After eight years of hair-raising antics and regressive/reactionary politics, our minority-elected Gov. LePage will time out and vacate the office.

We may properly characterize his service as unflinching dedication to the interests of private wealth and power, while engaging in divisive demonization of the populace. The majority is siloed, without a unified voice, while the privileged few are pampered as required.

All straight out of the conservative playbook, and eagerly embraced by many unsuspecting victims. And done with a histrionic panache that distracts attention from the real levers being pulled behind the curtain. No wonder he lays claim to being the Donald before the Donald became the national distractor-in-chief.

Devotees of Gov. LePage and Towering Trump will no doubt choke with rage at the foregoing, sputtering something about regular folks being heroically protected from the evils of government.

Stop. Take a breath. Connect some dots. Democratic governance is not the problem. Government made dysfunctional by and in thrall to big business interests is. As a citizen of this country whose ideals I love, I’ll cast my lot with functioning democracy, not with private tyrannies accountable to no one.

And, to be clear, while the Republican Party has lurched far to the right, becoming what conservative political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein describe as a “radical insurgency,” the Democratic Party, feeding from the same monied lobbyist trough, has contributed much to the prevailing cynicism and dysfunction. Clintonesque realpolitik triangulation, while superficially and cynically effective, does little to identify and address the pressing needs of the time.

The way out of the mess we’re in, it seems, is an informed populace, awakened and uprisen en masse to democratically elect authentic candidates who actually legislate on behalf of the people. No more demonization of democracy, of the un-white and un-privileged; no more prideful ignorance; no more deification of neoliberal economics; no more faux populism.

Tom Boothby