Let House scrutiny re-brand Trump: Worst of the worst of crony capitalism

If Trump is not made stand-in for heartless Robber Barons, progressives will have squandered our greatest opportunity to name this era: Trump’s Age of Corruption.

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Impeach the biggest sham — Billionaire bosses ‘care about’ struggling whites — or anyone else

Dumping Trump before 2020 is a long shot. But using Trump’s mania for attention against him, to show off the systemic corruption when the 1% rule — that’s a potent gambit when orchestrated by savvy (if sluggish) Democrats. Producing as prime example the full career of Trump charades will expose ways that sleazy rich get super-rich, commandeer the country and make the world their playpen. 

Not only do super-rich exploit people and resources, they cynically spend billions propagandizing their exceptionalism: “we’re all on the same team.” Or, “we’re here for workers.” The best “impeachment” investigation will present national show trials that detail, yet transcend the loudmouth, WH front man. Hard evidence from multiple sources can raise consciousness to propel the urgently needed, new Progressive Era.

The biggest fraud in American politics goes beyond the Trump presidency, despite its crude wave of deplorables flooding us with horribles. The electoral target must be the sham alliance between predatory, Trumpian billionaires and older, white, conservative Christians deluded into thinking them buddies.  Until voters understand the right-wing’s working class-destroying doctrines — trickle-down, tax welfare for the rich, deregulation, climate abuses, cartoon belligerence — Democrats will struggle in key purple states. A New Progressive Era depends on breaking this appalling, upside-down, wedge-distorted linkage. 

Crony capitalism writ large

That means investigations into Trump criminality should ultimately transform his smug unfitness into a model of crony capitalism at its worst. He fits the bill to a tee, rife with nasty sexual predation. Make Trump the rule, not the exception, proving this “populist” demagogue hardly “tells it like it is” (lying personified), scorns ordinary folks (especially poor “losers”), and cares only about “making America great” when it makes for huge profits. 

Because the best offense plays off a foe’s inflated strengths, get the impeachment show under way. Put Trumpster center stage and feed his mania for non-stop cable TV. No politician affixes more bullseyes on himself, and replacing one scandal with another makes him desperate for air time, melodramatic fisticuffs, and perpetual martyrdom. The best 2020 impeachment lever is not removal (thanks, Senate) but never-ending, dramatized teaching moments.  Let findings confirm Trump not only as illegitimate — a serial abuser of emoluments, campaign laws, obstruction and noxious co-ordination with a foreign power. What makes Trump unelectable is turning him into the ultimate emblem of non-stop corruption merged with jaw-dropping incompetence. The great payoff then becomes exposure of our worst political cancer: big money, Trump-types that force state and federal governments to do their bidding.    

That lifts inquiry focus to the singular threat to democracy: gross income and asset inequality.  Whether denying climate change, finagling corporate trade deals, refusing living wages, or sabotaging voting rights, 1% reactionaries control $16 trillion of net assets vs. the bottom 50% (right, half) owning en masse less than a single trillion dollars. Inequality dooms representative democracy just as abysmal public educational, inadequate healthcare/housing/nutrition and racial prejudice shred opportunity for the many. How many would-be geniuses from that bottom 50% are never discovered because one phony “stable genius” owns the bully pulpit. 

Impeach the propaganda

Overall, impeachment set-up will best succeed by reversing the propaganda so many key-state centrists bought into, especially former Obama voters. We can’t remove Trump, but we can re-educate ten+ million voters who decide national elections, control of the House and Senate. The actual impeachment vote should be timed for maximum 2020 impacts, even long delayed to minimize Senate sabotage.

House inquiries are the best way to keep national eyes on the critical, long-term prize: to devastate the stronghold between the vast, reactionary billionaires and those with low total family assets, if any, whether white, black or Hispanic. The attack isn’t limited to Republican fat cats (as Dems have theirs, too), but in-depth scrutiny of Trump’s financial chicanery should dramatize how immoral exploiters scheme, manipulate and use cheap labor, cheap money and cheap shots to avoid taxes and buttress wealth.  As Trump once bragged, only suckers pay full taxes due —  thus revelations on lawless dealings have electoral legs. 

The main event is to batter Trump’s infamy rampage — business/investment frauds, bank and insurance deceit, selling himself to foreign oligarchs — and who knows what else.  Here’s a once-a-generation shot to assess the cronyest of crony capitalists — and equally greedy partners. Trump externalizes how the super-rich, even one transparently ignorant, arrogant hustler, can intimidate a political party, induce a crisis presidency, and delude himself he’s a re-election shoo-in. On trial should be this ruling mentality: “We’re rich, we’re all geniuses who know more than  experts —  so why shouldn’t we rule the country we own?” The general arrogance that drips in bucketfuls should be broadcast far and wide. 

Let us also cement why Trumpian billionaires make the worst leaders. Electing powerful, malignant narcissists totally convinced the world “owes them a living” means anything goes. However, showing how Congress can sting those who shun so many rules fuels outrage that could make 2020 the kickoff for the next Progressive Era. Only elevated mass consciousness, seeping into every kitchen, confronts ruthless anti-government billionaires pushing minority rule.

Trump’s Age of Corruption

Progress will take years. What Reagan and the right-wing onslaught wrought will not soon be torn asunder. A mortifying pre-impeachment episode, however, may temper the super-rich from grabbing political office, carrying severe costs to reputation and holdings.  Teach the next uncaring demagogue, inept at governance, the White House is a loaded prize — with looming, in-depth tax scrutiny no tycoons welcome. 

Another final virtue of sustained House investigations is the oblivious, undisciplined Trump, hardly the best or the brightest, won’t realize the big crony capitalism picture until too late. If Trump is not made stand-in for heartless Robber Barons, progressives will have squandered our greatest opportunity to name this era: Trump’s Age of Corruption.

Best of all, countless revelations can’t be vetoed by McConnell’s Senate hegemony.  Trump — and the oligarchic class he represents — can be decimated by the House alone. A critical mass can then understand the full nightmare career of DJT, even reminded of the opposite — tolerant, compassionate melting pot values —  that initiated American greatness. All centrist voters have to lose are delusions that crony capitalists serve the country, democratic institutions or regular folks. Along with today’s left-leaning Democratic push, we can imagine, then reboot the next Progressive Era. History progresses only by finding humane gifts across inhumane wounds. 

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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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