Episode 21

Rebecca Wins

In the presidential election of 2016, Rebecca Whyte of the ARP takes every state except Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. Though she gets more than enough signatures, Arkansas and Arizona somehow fail to put her on the ballot. She wins the popular vote by such an enormous margin that rigged voting machines in predetermined “tight” districts make the vote stealing pathetically obvious. The results in those districts bear no relation at all to exit polls by the mainstream media. Rebecca’s election reveals beyond doubt the dangers of electronic voting machines. This is the last election to use such machines.

By 7 pm Pacific time on election night, before the polls close, even Fox News gives up hope. Every channel calls the election a landslide victory for Rebecca. The scene at ARP election headquarters is several steps above jubilation. Hugging, kissing, spilling Champaign, dancing to We will we will Rock You. Rebecca walks out on stage accompanied by Jill Stein. The cheering gets louder. Chandra, despite the microphone, can’t make herself heard above conversations taking place at the top of everyone’s lungs. She raises her hand. It’s an old trick she learned at camp, and it works, slowly. Gradually, people turn toward the stage, raise their hands and quiet down.

Chandra says, “Thank you, happy campers. Let’s hear what Rebecca has to say.”

Tears stream down Rebecca’s face as she takes the microphone. “Thank you. Thank you, Chandra. Thank you, Jill. Thank you all, everyone in this room, and all of you watching at home. Tonight’s a great night. We’re making history, and we’re already making things better. (enormous eruption of shouts and cheers) I will talk to you in a minute, but before I do, let’s hear from the woman whose selflessness and party organization made tonight possible. Jill?”

Jill Stein wipes tears from her eyes as she pulls herself together to take the mic. “The Green Party and I were not being entirely selfless when we asked Rebecca to run in this election rather than the next. We could see the writing on the wall. You, the ARP and Rebecca, were already winning the hearts of the American people. We knew we had to get out of your way. (grateful laughter and cheers) More to the point, we felt it was in our interest to let you step in and change the world. (more cheers) Standing here now, I’m personally much happier to be a part of this ARP victory than I would have been had I fought a valiant fight and lost to Donald or Hillary. For the last two months I’ve been saying every day that I support Rebecca Whyte, and I do, from the bottom of my heart. I want as much as you do to live in the world she’s trying to create. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this next eight years. (cheers) But it’s not over. Tonight is just the beginning. Let’s keep working to make sure she’s able to do what we need her to do. (cheers)

And now, it’s my enormous pleasure to present to you, the next president of the United States, Ms. Rebecca Whyte!!” (the cheers become deafening and don’t stop)

Rebecca takes the mic and raises her hand. Gradually, hands go up and the crowd grows quiet. “Thank you, thank you, again and again. This is a night we’ll remember the rest of our lives, but the world will remember this night only if we do a good job of governing. Like Jill said, this is just the beginning.

Tonight, we all feel like we’ve won something, and it’s exciting to win. This feeling is why we all love competition so much. Well, we have won something, and we had to do it. That’s the system we live in, but you all know how I feel about winning. Winning in politics is a symptom, a problem. The fact is, the happiness we feel from this win tonight is a symptom of the danger we all feel with respect to the status quo, but this happiness is also a measure of the greatly increased dangers we now face. This win has greatly intensified the threat to me personally, to ARP candidates around the country, and to our movement. I don’t want to take anything away from the importance of winning the presidency. Like I said, given our political system, we had to do this. But the fact is, we’ve taken a first, small step into a potentially lethal minefield. It’ll take all of us working together, keeping our eyes open, covering each other, and mobilizing when necessary to achieve the changes we all want to make.

The forces arrayed against us are extremely powerful, and that power remains essentially undiminished, despite this win. Our only hope is what you have demonstrated today—people power. You, the people, are the new superpower on the block, but the traditional power brokers will be doing everything they can to divide and weaken you. I know a large portion of the new superpower is watching tonight, so I’m taking this opportunity to ask for your continued support. And here’s the kind of support I need.

I need you to pay attention to me and the other ARP leaders. Please do not forget us now that the election is over. We need your ongoing attention because we need to be able to mobilize you. We will need to mobilize you to protect you and the rule of law. So if we say, ’10,000 people in front of Congress now,’ we need 10,000 people there in an hour. If we say, ‘100,000 in front of a courthouse in Georgia,’ we need 100,000 people there in two or three days. If we say, ‘A million in front of Wall Street or the Pentagon,’ we need Wall Street impassable or the Pentagon surrounded in a week or two. When we say, ‘Boycott such and such company or such and such product or such and such city or state or country,’ we need you to immediately stop giving your money and support to the organization we name. We will organize a mobilization committee, but that committee will be powerless if you’re not listening. We have to be able to call on you and know that you will respond to our call. Please be on the lookout for our mobilization requests, and when you hear one, please participate if you possibly can.

I am deadly serious about this. My ability to institute the changes we’ve been talking about throughout this campaign will depend on my ability to mobilize large numbers of people quickly at the places they are needed to do what needs to be done. I hope you know by now that I’m not going to be fighting for specific policies. As I have promised over and over, all the policies will be established through dialogue and negotiation among all the stakeholders. I will never fight for a policy. However, I have no doubt that we will be forced to fight hard to establish and maintain a fair, just, transparent and incorruptible decision-making process. The most powerful people in our country have no intention of letting us limit their dominance. They don’t want to make decisions through dialogue. They want what they want when they want it, and they’re used to getting it. They believe it’s their right to have it.

So that’s where you come in. You have to help me make it clear that economic and military power no longer entitles anyone to run roughshod over the rest of the population. When we ask you to mobilize at a certain time and place or boycott something, it will be to defend the rule of law, the process and my ability, as president, to gather the stakeholders together for dialogue and decision. I need you at those times to put down what you are doing and join me in the street to demand information or adherence to the process. For the next four years, the power of the superpower will be questioned and tested. During this phase, asserting our power must be our top priority. Hopefully, those who oppose us will gradually come to understand the benefits of raising cooperation above competition, but they do not understand that now and will never understand it if we are unable to show them, unequivocally, that we are united and unbeatable. (applause but no loud cheering, Rebecca laughs)

I’m sorry. I can see this talk has been a downer. But we are not children. We are playing in a tough, adult league. I know this is not what you expected to hear on election night, but tonight is not primarily the joyful end of a successful campaign. It’s the beginning of the most difficult transition our country or any country has ever attempted. I need you to stay focused, stay intense, and stay with me. But that’s enough for tonight. Thank you again. You’ve made me the first woman president of the United States, and I could not be more grateful. I am absolutely determined to serve you, everyone in the country, and everyone in the world. Let’s get out there and do this thing!! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” (She’s drowned out by a return to boisterous cheering.)

The punditry is in shock. The corporate media has no choice but to trumpet the amazing upset victory, but total incomprehension leaves normally glib announcers tongue-tied. “Rebecca Whyte has come from nowhere to win a stunning upset victory and will be the next president of the United States of America,” they say, then can’t think of any persuasive way to cut her down. They try. “She’s a wild card. She’s taken the country by storm, but does anyone actually know what she’ll do once she’s in office? All we know is what she did in Anytown, and that is an entirely different game on a different playing field. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” For the most part, they stick to uncontested facts related to the electoral college, the popular vote, and the procedure to be followed between now and the inauguration on January 21.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton offer cautious, respectful concession speeches, vowing to work with her for the good of the country. Washington is stunned. Wall Street is stunned. The heretofore completely dominant captains of finance and industry are stunned. Rebecca’s election makes Brexit look like business as usual. Election night coverage is over by midnight Eastern time. Most networks fill the unscheduled dead air with reruns of House of Cards.

Amazingly, the ARP takes 233 seats in the House of Representatives and 20 in the Senate. Given the support they can expect from 30 to 50 House Democrats, the ARP is in a powerful position. Rebecca will be able to start in January instituting some of the changes she has promised. The ARP also has 15 new governorships, and nearly 2,000 new mayors and legislators in state assemblies and city councils.

Wall Street plummets, at first, until a group of institutional buyers starts buying up every stock they can, so the total loss on Wednesday is minor. Top bankers and hedge-fund managers have long since been organizing and scheming among themselves to make sure Rebecca’s government fails. They will make her a one-term president if they have to drop the whole world into a deep depression. The only questions are how and when to attack.

Meanwhile, most people are partying in the streets, in their sports bars, and in their homes. Some people find the whole world brighter, full of cleaner, sharper colors, as if a gray film has been dissolved. The first woman elected president of the United States of America is promising an entirely new approach to government, but more importantly for right now, she’s saying what she needs from them, and they are, for the most part, determined to give it to her. They are already feeling like the new superpower.

A few days later, Rebecca receives a call from Larry Summers, former secretary of the Treasury of the US. He congratulates her and offers to be an economic and political advisor. She tells him she doesn’t need that kind of advice because she’ll be focusing not on content but only on process. He doesn’t understand or doesn’t care. He gets down to business. “I want to know your real plans, and I want to make sure you understand what’s at stake. Basically, there are two types of new politicians. One  is the outsider who works alone based on their own ideology or conscience, saying and doing what they think is right. These people don’t last long. The system chews them up and spits them out before they can do any damage.

The other type is the outsider who wants to be an insider. This type quickly realizes who does and does not have power, and they’re careful to align themselves with the powerful. They work cooperatively with the other insiders. They can compete within the group. They can criticize certain policies and fight for certain specific outcomes, but they never, under any circumstances, talk trash about other insiders or undermine what the insiders as a whole are doing. In other words, they support the system and the people who run it. These people rise up through the ranks and become important players. So which type are you?”

“I’m neither. I’m the type who brings insiders and outsiders together to work sincerely and conscientiously together to solve problems in ways that benefit all parties. I am and will be as comfortable with insiders as I am with outsiders, but I suspect in your mind that makes me an outsider.”

“Too bad. You have such great potential, but you won’t last long.” And with that, he hangs up. Rebecca knows she’s just twisted the tiger’s tail. She’ll need all the people power she can muster. For the first time in her life, she has difficulty falling asleep. She’s forced to get up and meditate to slow the beating of her heart.

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