the stagnation of America’s rust and bible belts

The 2008 Democratic presidential primary election was won by a perfect blend of minorities, left of center “progressives” and and old Union base of the Democratic party. each constituent group made up no more than 15% of the coalition of voters who elected the Democratic victor. The result was a slight tug of liberalism that moved Washington to the left, yet in some ways, to the right. Obama was considered the more progressive candidate considering Clinton was much more glued to the center of the moderate establishment, less willing to take risks in expanding or appealing to to progressives. Compared to today, Clinton has moved to the left due to competition and due to the changes in legislation since 2008- such as the Supreme Court striking down gay marriage. Thus, there is more time to work on other issues considered progressive- labor laws, protectionism, and renewable energy. The saying about Clinton changing her views to match popular opinion is an embarrassing one, and one that is coldly pragmatic. But considering the political climate on the left has warmed up to a socialist as more than favorable as a potential nominee for democratic ticket, embracing a more leftist electorate like Sanders is becoming increasingly feasible in the democratic party. It may not be in 2016, but it could be in 2024, or 2032. The burden does not lay on the political leader, but the local governance that remains closed to progress. The Rust Belt comprises northern states in the midwest and the east coast such as Ohio, Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania. These states have experienced decades of economic decline, not just due to outsourcing but due to changing industries and slow-to-adapt economic development. Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Buffalo used to have vibrant economies that benefited from the second world war industrial output, but since the early 1970s have experienced rapid decline due to the rising industries in digitization of Silicon Valley and automation. What crushes my idealist spirit is that these states seem to appeal more to the democratic establishment that protect union jobs than the new generation of progressives in renewable energy and social progress. This occurred in 1968 in parallel ways,  because of setbacks of what the Democratic party has turned into. The conservative right blindly groups all democrats as belonging to to the richer, but not richest, unionized supporters of the democratic party, to the expense of alienating their own base in increasingly, maladroit, steroidal, and dangerous ways. The advantage that progressives advertise is their egalitarian interest in transparent government. The front-facing government, that conducts all essential services, at least allows its citizens to obtain employment or aid, whereas in a government that is anywhere right of center, the secrecy piles up like an enormous smokestack  and mirror. The economic downturn in the 1929 Great Depression that left droves of citizens in unemployment was handled by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Public Works Projects of the New Deal. Never has a presidential primary election had one half of the debates (the Republicans) talking about jobs with so much disregard and dishonesty (“foreigners stealing jobs”) yet appealing to a less-articulate crowd of that the entire Republican primary appears to be a race to become Joseph McCarthy’s spiritual successor. The opportunity is there, but it exists like a radioactive power vacuum. Technically, someone can occupy Chernobyl, but I wouldn’t want to sign up for free housing there nor really claim that brand anymore. An outside “maverick” may be accelerating the Republican party’s degenerate mutation, from what it  used to be known in contemporary times since Nixon in one aspect or another, but its end result should not be considered a positive development for either party. I doubt more than a few Republicans would simply become Democrats, because the established Democratic party is also being exposed for its lukewarm moderation when compared to the right wing. It doesn’t actually bode well for Democrats unless the “purer” progressives are eventually accepted as the reasonable choice, who happen to be those who assist the fooled in reorienting themselves towards understanding who the smoke and mirror players really are or potentially are. The Rust Belt is thus delegate-rich, but economically strained  and does not seem to represent the more populous, younger progressive generation of Democrats who  have little choice but to vote for stratified party elites. The many factory jobs that were obtained by unionized workers with secure pensions and benefits are no longer are as ubiquitous and openly advertised as they are at retail outlets.

The season of elections and campaigning is susceptible to another flu: the religious self-anointing and carpetbagging of faux-preachers like a real-estate mogul who has street smarts that is astronomically guaranteed to win over one-too many conservatives to be able to promise them  something- more like a slip-up than an actual conscious promise, than being capable of actually following up on those promises. Does this mirror the broken promises that Obama also made? Well, in some ways. But religion and charisma is not something that a politician is responsible for using- the populace enjoys it, and the product will continue to exist until Christian references no longer sugarcoat political realities of a president’s historical actions. Thus the Bible Belt and and those who have blind spots for those who claim to be Christian seem to view religion with a regional difference of rigor. The Bible Belt doesn’t appear to be more rigorous in the study or promotion of Biblical erudition, nor does it really possess a unifying interest in the forward-minded ivy-leagues and true academics that never cease to research contrarian archaeology and worldviews, being not apologists but historians of an increasingly willful amnesiac and selectively hard-of-hearing populace.


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