Fall and Rise of the Forgotten ‘Deplorables’

The political gamble that will be the Trump presidency traces back to the desperation of Americans who lost out in the social experiment of neoliberalism — and the Democrats’ candidate who personified those economic inequities, says Greg Maybury.

By Greg Maybury

In horseracing parlance, when a particular horse wins unexpectedly the bookmakers’ call this a “turn-up for the books.” In more general usage, the phrase came to mean an unexpected piece of good fortune, a pleasant surprise, or something generally welcomed especially if not deemed likely. While conceding those who didn’t want nor expect it might think otherwise (not least the “defeated favorite”), if we confine its meaning to this usage, Donald Trump’s Oval Office win by any definition is a “turn-up for the books,” the best example — this side of Harry Truman in 1948 at least — the Grand American Narrative has to offer.

President-elect Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump

As might be anticipated, in the wake of Trump’s historic victory — a win that for all sorts of reasons has shaken the Beltway establishment and beyond to its core, and one that political junkies will be fixating on for years — there’s been much handwringing about how so many folks got the outcome so wrong. All of this has been accompanied by the obligatory hyperventilating and existential angst about what Trump’s election portends for the future.

His campaign both revealed — and “reanimate” — the tectonic forces that hold sway in the political equivalent of the San Andreas Fault, a long-neglected fault-line in American politics that has been waiting to let rip for decades. At the risk of overcooking the geological metaphors, we might imagine that if folks were presented two highly improbable scenarios before this election and had to bet their house on only one as the more likely outcome — the choice here being either a Trump win or California sliding into the Pacific Ocean after the actual San Andreas finally lets the “big one” rip — many might have picked the latter. Now, expect political aftershocks until further notice.

The reality — to say little of the irony — of a political neophyte and ostensible outsider winning a U.S. presidential election (to say nothing of claiming the actual nomination whilst summarily seeing off 16 of his own party’s rivals in the primaries) without the support of said party, Wall Street or the mainstream media and with half the money of his opponents by breaking every rule in the electioneering field book then defeating the other party’s nominee, a seasoned campaigner and professional career politician whose own party (and the usual “suspects,” the MSM, Wall Street, Israel Lobby et. al.) all had earlier anointed as the presumptive nominee from the start and whom they all collectively backed to the hilt — from the still relatively popular incumbent on down — with the most effective, ruthless, formidable, sophisticated, cashed-up political machine ever assembled, must indeed be unprecedented.

With Clinton herself winning the popular vote convincingly (some suggest it could nudge 2 million), this of course is not a “landslide” in any conventional sense, and is not quite the conservative “revolution” some pundits are breathlessly celebrating. But as noted few if any election outcomes were as unexpected. To the extent it represented a “landslide” of sorts, in this case it was a “landslide” of the contemporary political imagination in; the substrata has shifted underneath people’s feet and moved to spaces that were hitherto unthinkable, and possibly about which few might lay claim to having much idea of what to expect.

And this is happening at both ends of the political spectrum and just about every key point in between, with the Bernie Sanders factor testament to that. Even if on the face of it with the Republicans winning, both parties will now have to reinvent themselves not just as a matter of course, but of survival, at least as major political forces. Such is the extraordinary nature and character of this election and its outcome!

Win or lose though, Trump’s impact was always going to necessitate a whole rethink about the way politics is conducted in Washington, a “rethink” both parties will avoid at their peril. That “rethink” should entail everything from how they function as political parties and how they manage themselves and how they position themselves with voters, to how they interact with each other at the Congressional cum legislative level so they begin managing national affairs more in the interests of their constituents than those of themselves and their families, their political cronies and/or corporate benefactors. More than that, they will need to be seen to be doing so.

Let there be no mistaking it. The Republicans are no less on the take than are the Democrats — albeit with in some cases different constituencies and for possibly different reasons. And they are no less so because of their windfall victory now than they were before the campaign even started. The GOP did win by default in some respects, with no shortage of people not unreasonably seeing the Democrats as losing more than the Republicans winning.

That neither party comes up smelling like roses in the scheme of things then is a longstanding reality brought into much sharper relief by this election. There are still for example many unanswered questions about the degree to which both parties played fast and loose with fundamental democratic principles and electoral legalities, about which there was relativity little reporting in the MSM.

In the aftermath, many will rightly question not only Hillary Clinton’s suitability as the party’s nominee; courtesy of the revelations about the manner in which the Democratic National Committee’s primary campaign was conducted, they will also be able to question her political legitimacy as the nominee and, especially, the integrity and credibility of the party machine mindset that plotted her ascension. Indeed, that should be a prerequisite going forward for party reform.

Yet if the Republicans think Trump’s win — while retaining control of both the House and Senate — redeems them and their party in the eyes of voters or the citizenry in general, one expects they will be sorely disappointed as we move forward. And this is only partly attributable to the fact Trump was not their preferred choice of candidate; indeed, he was rejected by many, a point we should never forget.

The seeds of discontent ushering in Trump then may have been planted some time back, but the current GOP fraternity and their forbears cleared the ground. Whether in opposition or in the White House, the GOP also has tended the neoliberal and globalization garden. Trump’s campaign rhetoric aside, it remains to be seen how much of an enthusiast he will be for more of the same.

Skin in the Game

There can be little doubt the election outcome reflected considerable dissatisfaction with President Obama. Because he had so much skin in the game (his legacy for one thing), the President personally has to cop much of the rap for the rise of Trump (or even someone like him). The corollary to this is the President also accepting responsibility for the defeat of his own party when there was an obvious alternative in Bernie Sanders, someone who clearly tapped into much of the prevailing sentiment in working- and middle-class America that Trump did.

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office following an all-appointees summer event on the South Lawn, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama walks through the Rose Garden to the Oval Office following an all-appointees summer event on the South Lawn, June 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After noting that Clinton’s and the Democrats’ loss wasn’t a defeat by default, Walden Bello says in an article titled “How Obama’s Legacy Lost the Elections for Hillary” that instead of jobs and relief, Obama offered only half-measures to folks we call here in Australia “battlers,” in this case especially struggling people in the Rust Belt and beyond, the broad demographic that delivered victory for Trump. Bello says, “On the economic issues that motivate these voters, Trump had a message: The economic recovery was a mirage, people were hurt by the Democrats’ policies, and they had more pain to look forward to should the Democrats retain control of the White House.’

There was a telling report emanating from Obama’s European visit that gave us an insight into the incumbent President’s preoccupation with Trump and what — in his mind at least — to make of his victory. Quite apart from hinting at something of a personal struggle coming to terms with it, the President seemed also at pains defending his legacy from an all-out Trump onslaught next year.

Americans chose Donald Trump … because of a vague ‘change’ desire,” the President said, while insisting that voters “don’t always know what they’re looking for.” Obama added, they may opt for change, “even if they’re not entirely confident what that change will bring.” The President reportedly went further, saying he “could have precluded Trump’s populist uprising if only [the Republicans] hadn’t blocked so many of my economic proposals.”

Although it appeared to escape him when he made these remarks, the irony of the first part of Obama’s comments should not be lost on anyone else, given the considerable gap between the amount of vague change he promised and actual change he delivered (or for many, failed or declined to deliver).

In short, this can and does apply to Obama himself. To the extent voters “don’t always know what they’re looking for,” we might now at least argue they are less equivocal about what sort of change they don’t want and aren’t looking for! And the subtext here might have been: Did they know exactly what they were looking for when they voted him into office, twice?

As for Obama’s not unreasonable comments about GOP obstructionism throughout his time in office (a reprehensible tactic on their part that notwithstanding their recent electoral success and now dominance of the Beltway, has come at great and possibly permanent cost to the party’s brand), we might ponder an alternative question for the incumbent:

Could Obama have “precluded” Trump’s rise or impact by ponying up on a few more of his core promises, spending his political capital more wisely and fairly, more dutifully avoiding the errors of judgment, arrogance and political shenanigans of his much-reviled predecessor, and showing Main Street America in general and America’s “battlers” in particular he was the real McCoy after all, a president truly in their corner and not just another Wall Street political front-man cum errand boy?

We can’t answer that question of course with absolute confidence, suffice to say the “answer” is destined to become an enticing, enduring counterfactual. But there can be little doubt Trump’s appeal and subsequent success was driven by the lost promise — actual or perceived — of the Obama years, and the President must be acutely aware of this.

In truth Number 44 has no one else to blame but himself if Trump dismantles all or even part of his legacy. With a backward nod then to the earlier horse-racing motif, the President backed the wrong “horse” — even betting the farm — when in Bernie Sanders he, the DNC and the party faithful had an eminently electable alternative to the “Queen of Chaos.” Given the way the DNC campaign was conducted – the Democratic leaders’ own appalling shenanigans showcased in all their “ugly glory” courtesy of the Podesta email “reveals”that, we can now safely say, was never going to happen.

In the Paradise of Opportunity

Above and beyond Obama (or for that matter any previous president since Reagan at least), Trump’s win then has also been driven by a widespread, deep-seated lack of faith and trust — accumulated over the past few decades — in the integrity of the democratic system of government and contempt for those who purport to represent the people’s interests.

The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads "Vote Trump" on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)

The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads “Vote Trump” on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)

In what must serve as the quintessential master class of prolonged, consistent, truly bi-partisan cooperation American politics has on offer, both parties have contributed enormously over the past three-plus decades to the dismantling if not effective destruction of the American Dream in its hitherto real and imagined dimensions.

Whether on broad economic, social, national security, or foreign policy issues, both parties have demonstrated a recidivistic, palpable indifference to the concerns and needs of average working- and middle-class Americans, with both repeatedly showing themselves prone to elitism, corruption, cronyism, manipulation, greed, deception, bribery, hypocrisy, opportunism, self-interest, contempt, cynicism and arrogance.

In the process democracy’s once “proprietary” domains — equal justice, freedom, human rights, equality of opportunity, civil rights, liberty, and most everything from habeas corpus to the pursuit of happiness — have effectively been declared “no-fly-zones” for ordinary people, accessible only to those increasingly privileged, mostly unelected, and thoroughly unaccountable few.

Most significantly, both parties have undermined, possibly irreparably, the sense of pride and place folks had in their once beloved — but now maybe not soUnited States of America. Along with that, they have all but conspired to “deep-six” that once famously enduring, optimistic mindset that by some accounts enabled the country to thrive and prosper as a “paradise of opportunity” (or even a reasonable facsimile thereof).

Let’s term that period The Era of Future Promise, or that time in history — from 1945 to say 1975 — where a whole generation or more of the majority of folks could not only envision a progressively better future for their kids and grandchildren, but anticipated it, and all things equal, if one was willing to strive for such, rightfully expected it.

That is no longer the case for an increasing number of people, and it is this sentiment — one whose seismic impact we have just witnessed — that’s been neglected by both party majors. That this envisioned future is no longer realistic for many comes as a direct result of neoliberalism — the roll-out of which was overseen by both parties — and with it the globalization of economic and financial activity itself culminating from there via “casino capitalism” in the inexorable transfer and consolidation of historically unprecedented wealth, power, and income into the hands of fewer and fewer people — is inarguable.

Now the end of this earlier era might have been heralded by Reagan’s ascension in 1981 and the advent of neoliberalism. But its sustained demise was enthusiastically presided over by Bill Clinton, in cahoots of course with this year’s DNC candidate for president, his wife Hillary, and the then Party establishment. Some folks clearly haven’t forgotten that. In short, there was no clear sign from Clinton that things would be substantially different under her regime than under that of her husband’s administration.

The Democrats will seek elsewhere to attribute blame for their loss — it was the FBI’s James Comey and his on-again/off-again investigation of Clinton’s email servers; it was voter suppression and racism; it was Bernie Sanders campaign and misogyny; it was third parties and independent candidates; it was the corporate media for giving Trump the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks and/or the Russians for airing the DNC dirty laundry.

Naomi Klein had this to say about the result: ‘But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide-awake: neoliberalism. That worldview — fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine — is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake? Here’s what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatization, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. … They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.”

There can be little doubt that fundamental to Trump’s win — and it should be emphasized, no less so than with Sanders’s popularity and success — was a feeling the trickle-down of the Reagan years did not work for most. This can be seen as the first genuine, appreciable expression of that frustration.

In his entreaties to voters to bring the jobs back for example, Trump promised them something that almost certainly he will struggle to deliver even if he is serious about making it a policy priority, but in doing so he clearly tapped into a rich vein of discontent.

Cleaning the Stables

This election has exposed a major chink in the armor of the hitherto impregnable, indomitable two-party-system, seen now by more as corrupt, decrepit, and bankrupt. The rise and impact of political outliers such as Trump and Bernie Sanders on largely opposite ends of the standard political spectrum is pro-forma evidence grassroots Americans — especially those not welded to that system and have legitimate grievances about the direction in which the established elite are taking them — are onto something.

The Wall Street bull statue by Arturo Di Modica

The Wall Street bull statue by Arturo Di Modica

That the additional reality this situation is deteriorating even further across almost all strata of the “Main Street” political economy and permeating all aspects of life once synonymous with — and essential to claiming a stake in — the American Dream (even in its more modest imaginings), should be obvious to all but the most politically myopic or deluded.

But while the ties that bind Uncle Sam and all he stands for to his long-suffering subjects are strong, it remains to be seen if Trump can do much more than just “drain the swamp.” Indeed, the bigger challenge will be to restore faith in the American Dream. With the former prerequisite task on its own akin to Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables with a teaspoon and a toothbrush while its occupants are still in residence (given this is Washington we’re talking about, this metaphor may work on more than one level), it’s enough to say Trump will have his work cut out on both counts.

With the record firmly in mind, we might define at this point three monumental errors of judgment made by the DNC hierarchy, all of which contributed to the Trump victory: their preferred choice of candidate when they had a highly credible, electorally appealing, and eminently electable alternative in Bernie Sanders; the manner in which it was revealed the Clinton primary campaign was conducted and the revulsion it engendered and damage it caused; and the fact that over the past 30 odd years the Democrats’ brand among its most historically important constituencies had lost much of its political allure.

In sum, the Clinton campaign might have been better served by resuscitating that immortal mantra from Bill Clinton’s first White House tilt in 1992 — and here I am not talking about “two for the price of one’! I’m thinking here about legendary Clinton strategist James Carville‘s “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Underpinning the Trump debacle was sustained “group think” within the DNC camp, the key state of mind of which can be summed up in one word. Hubris. This “hubris” was in part fueled because it was “Hillary’s turn,” and partly fueled by a conviction someone like Trump could not possibly win. To be fair, this predisposition toward “hubris” is not proprietary to the Democrats; the GOP — many of whom also felt “someone like Trump could not possibly win” — can invariably be relied upon to provide stiff competition with their own unique manifestations when the need arises. Trump’s win is unlikely to temper that.

Where to From Here?

With both political parties increasingly and so obviously beholden to Wall Street and the global corporate oligarchy, the ever-widening disparities in income and wealth, and ”core principle” democracy now relegated to “poor cousin” status in the political economy then, it is also just as clear many Main Street Americans were pondering an altogether pessimistic outlook for their own and the next generation if the socio-economic scales continue to weigh in favor of the above power elites and against the interests of the middle- and working-class, and broader citizenry.

President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)

President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)

Although there was relatively little discussion in the MSM at least throughout the campaign of specific issues like economic inequality and income and wealth disparities, there can be little doubt Trump tapped into the sentiment that attends these matters. As Joe Lauria noted about Trump’s win, a “new political force” in America has been unleashed.

Lauria added, “Millions of discontented Americans who have lost out to the computerization and the globalization of the economy — and who have been disproportionately called on to fight America’s ‘regime change’ wars — have made clear that they aren’t going to take it anymore.”

The way Lauria sees it then, any party or politician going forward “better listen or they will be tossed out, too,” including Donald Trump if he doesn’t deliver the goods.

Jordan Chariton, a political reporter for “The Young Turks” news show, said despite being a historically weak candidate, Hillary Clinton’s defeat wasn’t just about Hillary Clinton. The Rise of the Forgotten Deplorables has been a work in progress for some time. For him, “Clinton was the final lifeline to a neoliberal bubble built by the Clintons and many others — that finally popped on November 8th, 2016.”

He cites some of the factors that might have had contributed to the disenfranchisement and disillusion: Bill Clinton, not Ronald Reagan, “pulled” down Glass-Steagall, the cornerstone of banking regulation for 60 years. Clinton, not Reagan, deregulated credit-default swaps (CDS), the “financial WMDs” that blew up the world’s economy in 2008. And it was Clinton, not Reagan, who signed NAFTA, the largest nail in the American middle class’ coffin.

The additional reality is that the socio-economic “fabric of the republic” is fraying even further across all strata of the “Main Street” political economy and permeating all aspects of life once synonymous with — and essential to claiming a stake in — the American Dream (even in its more modest imaginings), should be obvious to all but the most politically myopic or deluded.

And for those who understood there being such a thing as a “class war” and viewed globalization and neoliberalism through such a prism — if we recognize that the upper class won that war a long time ago — we might posit the following: Why when after the vanquished have long since surrendered to distraction, disillusion or outright despondency are the victors still fighting the war? Before this election, the short answer we might have suggested is that it’s because they can!

In a piece earlier this year in The Guardian (Neoliberalism — the Ideology at the Root of all our Problems”), Georges Monbiot places the blame for most of the parlous state of the global political economy on the blowback from neoliberalism, a social engineering experiment of sorts anchored by what became an inviolable economic ideology and which arose as a conscious attempt to “reshape human life and shift the locus of power,” a goal few objective observers would argue has long ago been achieved. It became in effect a Weapon of Mass Disenfranchisement, sold on the utterly — and knowingly — fraudulent notion that “every child player wins a prize,” with enticements of “trickle-down effects” and “rising tides.”

Monbiot also dutifully reminds us that neoliberalism’s central tenet proclaims competition as the “defining characteristic” of human relations, while redefining citizens as consumers or customers, whose “democratic” choices are best exercised by “buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency.”

Moreover, he warns: “Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts.”

If the arrival then of Donald Trump doesn’t qualify as a “political crisis” of sorts for America, it will do until the real one gets here. For those who supported him, as to whether he will change the course of their lives (presumably for the better), that remains a big unknown. Expecting that a billionaire businessman — a man who symbolizes everything that is the very antithesis of their own lives — to change said lives appreciably is probably a big ask. Well might we say, “good luck with that!”

Throughout the campaign Trump demonstrated his mastery at keeping folks guessing as to what his next move would be, and continues do so in transition mode. It will be of great interest going forward then to see to what extent he continues to do this once he enters the White House, and especially to see what the ramifications might be for ordinary Americans in those areas that really matter for them.

All of which is to say, we’re in for a few surprises, for better or worse. The Trump ego is legendary. of course, and the best we might hope for is that it doesn’t all go to the new President’s head! Now that would indeed be another “turn-up for the books.”

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia.

 

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16 comments for “Fall and Rise of the Forgotten ‘Deplorables’

  1. Drew Hunkins
    November 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    The mass media absolutely savaged Trump during the campaign (much of it deserved), Anyone who doubts this truism wasn’t paying attention.

    The press disparaged Trump at every opportunity during the campaign because they viewed him (rightly or wrongly) as a possible loose cannon who wouldn’t genuflect to the Washington-Zionist-Saudi Terror Network at every opportunity. With Killary they knew they had the cold-blooded hawk they were pining for all along. Now, we’re certainly going to see what kind of treatment Trump receives during his admin.

    I’m a Jill Stein voter, but I know what I saw when I witnessed all the denunciations and attacks on Trump during the campaign (again, much of it deserved, but Killary deserved just as much scorn too). We’ll see how the mainstream media treat him now that he’s Prez; it’s a safe bet that if he goes along with the Zionist-Washington-Saudi Terror Network he’ll be given kid-glove treatment. If however Trump decides to listen to the likes of the Tulsi Gabbards he’ll be excoriated by the establishment-corporate press.

  2. Bob Van Noy
    November 22, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    As you say, G’Day Greg Maybury and thanks to both you and Robert Parry for publishing your essay here.

    So much to like about this, my first thought was about how important Arnold J. Toynbee has been to American history because of his ability to be detached from it. Similarly, your being from Australia seems to give you a clearer vision of our system than the supposed experts in our own. Thanks.

    I agree that President Obama seems to be aware of his “lost promise” but he has no-one to blame but himself. The American People gave him every chance possible to act and he chose to go along. I can’t see him outliving that legacy.

    I agree too that the American Dream has been largely dismantled, that, for me, is the toughest part and the reason that I voted for Bernie.

    “In the process democracy’s once “proprietary” domains — equal justice, freedom,
    human rights, equality of opportunity, civil rights, liberty, and most everything from
    habeas corpus to the pursuit of happiness — have effectively been declared “no-fly-
    zones” for ordinary people, accessible only to those increasingly privileged, mostly
    unelected, and thoroughly unaccountable few.” Greg Maybury

    Brilliant.

    And then this:
    “Most significantly, both parties have undermined, possibly irreparably, the sense of
    pride and place folks had in their once beloved — but now maybe not so — United
    States of America.”
    That hurts. It will be our task to see that that doesn’t come true by becoming more politically active and aware.

    Lets just say that I for one am looking for: “The Era of Future Promise, or that time in history — from 1945 to say 1975 — where a whole generation or more of the majority of folks could not only envision a progressively better future for their kids and grandchildren, but anticipated it, and all things equal, if one was willing to strive for such, rightfully expected it.”

    Many thanks Greg…

    • evelync
      November 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Well said Bob Van Noy, including thanks to Greg Maybury and Robert Parry for publishing this excellent piece.

      I, too, supported Bernie Sanders.

      Hillary Clinton’s deafness to the economic/political plight of Americans brutalized by neoliberal policies over the last 30 years was highlighted when she jubilantly announced that she would put Bill in charge of the economy if she won the election….. Say what?
      Much of what precipitated the current plight of working Americans happened under Bill – dismantling of Glass Steagall; NAFTA; etc. What planet are the Neoliberals, including candidate Hillary Clinton on?

      Far too much goes on behind the scenes, outside the scrutiny of the public……

      Barack Obama’s “looking ahead” only blinders, refusing to pursue on behalf of the country some accountability for Bush’s “preventive” Iraq War was a bad start. It seemed – maybe unfairly – like he had cut some quid pro quo behind the scenes with W to ignore the country’s disgust over “Shock and Awe” and all that went with it.

      Then, President Obama’s own tone deafness wrt Hillary Clinton’s failings was emphasized at his last White House Correspondents Dinner when he mocked Bernie suggesting playfully(???) that he was a near communist. Noam Chomsky has pointed out that Bernie is not a socialist (not that there’s anything wrong with it) – that, according to Chomsky, Bernie’s a “decent, honest, New Deal democrat”.

      The neoliberal Democrats helped to destroy the New Deal.

    • November 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

      G’Day Bob,

      My apologies for not responding sooner, as I have been somewhat busy/distracted of late, and hadn’t realised my piece had already been published.

      Many thanks for your gracious, thoughtful critique of my piece. I agree that having an outside perspective is advantageous, and indeed have often wondered to what degree just how much Americans generally think about how other nations view them. In any event it seems you and I appear to be very much on the same page. Growing up here in Australia, we were brought up to think of America as the great symbol of democracy, freedom justice, rule of law yada yada yada – you know, the “city upon the hill” shit….

      That sentiment still broadly prevails of course, but more and more people Down Under are questioning whether this is the case. In short, many here as elsewhere will be watching the Trumpster very closely, to see if he can really stop the rot.

      You might find my latest of interest. Different topic, not dissimilar themes.

      http://poxamerikana.com/2016/11/27/the-werewolves-of-washington/

      Best, GM

  3. Sam F
    November 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    The article is very well done indeed. But it focuses only on the economic part of widespread alienation from major parties. The other major parts are warmongering and (against the Democrats) the fake liberalism of special-interest groups seeking special privileges.

    If Trump won on any issue, it was his rejection of warmongering. People see no reason for any involvement in the Mideast, when we can buy oil from whomever has it, because they saw that the Reps and Dems were both sponsoring AlQaeda and Isis while lying that they were fighting them, and because many of them came to see the Mideast wars as the result of bribes by zionists. That is the maximum possible betrayal of the people by both major parties, and they should be and were rejected.

    The rejection of warmongering fits very well with domestic reinvestment and employment, of no interest to the Dems or the Repubs. Both parties have lied about their economic intentions and have profligately spent the nation into massive debt for zionist wars while denying that there are funds for America, denying that anything could be done for foreclosure victims and the unemployed in the recession. Anyone can spot such bold liars, and both major parties were as guilty as possible. They betrayed the people and profited and set about more rounds of betrayal, and they should be and were rejected.

    The other major issue with the Dems is their being controlled by special-interest groups seeking special privileges and using extremely sleazy propaganda tricks. Everyone can see that the Dems have used the false accusations of “misogyny,” “anti-semitism,” and “homophobia” to try to scare people into supporting special rights for activist groups, Not just Equal Rights. Everyone can see at last that these alleged “deplorable” states of mind are almost non-existent, that they are a scheme to threaten people with hard-to-answer accusations about unknown concepts, which they finally realized were completely bogus.

    Those scams began to seem hollow as people realized that “misogyny” meant any opposition to a particular female candidate who opposes almost everyone’s best interests, that “anti-semitism” means noticing that the Mideast wars serve only Jews and kill everyone else, and that “homophobia” means opposing the propagandizing of boys to accept sodomy. None of those campaign platforms are for Equal Rights, which all of these groups already have, and none of them can be described as progressive, they are obviously the work of very exploitative special interests.

    No one who recognizes the Equal Rights of women, Jews, and homosexuals is under any obligation to give them extra rights, let alone to allow them to commit war crimes, civil offenses, or propaganda campaigns for sexual anomalies. People have seen through these false accusations and the abuses they support, they are angry about these secretive and tricky schemes of the Dems to abuse the population at large, and they have angrily rejected that agenda. The Dems are decidedly not the party of the people on social issues, and they decidedly are Not campaigning for equality, but for special interests.

    Rather than fear the rejection of equality for these groups, their proponents should see that their extreme overreach and manipulations to gain special privileges have backfired. Their recitation of the usual oddball examples of prejudice against their groups does not in any way excuse their abuses and distortions.

    Reciting only economic issues covers up a much larger story of abuse by the major political parties.

    • F. G. Sanford
      November 23, 2016 at 3:25 am

      Very nicely said, and it took guts to say it. Your comment gets to the chasm between “public opinion” and “private sentiment”. America has been “going along to get along” for almost three generations. Ordinary citizens were willing to comply as long as all other things were equal. Cartoonish figures in roles of national celebrity and prominence foisted on the public by a coterie of self-serving oligarchs has become too much to stomach. Whether it’s called group think, peer pressure, social consensus or what have you, nobody with kids thinks Ellen Degeneris or Richard Simmons are terrific role models. They just won’t come right out and say it. The danger in taking the lid off those sentiments is also a real and potentially catastrophic consideration. The pendulum could swing back to the hate crimes of the early 20th century. We’ve heard rumblings already. Those, in my estimation, were largely diffused by FDR’s initiatives to mitigate social and economic inequality, not some intrinsic change in private sentiment. Multiculturalism can only work in an environment characterized by equal access to “the good life”. Unfettered immigration is anathema to that. So is “globalization”. As the rich continue to get richer, Bill Clinton’s legacy – and Obama’s as well – will be, “It’s the economic stupidity, stupid”. There are only two ways to heal our society: Raise taxes and cut the defense budget. Taxes on anything over $250,000 should be doubled, and the defense budget should be cut by 50%. That won’t happen. So, all the wealthy warmongers will remain safe from the phony threat of Putin’s “aggression”. But they’ll have to keep looking over their shoulders at their own disgruntled countrymen. That, or move to Davos Switzerland…which the globalist elite are already doing. Most of America’s wealth is already stored offshore by false patriots. Hang on to your sneakers, America, I’m guessing you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

      • Sam F
        November 23, 2016 at 8:16 am

        Thanks for your reply. The offshoring of wealth to avoid US law is difficult to investigate, and there appears to be little investigation except where corporate profits are affected. There are always states like Switzerland that cooperate only in felony cases, and those like Barbados and Cayman Islands that won’t comply with requests because corruption is their idea of productivity. The oligarchy does not move for an international standard of legal assistance enforced by sanctions, for non-political offenses in agreed areas.

        Of course the refusal of oligarchy to provide for public needs creates warring factions disunited against their masters, until a great depression or aggressive war causes them to unite. We have come close to that, and seem more likely to go that way than to find an FDR in the oligarchy. Without much hope for Trump progress or a progressive win afterward, I would not convict a rebel in arms against oligarchy.

    • John
      November 25, 2016 at 2:29 am

      Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater here.
      The problem is not Jews, many of whom are amongst the most ardent anti-Zionists around.

      The problem is not women, many of whom voted against Hitlery (and many of whom only voted for her with noses held, as they had been subjected to propaganda that Trump would “grab them by the pussy” if they did not.)

      The problem is not queers (a broader term than “homosexual”, and one preferred by the more cogent segment of that demographic.) desiring “propagandizing boys to accept sodomy”. There is far, far more propaganda in existence propagandizing heterosexuality – including basically all advertising, pop culture, religious leaders, etc ad nauseum. Though you use the word “accept”, the remainder of this quote indicates that it is not acceptance of a difference that you object to here, but that you intend to convey that somehow this “propaganda” is meant to seduce young men. Obviously, female homophilia is not of a concern to you. There has been extensive research done on the nature vs nurture aspect of human sexuality, and the most credible information we have at this point is that the timing and intensity of hormonal fluctuations in utero are where sexuality (as well as gender identity, which happens independent of sexual orientation) are the root causes, and not “propaganda”. There have been multiple peer-reviewed studies that agree on this. (Thus, the apparent increase of homosexuality and gender dysphoria are caused by the increase of hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment.) There is a good argument to be made, however, that accepting such differences is the natural state if things, and that it requires propaganda to cause a lack if acceptance. As sexual and gender diversity are not only accepted but often celebrated in indigenous cultures lends much credibility to this. For instance, you chose the word “Sodomy”. This relates to the Jewish myth of Sodom and Gommorah. If one reads the original story, it becomes fairly obvious that the “sin of Sodom” relates to unkindness to strangers, which both the traditional understanding of the story in which it was written, and also a fundamental precept in all ancient desert cultures. The association between Sodom and Homosexuality did not come into being until the Catholic Church used it as propaganda to justify their attacks on the Knights Templar. (Incidentally, the oft-quoted Leviticus prohibitions are against having male sex slaves – female sex slaves were just peachy – and Leviticus is a collection of rules for the Priest caste only, not the general public. Eating shellfish, wearing blended fabrics, and having a pet or menstruating woman sleep on your bed are other rules that are equally called for in that book.)

      The whole point, for neoliberals, in fetishising identity politics is to distract from class politics. It is part of a divide and conquer strategy. When you blame Feminists, Jews, and Queers for Neo-Liberalism, you are falling into the trap they have (very carefully) set for you. You are aiding and abetting their plans.

      The problem with Trump and his alliance with the Alt-Reich, is that both the Alt-Reich and the NeoLibs is that they are both trying to keep you punching down rather than punching up. The leaders of both sides have essentially the same goals. Both are placing the blame on disempowed people for the problems intentionally created by the powerful to increase their power.

      It is only by keeping you busy punching down that the .1% of the population can control more than half the world’s wealth. If white straight cis males are busy fighting the blacks, browns, natives, women, and queers, and all of them are fighting white straight cis males, then that .1% can sell everyone the tools for that fight, and make even more profit.

      99.9% of white straight cis males have more in common with 99.9% of black latina trans lesbians than either group has in common with the .1% who control everything. The sooner we realize this and react accordingly, the sooner that the .1% loses all the power over us that they have.

    • November 30, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Hi Sam,

      My apologies for not responding sooner, as I have been somewhat busy of late, and hadn’t realised my piece had already been published.

      I totally agree with you re: my focus on the economic aspects and implications of Trump’s rise to the Oval Office, but that was the intention with the piece from the off. I was aware of these other considerations you mentioned at the time, but in this piece I wanted to zero in the economic (read: neo-liberal) rather than the (geo)political (read: neoconservative) factors.

      I have no doubt that a big part of the Trumpster’s appeal lay in his promise to be everyone’s friend as it were in issues related to U.S. foreign policy, esp. the endless wars, scare campaigns etc. Ultimately though, my feeling is the economic factors may have outweighed the political; I could well be wrong though.

      Thanks for your considered comments, and apols. for the belated reply.

      Greg M.

  4. John
    November 22, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Mercy….folks. The world is a flea market…..How does the flea market operate…….Your choice…..fixed/socialism ….open/nationalism . Once your option is taken away you’ll never get another chance…….humans are not bright……

  5. Gregory Herr
    November 22, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    “Americans chose Donald Trump … because of a vague ‘change’ desire,” the President said, while insisting that voters “don’t always know what they’re looking for.” Obama added, they may opt for change, “even if they’re not entirely confident what that change will bring.”

    Obama from on high. What condescending claptrap! A “vague change desire”. There’s nothing vague about it, Mr. President. I got some clarity for you…you were detested in some quarters for all the wrong reasons…now, because of your actions, because you have been found out for who you are, the detestation is widespread for all the right reasons. And yes Greg, the irony drips.

    Your analysis speaks volumes, akin to Naomi Klein…and the previous comments added some pertinence. Good to hear from you as always. Am curious about the Truman “turn-up for the books” you referenced. Comment?

    • November 30, 2016 at 3:48 am

      G’Day Gregory,

      My apologies for not responding sooner, as I have been somewhat busy/distracted of late, and hadn’t realised my piece had already been published.

      The “turn up for books” reference to Truman was that his election in 1948 by most accounts of which I’m aware was about as unexpected — as much by the pundits as it was by the general public — as was Trump’s victory. The link below should clarify.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/chi-chicagodays-deweydefeats-story-story.html

      Hope this helps.

      Best, GM

  6. Cal
    November 23, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Why is it that 10 years ago I started telling everyone that would listen that if a “America First’ ‘drain the swamp’ candidate came along he would win—-and that is what has happened.
    Am I actually that much smarter than the high paid talking heads and political operatives?
    Or is it that I just listen to what is being said around me and can feel the way the wind is blowing?

    Trump would not have been my first choice for a America First movement but he’s better than nothing. If he fails we will find another one…the cat is out of the bag for good.

  7. Brad Owen
    November 23, 2016 at 9:59 am

    People’s vague desire for change and they don’t always know what they’re looking for? really Mr. O-man? They’re looking for the New Deal for the “Forgotten Man” (A.K.A. “deplorables”). They thought they were going to get it from you (a stunning disappointment).The democrats strenuously opposed (with spittle flying and eyes bugging out) the people’s efforts to find it in Sanders. The Establishment made sure a very thick, opaque blanket was thrown over the Greens, the only Party offering in spades what the people are looking for; their Green New Deal. They smelled whiffs of it coming from the Trump campaign, amidst other stinky aromas wafting from that same place; and Trump was the last man standing for (his vaguely defined) “New Deal for the Forgotten Man”. The people are on to you and the Establishment you rode into town on, Mr. O-man. Yuze guys finally found out that bald-faced lying is not a good campaign strategy, and you probably don’t know what else to do; you love that filthy lucre so much.

  8. Wm. Boyce
    November 23, 2016 at 11:54 am

    “With Clinton herself winning the popular vote convincingly (some suggest it could nudge 2 million), this of course is not a “landslide” in any conventional sense, and is not quite the conservative “revolution” some pundits are breathlessly celebrating. But as noted few if any election outcomes were as unexpected. To the extent it represented a “landslide” of sorts, in this case it was a “landslide” of the contemporary political imagination…

    It wasn’t a “landslide” in any sense; Clinton won the popular vote by at least 1.7 million.

    “There are still for example many unanswered questions about the degree to which both parties played fast and loose with fundamental democratic principles and electoral legalities, about which there was relativity little reporting in the MSM.”

    Ah, now you’re on to something, if ever so briefly in a sea of words. The Republicans stole this election, and had been working diligently to do so since 2013, having been cleared for takeoff by a Supreme Court that gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2012. They were able, through a program called “Crosscheck”, to purge more than a million voters from the rolls over that time frame.
    http://www.gregpalast.com/

    I’m sure Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court picks will finish the many jobs started by their predecessors. Enjoy the ride.

  9. Jeremy
    November 25, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Yes, thank you Boyce for bringing it back to the reality that in the battle ground states, which decided the result, it was the 10s of thousands of votes stripped, that actually won the election for Trump. It is funny, while I know his election is illegitmate, just like I know Hillary’s nomination was illegitimate because the DNC rigged the primary’s for her (i.e. Greg Palast reported on independents given “provisional-placebo ballots” in California), I am also aware that if the GOP was not successful in stealing the general, we would not have had so much rich deliberation on how far off course neo-liberalism has taken this country. I voted for Stein, but often told fellow progressives, that gun held to my head, forced to pick between the 2 poisons, I may have picked Trump, just to get the shock treatment we need. The world is upside down, the status quo is extreme, and the very sane and reasonable response that Stein proposed to the existential threats we face (climate change, potential for nuclear war, people’s basic needs not met from The Third World to Flint), are framed as too extreme. I hope that Trump’s election will normalize the fringe sane thinking, and cause people to abandon the rot that is our 2 party-corporate run oligarchy. And if you are thinking that my comments are in part designed to be persuasive, you are right, because I really believe this is important. At the same time, I remind myself that Gondi regarded the art of persuasion as a form of violence…just a random place to end.

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