Mess Clinton or Abyss Trump?

The republic of the United States of America faces a very uncertain future, whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump becomes president.

According to Trump if Clinton wins it will be more of the same, a virtual continuation of Barack Obama’s tenure. But he and some Republicans have also promised turmoil, to effectively make the country ungovernable.

charlie_brown_sad-791

But what if Trump wins? He is promising to ‘drain the swamp’, but I don’t know if he has ever explained what that will mean. He can’t sack all of Washington.

But he could change things substantially, for better or worse. Washington could certainly do with major reform, but a lot is riding on the continuing functioning of the country (and to an extent the world).

Andrew Sullivan looks at America and the Abyss.

This is what we now know. Donald Trump is the first candidate for president who seems to have little understanding of or reverence for constitutional democracy and presents himself as a future strongman. This begins with his character — if that word could possibly be ascribed to his disturbed, unstable, and uncontrollable psyche. He has revealed himself incapable of treating other people as anything but instruments to his will. He seems to have no close friends, because he can tolerate no equals.

His relationship to men — from his school days to the primary campaign — is rooted entirely in dominance and mastery, through bullying, intimidation, and, if necessary, humiliation. His relationship to women is entirely a function of his relationship to men: Women are solely a means to demonstrate his superiority in the alpha-male struggle. Women are to be pursued, captured, used, assaulted, or merely displayed to other men as an indication of his superiority.

His response to any difficult relationship is to end it, usually by firing or humiliating or ruining someone. His core, motivating idea is the punishment or mockery of the weak and reverence for the strong. He cannot apologize or accept responsibility for failure. He has long treated the truth as entirely instrumental to his momentary personal interests. Setbacks of any kind can only be assuaged by vindictive, manic revenge.

Through the course of Trumps campaigns there have been signs of all of these things.

He has no concept of a non-zero-sum engagement, in which a deal can be beneficial for both sides. A win-win scenario is intolerable to him, because mastery of others is the only moment when he is psychically at peace. (This is one reason why he cannot understand the entire idea of free trade or, indeed, NATO, or the separation of powers.)

He has trashed free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

He has violated and eroded the core norms that make liberal democracy possible — because such norms were designed precisely to guard against the kind of tyrannical impulses and pathological narcissism he personifies.

He has bullied the Republican Party into backing him. A Trump presidency backed by Republican majorities in the Senate and in Congress are quite feasible outcomes of the election.

He sees the judicial system as entirely subordinate to his political and personal interests, and impugned a federal judge for his ethnicity. He has accused the Justice Department and FBI of a criminal conspiracy to protect Hillary Clinton. He has refused to accept in advance the results of any election in which he loses. He has openly argued for government persecution of newspapers that oppose him — pledging to open up antitrust prosecution against the Washington Post, for example.

He is the first candidate in American history to subject the press pool to mob hatred — “disgusting, disgusting people” — and anti-Semitic poison from his foulest supporters. He is the first candidate in American history to pledge to imprison his election opponent if he wins power. He has mused about using nuclear weapons in regional wars. He has celebrated police powers that openly deploy racial profiling.

And those he has promised a right wing revolution to don’t care, as long as  they win at any cost.

The Establishments of both right and left have had many opportunities to stop him and have failed by spectacular displays of cowardice, narrow self-interest, and bewilderment. The right has been spectacularly craven. Trump has no loyalty to the party apparatus that has elevated him to a possible victory next Tuesday — declaring war on the Speaker of the House, attacking the RNC whenever it fails to toady to him, denigrating every single rival Republican candidate, even treating his own vice-presidential nominee as someone he can openly and contemptuously contradict with impunity. And yet that party, like the conservative parties in Weimar Germany, has never seen fit to anathematize him, only seeking to exploit his followers in the vain and foolish delusion that they can control him in the future in ways they have not been able to in the past.

I don’t think that the United States will become like Weimar Germany. Trump has been able to use legitimate (ish) democratic means to nearly make it to the top.

There is one marked difference – Weimar Germany didn’t have the destructive power of the nuclear weapons that Trump has suggested he could use.

The Republican media complex have enabled and promoted his lies and conspiracy theories and, above all, his hysteria. From the poisonous propaganda of most of Fox News to the internet madness of the alt-right, they have all made a fortune this past decade by describing the world as a hellhole of chaos and disorder and crime for which the only possible solution is a third-world strongman.

And they are close to succeeding (aided by the Democrats’ choice of Clinton as their alternative).

For their part, the feckless Democrats decided to nominate one of the most mediocre, compromised, and Establishment figures one can imagine in a deeply restless moment of anxiety and discontent. They knew full well that Hillary Clinton is incapable of inspiring, of providing reassurance, or of persuading anyone who isn’t already in her corner, and that her self-regard and privilege and money-grubbing have led her into the petty scandals that have been exploited by the tyrant’s massive lies.

They have gifted the Trump revolution a real chance.

The Republicans have thereby become a force bent less on governing than on destroying the very institutions that make democracy and the rule of law possible. They have not been conservative in any sane meaning of that term for many, many years. They are nihilist revolutionaries of the far right in search of a galvanizing revolutionary leader. And they have now found their man.

And their man found them.

Some — including many who will be voting for Trump — will argue that even if the unstable, sleepless, vindictive tyrant wins on Tuesday, he will be restrained by the system when he seizes power. Let’s game this out for a moment. Over the last year, which forces in the GOP have been able to stand up to him?

Even his closest aides have been unable to get him to concentrate before a debate. He set up a policy advisory apparatus and then completely ignored it until it was disbanded. His foreign-policy advisers can scarcely be found. He says he knows more than any general, any diplomat, and anyone with actual experience in government.

He has declared his chief adviser to be himself.

And some of his advice, especially on foreign issues, has been scary for the world.

More to the point, if Trump wins, he will almost certainly bring with him the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. A President Clinton will be checked and balanced. A President Trump will be pushing through wide-open doors.

Who can temper or stop him then?

A Speaker who reveals the slightest inclination to resist him will be swiftly dispatched — or subjected to a very credible threat of being primaried. If the military top brass resist his belief in unpredictable or unethical or unlawful warfare, they will surely be fired.

As for the administration of justice, he has openly declared his intent to use the power of the government to put his political opponent in jail.

As for a free society, he has threatened to do what he can to put his media opponents into receivership.

A bit less than a majority of Americans are encouraging him, and may give him unprecedented power.

A Hollywood movie of this scenario would have been a comedy, but this could easily turn into a tragedy.

What is so striking is that this requires no interpretation, no reading of the tea leaves. Trump has told Americans all of this — again and again — in plain English. His own temperamental instability has been displayed daily and in gory detail.

His bond with his supporters is absolute, total, and personal. It was months ago that he boasted that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters would still be with him. And he was right. This is not a mark of a democratic leader; it is a mark of an authoritarian cult.

A cult with a growing fan base.

It is also, critically, a function of his platform. Fascism has never been on the ballot in America before. No candidate this close to power has signaled more clearly than Trump that he is a white-nationalist candidate determined to fight back against the browning of America.

The world has major concerns.

The fire he has lit will not be easily doused. If his policies lead to an economic downswing, he will find others to blame and conspiracies to flush out. If there is Republican resistance to his pledges to roll back free trade, he will call on his base to pressure the leadership to surrender.

And if one of his first moves is to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, we will be hurtling rather quickly to a military confrontation, as Iran rushes to build a nuke before Trump can launch military attacks to thwart them. That rush to war would empower him still further.

He has talked about using US firepower – including the nuclear button.

Yes, he is an incompetent, a dilettante, a man who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Many of his moves will probably lead to a nose-dive in support. But Trump cannot admit error and will need to deny it or scapegoat others or divert public attention.

Will those who have enable Trump be able to admit error? Will they want to do anything about rectifying the errors? Will they be able to do anything about it?

There will be an Islamist terror attack of some kind — and possibly a wave of such attacks in response to his very election. Trump will exploit it with the subtlety of a Giuliani and the brutality of a Putin.

McCarthyism would seem tame in comparison.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we live in a republic, if we can keep it. And yet, more than two centuries later, we are openly contemplating throwing it up in the air and seeing where it might land.

The US republic has already been thrashed and trashed and is falling to pieces. The landing may be all over the place.

The US is in a mess and could vote for more of the same – Mess Clinton – or go for the Abyss Trump option.

charliebrown50

 

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37 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  6th November 2016

    Sullivan is an English Catholic establishment conservative who hates Trump. I’d take most of that as his own internal combustion at discovering the world doesn’t agree with him.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th November 2016
      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th November 2016

        Couple of Good Christians supporting Trump. 👍

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  6th November 2016

          Warning: Some of this content may make you get very emotional.
          Also, Alex’s latest haircut makes his head look fat.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  6th November 2016

            Are you trying to bore me to death? That video should come with a health warning. Luckily I managed to turn it off just before I became comatose.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  6th November 2016

              I thought they came across as a couple of typical Trump supporters, Al? 😳

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  6th November 2016

              Fecking WPh just lost my reply after I got a typo in my email. Stuff it, I’m off to make coffee and get moving.

    • Corky

       /  6th November 2016

      He’s also conflicted. Apparently he’s a Zionist and Jew Hater all in one. He’s also a gay rights activist. They tend to be very unforgiving and obtuse. A parallel can be drawn here between belonging to the most promiscuous demographic in society and a loose association of events weaved into a mosaic of anti-Trumpism.

      Reply
    • But you don’t address any of the points he makes. He may have a slanted view, but surely Trump has become undefendable.

      Reply
    • alan: “Sullivan is an English Catholic establishment conservative who hates Trump. ”
      Sullivan is now an American.
      I don’t think Andrew Sullivan has ever been described as “establishment’!
      He is a conservative, by which he believes in limited constitutional government, free trade, and the virtues of tradition and scepticism of radical change. So of course he hates Trump. Then again, most conservative intellectuals hate Trump – Ross Douthat, David Frum, the entire Republican foreign policy establishment, the whole National Review…!

      I really miss The Daily Dish.

      Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  6th November 2016

    Trump represents the archetypal ‘Ugly American’ to the world.Clinton portrays the female version.An empire rotting like a fish from the head down.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  6th November 2016

      ‘An empire rotting like a fish from the head down.’

      Well, you had better hope the decomposition rate slows down because without America we will need God to defend Aotearoa.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  6th November 2016

        from who?

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  6th November 2016

          Take your pick of rabid dogs who see a defenceless lamb. I would go with Indonesia and China. Australia would be a beautiful prize( although a logistical nightmare) New Zealand has already been deemed a place Chinese hierarchy would be moved to according to one Chinese dinner guest at a function for Winston Peters.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  6th November 2016

            these days the Americans main concern is preserving the $U.S dollar as the worlds trade currency.They will fight for that….not much else.

            Reply
  3. K T McFarland from Fox: Throw the Bums Out, Drain the Swamp, Revitalize Our Economy

    But if you, like me, think we need to throw the bums out, drain the swamp, revitalize our economy and reclaim the mantle of global leadership, then by all means vote for the one candidate who has shown time and again that he’s not afraid of challenging the conventional wisdom and rejecting the status quo.

    Only one of the candidates can seize this unique historic moment to Make America Great Again.

    That’s why I’ll be pulling the lever for Donald Trump on Tuesday.

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/11/04/one-and-only-thing-to-consider-when-vote-for-president.html

    Throw which bums out?

    Does anyone actually know what ‘drain the swamp’ might entail?

    So McFarland thinks that throwing Washington into turmoil will somehow revitalize the economy>

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th November 2016

      The big question for me is, if Trump gets elected, would he really drain the swamp, or would he actually swamp the drain? 😳

      Reply
  4. Yes Gezza, and just think he could call it Alleygate after the wild life he would expose.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  6th November 2016

      Conrad Black writes well but sure has no love for the Bush/Clinton/Obama factions.

      Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  6th November 2016

    Breaking: Prime – programme interruption. 🔊🔊

    Trump rushed off stage by security staff❗️😳 Shown on quick videoclip.

    Full details to come on Prime News – First at 5.30 😕

    Reply
  6. There have been some curious supporters of Trump:

    @KimDotcom has tweeted a graphic “Keep calm and vote Trump”.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th November 2016

      What else would we expect from that plus-sized person of Finnish & German ancestry? 🙂

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th November 2016

        Kimmy’s taking a bit of a punt that the hunt for his metaphorical bacon will stop if Trump becomes POTUS, but I’m not so sure that’s a good bet. He’s a foreigner & might consider him a criminal. Pretty sure he’d be a big supporter of copyright and trademarks etc.

        Reply
  7. @mattyglesias

    Why would rumors of an armed man at a Trump rally spark panic? Wouldn’t his open carrying simply make everyone safer?

    Reply
  8. Trump protester: I was beaten for holding a ‘Republicans against Trump’ sign

    The man whose protest saw Donald Trump rushed off the stage by Secret Service agents has said the Republican nominee’s supporters turned on him when he held up a sign reading: “Republicans against Trump”.

    The man, who identified himself as Austyn Crites, 33, from Reno, told the Guardian he was holding the sign at a rally when Trump supporters wrestled him to the ground.

    He said he was kicked, punched and choked, and feared for his life when the crowd turned on him at the gathering in Reno, Nevada.

    Crites cited Trump’s treatment of Mexicans, Muslims and women as the reason he decided to protest again Trump, who he described as “a textbook version of a dictator and a fascist”.

    There were panicked scenes at the Trump rally, apparently prompted by shouts from at least one person in the crowd that the protester had a gun.

    Hundreds of people fled to the the back of the auditorium in panic as Trump was hurriedly rushed from the stage by his security detail.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/06/trump-protester-i-was-beaten-for-holding-a-republicans-against-trump-sign

    Reply
  9. From the Podesta emails, and related.

    Would love to get a pizza for an hour? Or come over

    The realtor found a handkerchief (I think it has a map that seems pizza-related. Is it yorus?

    Do you think I’ll do better playing dominos on cheese than on pasta?

    I think Obama spent about $65,000 of the tax-payers money flying in
    pizza/dogs from Chicago for a private party at the White House not long
    ago, assume we are using the same channels?

    In the pasta game changer put us in a position to help both parties and gave them incentives.

    The Israeli side wants the blockade to remain in force, though in a more liberal form. Pasta and much more will be let into the Strip, but under strict supervision.

    An American senator raised hell when he found out that pasta was considered a security risk and not allowed in.

    http://forum.clonehost.net/post/258

    Reply
  10. WHY DO PEOPLE HATE HILARY: AN INDEPENDENT VIEW?

    ” It came as a big surprise to me when I arrived in the United States that Hillary Clinton is so widely disliked.
    More than one political pundit has told me that if elected, she would be the most unpopular president in the history of America.
    So why should this be so?
    There are two main reasons. First, people do not trust her, not only her from opposing Republicans but also members from her own Democrat Party.
      
    This distrust has been rumbling away for a long time, partly due to the Benghazi incident in Libya when four Americans were killed in the compound of the U.S. Embassy; Clinton has been accused of being complicit in a cover up.

    There have also been accusations over campaign funds. And there has, of course, also been the running sore over her e-mails, which erupted again only a few days ago when the FBI declared that they were going to launch another investigation.
    Frankly, no one cares about what personal e-mail addresses or servers she has used for classified State work. But what does rankle so deeply with voters is the conviction that she doesn’t think she has to play by the rules like everyone else
    The second reason is that Clinton represents the establishment; she’s a career politician and people – across all political parties – are fed up to the back teeth with them. They are regarded as the same-old, same-old who only care about themselves and not about the voters.
    It is this utter disillusionment among voters which has given Trump so much traction. He has tapped in to this deep-seated anger among so many people across the States who work hard, play the game, toe the line and pay their taxes, yet do not see the politicians fighting their 

    Trump is not a politician and makes great play of this; he says that as an outsider, he is best-placed to fight for people, to champion their cause.
    Trump is seen as a protest vote, while Clinton would maintain the status quo.
    Hillary Clinton’s political career:
    She served as first lady from 1993 to 2001, and then as a U.S. senator from 2001 to 2009. In early 2007, she announced her plans to run for the presidency. During the 2008 Democratic primaries, she conceded the nomination when it became apparent that Barack Obama held a majority of the delegate vote.
    After becoming President, Obama appointed Clinton secretary of state. She served until 2013 and last year, she announced her plans to run again for the U.S. presidency. In 2016, she became the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party.”

    Read more at http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/why-is-hillary-clinton-disliked-so-much/story-29870448-detail/story.html#dbLUE7GI0xdYKvYX.99

    I thought this was needed to be on the record before Wdnesday!

    Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  6th November 2016

        Both sides are peddling hate and quite a lot of people buy the product, probably most.

        It’s not healthy but it might be cathartic and necessary. Or it might be destructive. It’s all on for sure.

        Reply
        • Hate is a symptom of a real problem, but people don’t know why because they’re told that they are not allowed to look at the “stolen” emails.

          Reply
    • Klik Bate

       /  6th November 2016

      The establishment is scared to death Trump will win. Not because they think he will harm the nation, but they are afraid he will upset their own taxpayer-subsidized rorts. You can be certain that if crooked Hillary wins, her cabinet posts will be filled with the same has-beens of the old Clinton / Obuma administrations – with the likes of Goldman Sacks continuing to call the tune.

      If the ‘establishment’ wins – America loses!

      Reply

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