Revolt of the Citizens

Author: Gary Hart

A tsunami of political analysis regarding this election has begun and will culminate in a series of books sometime next year.  There will be enough theories, most of them wrong, to accommodate a host of prejudices.  We are already accustomed to words and phrases like anger, frustration, alienation, forgotten working class, fly-over America, and so on.  Separate libraries will have to be constructed to house the dissertations in political science that will continue to be written decades from now about the 2016 political revolution.

A massive departure from traditional politics rarely occurs overnight.  This one traces from the mid-1970s when oil embargoes, foreign manufacturing competition, information revolutions, and mass migrations all collided.

While all this was transforming American economic and social structures, an even more significant change was occurring in Washington.  There was an explosion of special interest lobbying, campaign costs, and the evolution of a governing class composed of insiders of both political parties.  Members of this governing class did not come to Washington as elected officials with mandated terms of office, or administration appointees, who returned home when a new administration moved in.  Those leaving office stayed in Washington and made fortunes using access to an increasingly revolving political culture.

This blatant corruption of the American Republic, though accepted with little notice by a media culture itself corrupted by a need to have access to this insider system, did not go unnoticed by large numbers of American citizens.  Starting in the 1970s it became standard practice for candidates of both parties to campaign against “Washington” even while trying to go there…and stay there.  All promised “change”, never clearly defined, but also never achieved.

Looking back over the past four decades, the wonder is that the citizens’ revolt took so long.  The American people are patient, but as we know now, not forever.

Clearly, forces of the right, taking out racial, gender, and cultural grievances on Barack Obama, also used the Clinton, Inc. complex, augmented by secretive computer servers, to suggest all the corruption was on the Democratic side.  Media outlets underwrote these attacks by insistence on a phony “equivalence” standard, even as they knew that ridiculous excesses on the right had no counterpart on the left.  Nevertheless, there was plenty of corruption to go around.

Despite the age of ego in which we currently live, more important than the President-elect are those who voted for him and did so heedless of his crude behavior.  What legacy was left for their children by burning America’s house down?  What lessons in civility did they think he had to offer?  What standards of behavior would he offer as the nation’s leader?

Most Americans view their world through the lens of exceptionalism— a belief that our experience is unique.  Nevertheless, for whatever solace it offers, virtually all Western democracies are sharing much of our experience: distrust of leaders and traditional parties; suspicion of financial manipulation; domination by a political elite; and insider favoritism.  Most European democracies have an insurgent right wing.

But America is different in its insistence on its own unique principles, principles deriving from our founding as a Republic.  Our Founders were idealists and their ideals can be dismissed only so long.  Our Founding documents incorporate those ideals; sovereignty of the people; a sense of the commonwealth; civic duty; and resistance to corruption.

Those who voted for the President-elect may be under some illusion that he will honor and restore those principles.  A pendulum of disillusionment will return shortly.  Cynicism is no replacement for honor.  Vulgarity is no substitute for dignity.  Egotism cannot replace duty.   Respect, even for a President, must constantly be earned.  And the new administration will be made up of the same insiders the voters thought they were throwing out.

For the rest of us, we must use this diversion from our nation’s better heritage to insist on restoration of our Republic.  Some steps–substantial campaign finance reform, transparency, ethical conduct–are obvious.  Others, such as national service, support for citizen-politicians, opposition to careerists, and replacing Washington’s revolving door with ethical rules, must also be installed and supported.

If such a restoration of republican ideals and principles does not take place, 2016 will mark the beginning of our historical decline in keeping with all republics throughout history.  We are not at liberty to tread so heedlessly on the legacy so many have sacrificed to give us.

19 Responses to “Revolt of the Citizens”

  1. Neil McCarthy Says:

    Senator:

    I think you piece may be a bit over the top

    Trump won because turnout went down, significantly. He received fewer votes in winning than Romney received in losing. Clinton won the popular vote and, when fully counted, by a good 1-2 point margin. Angry white people without good jobs in ex-urban and rural America flocked to Trump in droves, but if turn out in Cuyahoga County (Ohio) and Milwaukee and Detroit had been what it had been in 2012, we’d be telling a different story. Millenials and people of color, including working class people of color, voted for her, though turn out was down in the second group as well.

    In a country with an administrative state, there will always be a permanent governing group in Washington DC. I agree that the campaign finance system and lobbying cartel creates its own set of insider and corruption problems, the solution to which is public financing and better regulation of lobbyists.

    But, what the rust belt needs is another New Deal. Jobs. Money. Security. Sanders came the closest this year to offering that, and Hillary — upon adopting large swaths of his program at the Democratic convention — moved appreciably in that direction. Trump and the GOP are no way near this. So all those ex-urban and rural voters will be disappointed. Tax cuts for the rich will not create jobs in Flint.

    The need is to find new leaders, both those who can run nationally and at the state and local level, who can generate the kind of turn out Obama generated when he was on the ballot (when he wasn’t on the ballot, in 2010 and 2014, his (my, our) side lost).

    The Founders were idealists who sought a better world. But they also made compromises with evil (slavery) that distorted our politics for two plus centuries and they knew politics was a rough business.

    Not much has changed.

    Better days require better people. Trump doesn’t qualify. I am betting on my son and daughter.

    Regards,

    Neil

    Neil

  2. LORENZO CHERIN Says:

    The result of this election shocks me . I see all the similarities to the movements worldwide . I have witnessed it in Brexit in British politics. But this is the election of one man , not just a wider movement . That man is maybe the worst individual personality to be elected to the highest office , in modern American history . The man is the reason for incredulity , not the momentum behind him. And the civility , or obvious lack of it , alluded to herein , is why this is an issue.

    Yes, much is already being said to try and explain the reasons . Few words convince me when it comes to the reality. A man has been elected to the highest office who has been accused by people of the very crimes and misdemeanours, the constitution can impeach for ! Innocent until proven guilty , from English law , to American constitutional practices, means I do not accept the truth of the accusations until proven. But by any stretch of my imagination , I cannot say other than Trump is unfit for his office.

    To those who see much in him that can mean he might do those things they yearn for , I say , as does the boy in the tale , The Emperors New Clothes , “but he’s got nothing on !”I do not believe his presidency is a catastrophy. Wiser counsel shall prevail and he shall moderate because he must .No, it is the man himself, and there is the proof, in this . He is elected as an extreme populist . He shall govern as a moderate centrist . If he does , I am glad . If he does not America is going to be very sad. But , if he does , he is a hypocrite . And if he does not , we who dislike him are vindicated.Which do we really want ?!

    Already his personality , like the naked emperor , and his suit , is what you make of it , or he does ! Thanks offered to “Secretary Clinton for her service “, yes, from the man who wants to jail her for being “crooked Hillary !” He now wants to bring people together. He has spent the whole election dividing. It is unity is his theme now . He steals the very campaign theme of his opponent.

    I often see the satire to be enjoyed in the lampooning of Reagan , and Bush jr , and participate in it. But Reagan was likeable and principled. Bush is not unpleasant. What we are witnessing in Trump is the first demagogue president. Huey Long did not get there. Nor George Wallace. They have been Trumped !

    When I think of the young university student I was , and witnessed the withdrawal from a campaign , which I did , by a candidate, I admired , because of a story ,about his private life , and that I now am the age that candidate was then and on his website , commenting on a president elect Trump, I think history does not repeat itself, it defeats itself ! Or is the stuff of fantasy !

  3. J Kane Says:

    Senator Hart with all due respect… You had me nodding my head in agreement until:
    Clearly, forces of the right, taking out racial, gender, and cultural grievances on Barack Obama, also used the Clinton, Inc. complex, augmented by secretive computer servers, to suggest all the corruption was on the Democratic side. Media outlets underwrote these attacks by insistence on a phony “equivalence” standard, even as they knew that ridiculous excesses on the right had no counterpart on the left. Nevertheless, there was plenty of corruption to go around. (Might you remember that President Obama was elected twice by the same electorate? Do you debate he would have been elected to a third term if eligible? Will you please supply some details of what the “ridiculous excesses” were on the right?) Furthermore… “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough replied: “I have to repeat it again because it’s maddening. People who live by data should die by data, and the data according to Nate Cohn of the New York Times says this, and let those who have ears to hear, hear: The very people who helped elect Barack Obama president of the United States twice just elected in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Donald J. Trump. It’s the data.”

    What legacy was left for their children by burning America’s house down? (Can you please supply some details on how America’s house was burned?) What lessons in civility did they think he had to offer? What standards of behavior would he offer as the nation’s leader? (Can you please direct me to the location where this requirement can be found? and I find it curious that such a double standard exists or memories so clouded. Please remember this was a campaign not a Presidency) For example:
    “This lesson is especially relevant today, eight years later, as Hillary Clinton, in increasingly more desperate attempts to wrest the Democratic nomination away from Barack Obama, tries to corrupt and politicize the voting process. It is a scary irony that she and Bill are using the same deceitful, hate-filled strategies that their mortal enemies, the neo-con Republicans, Bush, and Rove, used in 2000.”… “The Clintons tell us they are “fighters,” supposedly to remind us that politics and war are dirty, deadly conflicts in which the ends justify the means and winning, not truth or decency, is the only thing that counts.” Huffington Post 6/6/2008

    Those who voted for the President-elect may be under some illusion that he will honor and restore those principles. (Could it be that those who did not are mistaken in their belief that he will not). A pendulum of disillusionment will return shortly. Cynicism is no replacement for honor. Vulgarity is no substitute for dignity. Egotism cannot replace duty. Respect, even for a President, must constantly be earned. (I could not agree more, can you please critique for example his speech on election night, his meeting with the sitting president and your reaction to those who voted for Secretary Clinton in the wake of her defeat? Those are actual events and require little speculative powers.)

    And the new administration will be made up of the same insiders the voters thought they were throwing out. (Please provide me with a percentage in advance of what constitutes an actual insider administration as opposed to an outsider administration and at what point he will be criticized for not bringing enough experienced people to Washington or for filling positions with those unfamiliar with the territory. The JV so to speak.)

    For the rest of us, we must use this diversion from our nation’s better heritage to insist on restoration of our Republic. Some steps–substantial campaign finance reform, transparency, ethical conduct–are obvious. Others, such as national service, support for citizen-politicians, opposition to careerists, and replacing Washington’s revolving door with ethical rules, must also be installed and supported. (Of this we can all agree. Many of those who supported the President-elect would argue his election was in fact the largest and most important step in that direction.)

  4. Gary Hart Says:

    In response to Mr. McCarthy, the “top” which I accused of breaching has now become so high it is almost impossibly to go over it. And anyone who has listened to the President-elects speeches or read his tweets for the past year are welcome to provide the obvious answers to the questions raised by Mr./Ms. Kane. GH

  5. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    In his article “Farewell America” published by Moyers & Company on November 10, 2016, Neil Gabler summed up some of what happened in this election.

    “If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t.”

    However, this alone cannot explain the poor voter turnout for this election. I blame the DNC for not realizing the discontent with their chosen and anointed candidate that the general public and more specifically the normally Democratic Party voters themselves. Ms. Clinton was not an appealing, charismatic candidate, who united the voters. Many simply said if this is the choice, then I am not going to waste my time voting at all.

    It is time for the Democratic Party, if they hope to continue to function as a viable political party, to listen to the voters that supported Senator Sanders and rid themselves of the “old” party mantle and arise as the party of the people, not the politicians and the elite.

    If this was not true, but alas, I fear that it is, then I am at a loss to explain the debacle that occurred November 8, 2016.

  6. Brian C. McCarthy Says:

    Senator,

    The president-elect said things to appeal to the undereducated, bigoted masses who elected him, he himself probably thinking he’d never win. I don’t actually believe he even wants the job and when he finds out that being president doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want, he will tire easily. He will make many rookie mistakes because he is, literally, a rookie. He has already backed off on Obamacare and said he may want to keep parts of it, and that’s 3 days after he was elected. The truth is that we just don’t don’t know what he will or won’t do, because he’s erratic and lacks any true ideology. We do know that he’s narcissistic and self-important and won’t have much patience for how actual governing works because he will soon realize he’s not a dictator like he has been in his private enterprises. Even the Congressional Republicans won’t let him do anything that will harm their brand too much. The past few days, I have been comparing this election to the Spanish Civil War, the Obama Administration to the Second Spanish Republic, and Trump to Gen. Franco. Look at the groups who supported one side over the other and the rhetoric – liberalism vs fascism. One of the most liberal governments ever is being replaced by an authoritarian figure with fascist overtones. We WILL move past it. He may, and likely will, try to do many things that will harm our standing in the world and reduce the quality of life for millions of Americans who are not white, straight, male, and, at least nominally, Christian. We will oppose him if and when he does. We will have each other’s backs, because the people he has threatened are our co-workers, neighbors, and friends. A better day, a better government, a better country will arise from the disaster of this man’s election. But not if we sit on our asses and complain. Only if we take up the challenge and vigorously oppose any attempt to build a wall, to exclude Muslims from the country, to round up and deport 11 million people, or any of the outrageous policy proposals he has put forth. No one is as bad as the worst thing they’ve ever done and the United States is not as bad as the worst man we’ve ever elected president. We will see it through. – BCM

  7. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Brian,

    >>>>The president-elect said things to appeal to the undereducated, bigoted masses who elected him …

    I am afraid that this the very kind of thinking that will help to ensure that President-elect Trump enjoys two terms.

    I’m guessing he’ll grow into the job, as all new presidents do, and find the necessary energy and aptitude to go forth, by the way.

  8. Brian McCarthy Says:

    Elizabeth – I wish I could say my comments were hyperbole. The exit polling shows the biggest education gap of any election since 1980 and it is clear from a spike in racial, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBT activity in the past 5 days that bigots supported Trump and feel emboldened by his election. Sadly, I meant my description literally. – BCM

  9. Scott Rifkin Says:

    1) To several commentators – don’t be too quick to assume turnout was down and concoct explanations from there. Votes are still being counted. The current totals don’t look too different from 2012.

    2) On Senator Hart’s point about 2016 marking the ‘beginning of our historical decline.’ When future historians (if there are any) look back, I doubt they will mark 2016 as the beginning. Trump is a natural metastasis of the modern Republican party. Trump didn’t make McConnell pledge in 2009 to do anything he could to make sure the country was ungovernable. Trump wasn’t in power constantly delegitimizing Obama’s presidency, culminating in the coup on the Supreme Court -even though he was certainly doing so out of power. Trump wasn’t the one who built up the fact-free propaganda zone of fox news and right wing talk radio. He simply appropriated all of these tools that had been so carefully developed over decades and took over first the GOP and then the country. There is very little about Trump that doesn’t have roots in modern Republicanism. He just makes it a bit more overt.

  10. LORENZO CHERIN Says:

    What a decent and understanding contributor , Elixabeth is , the comments to Brian but one example. But what a pugnacious one Brian is , and , with an edit or two by Elizabeth, Brian’s above statement is spot on too !

    The Democratic Party moved to the left in it’s policies. Indeed , the website has an obvious opening phrase, To the Left! That is at odds with where most people are , and where Hillary is and is perceived to sit politically . Only as a proper , traditional , and I do not mean recent ,but age old , Liberal and truly Democratic party , of the radical centre and mainstream centre left ,can the party with that name make progress. Socialism is no more the answer than populism . That is not to criticise Bernie Sanders , who I like . But in Europe , and in Britain,especially, he is a left liberal social democrat , and a radical ,who is fairly moderate, too!

    The need of all parties in all our democracies , is to express what most people are thinking , who are not the bigots and the boorish voters ! A big , and some might find , boring task ! Because the new populism , is the traditional sensationalism . The election of Trump , is a victory of The National Enquirer over The Washington Post!

  11. Neil McCarthy Says:

    Senator Hart:

    Maybe “over the top” was an inaccurate lead. It could imply to some that your observations are extreme, and while I did not mean that, I am responsible for the words that could convey that.

    So, let me try this, in the form of a question.

    If Clinton had won, would you have written the same piece?

    The revolt strikes me more as an eruption. As a student of politics, revolt implies (to me at least) realignment, and I so not see that. The GOP still has a demographic problem; it still lost the popular vote; it still advocates positions not accepted by more than half the population; and it nominated and enabled a racist, sexist, unqualified demagogue to be President, who the majority of voters (and probably larger majority of actual citizens) reject.

    Some groups (largely white workers in the rust belt, south and mid-west) revolted. Others (unfortunately, ours) stayed homed, which may be a sign of weariness but I’m not sure is all that revolutionary. In addition, if there is a “revolution,” it does not appear to be all that one-sided. For the last week following the election, there have been protests in over 50 cities and towns throughout the country.

    Anyway, my apologies for “over the top.”

    Regards,

    Neil

  12. Gary Hart Says:

    With the clear understanding that Donald Trump is not Harry Truman, a story from the 1948 upset by Truman over Thomas Dewey says much about pollsters. A school girl from the wealthy Grosse Point suburbs outside Detroit returned home one afternoon and told her mother she was certain Mr. Dewey would win. How do you know?, her mother asked. Because we took a poll on the school bus and it was 14-1 in favor of Dewey, the girl said. That’s wonderful, her mother said, but who was the 1. The girl answered: The bus driver.
    GH

  13. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Heh.

    Beware of pollsters and their polls during times that are not normal.

  14. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Lorenzo,

    Thanks for the kind words!

    I hasten to add, however, that the moderators around here have saved me from myself on more than one occasion. 🙂

    You know, I’ve heard a lot about “identity politics” over the course of this very, very long presidential campaign and something has been swirling around in my head lately. I’m beginning to think that many of the arguments against the “identity politics” that Democrats are often accused of engaging in deserve more thought and discussion and debate.

    Hillary’s campaign left quite a lot to be desired but, it certainly leaves quite a number of lessons to be learned, especially with respect to identity politics. It really is a veritable teaching tool for the Democrats, going forward … how not to run a campaign!

    Every campaign needs a candidate befitting the times, number one. And, number two, every candidate needs a mission that is real and clear and an uplifting message that speaks to ALL Americans and concentrates on the future while recognizing the present and learning from the past.

    The Democrats had precious little of that in the 2016 presidential campaign. Hopefully, they will learn something as they engage in the inevitable, if unproductive, navel-gazing exercise.

  15. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Brian,

    We have to be very careful when discussing polling data. The polling data indicate many relationships and some of that data may even be reliable. That was a little joke.

    However, I am beginning to think that polling data is actually the driving force behind what is dividing America. Maybe it always has been but it may be time to take a different path – listening to opposing views and understanding where they are coming from but looking for solutions that are based on consensus and finding common ground …

  16. Eric C. Jacobson Says:

    http://college.usatoday.com/2016/11/09/how-we-voted-by-age-education-race-and-sexual-orientation/ – Exit poll data showing Donald Trump won baby-boomer voters (ages 50-70) by between 8-9%.
    ————
    Since my college years at UC Berkeley beginning in 1972 I’ve lived in the Tower of Politics the way the late great Leonard Cohen lived in the Tower of Song. Eg. 44 years later I still remember the bedlam of George McGovern’s arena-filled rally at the Cow Palace in San Francisco during the closing weeks of that year’s noble ill-fated anti-war general election campaign (led by a war hero too humble to brag about his anti-Nazi exploits). McGovern rallies were the Sanders- and Trump-type campaign happenings of its time.

    In that era anti-establishment politics was nearly coterminous with “the generation gap.” Those of us born after World War 2 ended seemed to “think differently” (as Apple’s ad campaign would put it much later). For someone like me, born in the middle of the cohort, it was natural to believe that when my generation came of age politically, it would be under auspices of an idealistic leadership figure. I was naive enough never to imagine that it would be the Berkeley computer science students (then still carrying around their programs on punch cards) who would revolutionize the world, and not the socially conscious students such as myself.

    Senator Hart’s emergence during the 1984 Democratic presidential primaries set the stage (I was certain) for the elevation of the baby-boom generation’s best and brightest on the national political stage, a generation that would finally leverage the kind of socially just changes so many of us considered to be self-evidently desirable. (Think “Meathead’s” arguments with Archie on All In the Family.) When Hart withdrew from the 1988 race I instinctively understood that the trajectory I had envisaged for my generation and country had vaporized with his candidacy. In mourning I wrote a poem about it. I never quite finished it, and link to it here in its original near-final form: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ilXuTzT1mlOTY2VUVRMUo5anM/view?usp=sharing .

    After Sen. Hart’s gutsy surprise 1988 comeback campaign flopped in Iowa and fizzled in New Hampshire he distributed a hand-written statement that discussed the daunting nature of the task of changing the world for the better and the fickle nature of political fortunes. It’s here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ilXuTzT1mlWUUxdEk3dU9ZbW8/view?usp=sharing .

    Flash forward almost 3 decades to the present, further bearing in mind the old Margaret Mead adage: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

    Donald Trump’s campaign team consisted of a collection of previously unknown so-called alt-right activists who were novices in the world of electoral politics, led by a handful of more experienced conservative Republican pols and campaign professionals.

    In a bravura display of leadership, persuasion and charisma not seen since the 1960s when JFK became the first “television president” and Muhammad Ali began to emerge as an American icon, Mr. Trump dominated the political culture of the 2016 presidential campaign from wire-to-wire. By the home stretch he resembled nothing so much as Secretariat at Belmont Park in 1973. Under jockey Reince Priebus’s steadying hand Trump was “moving like a tremendous machine.”

    On a light note, see my tweets to that effect here: https://twitter.com/ECJLA/status/794864354378137600 and here: https://twitter.com/ECJLA/status/795990820453126144 , the second of which I cc’ed to Ms. Conway, who may or may not have shown it to the candidate while everyone was awaiting the results. In any event the President-elect’s humble brag about the racing legend during his victory speech was merited.

    As a Sanders’ primary voter and as a militant Never Hillary voter in the general election and someone who reviles and eschews the mainstream media, I observed the campaign mostly through primary sources (as the internet now allows us all to do). For example, I watched with interest the entire speech Trump gave in Charlotte NC on Oct. 26th. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkDxXDO_q7g (starts at 1:03.25).

    The speech demonstrates that candidate Donald Trump was not the man depicted (ad nauseam) in the mainstream media. He’s an ex-Democrat who paradoxically is far more committed to achieving- and capable of achieving the noble goals of the pre-Clintons Democratic Party than the recent corrupt and disreputable Democratic nominee.

    Indeed Hillary Clinton – Trump’s near-peer amongst the oldest baby-boomer age cohort – epitomized the prolongation of the dismal status quo that has so oppressed the non-advantaged citizens of our country. Neither she nor the vast majority of her fellow neoliberal Democratic officials either care or dare (or have any idea how) to cure the social ills such as eg. the near destitution of homeless families described in this review and the book it covers: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/invisible_nation_20161028 . On the contrary, along with their elected Republican counterparts elected mainstream Democrats (apart from rhetorical window dressing and massive food stamps appropriations to prevent widespread starvation) have become apologists for- and enforcers of America’s shameful dystopian ossified highly class-stratified status quo.

    Trump’s Charlotte speech may have been edited by others but the ideas and agenda are clearly Trump’s own. While I differ with some of them, it’s evident that for years Trump has been retaining a world-view that is in refreshing stark dissent to virtually all of the baleful macro-trends of the past 4 decades (eg. infernal corporate globalization as we know it) that have produced our manifestly profoundly Not-Great Society.

    In his Charlotte speech Trump outlined how he would attempt to reverse the trends that have so negatively impacted the African-American and other poor communities in America. More power to him (MPTH).

    Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington also commendably augers formidable anti-corruption legislation and related law enforcement. Again MPTH.

    Trump’s Main Street populism is also long overdue (Perot 2.0). His promises to stop-cold further plant-relocations abroad and to re-industrialize the rust belt were the centerpieces of his entire campaign. And given the outcome-determinative results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and (likely) Michigan, meeting this commitment is key to his re-election chances. The 1%’s illicit conspiracy, inter alia, with the Chinese Communist Party, to establish a one-world economy, with associated vast diminution of American sovereignty and middle class prosperity (particularly for blue-collar workers), is now in the dust-bin of history.

    As to the “how” of protectionism, I expect President Trump to call on Congress within the first 100 days to authorize 35% tariffs to penalize companies that have relocated production of goods and services abroad to induce those that have recently left to return and deter any and all new facility relocations to cheap labor zones abroad. This is fully in keeping with the nation’s first principles: As Alexander Hamilton pointed out, one of the key purposes of the revolution was to liberate ourselves from Britain’s opposition to the colonies’ emergence as a manufacturing rival. Indeed, The Tariff Act of 1789, the very first major legislative act of the very first U.S. Congress, was protectionist. It’s as American as apple pie.

    If Congress resists such legislation I predict Trump’s political coalition, which is already a hybrid right-left one at the grassroots level (though not yet at the leadership level) will oust every opposing incumbent Rep. and Senator in 2018.

    Mr. Trump also promises to restore comity with the non-Communist Russians, with whom we have no legitimate quarrel (all the media propaganda bilge to the contrary notwithstanding). This may well position us to achieve the peace dividend denied to the American people for a quarter century. JFK assured Americans in a 1962 speech at my alma mater (a decade prior to my arrival there as a freshman) that our goal in the Cold War was merely to secure “a free and diverse world” – not Pax Americana. That mission was accomplished with the dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. Correspondingly, Trump’s insistence that NATO members “pay for their own defense” is fully in keeping with the positions of Democrats in the 1970s (I believe including yourself Senator Hart) when the Cold War was still on. A fortiori this initiative too is a “no brainer” in 2017.

    On the downside, from my progressive POV, Trump’s ideas on: eliminating estate taxes and increasing Bush-Obama tax cuts for the rich, further entrenching our policing state, giving unqualified support to police unions, disparaging the Black Lives Matter movement, and as to any conduct of deportations without due process or of illegal immigrants beyond the violent criminal element, will appropriately merit conscientious opposition. The new Administration’s work to end excessive new legal- and illegal immigration, will not. On the foreign policy front, Trump’s seemingly anomalous relationship with James Woolsey is also highly concerning as discussed here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/11/trump-woolsey-was-there-a-bait-and-switch/ .

    I expect President Trump and his administration to be determined in meeting their campaign promises because doing so is crucial to effecting the apparent epochal political realignment-in-progress in which the GOP becomes the “good party” of Abe Lincoln again, one which even-handedly represents the interests of both capital and labor and vigilantly protects the civil- and socio-economic rights of African-Americans and other minorities. In this event, the Democrats would be forced to adapt by offering a competing enlightened Americans First oriented populist, protectionist and isolationist program, or die.

    Alas, I am virtually certain that given the Democrats’ enthrallment with: Wall St., the socially liberal members of the 1% on the West Coast and in the Northeast, soul-less centrist neo-liberal technocracy, and the siren song of (near-treasonous) corporatist globalization, the odds are the Democratic Party will go extinct within 1-2 decades.

    To echo The Doors’ Jim Morrison’s apt phrase: whereas “this is the end” (most likely) for the Democratic Party, it is not the end for loyal opposition to Republican Party rule (unless, as is possible, Trump runs-the-table and produces a prosperous and socially just Era of Good Feelings 2.0). Such opposition will arise from a successor patriotic left-liberal party led by far more honorable citizens than those miscreants who hijacked the Democratic Party in the early 1980s (Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al From, Tony Coelho and Richard Lamm to name five) and proceeded to methodically discredit and ultimately destroy it. To these 5 and the whole Democratic Leadership Council crowd I say: G-d damn you! Rot-in-hell!

    For myself and other long-frustrated progressive minded baby boomers who once hoped for even better, American life under President Trump will be exactly that which is reflected in the lyrics of the Rolling Stones’ song that played at the end every Trump super-rally: “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”

    And because I distinguish him from most of his conservative team – who I understand he has to dance with now because they (administratively at least) brung him to power – Mr. Trump is my (and my generation’s) president.

  17. Brian C. McCarthy Says:

    Lorenzo – I actually am not very pugnacious 90% of the day – just the last 2 hours or so before I go to sleep, when I’ve run out of patience. Unfortunately, that is usually the time of day I check in on this page, hoping for some wisdom and rationality to counter all the nonsense I’ve heard throughout the day.

    Elizabeth – you are correct, and unfortunately many Americans now get their news from one-sided sources through polarized cable news networks and even more polarized websites, which isn’t helping to bridge the gap. I am guilty of doing this myself.

    – BCM

  18. Angela Shaver Says:

    I agree with everything Brian McCarthy said. Trump appealed to the lowest common denominator and won. And it is troubling that half of the votes were cast for a charlatan of a man. A man you would not elect to senior class president. And now that I know what parts of the country supported him, I am saddened because it’s where I grew up and where my family lives. It has made me feel fairly alone and like an orphan because my family supports him.

    That being said, we are all guilty of not trying to work on change the right way – from the ground up. Change cannot be effectively done by plopping someone new at the top, especially someone as inexperienced as Mr. Trump. (I would say other things about him, but it’s all a moot point now). But here we are and we now have, in control of the Presidency and Congress, a group of men who want nothing more than to hollow out the government. It will be every man for himself and it will not be pretty. For the first time in my 60 years, I am truly frightened for our country.

  19. LORENZO CHERIN Says:

    Angela

    I feel your words strongly , as a British citizen who married a wife of American origin and, knowing my mother in law in the States is expressing similar views to you. where we are in Britain, despite the chaos ensuing in Brexit , our situation is a day at the beach compared to Trump , though all much of a muchness in these divisive times !

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