The Iowa vote will give us some clue as to how the Republican presidential battle is shaping up, although it won’t actually tell us who’s going to win. But while the media is consumed by the impending theatrics of [Mitt Romney/Other] vs Obama, it’s worth noting that in reality it doesn’t matter who is going to win the 2012 US presidential election. What matters is whether the whole corrupt, ignorant and anti-democratic political system is going to change.
The presidency of Barack Obama has thus far been little different to the presidency of George W. Bush. The Patriot Act has been extended, Obama has allowed the indefinite detention of US citizens without due process, and corporate interests have become more, not less, powerful. Sure, Obama seems different to Bush. But the reality is that no president can stop the system. The system is the system, and it rolls onwards. Money talks, presidents listen. Who will win the 2012 election? It doesn’t matter, because the system will stay the same.
The only candidate who seems to offer a genuine threat to the system is Ron Paul. That’s why, despite the fact that his opinions on social issues seem remarkably out-of-step with the modern world, he has garnered the support of so many, particularly the young. People are willing to overlook his flaws (and like any politician, he has flaws) because what he offers is the chance to genuinely change the entire system. It’s also why he won’t win. Perhaps he should win, perhaps his supporters think he has a chance. But I’ll wager a $1m bet with anyone right now that Ron Paul will not be president this time next year.
There’s definitely an appetite for change. Many voters look at the likes of Romney, Gingrich and Obama and see no prospect of change at all. That’s why Ron Paul is gathering such momentum. And as I’ve said before, I believe that while Ron Paul isn’t going to win the Republican nomination this year, what he is going to do is show that there is a possible alternative. Many of us thought Obama was that alternative. He wasn’t. But maybe in 2016, someone can ride the Ron Paul wave and genuinely take control.
The US president is just a man in a room who appears on TV occasionally. He doesn’t enter office and sweep out the entire system and replace it with his own vision. He is, in effect, a pawn of the various interests that really make up the US government. It’s a shame that this is how it works, but there’s no point kidding ourselves. Put any liberal, progressive, conservative, or libertarian in the Oval Office and the result will be more or less the same. A corporate revolution is in the offing, and its first victory has been to paint traditionalists as revolutionaries. That’s a significant victory, and it’s a canny one, but it also explains why unlikely figures such as Ron Paul are gathering so much support.