Now that Trump seems to have the Republican nomination wrapped up, the real question becomes what will become of Bernie Sanders, and will the Republican party implode into a Paul Ryan/Romney faction and a Trump faction?
I think the supreme irony of this 2016 Election is that the overwhelmingly likely winner – Hillary Clinton – represents fairly traditional American politics. She represents a baby-boomer presidency (as opposed to Obama’s very much a Millennial’s presidency). She’s a traditional democrat (i.e., not as liberal as you might think at all). She represents, really, the only candidate of “normalcy”. She represents the generation of politics that got rolling with Reagan and should have ended with Obama. In practice, a Clinton Administration would probably resemble Obama’s.
For all the bluster and craziness then, really we are going to elect a typical Democrat.
My personal hope is that Hillary Clinton takes note of Bernie Sanders success and chooses to lead a truly progressive administration which has the courage to confront global warming, the banks, and generally go about making real change in this country – over hauling it (if you will) for the 21st century. Otherwise, if she behaves as typical democrats do and fail to make any real changes, just sort of make the country a little bit more liveable but in actuality achieve little, the pressures building in this country might actually explode in a very real and dangerous way.
With all this hoopla over Donald Trump and the explosion of the GOP – and frankly we should not be surprised by the whole damn thing – we have lost sight of what actually matters. What sort of changes and leadership do American really need? What sort of country do we want to live in? What sort of world? And who is the best leader to lead us there?
For me, it’s the Economy, Global Warming. I cannot avoid feeling that from these two issues, everything else follows. Obviously, I am cramming a lot of things underneath “Economy”, such as properly regulating Wall Street and the Banks, unwinding the Military-Industrial Complex, wealth inequality, and campaign finance reform (ending Citizens United). And Global Warming is big and amorphous – but linked to everything. I can’t help but thinking that building wind farms and building electric cars will be just as good for the economy (it’s actual growth!) rather than propping up the way the economy is now.
And so in a weird way I kinda support Trump. I don’t actually support him. I think his presidency would truly be American Fascism. But he represents, like Bernie Sanders, the utter failure of neoliberalism. Here’s what I mean. Trump is a buffoon; but he is addressing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3ttxGMQOrY. This is a video of fourteen hundred people being told that they will loose their jobs – the manufacturing is being moved to Mexico. The gist is that an upper manager – following HR policies no doubt and borrowing abstract economic language – blows what can only be described as corporate BS on to employees who are screwed.
Neither the GOP or the Democrats have addressed this frustration or anger. In fact, since Reagan, both parties have pursued neoliberal economic policies. The result has been the 2008 Recession – caused primarily by repealing regulation on Wall Street and the systemic pursuit of profit maximisation.
So, no, Trump doesn’t scare me too much. He won’t get elected; he’s the Barry Goldwater of our time (just like Eugene McCarthy is our Bernie Sanders and Herbert Humphrey is our Hilary Clinton). This means it’s what he signals in American politics; the man himself means nothing.
I am already more interested in Paul Ryan, perhaps the only man who can actually unite Republican party in the traditional, Southern Strategy sense. Ryan, who is clearly planning on running in about eight years, has a choice to make: run as the candidate of his own personal party, or try to keep the Republican party, essentially forged by Nixon, together. If he warms up to Trump, then he’s opted for the later.
I’ve enjoyed Trump’s victory. It’s forced a lot of soul searching. It’s forced a lot of people who reckoned themselves “thoughtful Republicans” to consider what they actual believe and what they actually support. I hope we are watching the Republican party destroying itself; they certainly have had it coming for a long time. Ever since Nixon, the Republicans have been playing a winking game with racism and mob politics and that’s clearly come home to roost. People who vote Republican can no longer pose as being “thoughtful” or “realistic” or “sensible, hard-nosed, common-sense businesspeople”.
It will be pleasant – in a vicious and sad way – to watch as the various republicans and conservatives line up behind Trump. People who ranged against the man will start to fall in line. Hopefully people will notice. I do want the Republicans to split, but if Trump runs the thing into the ground, that wouldn’t be too bad either.