Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Republican Party after Trump

I think there are two things that are obvious.  First, Donald Trump will not win the presidency of the United States of America.  And second, Trump is not a Republican.  So the question is - what do the Republicans do after Trump?

I think they need to learn two things. First, that the Republican voters (all voters, actually) no longer believe in Conservative Dogma.  And second, that the primary system that produced such an abomination at the head of their party needs a radical overhaul.

Regarding dogma.  Trump doesn't actually have an ideology.  I think all he did is listen to talk radio, Fox News, and hideous alt right media like Breitbart and Infowars to find out what were the hot issues that would attract votes from those who were locked into those "news" sources.  I don't think he either cared about or knew how extreme some of those sources were, and how extreme some of those followers were.  He got the fringe, and it is a shock to me that the "fringe" was so widespread amongst Republican Primary voters.  Probably surprised him as well.  I don't think he ever wanted to be president, I think he just wanted attention and a burnishing of his Brand, and a way to increase his revenue by getting a really good contract for his TV shows.

When Trump talks to crowds he becomes mesmerized by their reactions to him, and their reactions escalate the more extreme he becomes, so it becomes a sickening downward spiral into the darkest corners of the body politic - racism, hatred, revenge, violence, threats, any and all toxins that enters his brain in the moment that will generate what he really needs most desperately - attention and worship.

So, what can the Republican Party learn from Trump's triumph in the primaries?  That very few conservatives care at all about ossified Conservative Dogmas.  There were very qualified and articulate candidates representing the old hit tunes in the Republican jukebox - evangelical social conservative greatest hits, libertarian shrink the government golden oldies, send-our-children-to-war-military-aggression-to-show-what-majestic-leaders-we-are Great American Standards.  The voters didn't care. 

The old dogmas of the Right are obsolete.  They don't address actual problems of today's realities.  The forgotten aging white middle and lower middle classes know that the old conservative horses are worn out and ready to be put out to pasture.  The idea of lowering taxes, shrinking the government, pushing fundamentalist Christian social obsessions, and scaring the crap out of the world does nothing for them or the country.  They have stopped buying the dogmas that made sense during Reagan's time, but have run their course and need to be put out to pasture today.

So, what I expect the Republican Party to do is to ignore this message and decide that the problem was that Trump wasn't a true Republican, and the Evangelicals and the Shrink-the-Governmentalists, and the Lower the Taxes on the "Makers" and lower the assistance to the "Takers" folks will all fight like crazy to take on the mantle of True Conservatism and they think they will sweep the "Conservative Movement" into its rightful place in charge of the country and the world. 

But they will fail because each of those ideologies has failed, and the Republican voters have already said that loud and clear when they voted for Trump.

What the Republican Party should do is to rethink their ideology.  Let go of their dogmas.  This is a very painful process; I know, I have done it myself.  It hurts to let go of the comforting cocoon of knowing the answers to all problems - to let go of the certainty that dogma provides - and step into the terrors of uncertainty and not knowing.

What doesn't work? Lowering taxes on the wealthy and deregulating business and industry.  That does not unleash the mighty powers of the free market economy. It enriches the wealthy, harms the environment and the workers, lowers the standard of living of the Middle Classes, and drives many in the Middle Classes into the Lower Classes.  

What doesn't work?  Enforcing Evangelical morality on the country. This does not call upon God to favor the United States with His Blessings of prosperity; it violates the first amendment that guarantees not only freedom of Religion but freedom from Religion.

What doesn't work? Shrinking the safety nets of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and the various governmental assistances to the poor.  These programs do not make people dependent, they help people take charge of their lives.

The Trump Primaries voters have said that endless wars in the Middle East, endless shrinking of public assistance and training, endless shrinking of the government only makes sense to wealthy and upper middle class right wing ideologues, not to real people with real problems.

So, will new leadership arise amongst conservatism to address the real world rather than try to resurrect Reaganism, or Fallwellism, or Ayn Randism?  To tell you the truth, I doubt it.  At least not in four years.  Maybe in eight though.

As to how to change the Primaries season to avoid the catastrophic results of future Trumps?  Take power away from the South (and their racism).  Have some kind of rotating schedule of states spread out over half a dozen to a dozen dates.  Don't have the same grouping of states in the same order every four years.  Have Super Delegates that can be a counterweight to populist charlatans.  I expect a lot of very smart people are trying figure out how to change the nominating process to produce sane, qualified candidates that represent all of the country.

Trump is more than a whisper that the system is failing, it is a earthquake announcing that the ground has shifted and old systems have failed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Trump tries to pretend he wasn't asking second amendment people to shoot Hillary

I am so tired of writing about Donald Trump.  He sickens me.  Yesterday he called for his "second amendment" followers to shoot Hillary Clinton. I know, we're just supposed to write this off as another dumb thing that the out of control bloviator said, just another day of grabbing the headlines. Later he is being forced to say that he was just talking about the second amendment people going to the polls.  We're supposed to pretend that he didn't really mean it.  But I'm not so sure I am wiling to give him a pass.

This man calls his political opponent a criminal.  His convention, and his rallies, repeatedly shout "Lock her up!"  Are we to pretend he doesn't mean it?

This man has promised to be a war criminal by killing the families of terrorists and by torturing prisoners of war. Are we to pretend he didn't really mean it?

This man has promised to change the libel laws to that he can sue media that criticizes him.  Are we to pretend he didn't really mean it?

Promising to violate the first amendment, be a war criminal, lock up or shoot your opponent is what this man has done.  This is beyond sickening.  It is a moral imperative to oppose this un-American "man" as president of the United States of America.  He is no longer just an embarrassment to America.  He is promising and encouraging criminality.

Am I over-reacting? I'm not so sure.

His actual quote is, in his inimitable ungrammatical sentence fragments: 

 "Hillary wants to abolish, to essentially abolish, the second amendment.  By the way if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks, although the second amendment people maybe there is I don't know, but I tell you that would be a horrible day..."

So, it is clear by the last part of that quote - "... that would be a horrible day..." that what he is talking about is assassination of his political opponent, otherwise what would be horrible about that day?  if it were a day where "second amendment people" voted for Trump and Hillary lost, would that be what Trump means by a horrible day?  Of course not.  He is talking about using guns to go after Hillary.  

Is this just another example of Trump saying whatever fractional thought is in his brain?  Or is this something he has planned? I'm not sure which is worse, a candidate advocating the incarceration or assassination of his political opponent, or a candidate whose impulsiveness is so out of control that he has no ability to give a second's thought to what comes out of his mouth.  Which is worse?

I believe it is a moral imperative to oppose this man who has clearly promised to disregard all human decency, all moral restraints, and the constitution itself.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Trump supporters, Trump, and Hillary

Trump is a mess.  As a friend of mine wrote early on, Trump isn’t a political problem, he is a human problem.  My Republican friends are in a tough spot.  Some of them think they have to vote for him because he is a “Republican” and he isn’t Hillary.  But he is not a Republican - he is an unstable child.

Trump voters are in a mess.  The best thing about the Trump vote is the elevation of the of the Trump voters into the national consciousness.  They are the poor whites who have been left behind by the Free Market forces of globalization.  These folks are no longer seduced by the normal Republican theology of cutting taxes for the rich and deregulation as a way of creating jobs for them.  It doesn’t. It creates great wealth for the upper classes but they get very few crumbs.  Trump voters deserve better than Trump.  All he did was listen to talk radio and Fox News to find out which hot buttons to push to get their support, but he is in way over his head and he doesn’t have a clue, and doesn’t even think he needs to learn anything. 

Trump supporters need both parties to pay attention to them, their pain, and their despair.

Since a substantial percentage of them are of the Appalachian honor society mindset – Scotch-Irish honor driven personalities – they don’t want handouts.  They want work and the honor that comes with honest labor and careers. They don’t see the “elite”, educated experts in both parties, as creating jobs for them. 

Welcome to the Great Recession, and its fallout.  FDR and the Democrats responded to the Great Depression by creating jobs for those devastated by the Depression.  They were government programs, make work programs, much of which provided lasting benefit to the country, from bridges to dams to power plants.  It gave people work, not handouts.  The beneficiaries received pride rather than shame. 

We need the modern equivalent of FDR’s jobs programs today.  Government jobs programs aren’t the answer, but what is?

Well, it turns out Hillary has a plan.  Of course she does.  Hillary always has plans.  Unlike Trump, she is not a walking, talking bumper sticker; she has dedicated her life to thinking about, creating, and managing actual government programs and departments.  

Whoa! say my Republican friends, Government programs?  Saint Reagan said Government is not the solution, government is the problem, so how can a government program solve any problem?  Well, by focusing on the goal rather than the process.

The goal is to lift the middle class - the Trump voters - by creating jobs, work, careers, lives.  You don’t have to have Government paid works programs, you can have a public-private partnerships to create jobs.  It is her infrastructure plan that includes creating an infrastructure bank to finance, public goals, public leadership in dealing with regulatory issues, etc. that finances private industry to build infrastructure.  It is detailed.  It is thought through.  It is smart.  It will work.

It is so good that even the guy who thinks about nothing (except how admired he is), the guy who knows nothing (except what the polls say and how much money he has) decided to offer the same thing, without any detail of course, only better, he wants to double the size of the bank.  What a creative guy!!

Underneath it all is a massive economic change in the world. 

Communism collapsed as a total failure 25 years ago.  What the forgotten white Americans may be shouting at us now is that unfettered Free Market capitalism is a failure too.  They are living proof. They are dying proof, as a matter of fact, as terrible drug addiction and suicides become part of their story. 

Both parties need to face up to the plight of the abandoned working classes, and face up to the collapse of obsolete capitalist dogma and create new models of how to grow the economy, how to grow the middle classes, how to once again create America as a Shining Light Upon the Hill.  

The world needs America’s leadership.  Not the stupid brute force of an authoritarian despot, but the brilliant ideas of a creative economy.  It can’t be Communist because Communism is a brutal failure – for the people.  It can’t be Unfettered Free Market Capitalism because it is also a brutal failure – for the people.

It is time for the Reps to give up their dogmas.  So say the Trump voter. It is time for the Dems to reach out to the powers of private enterprise.  Seems to me that is what Hillary is doing.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Donald Trump is a holographic projection of the caricature of the Ugly American

I've finally figured out what Donald Trump is - he's a holographic projection of the caricature of the Ugly American that the rest of the world holds of us. Crude, loud, crass, boorish, insensitive, mean spirited, uncaring, proudly ignorant, greedy, obsessed with money and status, and unknowingly stupid.  He is the manifestation of all that is disgusting about Americans as seen in Europe and the rest of the world.

We aren't like that, really world, we aren't like that. Really.  

Well, maybe a little, but we'll mend our ways, honest we will.  Now that we can see it so graphically.