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9/29/16

The US Political Establishment: The American system mobilises to save itself - again - by Geoffrey Aronson

For the second time in less than a decade the American establishment - the political, economic, and social titans of the United States' economic and political life - is mobilising to protect a system in crisis, one that could be said without exaggeration to be in danger of collapse.

Just as they did during the Great Recession, Democrats and Republicans alike are uniting with Wall Street and Main Street in the aggressive defence to rehabilitate the US' battered economic and political status quo.

Bipartisan support for Hilary Clinton's candidacy is the focus of this effort - engaging a broad coalition that includes "wise men" of the diplomatic and national security establishment, prominent Republicans, and most of the "respectable" press.

The stakes of this battle are extraordinary - no less than the system of wealth and political life that have come to define a century of American progress and international leadership is at stake.
No wonder then that the traditional shades of partisan political and economic difference pale before the pressing task of keeping the system afloat and repelling the challenge now being mounted by Donald Trump.

The economic crisis that exploded on September 15, 2008, threatened no less than the destruction of American capitalism.

The first unavoidable signs of this danger appeared with the collapse of the investment firm Lehman Brothers. The unprecedented bankruptcy of this firm - a scion of Wall Street - soon cascaded into the Great Recession.

The commanding heights of the US economy, along with Americans from all walks of life - were on the ropes.

The insolvency of the venerable anchor of the American dream - General Motors - of which it was once said "What is good for GM is good for America" - was a poignant and once unimaginable demonstration of the brutal shortcomings of the modern US economy - and the price to be paid by all for its failure.

The Great Recession was in the first instance economic to be sure, but the failure of the US institutions exposed by the financial collapse was far broader.

Not only were the banks and investment houses tainted by failure, so too were the government regulators meant to police them, the financial watchdogs paid to evaluate their credit worthiness and investment soundness, and above all a ruling political establishment - Democrat and Republican alike - that failed to create and regulate an economic system that served the public good.

Little wonder then that all of these forces, not without difficulty, put aside partisan differences and mobilised to rescue the system - and themselves.

Some of the legislative and economic measures taken to re-float the economy may have been radical but their objective was decidedly conservative - to rescue and reform a system in order to prevent a more radical restructuring of American economic life.

The breach in the system opened by the Great Recession is now convulsing the US politics. The folly of assuming that the economic crisis was a discrete and limited event has been smashed by the unlikely candidacy of Trump.

Read moreThe American system mobilises to save itself - again - Al Jazeera English

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