Caveat Emptor

One view arising in the clarity of hind-sight about this election is that Donald Trump didn’t win because of a huge outpouring of hate as many would like to believe. Rather, he won by addressing the needs of our population who believed they are ignored and misrepresented. These are ordinary, good hearted people that have been incredibly marginalized, and as polls would show us eventually, completely ignored. These people voted for Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama. They’re the silent majority and now louder than ever.

As we attempt to understand the outcome of the election it’s clear Hillary Clinton did not recognize, or more accurately motivate and convince, a large section of our population that feels disenfranchised that her approach would address their needs and fears. This population is largely white. It’s self-evident that the Trump campaign did understand this demographic and won as a result. This is how our democracy works. What remains so unpleasant is “how” he appealed to this audience and what is says about those who voted for him. Do the “means justify the ends” and what does this mean for those who voted for him?

Trump unleashed the use of racism (i.e. hate, bigotry, fear of “others”) to stir-up the white voter. Any attempt to normalize the situation by suggesting that this was not true is obviously indefensible. One only has to replay the last 18 months to bear that out. Trump also preyed upon the very insecurity you described by offering easy to digest slogans and sing-song rhetoric to mask the forces of modernity that are inevitable. For example, coal mining jobs are not simply coming back because he “says so” which was further punctuated with racist comments about “illegals taking your jobs”. The miner, facing a rapidly changing global market for his product (caused in large part by fracking) will never see his job return just as car factories are largely automated now due to technological advance. His appeal to a “simpler time” where TV’s used vacuum tubes and where Archie Bunker roamed at night was designed to mask the advance of the world that is already upon us. Ironically, his use of technology, namely Twitter, was in part responsible for his ascension.

These are the tools of a demagogue and are effective when in fact people feel disenchanted or marginalized. History has confirmed this and it has now repeated itself. This was the basis of his appeal. The issue at hand now is what risk have we introduced by electing a “soulless” leader, willing and adept at preying upon these insecurities and unbounded in his search for personal adulation above thoughtful, purposeful dialog. The presidency is not the boardroom. It cannot be run in a purely hierarchical manner. One cannot simply mandate an order and expect it to be carried out. This has the very real possibility to further expose, if not unravel, his fragile, if not penile, personality.

Given his apparent lack of cogent policy to date, the likelihood of surrounding himself with sycophants, the very real possibility he will not be able to grasp the magnitude of the position, and therefore fail to deliver any positive approach, the likely trajectory overtime will be to continue to replay these themes and if history teaches us anything they will be replayed on an even more virulent level.

The challenge now is for every person who voted for him to recognize his deception, and the basic pathology of the person who embodies it, and hold him accountable to higher ideals and principles or accept they too are racist and ultimately responsible for the potential debacle at hand. The challenge is also now for those of us who did not vote for him to not despair but begin the repair effort.

10 thoughts on “Caveat Emptor”

  1. A great deal of time and effort was expended by the Russian government to help Trump succeed. There is a FISA warrant for an investigation into this issued to two deep-cyber teams within two different agencies before the election; the problem is, there are Trump-trolls scattered in strong pockets throughout the government that are perfectly willing to help the Russians co-opt democracy in the spirit of transnational alt-right homophobic racism, and it is likely they will either block these investigative efforts or help scrub the evidence. In fact, I bet there’s a war going on inside every US intelligence arm at this very moment.

    The Russians have stepped up their hacking efforts since the day of the election (in full view, quite proudly), and may soon gain long-term access to many government servers. We apparently cannot or will not stop this from happening.

    They’re going after Merkel now, the last liberal leadership in Europe. They’ve been hacking elections in many democratic countries, always to the benefit of the hard right — not just in solidarity of purpose, but because hard right governments are notoriously ineffective at defense. Great for Russia.

    I think we’ve been beaten by the Reds at long last, with the treasonous help of Republicans who were willing to do anything for power.

    It’s going to be a long and bloody century. I count this as the worst thing to happen to the human race so far, and unless there’s some sort of plot-twist I’m not seeing, there’s going to be an astounding body count.

  2. I’ve just discovered a very smart guy named Ian Bremmer who seems to know everything going on in the world, as summarized in the TED talk below. He is a little bit more reassuring about Putin in that he thinks that he is playing a very weak hand due to declining oil and gas revenues but that he is hitting well above his weight (and that was before the election).

    How the US should use its superpower status

  3. What’s becoming clear is how isolated Trump truly is. He has few friends, few confidants and fewer people of any real intelligence around him. Evidence the desire as reported tonight that he is looking to seek Top Secret Clearance for his kids – as they are considered becoming National Security Advisors. Not withstanding the obvious conflict of interest as they also are responsible for managing his companies, this smacks of banana republic type political operations. These people know nothing!

    The potential for gross incompetence is staggering!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. And of course we now have Ivanka hawking her “60 Minute Jewelry” on her website with a note directly to the press about he offering.

    WOW – how stupid, crass and despotic is this…………

  5. And now we find out, OF COURSE, that it really was hacked. At least four swing states with unverifiable electronic voting run by right wingers that do not match the unadjusted exit polls:

    What do you call a democracy where only half the population believes in democracy, and the other half would do anything to launch and support an authoritarian coup?

    USA! USA!

    No Smedley Butler to save us now. Just us.

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