November 1, 2012
It is difficult for me to assess the state of play in the US presidential elections. I can report that the standard view based on the national polls is that the Republicans had the momentum before the Sandy super storm, its a tight presidential campaign, and the state polls suggest that Obama has the edge in the Electoral College.
It's difficult to say more in terms of analysis because there's just too much partisan noise in the context of the current adversarial divide, "sure things" in the media are generally illusions, the polls in the battleground states (Ohio, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin etc) have little certainty with respect in forecasting, and there is too much cherry-picking of polls that confirm political biases of the pundits.
What was obvious was that the three presidential debates were not much of the guide to the deep issues that confront the US in a global world, to the deep discontent circulating throughout the nation from the growing inequality, or to the failure of governance with respect to the financialization of the US economy.
Both presidential candidates shied away from the issue of who was responsible for the global financial crisis that caused the deep recession and the slow recovery of the last five years and they both work within the politics of austerity.
This suggest that there is large and growing distance between the rhetoric and pronouncements of the politicians and pundits and the actual deepening, immense, and largely ignored problems that afflict the people of the United States. US democracy is more akin to form of plutocracy---the rule of money rather than the rule of the people---and the corruption in Congress and across the government today is a structural dependence upon corporate money built into the DNA of the political system. This plutocracy is one in which the neoliberal mode of governance has transformed the political domain into a domain of money.
We have a situation today where the politics of austerity is used to oppose the view that the use of government to build infrastructure, create jobs, and end stagnation, even though the historical record appears to demonstrate that democratic governments have it within their power to make capitalism operate far more efficiently and effectively. Government, according to neo-liberal's politics of austerity, is inherently bad, whilst the corporate interests effective domination of government, means that the capacity of the democratic state to address market failure on behalf of the general public is undermined.
The politics around the global financial crisis in Washington suggests that the politics of austerity is primarily interested protecting Wall Street's financial assets and capital gains than in the risky enterprise of investment in new productive capacity. What is always opposed is anything that jeopardizes their control over the government and their dominant position in society.