Trump has outlived his usefulness, will be jettisoned
The plutocrats have amassed such vast wealth and such a tight grip on all the levers of power and influence that they need not jimmy the electoral college again to shoehorn Donald Trump into a second term. Had they been facing the prospect of, say, a Bernie Sanders presidency, the calculus would have been quite different. But with a lifelong defender of elites standing by promising to do essentially nothing once Trump goes, they can watch benignly while the Donald blows up his campaign and himself; they can welcome the Blues, count their fresh billions, and start the process of wiping their fingerprints off the weird Trumpian interregnum. The next period will be for consolidation.
The insanely rich must have been just as surprised as the rest of us at Trump’s bizarre march to the White House, but he offered them a chance to loot the nation’s wealth unparalleled in history and probably even in their wildest imaginations. Corruption and self-dealing are not just permitted during Trump’s pathetic reign; it is state policy. Taxes were long ago dismissed with a sneer. Environmental protections have been gutted; regulatory restraints are smashed far beyond even what Reagan and the Bush duo engineered. Financial manipulation, stock-price inflation, private equity looting, pension theft, contracting boondoggles—everything was and is there for the taking as long as you’re clever enough to make sure a Trump relative or surrogate is riding along on the gravy train. Anyone unable to salt away a sweet fortune under these conditions just doesn’t have the heart of an oligarch.
Trump’s smash-and-grab style was certainly nontraditional and probably, for some of the classier crooks and war criminals, distasteful. But it was deadly effective, and business is business (Meyer Lansky). The Democrats largely stuck to their assigned role of staged indignation and outrage calibrated to always fall short of effective resistance, except when Trump proved unenthusiastic about aggressive posturing for future wars. Much has been written about Trump’s eager packing of the federal courts with ideological hatchet men (long before the latest Supreme Court drama) though considerably less about Chuck Schumer’s complicity in facilitating it. Trump does the dirty work; the Democrats collude and avoid blame.
The incoming Democrats can spend at least one full presidential term pretending to repair the damage and wishing upon a star for the bipartisanship unicorn to reappear. A lot of anticipatory articles are couched in the language of restoration along the lines of, “Will a Biden Administration be able to repair the damage to [fill in the blank]?” This rhetorical construction assumes they actually want to, a fact not in evidence. Look no further than the campaign ads put out by our local Blue Dog Democrat, Max Rose, who urges his Staten Island neighbors to vote for him because he “supports Trump” and hates the city’s (Democrat) mayor. Rose’s campaign chest is bursting with $5.7 million, 70% of it from “large individual contributions.” Cue Nancy Pelosi telling us next January that her new majority backed by a Democrat president can’t possibly do very much because of foot-dragging by members like Rose, eagerly promoted by the corporate Democrat mainstream.
Electoral fiddle-faddle at home and abroad
Though Biden’s accelerating lead may preclude any election night funny business, Trump is obviously capable of declaring himself the winner and setting loose a horde of lawyers to block the counting of mailed-in ballots likely to favor Democrats. There are certainly precedents. For example, back in January (yes, this year, though it feels like a century ago) try if you can to remember that there was a primary race among a slew of Democrat candidates for president. One of them had a slight lead just as the fancy new Iowa Democratic party-financed app broke down in mid-count; he declared himself the winner. Turned out that Sanders had actually won more votes, but that crucial next-day headline awarded the win to Mayor Pete Buttigieg who took advantage of the completely coincidental snafu. The Bernie-block favor surely merits Mayor B a cabinet post in a Biden Administration.
Of course, that was just an early fight over front-runner status in a primary, but what about a contest where actual state power is at stake? We have another recent example that Trump could imitate, the intervention of the Organization of American States almost exactly one year ago to declare Bolivia’s presidential vote count suspicious and spark the coup d’état that ousted Evo Morales from the presidency and the country. The OAS, with a U.S.-friendly diplomat at the helm, jumped the gun as the pro-Morales vote trickled in from districts where he was stronger, calling it vote manipulation when it was probably simple voter dynamics. The country has been ruled by a fanatical Christian autocrat ever since who has conveniently flipped Bolivia's foreign policy positions to great satisfaction in D.C.
What goes around, comes around. Americans shouldn’t be surprised if Trump sees how the U.S. jiggers elections overseas and decides to try the same here at home.
“America is not a democracy.”
Thanks to Utah Sen. Mike Lee for saying the nasty part out loud. Of course, people who had that illusion should get out more—what part of the electoral college, statehouse gerrymandering, voter suppression, and mass bribery in the legislative process did you not notice earlier? Not to mention slavery, Jim Crow, and the last 40 years of Republicrat cooperation to ship our industrial base to China and leave Youngstown an Amazon warehouse and a supply of oxy.
The Trump gang has done us a huge favor by ripping off the fig leaf that has lightly covered the unlovely junk of modern financier capitalism, the profoundly undemocratic system now fully installed and dominating our Second Gilded Age. As Lee tweeted, “rank” democracy can thwart what he calls our shared objectives: “liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic].” All those smelly citizens just don’t understand how lucky they are as we march steadily toward ever more prospefity, defined among Lee’s GOP mates as “more wheelbarrows full of cash for us and our friends.” The rest of you can piss off up a rope and die of starvation (or Covid). Installing the Conehead woman on the Supreme Court is of a piece: they don’t even pretend to care that she represents nothing but their narrow class interests.
Hunter Biden’s emails
The entire liberal-ish media universe has its collective BVDs in a major knot over whether anyone should breath a word about this story of Biden fils and his shenaningans in Ukrainian fossil fuels, given their suddenly high evidentiary reporting standards. This is the same passel of Beltway ho’s who have pumped up every fact-free accusation emanating from the security apparatus from the pee tape to the bogus Novichok poisonings and the Russian bounty for killing innocent Americans wearing military uniforms in a foreign country. Whispered rumors from “intelligence officials” get blown all over the front pages, but possible dirt on the anointed candidate’s family is suddenly off limits. Then again, what possible journalistic protocol could matter to a political system that impeached Donald Trump for allegedly bribing the Ukrainian government for policy favors while ignoring Biden’s proud public statements that he did the same? The only difference is that Biden got what he wanted, and Trump didn’t.