Author: Rafael Wolf | Libertarian Candidate, Michigan House of Representatives
Editor: Bonnie Warren
Have you ever wondered why you don’t hear about primary elections for third parties such as the Green Party or the Libertarian Party during “primary season”? All you ever see are “Democratic primaries” or “Republican primaries”. If you are politically aware, you may recall one Libertarian Primary that took place right here in Michigan during the 2018 election cycle. A Libertarian Primary, or any third party primary in the State of Michigan, is an anomaly because third parties are forced to only partake in a primary by state law and only in a particular instance as we will see. What is a “Primary Election“? Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “Duh, everyone knows what a primary is, dummy!” Well, do they? Lets explore…
Highlights to think about throughout our discussion:
- The “duopoly” as a private business (Democratic / Republican Parties are a singular “Party”)
- Foundations of modern political argument, the 1930’s – 1950’s
- Cold War, red scare, and political opposition to the establishment (third parties)
- Coke vs Pepsi (Both taste great but are less filling!)
- Elections in The United States are not free or fair
- Systemic infrastructures of propaganda and “PR” (Public Relations) against third parties
Mind-Boggling Historical Context of How We Got Here
Did you know that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are private businesses? They are not public institutions. This concept is foundational to our understanding of why we hold political primaries, and why these primaries only benefit the duopoly. The duopoly, a name assigned to the combined forces of the Democratic and Republican Parties, has enshrined itself into legislation that identifies its subsidiaries as major political parties.
“As used in this act, ‘major political party’ means each of the 2 political parties whose candidate for the office of secretary of state received the highest and second highest number of votes at the immediately preceding general election in which a secretary of state was elected.”MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW (EXCERPT): Act 116 of 1954
Did you catch that line? “…each of the 2 political parties.” Democrats and Republicans are using state law to guarantee that they will be “different,” or “special,” and have been doing so since 1954. As you start to think about political parties in the context that they are businesses, that they run as a business and are marketed like a business, Michigan Act 116 of 1954 is the first step in “product differentiation“. The declaration, at that time, that the establishment political powers are “special,” means they receive additional benefits which gives them specific political advantages. They can make special laws that apply only to them, they can make processes that only they can follow, they can establish public narratives along the lines that the product they are peddling is a premium product vs the generic and likely cheaper brand of those other parties.
A political party whose principal candidate received less than 5% of the total vote cast for all candidates for the office of secretary of state in the last preceding state election, either in the state or in any political subdivision affected, shall not make its nominations by the direct primary method. The nomination of all candidates of such parties shall be made by means of caucuses or conventions which shall be held and the names of the party’s nominations filed at the time and manner provided in section 686a of this act.MICHIGAN ELECTION LAW (EXCERPT) | Act 116 of 1954
Notice how, with the stroke of a pen, the two dominant parties of 1954 established a barrier of 5% to block any additional parties from behaving like them, being categorized like them, or receiving the honor and privilege to be included in a primary, thereby relegating all other parties to second class partydom.
If a third Party Secretary of State candidate does not obtain 5% of the total vote in the preceding general election, the party is branded as not worthy of a primary and excluded from the primary process. These laws should be removed and replaced with fairer laws specifying how all political parties in the state of Michigan must caucus, placing the financial burden of these activities back onto the parties themselves and not the tax payers or the secretarial infrastructure of the state (clerks, secretaries, etc. at county, township, and city levels) who publicly fund the primary process. This would begin making the election process in Michigan more fair. It would take away legislated branding advantage and special treatment. Perhaps the press would begin to pay some attention to third parties prior to the 11th hour of a general election? The duopoly even provides state funds, a ludicrous $1.125 million dollars for the general election to disperse separately to the two major party candidates; of course the Democratic and Republican candidates qualify easily from the word “go.”
(1) A major political party nominee is entitled to an amount from the state campaign fund of not more than $1,125,000.00 for a general election. A candidate, subject to law, may raise the remaining amount of the permissible expenditure limit in private contributions. An eligible candidate in a general election may elect to accept partial payment of money from the state campaign fund and instead raise private contributions as provided by law that, when added to the amount received from the state campaign fund, do not exceed the expenditure limit designated in section 67.MICHIGAN CAMPAIGN FINANCE ACT (EXCERPT) | Act 388 of 1976
Notice, it says “A major political party nominee is entitled“, indeed they are. They had defined who that is in 1954. The duopoly establishment does make money available to “minor political party” nominees, but it places barriers to entry by using a funky math equation of multiplication and division to limit funds. The proverbial deck is unequivocally stacked in favor of the duopoly, rigged in very deep ways you may not understand if you erroneously assume team blue and team red are not part of the system. They are, however, very much part of the system due to their early head start setting up rules to keep other parties out and erecting a system of exclusion. They built the system, over decades, through many administrations. They continue to benefit from this barrier-gilded infrastructure that has been carefully and craftily constructed over time.
Now why might political parties in 1954 be interested in locking themselves into the public consciousnesses as “major” parties? Where did this idea even come from? How did we end up here? How is it we find ourselves in this particular situation today? History can be our guide when examining these questions. We begin by first evaluating the past in order to make sense of the present. Looking backward and then moving forward, we discover the answers. With respect to the above questions, we learn these truths: because of constructs like McCarthyism and “the Truman Doctrine” of anti-Communism now finding ourselves trapped in the quagmire of contemporary politics. A quagmire of public discourse, party propaganda, state department PR, news media disinformation and more that requires contextual understanding of history to sort out.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order requiring a “loyalty” screening for all federal civil-service employees (over 3 million employees at that time and in place for almost 50 years!). Their goal was to root out dangerous persons sympathetic to, or members of, any organizations defined as “totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive.” (Hopefully, readers, the irony of this is not lost on you). Public support of communism, among other movements like that of the KKK, and Nazi Party during this time, were a threat to the established duopoly powers, including their corporate backers who were continually threatened by worker unionization and union political power. The Attorney General of the United States created a list of “subversives” or subversive organizations that could threaten the establishment called AGLOSO (Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations). The “Truman Doctrine” essentially underpins contemporary US “cold war” policy. The Truman Doctrine is a pledge by the United States to “contain Communism,” particularly Soviet Communism and Marxism–Leninism even if it is only a perceived threat and not an actual threat. These systems put in place were later used to fight and dismantle, often with police violence against the movement, perceived threats to political power like the Black Panther Party. In US politics there is a desire to always fight a boogieman whether perceived or real and why you often hear the language of “war”. Today you hear these same voices on the political left and right in the United States, which are both anti-communist, anti-Marxist, anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, etc, i.e. the US vs. Russia, US vs. China, US vs. Venezuela, capitalism vs. communism, capitalism vs. Marxism, us vs. them, good vs. evil. Binary ways of thinking is one of many diseases we need to cure in our nation. Welcome to another “wash, rinse, and repeat” cycle of history in the United States, the inevitable end result when you continue supporting the established two party system. Do you think anti-Russian rhetoric is new? It is a political tool used in any number of ways but primarily to solidify a voters support against a common threat or common enemy. The United States and the parties running it, at the behest of corporate overlords, do not promote peace preferring instead war. Nothing changes, it is a playbook. Russia is always a boogieman and if they are not politically convenient to vilify, perhaps China, Cuba, Venezuela, terrorism, big tech, a third party or the poor! Consider the The Fast and the Furious film franchise. Was the 10th movie fundamentally that different than the 1st one? Of course not, the franchise, as many other franchises, including the Democratic and Republican franchises, are formulaic. They are a recipe. The last and latest film is simply a repackaging of the previous films. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the common enemy progressively became anyone who was not democratic or republican in his/her philosophies, aka “an American”, regardless of the ideological merit presented. Child labor laws? Communism! A woman’s right to vote? A “red plot”! The “new deal” of the 1930s was in fact the foundation and birth of “left vs. right” ideology in the United States. During the 1930s, the terms “liberal” and “conservative” were coined. “The Left” solidified its political philosophy, as did “The Right,” although, given time, each political faction has been known to reverse its philosophical position on a particular issue, including degrees of warmth or cold to Russia and China.
Politics in the United States is an evolving process whereby directional reversals result from external forces in volatile and reactionary ways. The establishment often passes laws to slow, block, or perhaps promote, any changes the self-serving duopoly and its backers want to evoke.
The duopoly, like the United States itself, is a business model. It strives to remain in business, and does so as a subsidiary or sister corporation to its parent company. Sometimes members of the duopoly that make law, control budgets, monetary policy, etc are a member of both the corporate power establishment and the subsidiaries in Washington DC or Lansing. Think, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, Peter Meijer and even our Governor Gretchen Whitmer who’s roots run deep in the business community here in the State of Michigan and there are many more. Whitmers father was not only involved in government under the Milliken administration but was the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for almost 20 years. These are just some of the American oligarchs that come to mind who live in both worlds of the political and corporate power structure ruling class. Corporations and their business interests control the United States by their subsidiary, the duopoly, a proxy mechanism of central control. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! The Democratic and Republican Parties exist to control the possession of political power by any means necessary, historically that is through legislation (rules) and sometimes physical force. They make money as subsidiary businesses for their specific “parent companies” in mutually beneficial and symbiotic ways. The parent companies owned and run by wealthy individuals are large political contributors to a number of institutions in the political infrastructure. They give gross sums of money to such things as Super PACs and PACs. Huge political advantages exist permanently rooting the establishment into power. Movements on the left and right are not “grass roots” but rather are manufactured as such promoted by PR and marketing efforts as being so. In Michigan, the “Unlock Michigan” crowd seem to think their “movement” to defy Governor Whitmers COVID-19 “lock down” and strip her emergency power declaration ability is “grass roots,” but it is not. It is a corporate sponsored attack by a political rival, the Michigan Republican Party as noted in this complaint filed with the courts (link) alleging that the group was given $660,200 dollars in “donations” and that they have somehow violated campaign finance laws. The allegations are probably true and too technical to discuss here. This example demonstrates that this “movement”, perceived as “grass roots” is in fact well funded, organized with corporate sponsorship by Republican opposition proxy organizations in a struggle for political power. The groups funding is not grass roots at all but is promoted as such. Thanks to corporate contributors to Super Packs and “dark money” political organizations like “Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility,” the group behind “Unlock Michigan,” a Republican based proxy organization with individually wealthy donors, they can fight a political proxy war on any number of issues making it look like something it is not. With money, they manufacture support. The political left also has their paramilitary style proxy organizations to fight in their stead on any number of fronts with similarly wealthy individuals to financially support their efforts. Things like “the green new deal” come to mind which we will discuss in an environmental piece. These things primarily involve a small number of wealthy people controlling the narrative and actions sucking in the majority of actors (citizens) who are blissfully unaware of how they are being mentally manipulated by their puppet masters. The establishment has monetary help to maintain their subsidiary business interests in power through political infrastructure like primaries, like fake “grass roots” organizations, like “think tanks”, like rubber stamped and accredited “intellectuals” with PHD’s. Through these mechanisms, they maintain a duopoly or oligopoly power structure, over time they raise significant barriers to entry by any worthwhile competitors (e.g. laws declaring themselves as “major”, with monetary support and state sponsored primary races), they use paramilitary organizations outside the bounds of direct government control to attack their opposition with an almost limitless supply of monetary munitions thanks to laws passed like “Citizens United,” which is really more like “corporations and the wealthy united,” and they fight proxy wars against each other which distracts the majority of the population from how it all works or what the goals are of things like alleged “grass roots” movements. Does any of this sound “free” or “fair”?
A duopoly is a situation where two companies together own all, or nearly all, of the market for a given product or service. A duopoly is the most basic form of oligopoly, a market dominated by a small number of companies. A duopoly can have the same impact on the market as a monopoly if the two players collude on prices or output.Investopedia: What is a duopoly?
When two competing businesses collude to maintain their market domination, with the help of their corporate backers via fund-raising, making laws, enforcing laws, picking winners and losers, setting up proxy organizations to wage political war, what we have here, folks, is a system analogous to the infamous Coke vs. Pepsi “cola war” of the 1980s. Competing businesses that collude on overall message, influence, marketing dollar distribution, and access to markets, thereby creating barriers to entry by any other competitor (i.e. third parties). They can continue battling each other and ignore all other competitors, simply because they can. This is how the game works; it’s all part of the show. The system was, and still is, designed for only two controlling forces. In the cola war, Coke invented “New Coke” (it did not go over well) and Pepsi invented “Pepsi Clear” or “Crystal Pepsi” (it, too, did not go over well). Consumers still bought New Coke and Pepsi Clear, complaining all the way. There simply were no other comparable cola products to purchase. Like Coke and Pepsi, any notable change in politics is unlikely to go over well, however, when people are only given a binary choice, they will continue to buy one or another comparable version of the current system, complaining all the way. The duopoly does not invent any new thinking, it simply repackages old ideas as new and clear. This is why you typically see public sentiment oscillate, in a fairly regular fashion, between the two major parties over time. The “ruling party” or “majority party” that is in the pole position when it comes to enacting new laws, quickly angers the public, because the regime becomes “too extreme,” “too fascist,” “too conservative,” “too liberal,” “too whatever,” terms which can be reduced to mere public perception anyway. Add in “too powerful” and “too owned-by-corporate-interests” and I am right there with you!
The duopoly, cementing itself into power legislatively, financially and with proxy organizations, is foundational to the problem of why the United States cannot progress in areas that truly matter to its citizenry. The interests of the duopoly are not the shared interests of the people, even though the duopoly shouts on a regular basis that they are. The duopoly is sponsored by corporate interests who realize a large return on their investment. The United States is living in the past – there is no need to “Make America Great Again”! There is no need to “Build Back Better”! We can’t even get a new play book! The duopoly peddles Coke as New Coke, Pepsi as Clear Pepsi. In reality, what the duopoly peddles is brown, sugary and not good for you.
Money, Money, Money…MONEY!
In 2020, the “cost” of federal elections swelled to nearly 14 billion dollars. State elections amassed to 1.6 billion dollars (link) for a total of 15.6 billion dollars in overall political spending. Do you genuinely believe it should cost that much money to be elected into office? Why or why not? These costs are exuberant, because election propaganda – the pricey arms race targeted at voters who show up on election day – aims to sway your vote, and this persuasion involves big money with even bigger propaganda campaigns! Major political parties are trying to capture you, your mind, your heart, your being, and your identity. They want to convince you to bleed red or blue. Trillions of dollars are at stake; the winners will control a multi-trillion dollar annual federal budget, possibly even hundreds of trillions, amortized over decades with large state, city and township budgets at local levels. This, ladies and gentleman, non-binary, or otherwise identified readers, is the business model. The winners of an election can control money-printing, interest rates, subsidy, public opinion, international affairs, who we invade, why we invade, what we consume, how we consume, who lives, who dies, who cries, what the narrative is on major platforms with direct access to the media and so much more. Similarly, at the state, county, township, and city levels, the duopoly controls budgets, industries, planning, housing, policing, prisons, corporate subsidies, social welfare programs, healthcare, local laws, and essentially, you. Welcome to the business! You exist as a commodity input somewhere along this food chain. You may think –what? They cannot control me! Oh yeah? The government can actually manipulate your behavior – businesses can manipulate your behavior. Being part of a machine, you can be, to a large degree, controlled in a number of ways (aka “influenced”). It is psychological. You may already know this, or do you? Manipulation can come in the form of a carrot, but watch out for the stick! What prodded you into buying that new car or that type of car? Might it have been at one point in your life because you received a rebate check from the Government? Remember “Cash for Clunkers“? In 2009, Cash for Clunkers spurred millions of individuals, mostly wealthy or middle class, to trade in their old cars for new ones when, if the subsidy were not available, these individuals may have continued using their old cars for a few more years before moving on to a new purchase. What about high gas prices? Might that affect your decision on what type of car you buy? Maybe, thanks to government subsidies and inflated gas prices you are thinking of buying an electric or hybrid vehicle? Did you know that you can earn a rebate from the government for the purchase of a Porsche Spyder ($3667), a BMW i8 Roadster ($5,669), and something called a “Kandi K27” ($7500) that has a sticker price of just $12,000 dollars! That means consumers can purchase a Kandi for just $4500 brand new out of the box! Is it possible high gas prices will drive consumer demand into EV’s and away from inefficient fossil fuel vehicles? Is it possible there are business interests at work here?
As a side note, I think Kandi should play the clip from the LL Cool J album “BAD” when he sings about a girl named Candy during a commercial in the Super Bowl! He says “I…feel…good, yeow, woo…about Candy!”. It would be an awesome commercial seeing your little Kandi, all friendly to the environment, paying no gas tax, easily parked and cheap while playing an old school rap beat from a legend!
There are a multitude of discounted cars on the market, thanks to the ultimate carrot we wascally wabbits love to munch on – a tax credit that motivates the savvy consumer (List link here) to consider an alternate vehicle such as a hybrid or electric automobile. The hypocrisy of the American duopoly rests in the fact that these types of subsidies are not actually “free market.“. Elected officials continually pick winners and losers, they always have. There is power in a system for those who choose winners and losers. With respect to electric vesicles (EVs), officials can win your favor, and your vote, by claiming that they are protecting the environment and saving you money! Is it possible they are subsidizing sales from a Chinese car manufacturer? What happened to America first!?
Subsidy, like the one’s for luxury EV’s, is another competitive advantage the duopoly has over third parties. The plain fact that the oligarchs of America continue to financially back the duopoly means that they have corporate sponsorship because the legislated corporate subsidy drives consumption and benefits to their corporate backers businesses. The duopoly will take your personal fan money in the form of a donation, but truly, these donations are merely chicken feed and tokenism sometimes used in propaganda disseminating their individual donor fund raising numbers to the news media that millions of voters financially contribute to their campaigns. We must all recognize that it is the oligarchs, the deep pocketed sparkly sugar mamas and deep pocketed sugar daddies who have the real power to place elected officials into office. They run things like multi-national corporations, giant news media outlets with access to the political class, and are sometimes independently wealthy. These officials will continue offering the American public subsidized perks that are not ultimately meaningful, serving them with a side dish of perception that these perks are actually helpful. Sugar pills for the public like “stimulus packages,” credits, discounts, loop holes, or sometimes direct helicopter money into your bank account, to stave off losing power which is generally deficit spending, borrowing from the tax payers future. Much of it is actually 21st century “let them eat cake” allowing things to blow over until a crisis cools down, of course, until the next crisis. Third parties cannot compete with freebies. Sometimes, and inaccurately, people think that Libertarians in particular want people to “eat tough turkey”, an idiom similar to “tough luck”. Breaking free from some of these abuses by corporate interests and the duopoly maintaining these systems might be that, tough. Like losing weight, it is not easy! The current political landscape and the greater context around it is in no way an equal playing field. Pay attention to the narrative this political season as it unfolds before you. Pay attention to what is being offered to you and from whom, especially if you promise to vote for a particular candidate. You will often hear things from the electorate like, “What does this candidate have to offer me?” which can be translated, “What freebie will they offer me to buy my vote?” This technique is meant to distract you from reflecting on what the role of government actually is or should be. Should the role of government be to hand out tax credits at all in certain sectors? Why, or why not? If the government is trying to de-carbonize, then why is it still subsidizing big oil carbon producers? That type of rhetoric, these talking points, simply do not make sense when you think about them holistically. Much of what voters expect, think about, and ways in which they view the world, do not ultimately make sense. It often makes little sense because they are being hoodwinked by elected officials who create confusion and fail to bring clarity to most every issue. Make no mistake, this is intentional, and results in job security. It is a politician’s job to contradict herself or himself, to double speak, and to be hypocritical. Remember when Trump got into trouble for being a “pussy grabber” and the political left eventually said “believe women“? As soon as Joe Biden, during the election of 2020, was accused of also being a “pussy grabber,” the political left demanded, “we need an investigation” and did not simply “believe women.” You see, it is a politician’s job to rope-a-dope you, floating like a butterfly while stinging like a hypocrite. This is why there are so many examples of politicians vs themselves in hilarious videos online where they essentially, debate themselves! It is not in any way the job of the duopoly to give you the straight dope on anything. They can’t. If they did, you would not vote for them. There are so many of these hypocritical political shenanigans taking place right now that it is impossible to document them all. Whatever promise you think your politician from the duopoly is going to give you, she or he almost never delivers on the promise, or even tries to deliver. Welcome to the blame game of not getting something done by accusing the opposing party! Consumers of politics, the voters, fall for this strategy – hook, line, and sinker – every time. If you turn on any right leaning media outlet or left leaning media outlet, this is what you get, finger pointing and finger pointing does not solve problems.
Tradition is a powerful force, especially generational tradition. Tradition in political circles is generally reinforced with a deluge of political propaganda, also known as “messaging” or “PR” (Public Relations). This flood of filtered information is a form of indoctrination. Many countries politically indoctrinate their masses by hijacking the education of children, but is the US any different? I pledged allegiance to the flag when I was a child, putting my hand over my heart, but I did not know what this meant. I was taught “history,” but not really. I learned a curated form of history, some partial truths with no acknowledgment of the full historical picture, which was much more broad and inclusive by nature. It was a history and “facts” the rule makers in charge of teacher certification wanted us to be taught with approved guidelines, and approved teaching material. Much of the material was and still is put forth by those working for corporate book publishers, who profit greatly by selling large quantities of highly curated books to the state. The state will not purchase material it does not support, which results in a covert form of censorship, resulting in a dearth of “academic freedom” for both our educators and our students. Essentially, I was taught propaganda. Looking back now, I realize that I was awash in a government, US, “Murica is number one!” indoctrination campaigns, assaulting my young mind. I was, and still am, as an adult, continually bombarded with this messaging, and yes, this technique even occurs on media outlets considered as unfriendly to US policy. However, you won’t last long in the US if you speak against US policy, and expose untruths for what they are – lies. If I die in a mysterious car bombing, you best just remember the good times we shared. Whatever you do, do not go poking around the crime scene. Chalk it up to a faulty wiring harness and move on or you, too, may pay the consequences.
This is not conspiracy – you are a target, you have always been a target. You and your thinking are shaped, molded, intentionally, purposefully. You have been influenced, perhaps far more than you know or realize, primarily by government, the media, interested “powers that be,” your family, religious institutions, big businesses, the people who want social control, etc. I recall President Ronald Reagan’s “war on drugs” and First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “just say no to drugs” campaign when I was a child: “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs,” as an egg is cracked into a hot frying pan on the television. This image made me hungry for breakfast, but that was about it. Looking back, it could also be considered insensitive to flaunt freshly cooked eggs in front of children that might not have a hearty meal opportunity before school. My joking aside about childhood propaganda, the “war on drugs” was far more devastating to the fabric of our nation than you may realize. Yes, if you vote for a duopoly candidate, if you continue supporting their efforts, if you continue, cycle after cycle, to feed the power of the duopoly, you are partially responsible for social injustices like war, oppression, and many other atrocities, both foreign and domestic. The war on drugs which still rages on is another example, and beyond the scope of this article. If you would like to know more, there is an informative book about it, written by Elizabeth Hinton (see below).
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime | The Making of Mass Incarceration in America
Elizabeth Hinton’s book covers the war on poverty, the war on crime, the war on drugs, and finally the war on terror, and describes how each “war on…” is an outgrowth of the previous “war,” and is ultimately a war on our own citizenry. It quite often is a mass surveillance mechanism for social control or to transfer wealth to corporate interests that privately run the prison industrial complex. The history of the United States has evolved into a mythology of goodness, or American “spirit,” that can overcome any challenge or obstacle, is entrepreneurial and strong in nature, and so on, and so on. The America you have been taught, through the propaganda of public education, is an American fantasy land. See my reading list for more information on other books you can read that can help shape your world view in this regard (to be posted).
The fight to control the minds of children is fierce. Wars fought by the political left and right on what to teach our children in school is a hot-topic. It is a political battleground, because young minds can be permanently altered to “obey” and to not “rock the boat.” Children are taught to “just accept it,” like you might often think. Perhaps you think to yourself, “I don’t vote third party because they can’t win,” or “I don’t want to waste my vote.” Welcome to a propagandistic paradigm that is extremely difficult to escape! It reminds me of the John Carpenter movie, a classic dear to my heart, “They Live” (1988). I suppose you can also think of this like “The Matrix,” but I like “They Live” in this instance far better because of the fight scenes and class struggles that take place against the oppressive capitalist aliens. I think it speaks to our time in ways The Matrix does not. The Matrix is often referred to by the right as “red pilling,” which is hilarious, because much of what occurs is actually blue pilling – it is just right wing vs left wing blue pilling, but blue pilling nonetheless. They Live is a masterful piece, and definitely worth a watch if you can pull away to watch it (link to a guy talking about it here). It is a not-so-subtle commentary on class division, capitalism, and mind control. The main character, Nada, becomes “woke” by special sunglasses that filter out the alien propaganda light waves which are masking everyone’s reality. Nada attempts to get Frank, another working class stiff, to “see the true light” only Frank refuses, leading to an epic fight scene wherein Frank is finally forced to see the truth about his world.
The fight scene is so epic, in fact, that Southpark parodied it in one of their cartoon episodes. As silly as this may sound, They Live represents our dystopian present, only, to my knowledge, messages in our world are hidden with slick marketing, PR, and double speak, not alien cloaking technology. Like Nada in They Live, “I am on a mission – I have come to chew bubble gum and kick ass…only I’m all out of bubble gum.”
Your parents, siblings, and community all influence you. Myriads of agencies, social media, celebrities, aka “influencers,” religions, schools, public institutions, retail corporations, authors, etc. all reinforce certain ideas in positive or negative ways, training you to think along particular lines. There is a “sphere of influence” around you, controlled by all kinds of people. Yes, people. Hey, people!
This just happened – unbelievable actually. The White House called in TikTok “stars” to have a chit chat with the State Department, outlining for them what they should tell their millions of followers, or at least, suggesting what they should tell their followers about the war in Ukraine. What we have is the duopoly power structure trying to control a message and narrative in ways that favor the current “crisis.” The “ministry of truth,” or the “ministry of information,” tells “influencers” what to tell their “followers.” This is known as “propaganda” by most who are in-the-know, because much of what the government tells you from places like the State Department needs to be taken with a grain of salt, and, at the very least, vetted. Unlike the movie “They Live,” the government is not even hiding these tactics anymore – they are being accomplished in plain view. You simply have to know what to look for, and how to ask some basic questions. The whole racket becomes absurdly obvious with a little bit of practice.
You should be mindful of who and what influences you. For example, I am attempting to influence you, to not be influenced, right now. If you can decouple your brain from the thinking you have been indoctrinated with and plug your brain into the thinking that you already possess within yourself, to collect facts, sort them, identify what might be unlikely, or straight-up bullshit, then you can organize your thoughts into a logical narrative of your own. You will have a well-informed opinion because you know what the left says, you know what the right says, you know what the middle, up, down, and all-around says about any given topic. Right wingers might call this “doing your own research,“ and while praised on the right, I might be laughed at by the left, because they look to “leadership” and “authoritative sources” for guidance, as if “official sources” in Michigan from the Rick Snyder administration gave you the straight dope on Flint water, as if the George W. Bush administration gave you the straight dope on WMDs, as if the Whitmer administration gave you the straight dope on the catastrophic insurance fund legislation that was passed in an ugly bipartisan fashion, stripping health care benefits from those with severe disabilities to give the majority of voters a $400 dollar rebate check per vehicle (blood money). I could go on, and on, and on. A primary function of the government is to lie and obscure facts or truth. The right also looks to their leadership and “authoritative sources,” regardless of their own personal research, because they are often led by their own right-leaning bias into utilizing sources that are less painful to read, sources that they implicitly agree with. There is science on this! The most recent go-around involves the covid-19 vaccine. Under the Trump administration, the left was skeptical, and the right was more accepting. As soon as Biden took office, you saw a radical shift in opinion. The left was totally on board because they heard the messaging in positive ways from team blue. People on the right that were distrustful of the left, suddenly rejected the idea of the vaccine, the very same vaccine they were warm to when team red was messaging positive aspects about it. Operation Warp Speed! I am not certain how American independence and independent thought became a team sport of the majority of people in our country. The fact that the country has a duopoly (oligopoly) is an indication an overwhelming number of Americans are intellectually captured.
The best way out of this quagmire may be to read, watch, and learn as much as you can about topics like the “primaries.” Think critically about them, ask questions, try to get your hands on some history about them, then come to your own conclusions distrusting in your own assumptions. Very few folks in the media are writing about these issues, creating videos on these topics, or feeding you accurate information regarding the straight dope on political primaries in a holistic, sensible manner. Most influencers are simply revealing to you the current blow-by-blow status in a wrestling match between a baby-face hero, and an evil villain you love to hate. Try to break from tradition, explore, think, question – do not obey. Changing the way you research and think is a lot like working out and eating healthy. It is hard work! If you do it enough, it becomes habit, and you might just one day look attractive in a Euro-trash, male banana hammock, or a two-piece that looks like a one-and-a-half piece, the next time you head out to the lake shore!
Now, Back To The Primaries
Primaries typically only involve “major parties” as previously discussed and noted for a reason, because they have enshrined this exclusionary practice into law. The duopoly also enjoys the benefit of shirking their responsibility to pay for their own business. Instead, they offload the financial burden of inter-party squabbling (primary elections) onto the public, outsource their work to other public officials – like secretaries of state, or clerks at the county, township, and city levels, who are all too happy to oblige, because they, too, are duopoly members. Primaries are democrat vs. democrat, republican vs. republican. Remember, these are private businesses and not public institutions. They have a massive workforce and infrastructure behind them, and are thereby able to continue abusing the tax payer without significant recourse. Originally, public primaries (primary elections) were designed to take power away from “party leaders” who made decisions in “smoke filled rooms.” They were meant to give power to the people, but this power to the people became an illusion. As noted in the ivn.us piece, party leaders are now able to fix or rig a particular election in favor of a preferred candidate anyway, like they did with Clinton vs. Sanders in 2016. Essentially, they can still pick the winner giving the voters an illusion of choice. The parties can favor one candidate over another, because they are private institutions with specific “interests.” Libertarians were actually included in a recent primary, but it is unlikely you recall it (2018). If you click on that 2018 link, scroll all the way to the top and page downward. Do you notice anything?
You only see the “two major parties” represented in the information box, even though, in 2018, it was a major accomplishment for another party to get onto the primary ballot – yes, the very same physical piece of paper listing the democrat and republican candidates – which you read over during your time in the voting booth. I am of the biased opinion, that anyone participating in a primary election should be represented in this information box on Wikipedia. Wikipedia, however, intentionally excludes this additional information, favoring that two party narrative. Being inclusive is not how things work on the Internet, and Wikipedia is as fascist as they come online, way before YouTube, Facebook (Meta), and Twitter ever were. True fact: I was banned from Wikipedia for undoing an edit that excluded the Libertarian candidate from the head shot area, rightfully putting him back into the picture, an area I had assumed was for balloted “major party status” candidates in the primary, which he was. The Libertarian Party was on the primary ballot for the first time, and consequently, had a right to be represented center stage! It was struck down by the Wikipedia police. You can conclude, and many agree, that there is an infrastructure built around the idea of a “two party system,” and that this infrastructure exists to safeguard it, maintain it, keeping it exclusively the domain of the established duopoly. The editors of Wikipedia are members of the duopoly. They support them, and there is no way they are going to let a third party candidate, regardless of qualification, appear in an information box, looking like an equal to their preferred party candidates. This is the collusion you get between individuals and their political identity. Even candidates suggesting they are not establishment candidates, like former candidate Donald Trump, literally are establishment candidates, often selecting for cabinet positions, people from prior administrations or “deep staters” many of whom they railed against during their campaigns. Because these people are team red, it is suddenly OK. Drain the swamp, you promise? What a crock of lies! The swamp was never drained, nor will it ever be drained at the current pace; the new swamp is essentially the same as the old swamp with a different color shirt on – we simply filled it in with different, analogous swamp creatures. The system and infrastructure, put a kind of a moat around the castle, if you will, reinforcing the age-old, two party tradition. They actively work to exclude others, forming extensive barriers to entry, like on Wikipedia, with arbitrary rules. Anyone other than the duopoly, is relegated to the basement of a page, with mere mentions, tokenisms, and scant citations. I worked on the libertarian gubernatorial candidate’s campaign in 2018, and it was nigh impossible to get a radio interview, a TV interview, or anything written about the campaign in traditional news print. We had to pull out all the stops, educating media outlets that “The Libertarian Party” is now a “major party” in the State of Michigan. You have to page down on the Wikipedia article seven times before you hit any meaningful information of the Libertarian primary election. Remember, his name was on the same piece of paper in the voting booth! Did you see it if you voted in the primary that year?
There was also a libertarian televised gubernatorial primary debate, libertarian v libertarian! It was not carried by major news outlets like those found in Detroit but a few in West Michigan sympathetic to one of the candidates did air it. I do not think it was “prime time”, perhaps, I simply can not recall. Did all those outlets carry the primary debates of the duopoly parties? Democrats v democrats, republicans v republicans. Yes, they did. Why? Because “public debates” are not “public” at all, they are “private“, also known as “corporate sponsored debates“. Not only are the gubernatorial duopoly debates corporate sponsored, so are things like duopoly presidential debates.
Do you know who, since 1987 is in charge of setting up the presidential debates? A private company called “The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD)” that is supposedly “nonpartisan” but you should know better than that right? They have interested parties on their board from the duopoly making decisions and of course, their candidates qualify every time quite easily in fact. More legislation has also been put into place by something called the “FEC” or “Federal Elections Commission” that essentially bars any 3rd party candidates from getting into the debate. Unless of course they are an independent billionaire candidate like Ross Perot who can buy their way onto the stage in 1992. He did a masterful job convincing nearly 20% of America to vote for him! You can watch this debate in full here. When you include more than the duopoly on stage amazing things happen. If you listen to the debate from 1992 you hear them talk about the same old things they promise the masses. A good education, good jobs, change, hope, blah blah blah.
In 2018 the libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bill Gelineau was well qualified to be on the general election ballot, well qualified to be on the debate stage, well informed on the issues, they simply barred him from attending. There is no room in the narrative for a 3rd viewpoint.
In 2018 the Gelineau campaign was given lots of opportunity on Michigan Radio. For that we thank them. They would ask a gubernatorial candidate something like, “What would you do to improve literacy in Michigan”. Whitmer and Shuette would give their answer, so would Gelineau. On Tuesday morning, when it was time to loop the literacy pieces during the daily programming, Michigan radio intentionally aired only the Whitmer and Shuette recording back to back. On Wednesday, they would solely play the Gelineau recording. There are two ways you could view this. Either they did not want to lump a third candidate into the mix because it might influence perception that Gelineau was equal with the duopoly candidates or, they were being super kind and showing him off in his own light. I tend to think it was more of the same exclusionary behavior but in subtle ways. Not including Gelineau in the Tuesday literacy discussion loop was just that, not inclusive. It segregated the third party candidate. The listener who was thinking about literacy on Tuesday had likely moved on to something else by Wednesday and therefore the literacy discussion by some other guy flew over their heads. This is solely my opinion, I do not know Michigan Radio’s intent but is something I felt at the time and that I currently think now. This was real, it is how the sausage is made. Perhaps in your life you have a “how the sausage is made” story or “if you only knew” moment that is similar. People’s perception of how something works, is not how it actually works on the back end. When it comes to the media, you would not believe what goes on with respect to politics, what gets shared, who comes up with questions, how things are curated, and the like. It is a show!
Media institutions do not want to muddy the water with too many candidates for a position in government because they claim it is far too difficult to cover all candidates adequately. Remember the democratic primary in 2020 when there were 18 candidates and the media was freaking out because it couldn’t cover everyone? Nonsense! Suck it up, buttercup, and report! Furthermore, there are “rules,” rather, “policies,” aka “barriers” these institutions establish to prevent a third party from qualifying to be on stage during a candidate debate. The owners of Wood TV and the Detroit stations are not judges who must recuse themselves from conflicts of interest! Rather, these owners have vested interest in keeping debates to just two parties. Advertising dollars, access to political candidates, access to government officials, and their own personal interest in one of the two candidates they personally want to win the race, all have a part to play here. They will not allow the media to muck it up with a third party that has the potential to muddy the waters on stage in a public debate. Media institutions actively collude and conspire with the duopoly to maintain this process. I know, I have seen it, and I have witnessed it on more than one occasion. Third parties are not welcome to THE party.
A primary election is an election used either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office, or to determine the nominees for political parties in advance of a general election.
The Ballotpedia.org definition of a primary election as indicated above leaves something to be desired – it lacks the fact that these primaries are generally only for the duopoly. The narrative the media likes to divulge is an age old one – good vs. evil, red vs. blue – a sports team narrative involving only two teams. Throwing a third party into the mix, or even a fourth, fifth, sixth one, or more, does not make things easy to cover, or easy for people to understand…supposedly. This is caveman thinking, ugh, team blue liberal, ugh, team blue bad, or ugh, team red conservative, ugh team red bad. That reductionist thinking is straight forward enough to report, and therefore easy enough to reinforce. Me hates team blue. Me hates team red. That is the game you have been forced to play or to witness! You are the spectator or the fan, some are not fans at all, some are super fans, and still others are franchise shareholders. I recommend you familiarize yourself with a process is called “amygdala hijacking” that describes what happens when your brain experiences an “emotional threat.” Do you think duopoly power is pure luck? No, these things are studied! We are talking science, baby! The goal of a duopoly candidate is to tap into your amygdala that responds to fear and to scare you into thinking that if her or his competition takes control, it spells doom for you, one way or another! For example, if society was to allow “the gays” to marry, it will bring about the end of a decent society, tapping into a sector of voters’ fears that in fact, traditional families will disappear into an unknown, unfamiliar future…oh no! We can’t let that happen! (How absurd is that?) There is always a fear component to the election process, and you may have at one point in your voting history said, “I’m afraid if Donald Trump gets into office…(fill in the blank),” or, “I’m afraid of what might happen to the country if Joe Biden is elected.” It is a time honored tradition to play the panic game at election time – if you vote for “x” then “y” will happen. If we legalize “pot,” crime will overtake your town and you are all gonna die! I could go on, but perhaps you are thinking of a few of your own examples? Okay, one more – if we elect Trump, he will start World War III. How ironic! Seems like Uncle Joe is doing a fine job kicking that off all by himself, completely without Trump’s help! “If you vote for Biden, you will pay $7 dollars a gallon for gasoline (Trump quoted here loosely).” All of it is ridiculous…but gas was at $4.59 the other day! Of course, we know, or should know, Biden does not control gas prices, stocks of groceries or baby formula on the shelf or anything else. Those are “market forces” based on economics of supply and demand. Also note, not to get off into another discussion topic, that indeed, law and public policy from elected officials can in fact affect high gas prices, lack of baby formula, etc but you know what? They do it in true bi-partisan fashion and of course, they blame the outcome on whoever is in power like they are doing it now. Why? Because they can, because it is how the game works and finger pointing can get you into office every time!
As a precaution, it would be good for you to be aware of your surroundings, your spheres of influence, the media you consume, the propaganda and PR you let into your brain, and to always question what you are hearing, what you are being told, and what you are being told to believe. Fear is a powerful informant. If you feel “fear” in any way, that is a clear signal to stop, think, assess, reason, and be level headed. The propagation of fear can be a high pressure sales tactic! Never forget “the business model” – high pressure sales is always part of the mix.
Let’s recap some salient points:
- Primaries are to cement the thinking that if you are not in one, you are not a serious candidate.
- Primaries are there to shift payment of private business onto the tax payer.
- Primaries exist to give free media coverage to the duopoly.
- Primaries are designed to influence thinking, and can be used as an opportunity to make empty promises that will never come to fruition.
- Primaries are designed as a barrier to entry for third parties.
- Primaries are exclusionary.
What Are We To Do?
Primaries are an unethical economic practice, mostly because they should be a private corporation’s responsibility to pay for rather than shifting responsibility to the tax payer. They burden the public, those who do not desire to support their inter party private system, and yet, the citizenry is coerced, cycle after cycle, to do just that. Primaries coerce the public into thinking there are only two choices. There are, in fact, many more choices. Perhaps you will want to run for office some day, maybe as an “independent.” Good luck to you if you campaign under the current system. You will be climbing a steep mountain, my friend, and may need a libertarian Sherpa guide to get off the ground and all the way up to the top!
There is currently only one choice offered to you, regardless of party. The duopoly choice, controlled by corporate interests, which is no real choice at all. Nothing will be accomplished that doesn’t favor the duopoly’s corporate sponsors. The substantive difference between team red and blue is all talk – their conflict is an illusion.
The duopoly often fight over culture war issues, with the goal to distract and divide the majority of Americans. They hope to trigger the fear element in your amygdala about hot-button issues like abortion, gay rights, religious oppression, education, vaccine mandates, immigration threats, wars on Christmas, and so on and so forth – baby killer vs. non-baby killer, critical race theory vs. non-critical race theory, racism vs. non-racism, traditional family values vs. non-traditional family values. The duopoly generally agrees on preservation of their power, preserving sponsorship dollars, and preserving corporate profits for the Banana Republic of the United States of America. The rest of the hullabaloo is all distraction. As a country and state, we need “administrators” not “politicians.” Administrators are doers, they are problem solvers, and their overarching goal is not to perpetuate a system of poverty, so they can use the misfortunes of other human beings as political weaponry in the next election cycle, or to continue to use the middle and lower classes as tools of war domestically and abroad, but to actually administer government reasonably.
The State of Michigan can and should work to eliminate any publicly funded election besides a general election where all parties are included. We should band together to remove the use of the label “major party” from all public law. Public institutions like major media companies should allow all candidates on the general election ballot into a public election debate until the State itself can properly sponsor a debate and in turn, invite the media. The State of Michigan should sponsor the public debates for Governor, and any other pivotal races, as a significant and necessary endeavor, and not allow these elections to be privately sponsored through corporations with conflicts of interest. The state, just as it does not sanction any specific religion as a state religion, should not sponsor, or declare, state-sponsored parties.
Without these changes, you will never have a “free and fair” election process, but one that is rigged, setup, controlled, and fixed. The time has come to move in a more fair direction by implementing the simple changes outlined above, creating a truly balanced and inclusive system that actually represents the people.
In the next election, consider being a voter that thinks outside the box, not voting left or right but up, to a higher standard of government administration that implements viable solutions and puts power back into the hands of the people. Be an “up-voter” and make the choice to vote up, America! It’s the new clear option!