Fricke column: White House firings and the real election crisis
Hopefully, Trumpcare is toast. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan need to let it go and get on with the nation’s business.
You can be sure that Trump won’t let it go. He wants a victory at any cost. He would rather spend the rest of the year repealing Obamacare.
The problem is that Trump would have to fit that in with his busy schedule of firing people. I would speculate that Trump spends every day putting out political fires caused by family members and his controversial staff members.
Trump’s White House has been in turmoil since Day One. It all started with Michael Flynn who had questionable Russian contacts. Look at the recent White House staff shakeup. More recent firings and abrupt resignations include Katie Walsh, deputy chief of staff; Sean Spicer, press secretary; and press aide Michael Short. One of the most notable recent firings involved former Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff. Trump was never sold on Priebus from the beginning. Could it be that the Republican Party forced Trump to hire Priebus to have a real party presence inside the White House?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on the hot seat as well after a recent public attacks from Trump.
Trump replaced Priebus with former Homeland Security Director John Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. Trump just hired and fired Anthony Scaramucci, a foul-mouthed Wall Street financier, as communications director. Kelly requested Scaramucci’s removal. Scaramucci was on the job for only 11 days. I sense a major implosion pending at the White House.
Let’s switch to the Russian obsession on Capitol Hill. After researching the presumed Russian interference in the 2016 election, there is no real proof that anything significant happened to change the outcome of the presidential election. According to Time magazine’s July 31 issue, President Obama’s cyber-security officials conducted thorough investigations of Russian hacking and found a few experimental attempts that were not successful.
But federal security officials believe that the faith in America’s election system was damaged by Russian hackers.
I would argue that Americans lost faith in the election system long before this happened. Time reported that in 2009 that 59 percent of Americans believed the elections were honest, but 40 percent did not. Those numbers changed in 2015 with only 30 percent of Americans having confidence in the elections while 69 percent did not.
Americans should not be overwhelmed or swayed by all of the hype about the purported Russian hacking being pedaled by the feds and the media kings. The corporate mainstream media has elevated the Russian hacking scenario into mass hysteria. Congress just punished Russia with sanctions, causing Russia to retaliate.
This was unfortunate. This was not the time for sanctions against Russia. We need to keep Russia close especially with North Korea’s missile threat.
The corporate media is obsessed with the Russian involvement in our politics. Remember the corporate media will manufacture consent in support of the elitist political agenda at every opportunity.
America’s election system has problems of its own. The election system is extremely flawed. Citizens United opened the floodgates of influence-buying. The influence-buying by super PACs, the Koch brothers ($89 million), Big Pharma and foundations just to name a few is out of control. It is not a big secret that these big spenders buy candidates and influence elections.
The American election system is not democratic. We have closed primary elections sponsored by the Democratic and Republican parties. These primary elections shut out millions of American voters in every election. The corporate television media is biased toward the Democratic Party and moves quickly to endorse their top hand-picked candidates for national office. Fox News is on the other side favoring the Republicans. Our election system has many unresolved issues, and the Russians are the least of those.
The solution to the hacking problem is simple. Everyone should register independent/unaffiliated. This could take away the motivation for hackers and big money interests to influence elections. We need open primaries or open general elections. Next, we repeal Citizens United and dump the Electoral College. This could be the beginning of commonsense election reform and a return to some form of democracy. This is the political revolution that we need in America.
Randy Fricke is an environmental advocate and a political activist who lives in New Castle. He is the author of “If I Were President/Saving Main Street America.”
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