In this video, Bernie Sanders explains unions to young people. Young people have been misled by fear-mongering, especially on talk radio, about unions. When people work as a group — collectively — they become more powerful and can more effectively address their concerns with other powerful groups, including employers.
Lately Donald Trump has been under fire for a tweet depicting the Star of David and money alongside Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for the White House, suggesting that she is selling herself to those with money of a particular religious group. It was also discovered that the image first appeared on a White supremacist website.
There are all sorts of problems with this situation, which I will attempt to outline. As the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) rightfully pointed out, it is long overdue for Trump to rebuke and distance himself from the White Nationalists and anti-Semites who have become a vocal part of his following. He has clearly pandered to this group of people who, as Noam Chomsky points out, are angry with their lowered economic status as a result of neoliberal policies over the last 30 years. As always, when economic crises arise, demagogues like Trump arise to take advantage of resentments toward vulnerable elements of society that are likely to be scapegoated. This is a repeated historical motif, recurring like clockwork and should have been foreseen much earlier by media pundits.
Trump’s rise should therefore be seen as a symptom of a bigger problem, which is the evisceration of America’s middle class due to economic policies geared to benefiting the billionaires, many of whom have their assets offshore to avoid paying taxes. Furthermore, corporate interests have infiltrated the federal government, thus modifying policies in a manner that betrays the interests of Main Street. The revolving door between Wall Street and Washington D.C. has been duly noted, even in the mainstream media. Ultimately, these policies will hurt the elite class, since they require a strong middle class to buy their goods and services to maintain their lifestyle and power, as well as to prop up an expensive military apparatus. You cannot have a strong military in the long run if you lack tax revenues to pay for it. This is, I believe, why the smart elites are allowing Bernie Sanders to shape the political discourse: they understand that a strong federal government that takes the interests of the middle class seriously can be beneficial to them as well, as has been shown time and again in history.
As for the anti-Semites among Trump’s supporters — they are caught in a contradiction between the belief in their inherent superiority over others and their conspiratorial belief that some other group is in control of their destiny, keeping them from attaining the greatness that is their birthright. They will sometimes deny this belief in their inherent superiority, but it can readily be seen in their lightweight literature, such as Mein Kampf. Intellectually this belief in both their innate superiority and powerlessness simultaneously is incoherent. However, history shows that resentful, incoherent masses can be manipulated by demagogues who give them a feeling of meaning and purpose, and who use their primordial fears of “outsiders” to keep them distracted. This brought enormous devastation to both Germany and especially its Slavic neighbors to the east during and after World War II.
Back to the tweet featuring the Star of David. If in fact the image used originated from a White supremacist website, it proves that Trump is following these people as a gauge for his campaign, feeding off of them to calibrate his message. If there is one talent Trump has been proven to have, amidst doubts by real billionaires over his financial status, it is his ability to manipulate the lowest common denominator in society, and perhaps, if these doubts have some basis, to fool the masses and mainstream media into thinking he has more money and more financial acumen than he actually possesses. He may just be the world’s greatest poseur.
It’s a sad state of affairs that the next presidential election will feature two highly unpopular candidates, one under investigation for allegedly jeopardizing national security and the other who feeds off of the ignorance and resentments of others. It’s a matter of picking the lesser poison. Whatever the faults of Hillary, I will not and cannot vote for Trump. I’ll take the shady candidate over the shady buffoon who presents a clear danger to millions of American citizens.
As I have become a big fan of social media lately and discovered a website that provides an analytical breakdown of Twitter accounts, I was pleasantly surprised to find this morning that I had a score of 7 out of 10, suggesting my followers are real and engaged. I then, out of curiosity, decided to check Donald Trump’s score and was shocked to find it to be a measly 1.79, suggesting most of his 8.6 million Twitter followers are bots or inactive accounts.
Here is a screenshot for proof:
The website I’m talking about is Twopcharts, which provides all sorts of feedback on individual accounts to allow users to determine the quality of these accounts. As part of its analysis, a random sample of 100 of the last 5,000 of his followers was taken to derive the score of 1.79. I have done other analyses giving similar numbers yesterday.
Here is the distribution of Trump’s followers:
According to the analysis, up to 59 percent of his followers are fake or spam, and up to 82 percent are fake, spam, inactive, or not engaged. This means Trump is being given much more credit than what is due by the mass media regarding his supposed social media savvy. It also shows that, contrary to his pitch, he isn’t quite the authentic candidate he’d like others to believe.
To be fair, any major presidential candidate is likely to become a magnet for bots and spam accounts, but the paltry score of 1.79 is still mind-boggling given the attention the mainstream media gives to his Twitter activity.
For comparison, Bernie Sanders, while still low at 3.53, seems to rate considerably higher than Trump, suggesting that, in some way, he is more authentic than Trump and his message resonates more with the American people, or at least those who use Twitter, which I imagine to be a better-educated group than average, due to the skill involved in effectively using the social tool.
[Update: Sanders’ numbers on his other account appear to be similar to Trump’s according to tests I have done, though the point still stands that most of Trump’s followers are fake, contrary to claims made by the mainstream media. He’s gotten far more attention over his Twitter activity than other candidates.]
Here is the analysis of Sanders for comparison:
Here is the analysis of my followers:
My high score of 7.10 simply underscores that Twitter is a very effective tool for political and social justice activists, with plenty of real, engaged potential followers.
If you agree with me that Trump should be called out for his fake Twitter followers, spread this article around and let others know about it.
Noam Chomsky had some interesting things to say about the Bernie Sanders phenomenon, calling Sanders a “decent, honest person.” In the clip from Democracy Now, he points out that the policies pushed by Sanders are supported by a majority of Americans, and that President Eisenhower would not have been surprised by his views. He says today’s Democrats are the moderate Republicans of the past. He thus believes the characterization of Sanders as a “radical” or “extremist” is erroneous.