Back in January I wrote a piece about Donald Trump explaining why I was not endorsing him. The piece was rejected by the publication where I post the bulk of my commentary, which is pro-Trump with all four claws. I am caught between the two extremes: those who see Trump as the political equivalent of the Second Coming and those who hate everything he stands for. There is a lot of angst-ridden commentary out there, so much I couldn’t begin to link to it all at this point, most of it written by pundits (or pseudo-pundits) falling into the latter category.
The idea of nuanced efforts to get the Trump movement understood on its own terms, by investigating the appeal Trump has with, e.g., the white working class, seems to be verboten. My essay finally did appear, but on a site receiving little web traffic where it was probably seen by no one (I did not receive a single email, hostile or otherwise.)
It’s thrust: on the one hand, Trump scares the crap out of the global financial elites who have something on their hands they can’t control. Trump doesn’t need the money of the “donor class.” He appeals to those who are tired of struggling with economic forces they can’t control, and for which they blame the elites (with much justification). He appeals to those who are fed up with political correctness, and even more fed up with being in the one group that can be discriminated against, abused, and its members even physically attacked; and if they retaliate they are “racists.” Trump appeals because he is an outsider, as they are outsiders. Control by the global elites has just about run its course. The national debt has reached $19 trillion under Barack Obama’s watch and could hit $20 trillion before he leaves office. The tepid “economic recovery” clearly has not benefited the ordinary person whose job is part-time because he/she cannot find full-time work, and because the vast majority of full-time jobs barely pay enough for a family to survive on. Is it any wonder that the masses are getting behind someone who promises to “make America great again” even if he has no explanation what this means or how he is going to do it — anymore than Obama explained what he meant by “change you can believe in.”
The rise of a political outsider was inevitable. If it hasn’t been Trump today, it would be someone else tomorrow. This is to be expected in our present historical moment.
On the other hand, Trump is clearly an authoritarian. The pseudo-pundits have that much right. He would do nothing about the steady rise of police violence over the past decade or so, for example. He not only hasn’t mentioned it, but talks as if the police were somehow an oppressed group operating with their hands tied. Trump’s authoritarianism is steeped in an “America-Firstism” the roots of which predate the rise of the global elites and the financialization of the economy that began in the 1970s. It rejects open borders, for example, just as it rejects the offshoring of a country’s manufacturing base. Libertarian bloggers have demonized Trump as a fascist. It is true enough, he doesn’t worship at the alter of the absolutely free market. It is unfortunate that libertarians confuse free markets in the abstract (which have never existed in a pure form) any more than Communism has ever existed in its pure form) with the concrete reality of corporate leviathans being able to do as they please without legal restrictions.
As I put it in my nuanced logic-speak (a language almost no one understands anymore, it seems): at our present historical juncture, the rise of an outsider may be a necessary condition for what is needed, but it is not a sufficient condition. The fact that most of the public won’t have a clue what I just said signifies a major part of the problem. Education at all levels has fallen off the cliff in the U.S. Ridiculously overpriced neoliberal universities now teach vocationalism and political correctness. Students keep enrolling. Public education always has been more about teaching dependence and obedience, not critical thinking skills and self-reliance. Parents keep sending their kids to them. What else can one expect besides a major fall-off in public aggregate thinking ability. Did those involved in this system really believe they could do this forever without a Donald Trump eventually appearing to take up the cudgel for those who really are being ostracized by the system (as opposed to the official, politically-designated “victims”)? What were they thinking? Were they thinking?
It is now being said that the Election of 2016 will be a turning point for the country. I submit that the Election of 2016 is more likely to be a train wreck of historical proportions if Trump is the GOP nominee and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party nominee.
The turning point was the Election of 2012. The GOP had an opportunity to nominate an abiding Constitutionalist: Dr. Ron Paul. They threw it away. As my marginally-published essay puts it, welcome to the post Ron Paul era. I see what now seems likely to happen as the inevitable trajectory of an empire (the U.S.) whose fortunes have already begun to decline, and will decline further over the next couple of decades. A President Donald Trump might well hasten the process! Look on the bright side. There wasn’t a single other person from either party running who could have turned that process around.