To dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow
-- R. Zimmerman
Never underestimate the power of the American people. To raise the rotted, decrepit corpse of the Republican Party from the grave like Lazarus and make it appear full of life and vigor, if even for one night, is quite the trick. What does that say about our pathetic Democratic Party? Well, it's a confirmation that the Democrats regained power on the cheap in 2006 and 2008. There was no great rethinking or years of organizing from the ground-up. No, just a fat and happy Democratic D.C. political class waiting for the public to become completely exhausted by 30 years of Republican rule so the Democrats could get back and divvy up the spoils of an increasingly corrupt and dysfunctional political economy. But remember, even that was difficult. The D.C. Democrats had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Howard Dean and the Internet crowd to oppose the wars, which was the determining factor in the '06 election and a major determinate in '08. Once in, that was quickly forgotten.
No doubt the Republicans will make the same mistake in misinterpreting these most recent results. This was the ultimate "none of the above" election, with the Republicans playing the part of none. What will come next? Our completely broken and corrupt politics will now turn to focus on who will next wear the purple, but think about it. Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, the Clintons, Bush II, and Obama: the real question should be, why would we want to elect another president?
We have no functioning politics in this country. I'm afraid we can continue down this path of swapping out one failed lot for the other for a long time, with one continuity: the bipartisan looting of America by our political class, Wall Street, and the mega-corporations. Our politics needs fundamental reform. Our economy needs fundamental reform. This is only going to be accomplished by coming together and figuring out what political economy should be in the 21st century and then implementing the change. The first step is understanding we have a problem, that things can't continue the way they are, nor are they going back to how they were. That is where we are.
Joe Costello was communications director for Jerry Brown’s 1992 presidential campaign and was a senior adviser for Howard Dean’s effort in 2004.