Weaponizing the Trump rout to throttle the Republican scourge

Trump is the disintegrating, self-destructive meteor aimed directly at the heart of the Republican brand.


The rightwing swamp faces its own weapon of mass destruction

What! Hilary told the truth when railing against the “vast, rightwing conspiracy”? Two decades and 100 machinations later that conspiracy is more organized, more vicious, and more in control. Progressives thus won’t approach systemic, institutional reform until key Republican swamp dwellers are defanged, if not pushed to extinction. Compared to the GOP’s staying power, Trump is a transient (and defective) performer – though with a special talent to destroy whatever he touches. So when the left aptly exploits Trump’s self-destructive manias, ever more pathological in losing, that awards him an historic role beyond today’s preposterous Liar-in-chief.

Trump’s most ambitious promise to “drain the swamp” defines his greatest and intensely ironic failure. His jaw-dropping self-dealing has taught the greediest how it’s done – with the added attraction (for opponents) that the Criminal-in-chief is clueless about covering up his crimes. Further, his deviance carries a specially diseased gene – a void of political savvy – and so he addictively replays dubious ‘16 notes as if nothing has changed. That monumental blunder, worsened by the pandemic, is crushing him plus dragging down ruthless lackeys and co-conspirators. That achievement may justify enduring four painful years of a president without precedent.

Dumping Trump removes a short term obstacle, but fades in significance if the GOP is not equally sent packing. Jennifer Rubin is half-right when titling her Wash Post essay today, “With a resounding victory, Democrats can protect us from the next Trump.” She then oversimplifies: “the goal is simple: Never again should a thin stratum of hateful Americans be able to game the system and threaten the basic tenets of democracy.” No, the goal is complex and long-term and transcends Trump. The “thin stratum” cemented to Trump’s disgrace is the genuine enemy. That explains why folks running the Koch empire won’t shed any tears: they foresaw in Trump an arrogant, thoughtless loser who couldn’t grow its hegemony.

It’s the party, stupid

Yet, except for the House, Republican mindsets dominate key power centers: the Senate, federal judiciary, the Electoral College, a majority of state houses, regulatory agencies, especially the military-industrial complex, and certainly Wall Street’s 1% corporate elite. Our “low” tax system, the great driver of inequality, is a triumph of oligarchic propaganda. No wonder progress is so hard against racism, police brutality, oppression of immigrants and minorities, domestic job losses, and institutional government reform (except demolition of federalism).

The happy news is that even establishment Republicans smart enough to anticipate the Trump calamity couldn’t control its amateur, know-it-all TV actor. Though mouthing reactionary positions, he overdid the racist card and is incapable of expanding his base, a definitive death knell. It’s not hard to predict that any landslide batters the Republican brand – and for years to come. Rare is the historic moment when the idiot incumbent ignores a blatant pandemic and commits political suicide, thus elevating the avuncular, unthreatening Status Quo Joe.

I am not among Rubin’s “many Democrats and ex-Republicans” who remained mystified — by the “notion that even 40 percent of the electorate could support a racist candidate untethered to reality.” This is the American legacy from the start, with a few notable exceptions when the government and the interests of the 90% coincided: the New Deal, half of the 1960s and incomplete populist advances like Obamacare plus huge gains in civil rights (now in jeopardy).

One Goliath down, more thugs to go

Yes, we need a justly aggrieved majority to expose and reject the moral “populist” void that is Trumpism. We need to discredit electoral delusions that drove ‘16 voters to think Trump the “non-politician” was different. Or help the 90% – with jobs, infrastructure, health care or immigration reform. Unless abortion and hating government programs are your sole issues, Trump left you high and dry. Trump is different alright but in all the wrong ways.

But that outcome, despite a gruesome interim, delivers the good news: Trump’s denialism on the pandemic propelled him off the cliff, now he’s waving his petty hands wildly in self-inflicted free-fall. Trump the low-life super-spreader has revealed the underbelly of the American right – and that fuels reform. No change comes without pain, and the double whammy of a pandemic disease aggravated by Trump the blowhard pandemic pushes the electorate to purge the diseased leader and the diseased party that renominated him.

Trump has always been a piddling boil on the buttocks of humanity. But now fate makes him an inadvertent lever that could change history: here is the disintegrating meteor aimed directly at the heart of the Republican brand. Into the dumpster goes not only the illusion that know-nothing incompetence is good for America but confirms the GOP, as with no healthcare plan while bashing the ACA, has nothing to offer the multitudes but toxic Trumpism. Dumping Trump and Republicans won’t suddenly solve any big problems but a clear dual surgery removes two cancers blocking the circulation for reform.

Biden is redirection, not salvation

Whether Biden can deliver half of his centrist agenda, though stronger than Obama on climate and energy reforms, is anything but settled. But this election is not about Biden’s underwhelming centrism, nor Trump’s ultimate triviality, but whether Democrats can re-channel sufficient progressive focus and restart. even redeem a besieged, systemically-stunted America. Biden will at least listen to rational, compassionate believers in science and that government can serve the public good, even level the playing field. If Biden’s landslide also embarrasses the DNC-corrupted 2016 coercion that elevated Hilary, the one Democrat Trump could defeat, so much the better.

My horizon is generational, for we need a new Progressive Era and a bold New New Deal. Biden is an unlikely repeater if he wins. No quick fix exists for Trump-McConnell degradation of the federal judiciary, with over 200 extremist judicial steps backward. Dumping the filibuster, serving justice with new Supreme Court seats, and strong, truly populist legislation – that’s a good battle plan that addresses decades of disinformation, voter suppression, bad taxation and judicial stagnation.

A committed majority of outraged voters will accomplish what impeachment failed to do: the demotion of a criminal. But even more important is the demolition of the party tarnished by oligarchic, anti-humanistic, children-caging illegitimacy. All the rightwing con artists must be tarred and feathered, even, dare we dream, indicted and punished. Immoral plus lawless plus stupid plus reckless is no sustainable way to run anything. Another path out of the darkness beckons, and we need to take the progressive tiller and go where such leverage counts. That will take years but every journey begins with a single step. Or in Biden’s case, a half step.


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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.