We thought he was gone. But worrying signs of returning.
I have always said, thought, we should stop worrying about Trump the person. And worry about the social attitudes and political forces he was the face of. (And the people behind him, who used him to push them.)
Trump's new media company is a mirage? https://popular.info/p/trumps-new-media-company-is-a-16
Not an "anti-war" president : https://jacobin.com/2023/06/donald-trump-tucker-carlson-antiwar-foreign-policy
Quora Answer : Are Obama/Clinton policies the reason why we have Trump as President?
To an extent, yes.
They presided over a decline in America's industrial base, which has created large numbers of working class people who used to be living pretty well - when the US economy was both booming and Keynesian policies were ensuring that the working class got a reasonable share of the spoils - who have now, individually and communally, fallen on hard times.
It was the Republicans who destroyed the system that ensured that workers were reasonably paid. By attacking unions, removing protections, and promoting global trade.
But the two chances that the Democrats had to go back and re-establish the protections, and create some kind of "new deal" that bolstered those poorer post-industrial communities, they wimped out. Preferring not to alienate Wall Street and other big business with policies that looked "too left-wing". Clinton and Obama are "third wayists" who bought into the neoliberal ideology of Reagan. And refused to confront it directly.
So despite 16 years in power, Obama and Clinton are guilty of neglect, during which a large chunk of working-class communities saw ongoing decline.
By the time it came to the 2016 election, with those communities still suffering that long term economic decline, compounded by the ongoing effects of the 2008 crisis, Hillary Clinton literally had nothing to say to those people.
When Trump said things were bad, Hillary tried to insist that there were no problems.
Trump's understanding of those problems is idiotic. His "solutions" are bogus. Nothing but the prejudices of a right-wing buffoon fed talking points by alt.right conspiracy sites and right-wing think-tanks.
BUT ... at least he acknowledged there were problems and seemed to be offering some kind of solution.
Whereas Hillary's campaign obviously had nothing on offer at all to the working-class who were part of the Democrats' traditional base.
What she did say was either just platitudes, or last-minute unconvincing cribs from Bernie Sanders. She made no apology for the failure of 8 years of Obama to actually do anything about those problems. Nor did she give any explanation of how she would change tack and do better. She left the space completely open for the right-wing to offer their theories of America's decline and their solutions to them.
Instead she focused on identity politics.
There's nothing wrong with opposing racism. Or supporting women. Any left-wing candidate must and will do that.
But you can't be the leader of the party which is ostensibly the "left wing" party in a two party system, and pretend that economic inequality / economic oppression / class-war doesn't exist or isn't a problem.
Clinton, Obama and finally Hillary (and all the "establishment" like Nancy Pelosi etc.) led the Democrats away from being the party of a working class fighting for its fair share of America's wealth.
And they paid the price. They left the window open for far-right nationalistic, xenophobic, racist, "America first" proto-fascism to sweep in and claim that it was the real champion of working Americans.
This is not meant to be a personal attack on Hillary. Hillary was just the front for an entire establishment machine that failed catastrophically in 2016.
Because, seriously, how badly do you have to have fucking played it, when an entitled tax-dodging, self-described billionaire, who lives in a gold-plated New York penthouse, is better at convincing "ordinary Americans" that he is on their side than you and your entire party are?
I mean, Get. Fucking. Real!
Everyone still kind of knows that the Republicans are the party of rich fuckers who will screw over the working class. And yet Trump is so good at pretending to be a man of the people that he overcomes that handicap. While Clinton is so bad at pretending to be champion of the people that even with the support of what's left of organized labour, behind her, she still can't pull it off?
Like I say, this isn't about Hillary. This is about a whole Democratic machine that came off the rails. And it came off the rails because of the ideological turn it took under Bill Clinton and Obama. And that ideological turn is evidenced by their failure to enact policies that shored up the working class in the face of global competition and the 2008 crisis.
Bill Clinton and Obama didn't do their job. And that is why Trump is president.
But it's worse than that. Because Trump is about to win AGAIN.
Despite .... EVERYTHING.
[Ed - Obviously, this didn't happen. My hyperbolic prediction here was wrong. But not by so much. Trump still got more votes than first time around. His fanatical supporters still believe he didn't really lose, was just robbed by a deep-state conspiracy. And his faction is still looking like a plausible threat to come back in the next election.]
He is going to win the election in November because the Democrats still can't bring themselves to be the party that helps the working class claw back some of the wealth from the insanely super-wealthy. Even though the inequality numbers are crazy. The concentration of wealth is as extreme as its ever been in American history. But the Democrats won't do the one thing that could actually restore their credibility with the working class : bring the money back to it.
Let's put it another way.
Every time the Democrats deny that politics is really "class war", they help to reinforce the far-right narrative that politics is really "culture war".
And once you accept that it's culture war, in a country where white Christians are still by far the largest section of the population, then the party which is best able to claim to be the party of white Christians is going to win.
Culture war is a battle that the right-wing fascist are going to win.
Because they will appeal to the people's tribal instincts to stick to their own and fear the other.
Culture war belongs to the fascists.
The only way to avoid that is to recognise, and get others to recognise, that the true battle is class war : the fight over who will get the benefit of the productivity in the economy.
The good news is that if you do recognise that, then you have at least a chance of winning. Because the working-class and poor are the majority. And if you offer them something concrete they have a reason to vote for you.
But keep parroting neoliberal platitudes. Keep refusing to do anything for the working class (Biden and Pelosi have loudly ruled out Medicare for All, in COVID year!) Insist that somehow Democrats deserve to win just because they're "better people", then, frankly, the Democrats are heading for an embarrassing second fail. Which is an entirely avoidable tragedy.
Quora Answer : Are you willing to give Trump a chance at leading the USA?
I'm not an American voter.
Had I been, I would absolutely NOT have been willing to give him a chance of leading the USA by voting for him.
I believe him to be a lying con-man, who says whatever he thinks people want to hear, in order to get what he wants. That's how he won the Republican nomination, and how he has now won the presidency.
Now that he has won the presidency, I believe that we should deal with him pragmatically. I like Bernie Sander's response : Phil Jones (He / Him)'s answer to Why don't people who opposed Trump accept his offer to help unify the USA? and think that that's the right way to go. Co-operate if Trump is doing something good. Oppose when he's doing something bad.
That's better than writing him some kind of blank check on some spurious grounds that somehow everyone owes the president some kind of loyalty. It is a very absurd joke indeed for a Republican party which has devoted itself to non-cooperation and sabotage over the entire Obama presidency, to suddenly turn around and demand that Democrats co-operate with Trump because "unity". Or "healing"; or "national interest".
The correct response to such a suggestion is "Ha ha. That's hilarious. Now go fuck yourselves."
Of course, this isn't some sort of innocent suggestion that's popped up. The Republicans are still playing politics here. Either the Democrats announce that they'll acquiesce to collaborating with Trump, look weak, alienate their more radical supporters and ... er ... embarrass themselves into actually allowing the Republicans to get away with screwing up the country. Or they announce that they won't co-operate and the Republicans will claim moral equivalence between this and their own antics over the last 8 years. "See!", they'll cry. "The Democrats claim the moral high-ground but they're just as damagingly partisan and obstructionist as us."
The only right response to escape from this dilemma is Bernie's. Everyone should assert very clearly and loudly that they will take each of Trump's measures individually and support or fight it on its own merits. This let's you firmly reject any implied obligation to acquiesce, without painting yourself as a dogmatic obstructionist.
Quora Answer : How do I voice my support for Donald Trump without being mocked by others?
Make good arguments for him.
Explain why the parts of his policy that seem naive and not-well-thought-through, can, in fact, work.
Most of the time when people find that your justifications aren't plausible it's because they have a different world-view. For example, when Trump says he'll make Mexico pay for a wall, they'll consider that there are no levers that Trump has available to force the Mexican government to pay for it. So explain what those levers are and how they'd work in practice. Similarly, they'll consider that suggesting that you'll throw all Muslims out because of a statistically insignificant number of terrorist atrocities committed by Muslims is unfair overkill. (And possibly unconstitutional). So explain why it wouldn't be unfair. Why it wouldn't be overkill (ie. it would save enough lives to justify the cost in both money and good-will). And how it could be constitutionally defended.
Quora Answer : Is Chancellor Merkel reading too much into Trump's foolish statements, or will Germany, along with the rest of Europe, really go their own way from now onwards?
She's facing the reality that Trump is way outside normal parameters for international leadership.
He doesn't understand what's going on in the world.
He doesn't understand what his allies need from the US.
He doesn't have their interests in mind when he speaks and acts.
He doesn't even understand and pretend to go along with the usual norms for protocol reasons.
His apparent strategy and motivation is simply to try to bully and brow-beat everyone else into giving him what he wants. Because that's the only thing he knows and that's what excites his domestic fan-base.
In other words, the US is now an entirely unstable and unreliable ally. You can't make treaties or even deals with a US led by Trump because you can't trust that he'll stick to them. Everyone notes he has a long history of dishonesty and screwing people over during his business life. He's contradicted himself (and other blatant facts) so often over the last few months that no-one can tell whether he's deliberately gas-lighting or literally can't remember / keep track of his own opinions and exaggerations.
It has taken Merkel maybe 6 months to, perhaps reluctantly, come to this unpleasant conclusion. But she's right to conclude that from now on, Europe's best interests are to rely on nothing that Trump says. And to take steps to protect itself against his capriciousness.
Clearly she isn't advocating confronting or deliberate conflict with him. But Europe has to be prepared for the fact that it can no longer rely on US to do the right thing in any crisis that arises during his tenure.
Backlinks (47 items)