Americans and the world should count their blessings that Donald Trump is the new President. It could have been worse. A lot worse.
Granted Hillary Clinton or particularly Bernie Sanders was the better choice but that was not to be as the Clinton campaign and the media effectively, if not unfairly, shut the Sanders campaign down. Even though the Sanders run was an astonishing accomplishment against long odds, the bulk of the anti-establishment vote in the end went to Trump in a year the voters demanded change.
I had described this election between Trump and Clinton as the fast and slow road to get a look at hell. Bush and Clinton represented the neoliberal, globalization, free trade, neo-conservative view of the country and the world where the majority of the spoils of the class war go to the already wealthy or privileged and anyone getting in the way is smacked down hard.
They represent the smooth-talking, black-slapping, cigar-smoking, backroom-deal-making scalawag politicians that the middle class worldwide have learned to hate. They are the slow road paved with tricky mortgages, student loans, and payday lending designed to extract any chance of upward mobility of the unsuspecting or the desperate.
I give Clinton credit. She made the necessary campaign adjustments after the primaries. She ran a good campaign. Would she have done like President Clinton and run as a liberal and then govern as a conservative? We'll never know. But she won this election and if it had been legitimate and democratic she would be Madam President.
Anyone who watched the Republican debates saw that Trump was clearly not a Republican. The other candidates even called him out on it. But Trump, to his credit, recognized the Sanders appeal early-on and tapped into what remained of the Tea Party anger. How did Trump win the Republican nomination? He simply ran in part as an old time Southern Democrat bigot crossed with an anti-establishment Bernie Sanders.
He updated the Reagan "General Electric Theater" persona to the Trump "Reality TV/WWE Universe" persona, and we got President Donald Trump. He even co-opted Reagan's slogan "Let's Make America Great Again". We got conned by Reagan and to our discredit conned by Trump using the same techniques. Think Charley Brown was a dupe for falling for the football trick over and over again? Voted Republican again? Look in Trump's mirror and you might see Lucy's reflection.
In reality, Trump's masterful maneuvering only got him close as his incessant blabbering kept him from maximizing his strategy. Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway most likely saved him from himself. What secured his victory was the election fraud put in place by the Voter Registration Crosscheck Program where hundreds of thousands nationwide were denied the vote, as well as illegal election tampering by the FBI, and a bit of Russian mischief.
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Trump was aided by incredible press attention and a ridiculously weak Republican field of candidates. Some have estimated that the value of the media attention on Trump was worth in excess of $2 billion. John Kasich, on the other hand, was the only close-to-reasonable candidate. Give Trump credit for reaching out to Kasich as his VP. And give John Kasich credit for screwing up "bigly" as Trump might say. So instead of the best unacceptable choice we got Mike Pence, perhaps the worst unacceptable choice. Why? Mike Pence is an articulate, smooth, and well-funded tool. In short, a formidable foe. Better to have a caricature as president than the real thing.
In a very strange inaugural speech Trump described an America most of his voters have never seen. As opposed to hope and change he was selling fear and change. Fear of what they might become. I am reminded of the bumper sticker "If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention". In this case it might better read "If you were not paying attention, you're now pissed off". The pissed-off Trump voters were created out of thin air by the greatest propaganda machine perhaps in history.
Trump described an America for his supporters that only exists in perhaps a few places like the back roads of West Virginia, rural Florida, or the Mississippi delta where decades of Republican rule have sucked the lifeblood of their most vulnerable. He certainly wasn't describing the hope that is California, the world's 6th biggest economy not so magically transformed by a progressive Governor and legislature. A progressive led California shows the way forward, not a Republican led Washington, DC.
With notorious lies, the Bush Administration sold us fear so they could pillage Iraq and steal their oil. With visions of a libertarian pipe dream they fired all the remaining Bath government and military on taking control and left a country unable to effectively rule itself. A libertarian nightmare.
Trump is now selling his brand of fear so his band of thieves can pillage America. It will not be a pretty sight as they descend on every nook and cranny of the federal government to purge it of the ability to govern and drown it in Grover Norquist's proverbial bathtub. Part of their plan is the Heritage Foundation proposed budget with its $10 trillion in austerity cuts. This of course matches up perfectly with the proposed $10 trillion tax cuts to the already wealthy.
Trump is most likely going to screw this presidency thing up just like everything else he touches. But he does control the presidential veto and he can be pressured to use it against the jackals in Congress while the real America concentrates on rocking the vote in 2018 and 2020. We have one chance at best to drive a stake through the heart of this small band of seditious Republicans and return the Republican party to the people. And after a Trump presidency mess, Republicans may not see the inside of the White House again as a resident for a couple of generations if ever.
Time is now of the essence. The world and the US most likely do not have 8 years and probably not even 4 years to effect a change given our climate emergency. One way or the other, the age of oil, greed, and war must be ended, or we will perish.
The way forward is not paved with good intentions or nattering nabobs of negativism, but is paved with solar panels, windmills, and electric cars. It is paved with sustainability, economic equality, and racial harmony. It is paved by cooperation, adaptation, and technological innovation. It will not be paved by neoliberals of any political stripe but by bold and aggressive progressives.
Think this president is bull? Impeach him and we get the horn. Better to prop this guy up and let he and his gang steal a few billion or so until the women's cavalry comes in 2018.
About the Author
Robert Jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf.com with his wife Marie T Russell. InnerSelf is dedicated to sharing information that allows people to make educated and insightful choices in their personal life, for the good of the commons, and for the well-being of the planet. InnerSelf Magazine is in its 30+year of publication in either print (1984-1995) or online as InnerSelf.com. Please support our work.
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