Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Joe, Chill

I don't have a whole lot to comment about with The Breakfast Club/Biden interview, but in terms of Biden gaffe, if this is going to be a problem, um, hold on to your butts, because it's kind of Joe Biden's thing. I think I lean towards the "badly-landed and too familiar joke" camp with what Biden had said because I don't think his intentions are bad or that he doesn't care, but I think he made a classic white people mistake (of which I am also guilty sometimes) of thinking if you have Black friends, you can kind of get away with being a little looser in discussing race issues--and it was the wrong time, because it always is

But especially when running for president, and here's my issue with it, which doesn't necessarily come down to a question of race or any other thing, but Trump. Because when Charlemagne said "It don't have nothing to do with Trump", he has an incredible point. You have to imagine that you are not running against the worst human, a person with a terrible record and who says hateful things. You have to realize you are running to do something about the country that elected that guy. You have to pull this country back from that edge. It isn't Trump--it's the things that got him here. *

Hillary Clinton, on paper, should have kicked Trump's ass on experience and buried him with a better vison of how to run a country. What the hell does "Make America Great" even mean? It's vague sloganeering, and the wall was and is a dumb idea. People have gotten to the US on innertubes for crying out loud. Now that we've seen Trump in office, and the dysfunctional machinery he is making of government, and the cynical transactionalism that motivates the least thing ("Drain the swamp", my ass), and Trump's own deeply personal and worsening hang-ups, who wants to be the next person to lose--to that?

But it isn't about Trump. He is awful--so what? Republicans came out for him, and they will do it again. In the meanwhile, Biden has to turn out voters for him, and can't count on people to just turn out because they are anti-Trump. 

The reason why is simple--Trump's campaign last time was about voter suppression. They flooded the zone with bullshit like Pizzagate and "But her emails" and whatever conspiracy theory bullshit they could. They wanted people to feel like, "What does it even matter?" The third-party edges were about giving space to people to be mad about both parties, as if there was no difference between them. Trump did his best back then in 2016 to pretend things were being "rigged" against him, and is playing that same game now about mail-in votes and potential voter fraud.  He's rewriting Russia's involvement to try to mindwipe us into forgetting how bots and fake news were used as influence. 

I've noticed that Biden has been strident regarding people confronting him with any agenda with just this kind of line, "Hey, if you don't like me, you can vote for the other guy" as if it was crystal-clear for everybody that Trump simply is the worst, and that Biden is the de facto better bet. And it's not untrue....but?

Remember Hillary Clinton? Because I will not ever forget. But this isn't about Trump. Was Al Gore not better than George W. Bush? John Kerry? 

The Democratic party has been down this road, and I'm tired of it. Better isn't enough--you have to talk to how you are going to fill that place in the voters' whole world that wants more. Bill Clinton knew how to speak to that place. Barack Obama did. You have to move those bodies. You have to commit those ballots. Trump does it for his people, and no, it does not appeal to me, but he finds their grievances and makes them his own. He figures out what they love, and celebrates it. 

I've said before, I see the so-called "middle" being catered to by politicians, and I want my love for a change. Maybe in the same way Sanders' supporters want their seat at the table, I want someone to say, "Vixen Strangely, you have been voting Democratic your whole life and what is on your wish list?" 

Now, raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation, transaction taxes on trading and raising the tax on capital gains, universal free healthcare and guaranteeing the right to vote and encouraging the franchise would be top of my list. And everyone has a list. That why I liked Elizabeth Warren's campaign: she whispered sweet plans into my ear about her vision for how we'd do great stuff. Biden needs to go voter-whispering. He needs to answer those "What are you going to do for me?" questions. 

And he can do exactly that, and it isn't hard to do. But he has to chill. This isn't about an election against Trump, worst human, existential threat. It's about the people who are going to vote for him. He doesn't have to relate to us or talk our presumed language. He can tell us he wants to fix what is broken. He can tell us he's here to serve. He can tell us he knows it's all fucked up and bullshit, but we'll get over the hump. He can treat this like an election he wants to win because he does. 

It really isn't just about Trump. Contrary to what Trump thinks, the world doesn't revolve around him, and his opponent can't revolve around him either. 

Also on my wish list is Kamala Harris for running mate. Now more than ever. Just saying. 

POSTSCRIPT: But also, regardless, I admit that because I don't see the appeal of Trump, regardless of race, I  don't understand how anyone votes for him, but only to the extent I also don't understand how anyone by now thinks trickle-down economics works, or how people can get church/state separation so utterly wrong, or how people say shit like "the US isn't a Democracy, it's a Constitutional Republic" or how the Confederacy became a thing about states' rights and people in fucking Wisconsin fly that flag, or how conservative women who are objectively pro-forced reproductive labor and rape are allegedly feminists because they went to a brand-name school, or why any leftist would pussy-foot around calling a black conservative out for saying the same kind of racist shit white conservatives do. As in, I wouldn't relegate my mystification about confusion regarding who to support on election day to any one races' bona fides, but would question the intellect and sanity of anyone supporting the Republican party as it is currently constituted.


Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, history is cyclical. In terms of the Kali Yuga and the zeitgeist, but also in political terms.

The very thing that makes you a hero in one period makes you a bum in another. People born in the 1970s or 80s do not realize that they are not following in the liberal democratic tradition of the United States. They are actually following an echo of radical student politics of the 1960s. Since it happened before they were born they do not realize this. And the 1960s political movement was a very short-term revolutionary movement that had dubious claims to veracity.

The only people who really have an extreme, pejorative opinion of the president are members of the far left wing of the Democratic Party. I would speculate maybe 30 or 40 million people if you include the marginal handful of Republican Never-Trumpers. The claims that Trump is the worst president in the world simply evokes incredulous views by three fourths of the country. And this diminishes the credibility of people making that assertion.

You said in your last paragraph that you did not understand a number of things

In my opinion this was the big mistake of the Democratic Party. As soon as Trump was elected they should have gone all out trying to understand what motivated all of his voters. However, they were too busy making accusations and kicking people like Jim Webb out of the Democratic Party. To this day it is very clear to everyone on the right and left who like or find Trump tolerable that Democrats simply do not have a clue in respect to why Trump has such popularity. You might as well have people who love Waylon Jennings trying to provide fallacious explanations about why a lot of people like James Brown. Tilt. They just don't get it. They're lost in a miasma of explanations that do not fit.

I could respond to each of your points in the last paragraph, but I don't want this to become too long. There are answers though, and very good and cogent ones.

I'll throw in the following.

Democrats need to make a real effort to try to understand what is animating Trump voters, without those answers necessarily being shallow or involving repudiation.

People need to start assuming that at least half the political opposition are sincere, and genuinely good people, with cogent reasons for believing the way they do (left or right).

People should understand that what you tax you get less of. If you tax prosperity you get less prosperity. If you tax investment you get less investment.

A good beginning would be to read this article by Dr. Karlyn Borysenko, psychologist and “a Democrat for 20 years”:

Vixen Strangely said...

Some of the people who hate Trump the most aren't actually hard-core leftists--they are working-class stiffs. There's Never Trumpers, of course, who find he insults everything about true conservatism in his anti-intellectualism, inconstancy, and lack of moral values. There are also suburban wine-moms who would like to watch Trump fall down the stairs of Air Force One and land on Mike Pence because he's gutting to them on a deeply personal level. I believe people who rabidly like Trump are sincere, though, and I believe they have a history in the US with deep roots, going back past the Tea Party to the John Birchers. There is an entire media ecosystem tailor-made for them, which hasn't a lot of overlap with mainstream media and in fact demonizes it.

And there is a mass of people who just don't mind him. The silent majority. It never occurs to a certain group of people that something like the war in Vietnam or the Iraq invasion, the oppression of any minority group should bother them--until it becomes personalized for them. They can cynically stomach any amount of graft (Bindeth not the mouths of the kine that trod the grapes, or something), so long as they don't feel it directly. If it isn't their kid. If it isn't their neighborhood, if it isn't someone they love. Do I think they like him? They mildly disapprove of his Twittering. He should probably not want to rush to kill Grandma and Grandpa just so he can feel like things are normal again, though. The silent majority is kind and care for their neighbors. Driving the unemployment into the double digits because he's an incompetent is probably going to be a bummer for them, too. They don't want to see their communities go to hell.

It's not a socialist thing to not believe in unrestricted growth or even to believe a healthy system has checks on it. Taxes and regulations are just agreements in a democratic government about protect all of the people concerned with the effects of commerce. The rich getting richer while the people at the bottom rung can't even save money to keep up with the essentials of living is not prosperity, it is highway robbery where the robbers are kings.

Communities can invest in positive things that benefit people. Private looters have destroyed things of value--see what vulture capitalism has done to once-successful businesses, or what private ownership does to utilities and hospitals and prisons. The question is: What do we value? What should we make more space for? In Trumpism, I see things and people and agencies and knowledge being devalued. This has always been something I deplore.