Locally, those “primary challenges” will be coming in 2019 … and I’m not talking about the GOP, folks.
The ‘Resistance,’ Raising Big Money, Upends Liberal Politics, by Kenneth P. Vogel (New York Times)
WASHINGTON — It started as a scrappy grass-roots protest movement against President Trump, but now the so-called resistance is attracting six- and seven-figure checks from major liberal donors, posing an insurgent challenge to some of the left’s most venerable institutions — and the Democratic Party itself.
The jockeying between groups, donors and operatives for cash and turf is occurring mostly behind the scenes. But it has grown acrimonious at times, with upstarts complaining they are being boxed out by a liberal establishment that they say enables the sort of Democratic timidity that paved the way for the Trump presidency.
The tug of war — more than the lingering squabbles between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont — foreshadows a once-in-a-generation reorganization of the American left that could dictate the tactics and ideology of the Democratic Party for years to come. If the newcomers prevail, they could pull the party further to the left, leading it to embrace policy positions like those advocated by Mr. Sanders, including single-payer health care and free tuition at public colleges.
The upending of the left comes amid a broader realignment in American politics, with the Republican Party establishment also contending with a rising rebellion, driven by pro-Trump populists. Just as the new forces on the right are threatening primary challenges to establishment Republicans, some groups on the left have begun talking about targeting Democratic incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections.
Locally, the “resistance” by necessity is aimed at the mediocre but self-lubricating cult of personality … and no, I’m still not talking about the GOP, folks.
Here’s a refresher. It’s going to take a while to cover all these anchors, but the first case of spray paint’s on me.
Nikita Khrushchev the successor pilloried Joseph Stalin for his cult of personality. Ironically, the philosophical father of them both, Karl Marx, disdained the notion.
Cult of personality is a pejorative term implying the concentration of all power in a single charismatic leader within a totalitarian state and the near deification of that leader in state propaganda. Totalitarian regimes use the state-controlled mass media to cultivate a larger-than-life public image of the leader through unquestioning flattery and praise. Leaders are lauded for their extraordinary courage, knowledge, wisdom, or any other superhuman quality necessary for legitimating the totalitarian regime. The cult of personality serves to sustain such a regime in power, discourage open criticism, and justify whatever political twists and turns it may decide to take.
Many Americans will scoff, dismissing these examples as unique, arising from diseased ideals amid peculiar historical imperatives, and taking place in the lives of other people, elsewhere.
Unfortunately, cults of personality are American, too, and can exist in a democracy just as easily as in a totalitarian system of government. George Washington was resistant, and Huey Long obliging. No matter the locale, certain themes in a cult of personality are constant.
The political platform has no independent existence apart from the leader, and the political process is utterly dependent on the leader for guidance.
Manifestations of activity on the part of government also are promoted as inseparable from the leader’s benevolence, and while the leader may have utilized resources theoretically shared equally by his or her subjects, the results must always be portrayed as stemming from the wisdom of the leader.
Mistakes never occur, and when they do, they’re never, ever acknowledged even as minions pay the price.
The leader’s pre-eminence is reinforced by the constant repetition of mass marketing, including the leader’s name and image as attached to almost anything lacking the good sense to move out of the way.
Contemporary electronic media surely assists the cause of building a leader’s cult of personality, but it must be remembered that the Roman Catholic Church was adept at pursuing the same strategy for its papacy long before electricity and the outsourcing of Twitter feeds.