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Getting Trump Right and Wrong

2017 May 5
by Ian Welsh

After the election, it seemed that I had gotten Trump more right than many others, and I had, but I had gotten two important things wrong, as well.

I assumed that because Trump was a competent campaigner, and had been willing to let competent people on his team run during the campaign, he would be a relatively competent as an bargainer about those things he cared about.

And I assumed that while he clearly didn’t have strong policy preferences about most things, that there was a good chance that his core program of hitting trade deals, the wall, immigration, and a replacement for Obamacare weren’t compete ass.

I wasn’t certain on this, because it was clear he was very non-ideological, but because it was in his self-interest in terms of being re-elected and being popular, both of which would be important to him (Trump hates losing and wants adulation), I thought a sincere effort was possible.

Certainly he wasn’t going to be a policy expert, but letting the right people run things and having a bottom line policy outcome seemed possible.

I was wrong.

Trump proves, mostly, to be far more weak than I expected. I wrote that I expected an imperial court with courtiers being important multiple times, but it has been worse than I expected.

None of this is to say that I discounted Trump breaking his core promises as a possibility, I said it could happen, but as with Obama he has been swifter and worse in this regard than I expected.

My final decision on Trump, in the campaign, was that he was beyond the pale, but that Clinton was more likely to start a serious war with Russia than he was. Trump’s actions in Syria haven’t exactly warmed the cockles of my heart, but I remain convinced that Clinton was an abomination in her foreign policy, and so far, despite saber rattling and hitting a Syrian airfield, I do not feel that he’s worse than Clinton would have been. (I would have expected a no fly zone in Syria already, if she were President and Trump has not bombed more than I think she would have–rather less, despite the howls.)

Because of this, I didn’t endorse either candidate, and I remain fine with that decision.

Neither of them is a prize. We know exactly what Clinton will be like, she confirmed in Libya that Iraq was not a misjudgment or mistake, by the way she thinks. As for Trump, well, the variance is high. He’s said all sorts of things, who the hell knows what he’ll do?


Now Trump has said all sorts of things at this point. Who knows what he’ll do? I get that, but here’s what I also get: We all know what Clinton will do.

Both are scum, Trump proves to be scum mostly in a very ordinary Republican way, rather than his own special type of scum, but he has done little that Republican Candidate X wouldn’t have done, other than his travel orders, which were struck down.

The sad part about Trump, to me, is that he’s a normal politician in the ways that matter, after all. It was clear  he wasn’t Hitler or Mussolini, but he isn’t even a right-wing populist in policy (as opposed to in rhetoric and campaign) terms. And, he hasn’t and isn’t going to keep his core promises, which will do more damage to American democracy than if he had stuck by them, like them or not.

I also feel, as I said multiple times during the election, that having Trump win 16 was dodging a bullet, because if he had lost, the next person to try the right wing populist playbook would have been far worse.

All that said, I clearly got stuff wrong about Trump, and stuff that matters, and I apologize to my readers.

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46 Responses
  1. Thepanzer permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Ian you have nothing to apologize for. You’re right more often than wrong, and have good instincts and insights. The people who should be apologizing are the mainstream media stenographers and the look-aid drinking hyper partisans like balloon juice, digby, and Kos.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Lock Him Up!! I want him removed from office today. Gone. In jail. Where he belongs. He is a disgrace. Those who support him are blissfully ignorant fools.

    My mother, who recently had to be moved into a nursing home which is funded by Medicaid, psychically supports Trump. I have kept her alive for the past 10 years when my entire family of Trump Supporters basically gave up on her and considered her dead ten years prior. I managed all her healthcare needs. I was her healthcare consultant who arranged all her medications and appointments & advocated for her with all her various physicians. I navigated our byzantine Healthcare System for her. Otherwise, she would be dead. It wasn’t easy but I never gave up on her.

    Today, I have given up on her. She’ll need to make peace with her Maker because she’s Catholic and believes in a Maker. I will no longer call her or visit her in the Nursing Home so long as Medicaid still funds her bed. I will not attend her funeral when she passes.

    I helped keep her alive for THIS???? My God!!

    This is the stance each and every person must take because this is how important this issue is. It is quite literally life & death and the bill passed by the House yesterday is effectively MURDER in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

    This is what I meant by RESPECT. My respect matters to my mother. I really don’t care if it matters to any of you. I withdraw my RESPECT for my mother and for my family members, and my wife’s family members, who are Trump Supporters.

    May you all GO TO HELL, both literally & figuratively. You disgust me. Creeps. Scum. Blissfully ignorant & self-sabotaging fools!!

  3. Lisa permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Huh ..we LGBTI people picked him ages ago …finally reality sets in for all the others…

    Same old, same old… I’d say I told you so’ but what is the point.

    Never mind we tiny minority will do the good fight…while the rest of you sit on your arses doing nothing at all..well except whining about ‘upty women’ or something.

    Pointless to comment here, back to LGBTI activism getting things actually done for us and all the rest that are ignored like POC, women (you do know that women actually exist, you’d never believe it reading this blog.. white conservative males only).

    Never mind another day another women, LGBTI hating racist child sex abusing swine that has to fought against.

    Bye .. keep on with your uselessness…

  4. May 5, 2017

    jeez, loueezze. some people need to fill their prescriptions for their meds today, don’t they.

  5. May 5, 2017

    But you’re just fine talking purple Penguins… There must be a year’s worth of reminders to get your meds…

    In other news…

    now, I will remind everyone, I am a neoliberal economist. however, there needs to be a difference between being a neoliberal economist, and the school that belongs to what one might call “Ultra-neoliberalism”. One can make an analogy to Winston Churchill … capitalism is not the driver of the car, but the horse that pulls the cart. That is it is an essential part of the economy – but far from the only part. It is almost like arguing with les plus ultra-Darwinist, and having them assume that anything other than them is a creationist. While I am a worshiper of Darwin – and take new truck with anyone inspecting biology with mumbo-jumbo – Darwin is the beginning, not the ending.

    This beginning not the end problem crops up in many places, including one might add – economics. Iin economics, having a mix of trade is important, but far from the only thing which matters. And at this point – getting the other things right is far more important than trade.

  6. peonista permalink
    May 5, 2017

    mc stole my comment

  7. Hugh permalink
    May 5, 2017

    I saw Trump as a deeply conservative kleptocrat who would loot the country and betray his followers. I knew he was erratic and a narcissist, but I didn’t expect him to go weird and start behaving like one of the loonier First-Century Roman emperors. So many self-inflicted wounds. I don’t mean just the contradictions, but the stating of things that are categorically wrong. I am also a little surprised for his penchant for dictators: the congrats to Erdogan, the invitations to al-Sisi (accepted) and Duterte (deferred), the incongruous sucking up to Kim Jong-un amid the saber-rattling, and his first foreign trip to meet the Saudis who run the most repressive regime in the Middle East.

    A lot of the country is already turning on him, but not his core supporters, not yet. But his débâcle on healthcare could well see erosion among this group in the 2018 elections, about a year earlier than I thought it might. Trump’s main hope there being the ghastly nature of the Democrats. This too was a self-inflicted wound. No one forced him to embrace Ryancare, a plan so shitty it made the awful Obamacare look good by comparison, but he did and then tried to bluster his way to passage of a bill affecting a sixth of the US economy in 17 days. It didn’t even come up for a vote, and was done in by the far, far, far right Republicans. If Trump had been smart, he would have quit while he was behind, but he didn’t. He came back with a modified bill with $8 billion for high risk pools over 5 years but $839 billion in cuts in expanded Medicaid, a program that many of Trump’s base depend upon. And he managed to squeak it through the House. But you can’t even call it a Pyrrhic victory because it was dead on arrival in the Senate. Morning Joe is grindingly Establishment but they nailed it on this one, showing pictures of the victory ceremony held at the White House, a crowd, as they called it, of rich fat smirking white men taking a victory lap for a meaningless fiasco. As Scarborough said the political ads pretty much write themselves: We tried to gut what little health coverage you had to fund tax cuts for the 1%. We live in strange, surreal times when a President can’t even tell the difference between a victory and a disaster.

  8. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    May 5, 2017

    far, far, far right Republicans

    Since mainstream politicians like LePen are “far right” and “fascist”, then clearly we need new signifiers for the actual right. After a few more decades of leftist education, maybe “doubleplusungood” will be sufficient.

  9. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Trump proves, mostly, to be far more weak than I expected.

    Yes – of all the things people were predicting, Trump just being weak and ineffectual did not come up. Trump is popular with Republicans, which party controls the entire government – so he should be able to get his agenda through, right? Doesn’t seem to be working out that way.

    I’m going to wait-and-see, though. He deserves some slack, since the opposition party has gone scorched-earth, many in his own party secretly oppose him, and most of the permanent government fanatically opposes him too. It doesn’t look like he’s capitulated yet, though. Hopefully he is making incremental progress wrangling the congress and the deep state – time will tell.

  10. StewartM permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Ian, no need to apologize; I think you pegged it right– a vote for Clinton was a vote made from fear (fear of what Trump would be like) whereas a vote for Trump was a vote for hope (because with Clinton, all the rot would continue).

    Based on what Trump *said* during the campaign, your position made sense. But what Trump has done in office (and Lisa proved correct about what was going to happen once Trump embraced movement conservativism and the evangelical Right by picking Pence, something he did not need to do to win and in fact it probably cost him the popular vote victory) has been far worse than anything he indicated during the campaign. Trump has proved to be an empty suit just like Dubya, the mouthpiece for an army of advisors both evil (in the harm they do to people) and incompetent (insofar as the long-term prospects of the country). With Clinton, the slow rot would have continued, but Team Trump has floored the accelerator. We can only hope now that incompetence gets in the way.

  11. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Hugh, that was an excellent comment. My sentiments precisely. I couldn’t have worded it better.

  12. hidflect permalink
    May 5, 2017

    I think Trump just isn’t that smart or wily. The neocons surrounding him figured out pretty quickly how to push the right buttons and have got him down to a T.

    From here it’s all policy as usual but you’re right, Ian. Hillary wou;d have been worse. She needs no guidance. She loves the kill.

  13. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    For the first time in forever, The Senate, which was designed to act as a Plutocratic Buffer against potential Mob Rule Legislation emanating from The House (the Throw The Masses A Bone half of Congress), will buffer The Little People from enacting Mob Rule Legislation against itself (The Mob) versus The Plutocracy.

    Hugh’s right — this is so surreal on so many levels. This is beyond Politics As Usual. This is new, uncharted territory and the mental models of old are unable to assimilate this anarchical new paradigm. It’s beyond the grasp of even the most astute & zealous authoritarians.

    We’re in Pure Reactionary Mode. Everyone. Even the Plutocracy.

    At this point, quite literally, anything is possible.

    Welcome to The Singularity.

    And FU Obama for not ever allowing Single Payer a seat at the table when crafting The Affordable Care Act. You and your ilk help set this shit up and your cynical glee at Trump’s Insane Implosion is telling of your sadism. You’re more evil than Trump because you are much more clever and intelligent and Know better and yet you did what you did. That’s as evil as it gets.

  14. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    It’s way too early to say Hillary would have been worse, and actually, it’s irrelevant. This is now and that was then and we have to deal with the now and the now is still developing.

  15. May 5, 2017

    What the whole Trump experience has done is confirm what I’ve been saying since forever about the limits of the American social discussion about health care. The alternative to Obamacare was never single-payer, because as long as 30-40% of Americans think that paying for their fellow citizen to not die in agony is an imposition on their liberty, there won’t be single-payer health care.

    Obamacare or Ryancare, those are your choices.

  16. Scott Stiefel permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Ian got the broad strokes right, but his judgment of Trump’s character turned out to be less exact that what Edroso and Atrios saw: Trump’s only interest in the Presidency is the photo ops, the rallies and the opportunities for kleptocratic plunder.

  17. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Mandos, Obama didn’t even try. He really didn’t even try with the Public Option which was always a feigned fig leaf to those who wanted Single Payer. He had a Democrat-Controlled Congress and he could have rammed Single Payer home and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    Despite what apparatchiks & pundits of either political persuasion espouse, the majority of Americans want Single Payer. I’m convinced of that. But it’s too late now. That window is closed, but the two options you’ve provided are not tenable for any length of time.

    The Insurance Companies are a failed Business Model. Obamacare and/or Ryancare, Dumb & Dumber, are piss-poor Life Support for the Insurance Companies. What comes next is anyone’s guess, but I will say, life expectancy in America is going to decline precipitously.

    There is no doubt about that at this point. The herd is going to be culled and replaced with subservient, obedient immigrants. Trump Supporters have shot themselves through their Dark Heart and any chance they had at revival is gone for good.

    So be it. They’ve made their bed, and now we all have to expire in it.

  18. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    I mean, Jesus H. Christ, it doesn’t get any more bizarre and/or surreal than this. If it wasn’t so tragic, it’d be funny, but Hayes & Sanders are laughing anyway which shows their True Character. It’s really not a laughing matter, guys, if you’re serious about your feigned concern for poor people dying.

    Trump Agrees — Single Payer Is The Way To Go And Yet We Get The House’s Deathcare Bill. Where The F*ck Are We?

  19. EmilianoZ permalink
    May 5, 2017

    I think the thing that fooled us was that the media were overwhelmingly against him.

    Now you’ve got to wonder. Were they really concerned about him or was it an elaborate prank like when they presented 0bama as the most liberal senator ever?

    Maybe, if they really feared Trump, he would have received the Sanders treatment.

  20. StewartM permalink
    May 5, 2017


    The alternative to Obamacare was never single-payer, because as long as 30-40% of Americans think that paying for their fellow citizen to not die in agony is an imposition on their liberty, there won’t be single-payer health care.

    Actually some on the *right* are beginning to say that single-payer is now inevitable and will happen within the next decade.

    Or at least real universal coverage.

    From Trump’s selfish electoral perspective, that’s why endorsing and *pushing Ryancare hard* was such a disaster. He missed a chance to drag the Republican Party and American conservativism, kicking and screaming, to a place that it wouldn’t have chosen on its own but that would have actually strengthened its position, and like Obama and the 2008 financial crises, he blew it.

  21. Mallam permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Hear that, Mandos? He. Didn’t. Even. Try. Just like how Trump didn’t even try and had to keep pushing to the right to make the math work. Of course, now when the Senate comes back with other legislation, getting that math to work in the House (again) will prove tricky. It’s almost like individual legislators have different interests and ideologies and you can’t just bark orders at them. Weird.

    It is unbelievable that after seeing Trump’s failure people keep wedding themselves to the “he didn’t even try” theory of legislating.

  22. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Mallam proves why America is well down the path to Autocracy because Autocracy will be the only way to get anything done quickly, right or wrong, in a World that increasingly requires efficiency if you want to adapt & stay afloat.

    We are increasingly living in desperate times, and the Juggernaut that is Congress cannot keep up with the change & adaptation that is necessary for surviving in The Singularity.

    Policy Wonks are now dinosaurs, they just don’t know it yet. It’s no longer Business As Usual.

    So, it’s a race to see who’s Collective Will predominates the about to be birthed American Autocracy. The Collective Will of those with their heads in the sand will not be the Will of the expectant Autocracy, I can promise you that.

    But hey, go ahead and feel smug in the meantime. Enjoy the arrogance while it lasts because it’s not going to last long.

  23. May 5, 2017

    “I also feel, as I said multiple times during the election, that having Trump win 16 was dodging a bullet, because if he had lost, the next person to try the right wing populist playbook would have been far worse.”-Ian

    Ian, I don’t think we dodged anything.

    The character archetype that Trump fits into isn’t going away next election cycle. (By winning that archetype clearly demonstrated its effectiveness.) And my gut feeling is that the next iteration of that archetype will be a conservative media figure like Bill Oreilly. (I think that disappointed Trump voters will turn to someone who they have trusted for years who they believe has all the answers.)

  24. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 5, 2017

    If we’re to competently address many of the concerns discussed here, Autocracy is inevitable. In fact, Autocracy would address them more effectively & efficiently than Democracy for the very reason Mallam flaunts.

    For example, historically speaking, did Land Redistribution occur more readily under Autocratic Governments or Democratic Governments? If you answered the latter, you are wrong.

    Replace Land Redistribution with some of the most important issues facing us and the planet. Democracy is not up to the task. You can argue it and deny it all you want, but Autocracy is coming one way or another. Either you own it and grab the reigns or you get run over by it. Resisting the inevitability of it will ensure malevolent factions grab the reigns. Beating those malevolent factions to the reigns will ensure a benevolent Autocracy versus a malevolent one.

    Autocracy and Redistribution: The Politics of Land Reform

    This book is an exceptional achievement. It combines theoretical and methodological sophistication with empirical richness. Albertus demonstrates that land redistribution is more likely under dictatorship than democracy and builds a persuasive argument about why that is the case. The book is an outstanding contribution to the literatures on land redistribution, democracies and dictatorships, political economy, and Latin American politics. ~ Scott Mainwaring, Eugene and Helen Conley Professor of Political Science, University of Notre Dame

    Albertus’ book is a must-read for understanding distributive politics in Latin America and beyond. Albertus provides a crucial contribution to the discipline by focusing on the political incentives leading to redistribution under different types of political regime. Based on an impressive study of land reforms, he provides a novel theory for understanding land redistribution and the different conditions that led to land renegotiation and colonization. This shift to the incentives of elites and their institutional possibilities provides a crucial contribution to the literature on democracy and redistribution. He finds support for his theory using an impressive dataset of cross-national evidence combined with in-depth longitudinal analyses of Peru and Venezuela. Without doubt, this book will become a reference in comparative studies of development and distributive politics more generally. ~ M. Victoria Murillo, Columbia University

    In this important book Albertus provides new answers to a range of questions about land reform. When does meaningful land reform take place? Why are some reform programs more efficient than others? Albertus’ answers – for example, that land reform is more likely under authoritarian regimes than under democratic ones – challenge the conventional wisdom. This book will be of interest to comparative scholars as well students of economic development. ~ Barry R. Weingast, Ward C. Krebs Family Professor, Stanford University

    A great paradox of modern political life is that concentrated landed wealth is a great frozen ice cap blocking the emergence of modern democracy and development. Yet, democracies themselves seem less capable of implementing land reform than autocracies. To date we have only the barest understanding of the complex politics of land reform. In this careful and ambitious study, Michael Albertus untangles these puzzles, constructing the most comprehensive cross-national and historical dataset on land reform alongside carefully crafted case studies of Peru and Venezuela. The result is an argument that provides the most compelling political theory of land reform to date that has broad implications for the study of democracy, redistribution and autocracy. ~ Daniel Ziblatt, Harvard University, Massachusetts

  25. DMC permalink
    May 5, 2017

    The conservatives will come around to universal single payer when somebody makes a sufficiently cogent argument that paying for healthcare up front and for everybody(like most other First World nations) is actually cheaper and more efficeint than billing after the fact, like we do in the US. This is just one the more obvious parts of the larger problem with the US, that hardly anything is NOT some kind of scam by opulent sharpies.

  26. Arthur permalink
    May 5, 2017

    The progressive response (at least what I have heard) to the GOP ‘health care’ bill is interesting. It is clear that should this nonsense survive in the senate people will die. That seems to be what the republicans want. Get rid of the useless eaters, and raiding the village or firing up the gas chambers is so 19th and 20th century. This will be much cleaner. . .we won’t have to see the dead. But all the progressive wing can offer in response is more marches, call your congressman, and vote in 2018. Seems a rather tepid response to the possible death of maybe millions.

  27. May 5, 2017

    “hardly anything is NOT some kind of scam by opulent sharpies.”

    That is because so many people want to be opulent sharpies.
    And this stems from our cultures toxic ethics/morals.

    “Seems a rather tepid response”

    A. They don’t really want to save their enemies, they barely want to save themselves.
    B. Tepid responses require little to no personal risk which is why so many people prefer them.

  28. Arthur permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Quite right, GH.

  29. different clue permalink
    May 5, 2017

    Ian Welsh has been right about many things. He saw early what evil lurks in the heart of the Clintobushas, for instance.

    Obama “didn’t even try” to achieve single payer? No. Obama DID try . . . to aBORT and aSSASSinate single payer . . . and he succeeded. That is part of what he expects to be paid millions and millions of dollars for in the years to come as his reward from the people on whose behalf he pre-destroyed single payer for a while at least.

  30. Morongobill permalink
    May 5, 2017

    TSMB, in the old days you would have been horsewhipped for that.

  31. May 5, 2017

    Mandos –

    Normally I agree with you, but not in this case. Ryancare already has blown up – basically, it is the status quo before Obama. Obama care was also blowing up, because insurance companies would just withdraw from the marketplace. The trap in both cases is that leaving insurance companies run the market does not work. You have to have a government run entity, which the insurance companies must compete against. Yes, most people will go to an insurance company, but the insurance company needs to complete not against another insurance company, but against the government.

    Single-payer is not required, but it is nice to have – the key concept is a government sponsored entity to compete against the insurance companies. However, single-payer is the promise that ropes people into the tent.

  32. Ché Pasa permalink
    May 5, 2017

    What you’ve got is an empty-suit emperor. He’s been referred to as God-Emperor by some of his white rightist fan boys, but even they know there’s essentially no there there, and they see him as neutered and tamed by all those Dark Forces that permeate the permanent government.

    He’s been turned into a “Clintonite”.

    Gee. Who’d a thunk?

    He certainly likes all the trappings of Divinty-Imperial Rule, showing off with his new-found chums in the fanciest rooms of his various private palaces, saving the dingy, drab and dusty White House for (ew) work.

    He’s loud and boorish and lazy, but all that was known, hardly a secret. He’s been in the public eye for decades, both in business and as a teevee personality.

    He’s old. Not as old as Bernie, but old nonetheless, and he carries with him all the baggage of a long and varied career, a lifetime spent screwing the little people on behalf of himself, his family and a cadre of striving but marginalized nouveaus who never quite made it — and can’t make it — into the select and secretive world of the highest of the mighty.

    He never made it into that world, either, but he’s long rubbed elbows with them. I’m sure he’s been taken advantage of by them, too.

    Part of his baggage is his upbringing in a privileged but marginalized context of wealth, lording it over the weak. He was said to be kind of a wild child and that’s why he was sent to New York Military Academy — to straighten him out. Yes, well.

    He was there during the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) and he graduated in 1964, the year “Dr. Strangelove” was released. “Fail Safe” was also released in 1964. These movies influenced a generation to loathe the very idea of brinkmanship and the “survivability” of nuclear war, but some people saw them quite a bit differently; not so much as cautionaries as instruction manuals.

    From his behavior both in office and in the private sector, I think think Trump probably falls on that side of the equation.

    The fear of Mrs. Clinton without recognizing the inherent danger of someone as clearly unstable and as divorced from reality as Trump is borders on the pathological. Simply saying they’re both scum but she’s worse makes no sense. They’re both worse. She in some ways, he in others. And neither could or will trigger WWIII on their own. They can’t.

    Either could do it, though, with the connivance and “advice” of the powers behind the throne.

    For all intents and purposes, the same powers are behind both of them.

  33. Tom permalink
    May 6, 2017

    @The Stephen Miller Band

    Uh no, the solution is not autocracy but expansion of Democracy and streamlining it.

    In sense what the Turkish people adopted in the last referendum, which is direct election of the President and Parliament at the same time and for the same term with the same term limits, unicameral legislature, majority rule with the minority locked out till they can win a majority, all elected officials able to be tried for any crime under the law rather than high crimes, and more use of referendums to reflect the will of the people.

    The current republican model we operate under and what the Turks just ended allows the deep state to thwart the will of the people and the minority to protect their interests at the expense of the majority.

    The Turks saw the problem holding them back with the current government model they had and went to majoritarian democracy to ensure their will is done and not the deep state or minority’s interests at their expense. The US instead of going for autocracy should go fully democratic.

  34. realitychecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Yet more evidence that elections in America do not produce the results expected by and promised to the voters, of either duopoly party.

    This was the worst case scenario I envisioned when I voted for Trump, as I laid out here more than once, i.e., that he would betray and disappoint his supporters just like Obama did to his supporters, and that it would then be revealed even more clearly than before that betrayal is the only result that will ever come out of this too-corrupted-to-be-fixed electoral system.

    My thinking was that some good would come from that revelation, one I have been pushing for ten years now, namely that people would be pushed that much closer to realizing that voting won’t get them the future they deserve, but only anger and angry action might do the trick.

    This result was likely enough to me that I have been pushing for a rational discussion of what should we do once that reality is accepted. A discussion none have seriously embraced so far, I would note.

    So, are we there yet? Do we have that serious discussion now, or just more of the same impotent venting and hyper-outrage, that does nothing but amuse our Masters?

  35. realitychecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Just for clarity, I think it is too soon to finally and irrevocably conclude that all the final results of Trump’s actions on all the big issues will be failures for his supporters, as none of these games are over yet, far from over, IMO.

    But it is to those who are now suddenly fully convinced that the games are over, and they they have been proven “right” about Trump, for you guys: So, assuming arguendo that you are perceiving correctly, are you ready now to have a serious discussion about how to get change without relying on the broken electoral system?

  36. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    May 6, 2017

    It’s clear to me now that a True Democracy is impossible (see Ian’s next blog posts for one example of why) and Pseudo Democracies, the feigning of Democracy, is preferred by the Global Elite. They hide behind it and use it as a carrot in pacifying populations.

    The only chance The Little People have of garnering any representation whatsoever is to have a benevolent Autocracy by & for The Little People. A Man, or a Woman, of their own to put The Rich in their place and who can expedite the response to some of the most pressing issues of our day.

    Someone like me.

    If I was heading this benevolent Autocracy, we would be getting things done and The Little People would be back in the saddle again even though you were never in it heretofore. We’d have Single Payer by now and we would be loving it. The Health Insurance companies would be reduced to AFLAC for the wealthy to supplement their Single Payer for Elective Surgery purposes.

    I would reverse the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Our Justice System would be overhauled from top to bottom and those bequeathed with the Public Trust would be held to a much higher standard than they are now. The penalty for Abusing Authority and the Public Trust would be substantial up to & including life in prison depending on the circumstances.

    True Progressive Taxation would make a comeback to the days of FDR. Too Big To Fail companies would be eviscerated. Laws would be enacted that engendered employee-owned and managed organizations that are prohibited from growing beyond a certain level because beyond that level is a hinderance to free enterprise & competition.

    Instead of Credit Expansion, laws enacted would greatly reduce the reliance on debt and would incentivize saving and personal loaning between friends and family members and various informal networks in order to reestablish community. People will be encouraged to invest directly, without the Wall Street Middle Man, in people rather than investing in and with Wall Street which is investing against people.

    Destruction of the habitat would be seriously addressed. A nation wide planning board comprised of a diversity of rotating members would be created to create and implement a national plan with regional and local sub plans on how best to physically and logistically address our way of life and how it is affecting our environment. No future building & expansion can take place outside of the purview of this planning board that takes all impacts into account and determines if proposals are aligned with national, regional and local plans to mitigate & minimize destruction of our habitat.

    These are just a few of the things that can & will be done by a benevolent Autocracy. If you don’t get out in front of this now and grab the reigns, the malevolent factions are going to swoop in and grab them instead. Trump’s presidency is setting the stage. Think of him as a John The Baptist for a malevolent Autocracy. The real Malevolent One is coming, Trump is serendipitously & unconsciously announcing it with his presidency, if we don’t grab this bull by the horns and make it our Autocracy, not their’s.

    Morongobill, the horsewhip has been replaced with the hack. My wife & I decided to watch Sex And The City last night and what do you know, the screen to choose the episode is screwed up. More than half the choices are missing and there is no logic to what is available to watch. This comes on the heels of mentioning it at this blog the other day and someone viewing the following blog post extensively.

    As well, my wife, on her way home from work yesterday, passed by a transformer that blew up just as she was passing it. It shook her car and it shook her as though it was an IED. She was still rattled when she got home. What are the odds? Leviathan knows. Challenge this Predominant Paradigm with passionate & intense conviction and remedies that will work in deposing it and IT will reveal its awesome power to you in a myriad of ways.

    New World Hackers

  37. Ché Pasa permalink
    May 6, 2017

    What RC is apparently unable to comprehend is that many people are already taking action outside the electoral system.

    It’s a varied response to failed systems and institutions that ultimately seeks an alternative or any number of alternatives to that failure.

    It doesn’t necessarily look like previous uprisings and revolutions — because it isn’t like them. What it amounts to is a growing rejection of systems of exploitation and despair and the creation of something else again — something else that isn’t necessarily unified.

    I would suggest that 20 years hence we’ll see a very different governing circumstance, the outlines of which are already apparent.

  38. realitychecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    @ Che Pasa

    I am unable to comprehend stuff that nobody shows me any real evidence for.

    You are especially gifted at conflating what you wish for with what is.

    I am concerned about what happens where the actual levers of power are operating.

    I don’t really care to know that you are bartering tomatoes from your garden for plumbing services from your neighbor down the block. That’s not really where the action is, and you are delusional if you think it is.

  39. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Tom Turkey’s idea of “democracy” sounds like a lynch mob, and reminds me of Mencken:

    Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want–and deserve to get it, good and hard.

    The problem, of course, with the cruel fools getting what they deserve is that many, many of us who deserve better will also get what the cruel fools deserve.

  40. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    As for SMB’s “benign autocracy”–IIRC, cadres of “successful” rebels in many countries already attempted that.

    The attempts, collectively, were called “Communism”.

    How well did those work out?

    Hints: gulags, killing fields, old-fashioned surveillance states (based on squealers rather than electronics), poor quality and quantity of the necessities of life, compulsory atheism, dishwater-gray aesthetics of everyday life–oh, Areinnye, just read 1984 for details.

    Nah, I think I’ll just stick with the devils I know–although I understand that the consensus here is that can’t happen. According to the consensus here, the rule of the devils we know is doomed, doomed I tellz ya, doomed in ten kajillion ways by umpty-umpteen kajillion Doomy Dooms of Doom!!!!1!

    Ladies and germs, I complete my 54th solar orbit soon, and I’ve been hearing confident predictions of Doomsday my entire adolescent and adult life.

    I hope y’all will forgive me if I’ve developed apocalyptic-fear fatigue, and respond to your “The End Is Near” pronouncements with “meh”.

  41. realitychecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Give that bird a worm!

  42. Willy permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Concentrations of power suck because of who it is that usually wins those power games, at the end of the day. Limiting those who are incapable of values outside of the acquisition of power is harder then it looks.

  43. Willy permalink
    May 6, 2017


  44. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    Limiting those who are incapable of values outside of the acquisition of power is harder then it looks.

    One of the biggest problems, maybe the biggest, is that in this life and this world, evil often works–it gets the perpetrator what s/he wants, and s/he is either not punished promptly and obviously enough to deter others from trying the same thing, or even is not punished at all–at least in this life.

    Plus, if an afterlife, whose Proprietor sets criteria for success which are different–or even diametrically opposed–to the criteria for success in this life does exist, the existences of that afterlife and its Proprietor are not obvious and irrefutable, which dampens the deterrent effect of the possibility that evil behavior which is successful in this life will lead to a reduced quality of accomodations in the next life.

  45. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    May 6, 2017

    [if] the existences of that afterlife and its Proprietor are not obvious and irrefutable, [then that] dampens the deterrent effect of the possibility that evil behavior which is successful in this life will lead to a reduced quality of accomodations in the next life.

    Indeed, this is one reason the Communist states had to create the gulags and the killing fields. Without Hell to threaten their (real and imagined) domestic enemies with, they were obliged to do their best (make that their worst) to create Hell on Earth.

  46. May 9, 2017

    What are you apologizing for?
    For not being psychic? Or for not being telepathic?

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