

Supernova Born's picture

Neocons hate Trump as they hate Putin.

Neocons won't tolerate a leader looking out for his country against globalist oligarchs.

Sellamillionfishbymail's picture
Sellamillionfishbymail (not verified) Supernova Born Jan 27, 2016 10:50 PM

Withdrawing consent is the only moral option. When you vote you make yourself party to murder, slavery, and theft.

There is no way to morally justify any government in any country bar none, no exceptions, period.

Its nice to think about how we might be able to "change the system", but when it comes down to it we just need to confront the elephant in the room.

It is a LIE that men need other men to rule them. Like believing in Santa Claus of the Easter Bunny, it is simply something that we as a species need to "grow out of."

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) Sellamillionfishbymail Jan 28, 2016 12:18 AM

Some Trump quotes for the Trumptards:

"That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand. (with the Russian people)"

"When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength."

(And how would President Trump handle it?) "He would believe very strongly in extreme military strength. ... he’d have a huge military arsenal..."

He is beyond a neocon.  You fucktards are the same people who get fooled into putting up a neocon every single election.

Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) Stainless Steel Rat Jan 28, 2016 5:07 AM

Hillary, is that you?

DownWithYogaPants's picture

I am ok with people not voting as long as you are a Hillary voter

If you are a Trump voter must still vote.

I need more asshats's picture

Fuck you yogapants! Trumpo the Clown will lose to Hillary. Do the math.

There is no need for an election, Hillary has already won.

Goodnight Trumpo the Clown!

Dental Floss Tycoon's picture

 [W]e have too much mediocrity in the business of running the government”

That's true. But if the economic elites are running the country why would it matter whether those in government were mediocre?

It will take something more revolutionary than an election to bring about change.  

Has there ever been a time that power was taken from a ruling elite without blood?


Took Red Pill's picture

"A healthy, representative government is hard work. It takes a citizenry that is informed about the issues, educated about how the government operates, and willing to make the sacrifices..." There lies the problem! One difference between Ben Franklin's time and ours is they didn't have television.

new game's picture

"Washington thrives on money, so stop giving them your money."

stopped right there(reading). hello, the fed creates fiat, all else is a flow to deficets, intentional, to create moar fiat debt to keep expansion of debt as usery enslavement from it's 1913 creation.

ending the fed would end this control...

where does trump stand on this?

Grimaldus's picture

The math says progressive murdering felon bitch Hillary goes to jail.


I'm lovin me some Donald Trump and will vote for him. Trump is gonna break it off in some progressive criminal ass.









Father Thyme's picture

You've got a big mouth and small brain, typical of anarchists.


Those who refuse to support and defend a state have no claim to protection by that state. Killing an anarchist or a pacifist should not be defined as “murder” in a legalistic sense. The offense against the state, if any, should be “Using deadly weapons inside city limits,” or “Creating a traffic hazard,” or “Endangering bystanders,” or other misdemeanor. However, the state may reasonably place a closed season on these exotic asocial animals whenever they are in danger of becoming extinct. An authentic buck pacifist has rarely been seen off Earth, and it is doubtful that any have survived the trouble there...regrettable, as they had the biggest mouths and the smallest brains of any of the primates. The small-mouthed variety of anarchist has spread through the Galaxy at the very wave front of the Diaspora; there is no need to protect them. But they often shoot back.

--Robert Heinlein (Notebooks of Lazarus Long)

N2OJoe's picture

Spoken like a good serf. There are enough lampposts around for you to occupy one next to your massa's when TSHTF.

Dr. Spin's picture

Hey Sella,

Espcially when you consider the fact that we are helping them build the "Panopticon" via M$, FB, AAPL, AMZN, and GOOG, et. al. 

We are slitting our own throats. Those who refuse to submit and be assimilated will see the noose continually getting tighter around their necks.  The engineers of this future have no compunction about sacrificing us.

If you don't take a knee, the machine will eat you. 

I need more asshats's picture

Hey Doc, where'd you get the PhD? The Stupid School?

Dr. Spin's picture

Hi asshat,

Do you have anything material to say?

Here, maybe this will help:


OverTheHedge's picture

But to my mind, you need to tell them that you have withdrawn your consent: just failing to vote will be taken as implicit consent to the status quo - i.e. you can't be bothered to vote, because everything is hunky-dory.

I upset Ms Crient a while ago by suggesting that she spoil her ballot - turns out you yanks don't actually get a piece of paper to vote/wipe your arse on, and yet you spend 5 billion on the election. I think priorities might have been misplaced at some point.

By all means withhold your consent, but please, tell the scumbags you're doing it, otherwise they will just carry on regardless. (All right, they will carry on irrespective of your lone voice, but add them all together, and you get....democracy?)

OverTheHedge's picture

But to my mind, you need to tell them that you have withdrawn your consent: just failing to vote will be taken as implicit consent to the status quo - i.e. you can't be bothered to vote, because everything is hunky-dory.

I upset Ms Crient a while ago by suggesting that she spoil her ballot - turns out you yanks don't actually get a piece of paper to vote/wipe your arse on, and yet you spend 5 billion on the election. I think priorities might have been misplaced at some point.

By all means withhold your consent, but please, tell the scumbags you're doing it, otherwise they will just carry on regardless. (All right, they will carry on irrespective of your lone voice, but add them all together, and you get....democracy?)

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Trump wrote the book -- The Art of The Deal.

He will make The Deal with Neocons, and not their Goyim water boys on TV.  Mark my words.

I need more asshats's picture

Kirk you are suffocating your brain up in your zzzzZero Oxygen atmosphere spaceship!

Trumpo the Clown is controlled by the NYC joo mafia and as such won't do anything that he is not instructed to do especially making "his" deals.


Bloodgroove's picture

Boris, I've bee around these parts for about six years now.  Which only means I've been reading your comments for quite some time.  You never fail to set me to laughing.  Thanks.


buyingsterling's picture

Here's the debate that we really want to see on Fox:

(Don't read sober)

OldPhart's picture

(Don't read sober)

Advice tooken.

Dr. Spin's picture

Hey Phart,

Did you mean "token"?


DownWithYogaPants's picture is pretty good.  Not many entries yet.  Good take down on Megan K.

RiverRoad's picture

Supernova Born:

Agree.  Trump is the first candidate who has shown any willingness to poke a finger in the eye of TPTB.

To the author of this cop-out article: 

If you think that politics in America is "a three ring circus" then go and write in Ron Paul or Donald Duck because if your stance is to be a silent, dumb deer in the headlights, you will most certainly consign yourself to oblivion.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

What are these "Freedoms" the author speaks of?  They're long gone.  But keep taking that Hopium.

The next Question(s): "Will the Free-dumbs survive?  How long?"

I need more asshats's picture

He puts the paper lunchbag up to his mouth and breaths deep. Huffing and puffing into the lunchbag!

MountainMan02's picture

I'm interested in learning more. So what exactly do we do? Stop voting, go local, phase out the dollar, and eventually stop paying taxes all together? These are all the steps I'm taking.

I don't get why so many have given up. 

doctor10's picture

American politics is criminally ordered since the JFK assassination. All revolves around different levels of hell related to the ongoing need amongst the American Oligarchy to keep the lid on the theft of of America from its people-lest somehow some of them are convicted. All else is secondary with the same, predictable economic and social spiral that defined the terminal years of the USSR-the other great criminally ordered government of the 20th century.

Criminally ordered governments are a death knell to their citizens. The loss of civil liberties occasioned by the criminal elite attempting to keep a lid on things, precludes the freedoms that define opportunity for an economically productive society.

docinthehouse's picture






Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) docinthehouse Jan 28, 2016 5:10 AM

Free Shit Army!

Bay Area Guy's picture

Here's my take on the candidates:

Clinton - I wouldn't walk across the street to piss on her even if she was on fire

Sanders - Like his stance on stopping eternal war, eliminating domestic spying and on the need for border security.  Can't afford his proposals to pretty much pay for everything for everyone.

Trump - Sorry all you fans of Trump, I just don't believe in him.  I think he's in it for a reality show or some other scheme that will profit him.

Bush - Enough said.  Great if you want a continuation of the last 28 years (yes, 4 years of daddy, 8 years of Slick Bill, 8 years of Junior and 8 years of Obama).  God how time flies.

Cruz - In the bankers' back pockets, plus he seems to change his stance on issues depending on what Trump says, so he has a spine of Jello.

Rubio - Impresses me as being a dark skinned version of Jeb.  Doesn't seem like there's anything there.

Paul - I don't know.  He's not his old man by any stretch of the imagination.  He just seems way too opportunistic for me to be able to trust him.

I do vote because of the myriad number of state and local propositions on the ballot in every California election.  And since I know everyone is waiting with vote for Pres is going to:


Obi Wan Kenobi (the Alec Guiness version, not the jerk off Ewan McGregor version)

Sages wife's picture

Yeah but, "I know a bad deal when I see it."  Gold. The man is spewing gold.

knukles's picture

I'll probably just write in Ron Paul, again.  Vote for the establishment of the FEMA camps all to be in CA (good jobs), vote against anything green, recycling or saving water (because it's all bogus shit by the time it hits the ballots as a Proposition, anyhow) vote against any taxes supposedly destined or dedicated to any specific purpose because said accounts are always absorbed into the General Fund within a year but the taxes continue (MOAR Bogus Shit) vote against Max Waters, Nazi Pelozi, Barbara Boxer or anybody else near as dumb, vote for seceding from the union, elect the local sheriff who's in favor of defending the Constitution (He's the only guy in politics who says anything about it and he's the guy who enforces crap dealing with that ... Imagine, the lowly local sheriff) ...  oh, and vote Republican for the state houses because if a super-majority (kinda) then the Dems can raise taxes without getting voter approval, and y'all can figure out what happens with that kinda carte blanche (And yes, in CA that at the state level do matter big assed time with taxes)

matermaker's picture

knuckles, I always rather enjoyed your posts...    Take it from a man who underdstand nature and farming.   There comes a time when it is nescearry to cull the flock of sheep.    When even those running for office are 'culls', it's time to close your gates.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Vote for Trump or don't bother voting.  You'll be not only wasting your time but OUR time too.

Yen Cross's picture

 Knuks is the Rantinator... I like it.

OldPhart's picture

None of the fucking above.


If the majority voted that as a write in there would be hell to pay.

FrankDrakman's picture

Just curious, because I've never used one. How do you 'write in' a candidate on a Diebold machine? 

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

1. Cruz needs to dial it down, as he can NOT beat Hillary.  Trump can and will.

2. Cruz's best play is for the VP job.  That way, his GS ties will keep tabs on Trump also.  Real Politik 2016.

3. And the Ziocons need to realize that the best and enduring deals are made when two skilled equals negotiate them: Trump and Putin.  Hillary would be an unmitigated disaster, if the Ziocons bothered to think things through.  

4. The MIC are out of control anyway, but they can be useful and profitable, if Trump redirects their Biz Models toward (a) US Infrastructure, and (b) Space Exploration.  Are there any MIC MBA's still worth their salt, or are they all Droids these days?  Geez!

DownWithYogaPants's picture

I think Trump needs to buy himself some ass-as-a-nation insurance in the form of someone the bankers like even less than him.  How about like Ron Paul?

Shit if he made RoPaul his VP you would see Bernanke, Greenspan and Yellen in black tennis shoes next to the Trump motorcade running interference in the Secret Cervix detail.

I need more asshats's picture

Excuse me, can you two give me directions to the Trumpo pep rally?

Oldwood's picture

So apathy is preferable to delusion? Sounds like two sides of the same coin.

Mr.BlingBling's picture

Evaluating the situation and then consciously not voting is not apathy.

Oldwood's picture

If your vote makes no difference, then voting or not should be irrelevant and as such, pointless in making a distinction. But if not voting does make a difference, then it must be in protest, suggesting that somehow the lack of your vote somehow removes credibility and therefore the power of the elected office. Given that half of America does not vote already, I would submit this as proof of your protest fallacy. If your protest is supposed to gain power in its effect through growing numbers of the disaffected,, please indicate where this has proven out. Tyrants have existed throughout history with no need of popular support. Your wish to escape responsibility through self censorship is a failed experiment that only succeeds in your own ideological mind. If you haven't noticed it's all going down the tubes without you. Your vote may well have never mattered but you will never know. But you will be free to rationalize it in your mind in any way you choose.