Entering the Trump Zone, part one
Here we are, the first populist president of my lifetime. And I remember Nixon. Been hella interesting so far, and promises more of the same. I’m not a Trump supporter, though I am glad Hillary lost. I have no problems with supporters of either, or Bernie supporters for that matter. If anything, I call myself an independent, I don’t think either major party has the best interests of the common American at heart. It was an wild election campaign, and we are in for a ride. Here, in semi particular order, are my observations on the Trump presidency so far.
A lot of people were surprised and shocked when Trump won, I wasn’t one of them. I watched one of the very first GOP debates and came away thinking “This guy could win this thing.” He had an obvious appeal that all of his rivals lacked. I know most of my progressive and Democratic friends can’t see this. A sign of how polarized the country has become. If all one watches is the “news” produced for one’s own targeted demographic, it eventually becomes impossible to understand people watching the opposite. This goes as much for Jon Stewart watchers as it does for Fox News fans.
Moving right along, in some ways it was funny watching Trump walk all over his GOP rivals in the campaign. The irony was delicious, they and the GOP spent decades priming their base for someone just like Trump, so his appearance out of nowhere was their just desserts. In some ways Trump is a symptom of the times.
I mentioned that I am glad Hillary lost. And I still am. She was the establishment candidate pure and simple, annointed by the powers that be. She would have simply hammered more nails into the coffin of the progressive movement in tne USA. The rich would have gotten richer, corporate influence would have gotten greater, and our wars overseas would have continued and expanded. All the forces that have been destroying this country since Reagan would have gotten that much stronger. I know Trump is not the antidote to that, far from it, but maybe there is now a chance progressives will get back into power. Or at least turn back the tide of GOP control of congress and state legislatures. It may be a slim hope, but it would have been no hope under Clinton.
As to why Hillary lost, that’s a can of worms. Like most lost wars or battles, myths have grown up to expain it away. It is clear to me that many of her supporters were shocked that she lost to someone like Trump. And since she was the obviously (to them, see paragragh 2) the superior and more qualified candidate, there must be some underhanded reason why she lost. Russian meddling is the favourite so far, in fact half of Democrats think Russians diddled with the actual voting machines, an allegation no one has even made! Blaming Bernie supporters or other third party supporters is another favourite. Yes, she lost because people that should have known better didn’t vote for her! To my way of thinking that attitude itself is a big reason she lost. Vote shaming is hardly a good way to inspire people to vote. The bottom line is she utterly failed to inspire people to vote for her, and blaming anyone but her for this failure is ludicrous.
And the “Russia got Trump elected” thing. Yeah, long on allegations, short on anything that can be considered evidence. I know many many people are absolutely convinced this is the case, but it all seems like motivated reasoning to me. When actual evidence of said conspiracy shows up, I will reconsider my position. I also point out that claiming Russian influence was responsible for the tiny margin that Trump won by is ignoring the huge numbers of voters that Hillary scorned or even encouraged to vote against her with her campaign missteps. There’s also the fact thay it’s hard to imagine Putin doing something so stupid. He is one dangerous mofo, but he is no fool.
In a related vein, the whole “Russia is a terrible threat” trope is ridiculous. The USA and its allies outspend Russia by more than ten to one in military spending. We have Russia ringed with military bases, fleets, and nuclear weapons, not vice versa. In fact Russia is making big cuts in its military spending this year, while Trump is pouring ever more money into the military. It’s safe to say that no country in history has ever enjoyed the global military hegemony the USA now enjoys.
Tomorrow, presuming I have any readers left, more on the Trump phenomena. Good times.