(Some scattered thoughts I posted on Friendfeed, in anticipation of Scott Walker surviving the recall in Wisconsin.)
I think the response the oligarchs expect to a loss in such a close, critical race is that people will be dispirited, accept the belief that the system doesn’t work, and then try to get on with their lives outside the political sphere, leaving the political puppetmasters be. This might be true in less trying times, but the fact is that the oligarchs are threatening people’s very livelihoods, their very survival, and the response they might actually get is exactly what you would expect when you corner a wild animal: desperate, sheer fury.
The powers-that-be may in fact be anticipating such a response, maybe even welcome it as a final showdown between unrestrained kleptocracy and the fading dream of meritocracy, but if history is any guide, the people in power have a tendency to underestimate how dire the straits people are in, and therefore they completely underestimate the magnitude of their rage, and also vastly overestimate their own ability to contain the explosion.
I think back to the aftermath of Bush v. Gore, and how I felt completely betrayed by this country, how I felt all the talk of liberty was just bullshit. How isolated and alone I felt. That depression and isolation worsened when Al Qaeda crashed those planes, and everyone wanted to nuke Afghanistan and inexplicably, they also wanted to invade Iraq. The only political blogs I could find on the net at the time were those of ultranationalist warmongers, bent on the imperial Project for the New American Century.
So I remember the elation I felt when I found like-minded liberals and progressives on the net and in real life who opposed these pernicious developments, these erosions of the basis of this great republic. In the beginning, it was just words, ideas, unrealized plans. Hope. But in three years, it had consolidated into enough of a political force to take the House and the Senate, and two years after that, the Presidency. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I realize the Empire has struck back, hard, and it might strike the hardest come this November. But it’s all about perspective. Even with all these setbacks, nothing has made me feel quite as hopeless as I did when the Supreme Court crowned Bush, or when we invaded Iraq for no good reason. We can still win this if keep striving. And if we can’t win, then at least we can go out fighting.