Election, Inc.

There are myriad reasons to find the Democratic Party’s traveling shitshow depressing. Not least among these is the open secret that said party is not actually a political party, but a mere branding operation.

But that is really the point, TCT would remind.

Just as U.S. mass media are, if viewed in proper institutional perspective, a mere subordinate vector within the larger matrix of corporate marketing, so is what passes, in this broken society, for politics.

Just as we wrongly tend to perceive TV and mobile devices as the larger, deeper, primary entity vis-a-vis corporate sponsorship, so we continue to treat the incoherent personality duel that now constitutes our method of choosing our more liberal figureheads as something natural and primary. It is, in fact, no such thing.

One major clue to the actual reality that this is all just a way of filling content hours in between ad breaks is the 18-month length of the charade. Who benefits from that? Nobody but the corporate media and their sponsors, i.e. the runaway American overclass.

Other clues to the gestural nature of the thing abound, of course. Consider, for instance, all the elementary and obvious things it would take to make the United States an actual democracy. Abolition or fundamental reform of the Senate and elimination of the Electoral College would have to top such a list. No candidate, of course, will do anything but meekly hint at even half of this.

One might also ask why the Democratic Party chooses only personages from the corporate eyeball-and-eardrum farms to ask the debate questions, as if that is a natural thing. The answer there is not hard to decipher, if also unmentioned and unmentionable.

Ah, Love Those Market Reforms…

Remember “welfare reform?”  You know, the capitalist’s wet dream it took a Democratic Party regime to deliver?

Guess what?  Yep:

WASHINGTON — Despite soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls last year, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years.

The trends, based on an analysis of new state data collected by The New York Times, raise questions about how well a revamped welfare system with great state discretion is responding to growing hardships.

Michigan cut its welfare rolls 13 percent, though it was one of two states whose October unemployment rate topped 9 percent. Rhode Island, the other, had the nation’s largest welfare decline, 17 percent.

Of the 12 states where joblessness grew most rapidly, eight reduced or kept constant the number of people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the main cash welfare program for families with children. Nationally, for the 12 months ending October 2008, the rolls inched up a fraction of 1 percent.

The deepening recession offers a fresh challenge to the program, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 amid bitter protest and became one of the most closely watched social experiments in modern memory.

The program, which mostly serves single mothers, ended a 60-year-old entitlement to cash aid, replacing it with time limits and work requirements, and giving states latitude to discourage people from joining the welfare rolls. While it was widely praised in the boom years that followed, skeptics warned it would fail the needy when times turned tough.

Makes one eager for the coming Democrat-mandated glories like calling still more semantic tricks “health care reform,” including the open possibility of making it illegal to not purchase private “health insurance,” and “finally” getting down to “reforming” the utterly functional, distinctively non-broken (except for the regressiveness of its dedicated tax) Social Security system, doesn’t it?