Sunday, September 06, 2015


Josh Barro of The New York Times has published yet another discussion of that most tiresome of questions: Will Donald Trump usher in an era of reform conservatism? Will Trump's presidential campaign lead, in the long run, to an era when the GOP has a true middle-class agenda, rather than an agenda custom-tailored for plutocrats -- tax cuts for the rich, benefit cuts for everyone else, immigration reform?

Right away, Barro gets an answer from reformicon and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum:
Is Donald Trump the candidate the reformocons have been waiting for?

“No,” Mr. Frum said.
Great! I think we're done here.

“He may be the jolt that the Republican Party needs to compromise its pro-plutocratic agenda,” he said.
Explain, David?
Mr. Frum attributes most Republican candidates’ continued devotion to cuts in taxes and entitlements to the desires of a Republican donor class that benefits directly from lower tax rates and indirectly, through lower labor costs, from high immigration. Mr. Trump, as Mr. Trump will happily tell you, does not need rich donors’ money....

“Trump served notice that the donors’ platform isn’t even acceptable inside the party,” Mr. Frum said.
What is Frum talking about? It's true that Trump has demonstrated that the donors' platform is far less appealing to rank-and-file voters than the donors and the party establishment believed -- but unacceptable? These same voters pulled the lever for a hell of a lot of Republicans running on precisely the donors' platform in the past few years. What do you think the agenda was when Republicans blew out the Democrats in the 2014 midterms? It certainly wasn't a rebuke-the-Koch-brothers agenda. It certainly wasn't a rebuke-the-Koch-brothers agenda when Scott Walker won those three elections. Does Frum really believe that support for (or at least acceptance of) that agenda -- which GOP voters know we Democrats hate -- has simply disappeared?

The Tea Party rank and file cheered the Citizen United ruling. The Tea Party was built in part on Rick Santelli's anti-mortgage-bailout rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. And in 2012, 60 million people voted for a money manipulator who defiantly said that corporations are people and 47% of the country's citizens are parasitical freeloaders, a guy whose running mate once acknowledge a worship of Ayn Rand.

And where are all these rich donors going to go? Are they going to disappear in a puff of smoke? Are they just going to say, "Well, boys, we're licked -- time to stop using our massive wealth to try to influence public policy in America"?

No -- they're going to wait out the Trump moment, whether it goes on for another eight weeks or another eight years, and then regain control of the presidential nominating apparatus. Meanwhile, if Trump stays in the picture, they're going to put a lot of money into electing candidates for other offices who are still loyal to their agenda, and who'll bottle up Trump if he threatens their riches. Oh, and they'll use their cash to try to prevent Democrats from living up to their populist rhetoric -- an effort at which they've been quite successful in recent decades.

Trump is one rich guy in the GOP. All the other rich guys in the GOP are arrayed against him. In the long run, they're not going to lose, even if, in the short run, Trump wins.


Buford said...

Plutocratic? we are beyond plutocratic....Have ya seen what the Boys in Blue been doing all over the country? Have ya ever heard of OCCUPY? and how this movement was violently squashed? On WHO's order were the police forces told to move in and beat 'em up? or Ferguson? The Shine is coming off of our so-called civilian Police forces...the writing is on the wall, or should I say WALL STREET? Fascism is never very far behind when the wealthy think they can have it all...

Victor said...

The only things that scared our uber-rich, were the Russian Revolution and the Chinese one.
Nazism didn't scare them, since Fascism is their goal.

No, it was the threat of an alternative economic/political system:

Workers got some concessions, because our Plutocrats didn't want a revolution here.

And that all ended when the USSR collapsed, and China became Plutocratic/Oligarchical itself - as did Russia, btw.

There's nothing to scare the wealthy now - no, alternative that workers can turn to.
At least, not yet.

What may scare them, is if crowds of people - and not the peaceful Occupy Wall Street folks - come at them.

I abhor violence, but I don't see another solution - unless "We the People" can grasp control of our representative democracy.

But, we can't afford it.
The Plutocrats and Oligarchs can - and have.
Out system has been bought lock, stock, and barrel!

Sure, there are politicians who cause a blip every once in a while.
But, without an alternative economic/political system, our Overlords feel pretty damn safe.

Feud Turgidson said...

Steve M, I agree Frum's got it way wrong (I think he's declaring "Land possiby ho" at just about anything that's the least different from the last two cycles.), and I'm generally with you on the there being a lot of pluto-on-pluto crap going on here, but I have 2 quibs:

1. Trump's not exactly the first Celebrity Plutocrat to run for big time public office (Rockefellers, Kennedys, Bushies, Romneys, Bloomberg, etc.), he's just most gross close to P.T. Barnum.

2. Each and everyone one of the political hobbiests, dabblers, meddlers & masters of money within the pluto orbit would obviously rather have his own personally selected and food-trained poodle in the White House, but I really don't think it's like Trump's a deal breaker for them if he wins the nomination. When the derby's all over and if he's in the winner's circle, they'll be able to console themselves with the fact that one of THEM won, a person with whom thay have so much more in common than HRC or the commie Sanders or the wee folk who cheer on their favorite colors. I just bet they'd be fawning all over him for his his "communication skills" and working out ways to hold celebrity ego massage-a-thons and dinners and roasts and parades and yacht races for him. It's THEMSELVES they don't see as able to win; it must appall them that an Al Czervik vulgarian mutt is beating the crap out of their toy bulldogs and flouncing shitzus, but they'll still see him first as a rich or wannabe-rich a-hole.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Republican Main Street and the non-elite people of the party have always shared Trump's agenda and not Rand Paul's.

Remember Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan.

Wall Street and the conservative establishment have always relied on Democrats to help them frustrate the anti-immigration and protectionist sentiments of their own base, repeatedly preferring to lose to Democrats rather than see the GOP slip out of their hands.

So why do ordinary, non-elite white folks vote with the GOP if they hate and dread the Wall Street agenda?

Partly because the Democrats are worse on immigration and free trade than the Republicans.

Partly because Democrats and their cheerleaders constantly openly scorn and revile the ordinary white people of America.

Consider the explanations the left has offered for "Reagan Republicans," over the years.

Over the years, the left has absolutely and volubly insisted whites vote GOP because they hate non-whites and women and because they "cling to their guns and religion."

With the result that these white voters for decades have felt considerably more threatened by the Democrats than by the Republicans, none of whom seem to hate and scorn white people or blame them for the history of this country and some of whom side with them in their economic nationalism.

Trump's success is no mystery.

No more than Ross Perot's or Pat Buchanan's.