Is Trump Anti-Establishment?

No he is not.

As the primary season finally gets into the end game and the grim logic of “voting for the lesser of two evils” makes itself ever more felt, its time to be frank. Hilary is politics as usual; she will be competent and middle of the road and will be a Baby Boomer Candidate (as will Trump for that matter). Trump’s peculiar brand of buffoonish, reality-TV style right-wing populism is best thought of in the vein of Barry Goldwater. But here is the thing: Trump is also far more of an “Establishment” candidate then you might think. Since the dawn of time, right wingers have posed as harbingers of “change” or of being “anti-establishment” or some kind of back-to-basics/clear out the riffraff rhetoric. And it’s always a disguise for things getting worse. That’s all. Find me an example of when right-wing populism has led to an era of prosperity and culture.

So I saw roughly this on an online comment section recently: “Sorry, guys, but if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, I’m voting for Trump. The Establishment just has to be destroyed”. The guy’s icon was one of those V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks. This really needs to be addressed.

Let me explain why Trump is not nearly as “anti-Establishment” as you think. I still think that a Trump Presidency would be American Fascism – it really would –  but not on the lines of say of Hitler. No, he’s more like a Mussolini; buffoonish and vicious. Trump represents anti-Establishment change in the same way that chickens represent birds. Yes, it’s a bird, but it doesn’t fly. First of all, he’s a white male billionaire who is playing a winking game with far-right extremism. This isn’t new. It’s not a change. Yes, he has some protectionist, isolationist ideas when it comes to international trade. And yes, he has made some noises that indicate he would be fairly socially liberal. But that is it. There would be no ACTUAL change. This country desperately a re-boot in our participatory democratic process. We desperately need to take action on climate change. We need to overhaul the tax code. We need to reign in a regulate Wall Street. The war industry has to be stopped. Trump would greatly make all of these problems worse.

If you think Trump is “anti-Establishment”, ask yourself: How exactly? The GOP, after some hesitation, has now backed Trump to the hilt. The GOP is now Trump’s party. The big GOP donors? Backing Trump. Big Media love Trump. The Pentagon won’t object to a Trump presidency. Wall Street knows that Trump will look out for the profit margins, same goes for the world of Big Business. So hat part of the Establishment is threatened? You can’t name it because there isn’t one. He’s not a threat to the Establishment.

My favourite philosopher Slavoj Zizek, sees Trump as a fairly typical liberal, centrist candidate. And there is some merit to this view. You see, Zizek has a more European perspective, and view Trump as part of a larger trend in the world of Liberalism (this means First World, Western Capitalist Democracies). In a nutshell, Liberalism has failed, but there is not real alternative. Thus there is a progressive trend, a technocratic Establishment trend, and a far-right trend, which Trump represents. Zizek would see Trump much like Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, England’s Nigel Farage, or even worse, Russia’s Putin.

So you are anti-establishment in some way; you’ve complained about how business as usual isn’t working in one way or another. So what do you do? Who do you vote for?

Sanders is the only candidate who will bring effective change.

But Bernie Sander’s candidacy is has been stifled by the Democratic Establishment. They’ve played the same game that they always play and have stacked the deck (see Eugene McCarthy and Herbert Humphrey). Sander’s supporters are angry and Hillary is having some real trouble getting them on board her campaign. This is no surprise. I suspect that only Hillary’s advisors and Bill Maher think that the Millennials/Progressives will come around. It is hard to escape the conclusion that, as usual, Democrats assume that the Progressive wing of the party will vote for their candidate because, well, it’s better than the other guy…

Americans have expressing their anger and frustration for quite some time now with votes towards the Right; the Tea Party, Trump etc. The American electorate keeps sending people “who hate the government” to congress. It’s a disaster.

The Democrats don’t deserve to win. They are feckless. They pander to special interests and use that and corporate sponsorship to control the primary; the Democrats have never been progressive. Their track record is sad. I doubt that Hilary or the Democratic party can effect the change this country desperately needs. I’ll vote for Hilary. I think she will make some decent changes, but no where close to what we need. She has no vision for the future; nor does Trump.

Let’s say that Bernie runs as an Independent? Will I still vote for Hilary? No: I think that Bernie can win in a three way election. For the simple reason that the majority of Americans are progressive to some extent. There are as many Millennials as there are Baby Boomers; the problem is getting the Youth and Millennial Vote out. It will come out for Bernie and no other candidate.

Of course, this is fantasy. Bernie is making subtle moves that indicate he at this point is making moves to strengthen the progressive wing of the Democratic party and hopefully move the damn thing towards something an actually liberal policy.

To summarise. Trump is not an “anti-establishment” candidate. Hilary will be OK as president. The Democrats once again have shot themselves in the foot, and Bernie is the man we need to be president.

 

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