Wednesday, September 19, 2018

If Trump isn’t the best democratic plant . . . then what?

The anti-president wreaks GOP havoc.

Image Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty

Is Trump the chump not the best Democratic Party plant ever? Certainly, his goose-stepping reign of chaos is battering Republican strongholds far and wide. Here’s the greatest klutz to pull off the greatest U.S. campaign hustle – yet only 16 months later looks to alone resurrect the underwhelming Democratic Party. What, aside from squandering House and Senate control, better sets up Dems to be great again? Bravo!

By hook, but mainly by crook, Trumpery empowers the opposition, the once and only formidable reform party around – with reparation beyond any king’s men or all the cautious Pelosis, Schumers and Clintons combined. Who cares how the left rises and the right fades – as long as progressive Democrats seize and remake a moribund party with a visionary new New Deal?

E. J. Dionne gets it: Trump’s failing politics of outrage is “unintentionally, one of the most effective organizers of progressive activism and commitment in the country’s history.” For the last 20 years, with the exception of the first two Obama years, has not the robber-baron GOP dominated politics, state and federal? Perhaps the worst disgrace: the Constitution-blasting fiasco of Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, erupting from unbridled contempt for law, precedent, and fair play. Republican dominance explains the cruel, anti-minority disenfranchisement crusade, topped by rampant gerrymandering. The right rules the courts after Senate approval of reactionary Trump judges – along with health-damning deregulation, Obamacare body-blows, medieval taxation, and nearly irreconcilable national rancor.

All during this time, Democrats shot themselves in the foot by repeatedly nominating incompetent campaigners, like Gore, Kerry and Clinton. Beside that, where’s today’s all-important, New Deal-style Democratic party vision – as opposed to vague clap-track that doesn’t offend fat cat donors? Why have Dems muddled the waters on what programs to push hard, ignored lost good jobs (after years of outsourcing) without offsetting training programs? Why stick to this losing party message, “we’re the liberal status quo party, open to diversity and safety nets, but not systemic jolts to warmongering and renegade capitalism”?

Where’s the unifying Democratic Party infrastructure plan for the nation? Where’s the unifying national health plan like Medicare for all (promoted by elbowed-aside Sanders constituency)? Where’s the smarter, cheaper, less belligerent unifying national defense spending plans? Or truly innovative foreign policies that fit 2018, not 1918? Hilary had enough money but not enough smarts or courage to promote winning ideas to win millions of Obama voters who stayed home. Instead, no bold Hillary programs or vision specified, just the self-sabotage of “more of the same.” Trump got fewer total votes than McCain; Hilary got millions less than Obama – and in the wrong places to win.

Trump outrage backfires

Whatever the countless calamities from the Trump asylum, his administration spotlights the monumental menace posed by the Republican Party to prosperity, equilibrium, and majority rule (on which sane electoral dominance depends). The Gruesome Old Party, by embracing the Trump reign on deregulation, tax giveaways, and bluster, threatens America’s future beyond Trump’s potential, early lame duck status – as midterms should confirm the disaster of belligerently insulting the majority, especially women and minorities.

So despite the horror, let’s celebrate the Trump payoff: the demolition of the regressive, racist-coded, billionaire-enslaved Republican Party and the elevation of potential progressive reformers. Will not more months of Trumpty-Dumpty further roil the party he humiliated in the primary when hijacking its Electoral College leverage? What Trump exposes, by not just being un-presidential but anti-presidential, is how much GOP enablers will lose by demonstrating zero interest in restoring America for the 90%. What Republicans have kept in the shadows – rejection of governance as compromise or check and balance on predatory corporate excesses – is what Trump broadcasts every day with his lies, distortions, and shell-game rhetoric.

The GOP is now manifestly exposed across state and federal governance as the 21st C Robber Baron party, hook, line and sinker. What’s new isn’t this insight, as trends go back to Reagan, but the growing outrage and mass awakening to the huge human costs when anti-populist forces rule for decades. Income inequality, front and center. Lack of economic mobility, ditto. Bad negative health outcomes, bingo! By playing off Trump’s reactionary billionaire obsessions (money is all, only the oligarchic 1% matters, might + optics = hard right), the Republican Party is married to Trumpery, whatever its private contempt for his nutty deviance.

The loaded GOP land mine

And yet, with all the marvelous irony on which historic progress depends, Trump the chump looms as formidable GOP terminator, so lost in his own narcissistic bubble he can’t see the jeopardy to his anti-presidency – and he cares little about the slavish leadership that dreads its own befuddled base. We all now know Trump is about demolition, despite the snake-oil builder image, forever exemplified by endless, sneering, loud-mouth F**k-You’s.

What blind loyalty to the depraved Trump presidency says about his fixated, right-wing base – and the 62 million voters he suckered – that remains for another day: behold the spiteful NRA leverage, the neo-Confederate movement, or variations on white supremacist hate groups. But these splinter groups, aligned with a failing presidency, look to get more splintered from the majority. This wayward, reactionary lurch either gains strength or gets quickly dispatched – a generational regression at the end we hope of its pendulum extreme.

Reports and polls, let alone a fistful of political reversals in GOP territories, foretell a new, positive, humane narrative on the horizon. If grassroots Democrats emerge in November elections, especially with Bernie Sanders’ version of progressive populism, these anti-Trump, anti-Republican forces have an historic, earthshaking chance. Let’s also battle any counter-productive, self-defeating feints from the entrenched Clinton establishment – the one that couldn’t beat Obama or eight years later the least able, most dangerous candidate in American history. Let’s not forget two great oppositional forces oppose updated, progressive New Deal politics – and the genuine reform, if not revolutionary shifts, only an empowered, enlightened majority can achieve.

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Robert S. Becker
For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.
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