The Korean summit farce and the G-7 debacle confirm how Trump incites disorder to divide and disrupt. The P.T. Barnum of bad faith politics engenders media spectacles, nothing of substance gets done, yet countless partners are needlessly offended. Count the misused: our closest trading allies, Asian/Pacific partners, military mavens (ambushed by cancelled “war games”) and democrats everywhere who cringe when a brutal dictatorship is stupidly praised. The same spiteful mindset isolates hostage children from immigrant parents seeking asylum.
In only 500 days President Gasbag has outdone himself – tarnishing our prestige and the global stage like none before. It’s hard to identify any group (except a dozen autocrats and sycophantic WH enablers) not sorely aggrieved – and without direct redress. Even Canada is trashed as a “national security” threat, the absurd fallacy behind outrageous, counterproductive tariffs.
Suddenly, unhappy Trump fans in corn, pork, wheat, bourbon, and soy bean states roar that a trade war jeopardizes business. Free-trade Republicans grumble but dread challenging He Who Owns the Base. If success is measured not with achievements but empty gestures – and crude disregard for pissed-off millions – this clown wins the prize. Grievance reigns, burgeoning as global pandemic. So what if America First equals America Isolated? Or that unforced tariff wars shred domestic jobs?
Trump marks, hooked by the “everything stinks” message, first surfaced as the national grievance party. They already scoffed at government, regulatory “interference,” elitism, non-whites, mass media, anti-fundamentalism, and fudged liberalism. Now they rage against the “deep state” for bashing their hero (and only because he makes waves). Trump the perpetual victim lives and breathes grievance – against which ironically this wannabe strongman daily bellyaches. As writer Ryan Holiday comments, “Lamenting, crying, complaining … not only do they not make you feel better, they actively make the situation worse.”
Trump parlayed this FOX-induced resentment, no small reflection of rightwing/trade corporatism, then manipulated the aggrieved minority to blame everyone but themselves – especially impotent liberals. Why not instead commit to upgrade your skill-sets, even move where there are jobs? The Trump hustle generalized his own self-entitlement into propaganda only he could save America from itself. That took his phony reality show campaign to Washington where he now drops misdirected bombs on the status quo.
The Trump anti-doctrine
National upset exploded when a solid majority verified this inaugurated hustler is the ultimate one-trick pony – doubling down on lying, derangement and wishful thinking. Permanent victimhood must shun reality. Thus rampant disruption (some provocative, like rejecting corporate mergers) turned into destruction for destruction sake, without solutions or replacements. “Just saying no” to hard-won trade, nuclear and climate agreements is no smarter or more effective than Nancy Reagan’s failed slogan against drug usage. Predictably, the NeverTrump contingency exploded, here and abroad, as the coarse B.S. artist started busting up the world’s fragile china shop. Inflamed, fixated grievance (vs. justified anger) now runs our government.
Time only fabricated fake “enemies” – like Canada, Mexico, France, England, and Germany – set against “good guys” from Russia, Turkey, and North Korea. That’s why a crude 1950’s-style tariff war serves Trumpery – divisive headlines and mayhem without positive ends. Does not his deluded base get the direct income threat? Or the nonsense of upgrading our military (at huge expense) while withdrawing our post-WWII defense umbrella from conflicted areas? Why not obliterate the Iran nuclear pact – after all, it was working? Ditto, bash NAFTA without good faith negotiations to fix it – while endorsing coal, fossil fuels and deregulation of banks no longer too big to fail (until they do, disastrously).
Is not America learning just how dangerous is a criminal president who glories in breaking the rules – if not statutes? And how fragile is relative stability or our best values: tolerance, diversity, respect for law, even confidence in evidence and knowledge?
We need a scorecard to unearth those not aggrieved by Trump. You’d think his base would take solace in having won, however Pyrrhic the victory. Nah, they’re still unsatisfied because their worldview feeds on resentment. What about multitudes justifiably under siege (women, rationalists, scientists, justice advocates), or the abused (minorities, immigrants, children), or those endangered by going outside (young black men)? The Trump Grievance Syndrome is surpassed only by the worldwide amazement the US has birthed another cancer on the presidency (and greater than Nixon’s).
Backlash to infamy
For how long – and how many lost billions in revenue before the silent majority of international, free-trading, Republican CEOs oppose regressive Trumpian economics? Sure, big business loves tax giveaways plus dire deregulation. But the outcome (from punitive tariffs) of losses vs. gains is terrible: very few benefit, very many suffer. Typically hypocritical is Trump’s self-serving concern for ZTE workers – especially noteworthy as there’s zero WH talk about costly outsourcing. That empty ploy was merely campaign fodder.
Division is corrosive as this lone gun turns into a walking, talking offense machine that alienates those overseas on which our prosperity and stability depend. Sure, we all get that an attention-fanatic gains press coverage by reversing “normality” (often deflecting darker moves). Fabricating grievance is a calculation, however irrational some motivation. The question becomes: how much slashing and burning can this system take before enough react?
Bravo, Trumpers: you turned a transparently belligerent know-nothing into a wrecking ball presidency. The martyred, blowhard candidate is the martyred, blowhard chiefdom. In the past, America figured how to offset huge mistakes: already we see the vibrant, electoral backlash to the Trump front-lash. The challenge is not mysterious: either we restore majority rule, or we become another, less just country. Positive outrage has an upside when enough voters, overcoming gerrymandering and Citizens United, manage to handcuff this Lord of Misrule.
Trump’s gross excesses are calling forth an insurgence that promises to singe his infamous orange locks. The Mueller findings will be critical. Potent, focused opposition can drive this egocentric, impulsive gasbag from office before 2020. We are an optimistic people, after all, and activism means turning frustration not into fixated grievances but a progressive crusade against a criminal government. Is it so hard to motivate voters to return to this tested value: the greatest good for the greatest number? Either that or the American experiment comes to a crashing halt.