Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What Next?

Everyone wants to know the answer to that question.

The rhetoric of this campaign was apocalyptic and it's natural to assume that the rhetoric will lead to the reality.  And while there is no doubt that this is the scariest moment in the history of our body politic since Nixon and the scariest moment for the world since Able Archer nearly triggered a nuclear war, there is also some small reassurance that institutions don't bend to a man.

We don't elect kings.

There is no doubt that Trump has authoritarian tendencies.  There is no doubt that the office of the President offers him opportunities to express that authoritarianism.  But the very structure of our government was founded on the idea that you can thwart the ambition of a would-be king by creating institutions that balance each other.

Trump is a massive, massive wild card.  He has no attention to detail, no interest in policy.  We literally have no idea what he will do as president.  Will he turn the reins over to Giuliani, Christie and Gingrich?  Quite probably.  Will he be a rubber stamp for the extreme fiscal policies of Paul Ryan and the extreme religious conservative policies of Mike Pence?  Quite probably.  I think it's fair to say that America will look a lot like Kansas in a few years.  And that's not great.

There is a raging argument about whether Trump's election was entirely about racism and sexism on the part of an aging white, male population.  I think in part it clearly was.

But part of the story - and this extends beyond the US - is that there is a backlash to "the way things are" that is taking place at the ballot box.  Brexit and Trump are twins.  The good news is - and I mean this sincerely - this revolution is currently done without bullets and barricades.

Whether they were white nationalists or just disaffected whites, the Trumpenproletariat just decided to give matches and gasoline to an arsonist.  Be clear: THAT WAS THE PLAN.  They want to burn the fucking thing down.

But lighting a fire is easy.  Controlling that fire is hard.  Much of Washington is made of marble and hard to burn.  I don't believe the foundations of our government will fall.  I believe we are headed for recession and not some small violence.  I believe we will stumble back into a pointless war.

I also believe that after we've mourned and shaken off our shock, that we have to start fighting for a better world.  The entire House is up for re-election in two years.  That's the first goal.

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