2020 will continue the revolution that Trump began

Summary: The 2016 election revealed the hollow nature of American politics. The 2020 election might bring the first of the larger changes to come. We cannot predict, only guess, what they will be.

The face of Tacitus

 

“Although Nero’s death had at first been welcomed with outbursts of joy, it roused varying emotions, not only in the city among the senators and people and the city soldiery, but also among all the legions and generals; for the secret of empire was now revealed, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than at Rome.”

— From The Histories by Cornelius Tacitus (~56 – 117 A.D.). I first quoted this in Jan 2016.

In 2008 the Republicans ran Sarah Palin for VP. She had almost no suitable experience, and was unsuited for high office by knowledge and temperament (VP to an elderly presidential candidate). In 2008, Democrats ran a candidate with little political experience. Some Swedes joined the party, quickly awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize. The Right proclaimed him a NAZI-communist-Jihadist-anarchist.

In 2016 we did it again. Trump ran with little campaign organization, a poor reputation, and no relevant experience – inferior in most measures to the initial front-runners Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Trump ignored or mocked the standard campaign procedures. Trump is a clown. But he was able to defeat the central leadership of both major political parties. Just as the Right went bonkers over Obama, the Left did over Trump (see below).

Trump was the revolutionary in 2016. Not in the literal sense of using force to overthrow the existing order, but by showing that a President can be chosen by forces outside the Capitol (in the sense of outside the establishment). Trump used the media to directly appeal to the American people, gaining strength by entirely bypassing the party elites and their machinery. His win was an unprecedented event in American history.

Trump’s win is the equivalent of Rome discovering that legions in the provinces could anoint candidates for Caesar. There are countless power centers in America that today play minor roles in the political process, yet have great resources and the ability to play the national media. Trump has proven that each has the potential to reach for power, converting themselves from Pawns of the political parties to King-makers.

Stronger people have seen this and will draw the logical conclusion: our political structure looks unchanged, but has grown weak and hollow. Ripe for conquest. Trump lacks the wit and skill to tap the wild energy of American society. Others might be able to do so.

The New Regime: "Coup"
Music for a revolution. Get the CD at Amazon.

The revolution arrives

Our news largely consists of commonplace events hyped as unprecedented, while the significance of truly revolutionary events is buried under trivia. Our regime is vulnerable because our confidence in America’s governing institutions has been eroding away for decades (see Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions polls). In 2014 I said change was coming: Stand by for political realignment in America! Now it has begun. We can only guess at the results.

Now politicians across America are running for the presidency. Seventeen have already officially announced. They think that “if a clown like Trump can take the White House so can I.” Most are astonishingly weak in any rational sense. That will not stop one of them from winning.

Geopolitics as chess

The action is on the Left

Trump has the Right locked up, although he has done nothing but run the unpopular GOP playbook: balloon the deficit by tax cuts for the rich, attack unions, snip at the social safety net, and erode away regulations protecting workers and the environment.

The potential for change comes from the Left. But since 2016, the Left has gone berserk, warning that Trump is a new Hitler, a Nazi, planning to overthrow the government, and open concentration camps coming (see here and here)! See these statements by Erik Loomis (Associate Professor at U RI) at Lawyers, Guns & Money. He is one of the sharpest minds on the Left.

“I don’t actually have confidence that we will have a functional democracy by 2020. …All we really have in the end is massive resistance. That is where we are heading–acquiescence or resistance. You and I will all need to make our choices about whether we will stand up against oppression in ways that a lot of our ancestors did not stand up to Jim Crow, to Chinese Exclusion, to the Japanese internment camps, etc.” {27 November 2016.}

Here we are, three years later. Nothing much has changed, for good or ill (both Left and Right were wrong).

“{T}his is part of a well-funded plan to intimidate professors from speaking out. And let’s not beat around the bush – Breitbart is Trump’s publication. It’s entirely possible and in fact probable that I am going to become a frequent target of attack in a nation with declining freedoms. You can imagine that I don’t feel that comfortable right now. But as I have said before and will continue to say, this is the moment where you decide whether you will stand up to fascism or whether you acquiesce to make your life easier. This level of previously unfathomable intimidation is going to continue and get worse. I will fight until the end.” {28 November 2018.}

Conservative professors at most US universities will laugh at Professor Loomis’ belief that he is oppressed. He gets gentle taps compared to their daily treatment. Other bien pensant leftists voice similar fantasies. Such as Ezra Klein at Vox on 26 November 2016.

“Imagine if he were to refuse to accept the outcome of the next election once he is the president, and after he has appointed loyalists to control America’s security apparatus.”

This is hysteria. Combined with their obsession with identity politics, climate change (abandoning the IPCC), and other issues – none of which help most Americans – they might blow their opportunity in 2020. But they might be early, not wrong, in their fears. Trump’s win in 2016 shows the way for a greater leader to take power in Washington. Easily, rapidly, ignoring the political parties that have vetted and guided candidates for two centuries. Combine that with the public’s rising frustration with both parties – neither of which has much interest in helping the average American – opens the door to a strong outsider.

President Trump has ignored the conventions that guide the dancers in Washington (e.g., how to run press conferences). Our future Leader will be bolder, ignoring the complex web of precedents and rules that guide and limit the exercise of power in Washington. Perhaps that is for the best. Perhaps the US government is sclerotic – too rigid to respond to a changing world. Or senescent, old and decrepit. Perhaps it has become like a decayed garden overgrown with weeds, with fire the only solution.

We can only guess at the nature of our future Leader and his (or her) policies. But no matter if Left or Right, bet that those policies will benefit others, not us. We might look back at the Trump years as the “good old days”, the last days of the Republic. The 2020 election might be just the opening act for massive changes to America’s house of cards.

This is a follow-up to these about key insights …

The Left hates America and will destroy it.
A new, dark picture of America’s future – broad institution failure.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Patrick Buchanan asks if 2020 Will Be the Beginning of a Socialist America?

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the left-wing of US politics, about the left wing of US politics, about the right wing, about reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these …

  1. Visions of America if the Left wins.
  2. The Democrats will open the borders & make a New America.
  3. The Left goes full open borders, changing America forever.
  4. The Left pushes America down a slippery slope – about reckless social engineering.
  5. The Left can win in 2020 and dominate US politics.

Useful books explaining what happened to America

I have not found a good book explaining what happened to the Left, causing its hatred of America. These are the best I have found, looking at our politics.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank.

The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted by Mike Lofgren.

"Listen, Liberal" by Thomas Frank
Available at Amazon.
"The Party is Over" by Mike Lofgren
Available at Amazon.

17 thoughts on “2020 will continue the revolution that Trump began

  1. Is it just possible that your denigrating of Trump’s “wit and skill” is because he operates at a level of intellection that is beyond your ken? Have you not considered that he has deep grand-strategic objectives that take time to unfurl?

    1. tjjcda,

      “because he operates at a level of intellection that is beyond your ken?”

      You mean like Obama’s “12-d chess”? The results tell the tale. See Trump’s lack of accomplishments in two-plus years – beyond the standard GOP playbook, which any GOP placeholder would have done with a GOP-majority Congress. No new deal with N. Korea. No “even better” replacement of Obamacare. No change in our wars or detente with Russia. No big rebuilding of American infrastructure. The fiscal and trade deficits have grown. No cuts to “waste, fraud, and abuse.” He couldn’t even get “the wall” built.

      Compare what he has done (almost nothing) with Trump’s platform and promises (here and here).

      “Have you not considered that he has deep grand-strategic objectives that take time to unfurl?”

      None of the people who have worked with him appear to believe that he has any such things. His words and actions show only short-term responses, varying from week to week, with little or no follow-through.

    2. I don’t think Trump is operating at a higher level, but I also don’t think he is dumb; he is a bully and most people don’t know how to deal with a bully, especially when no matter how outrageous his acts are viewed there are no repercussions. He is no less a bully than Pelosi, Graham, Schumer, or any other political leader who has maintained power, but he does it in an inelegant manner, which infuriates the educated professionals and goes against the expected (“President Trump has ignored the conventions that guide the dancers in Washington…”) behavior, but it also gives him something his base can relate to.

      I remember the article yo posted during the campaign about Trump being the heel, like in wrestling, the candidate people love to hate – he may not do things you like, but you like him anyway because he isn’t supposed to win, so anything he does win is a poke in the eye of the system.

      1. Melancon,

        I agree with your analysis, but wonder why people care about such things (except as ploys to mobilize the faithful against the “other”). We have seen this game played on us with Bush Jr., Obama, and now Trump. Identical in the over-the-top insults. Often identical in the specific insults (e.g., they are all like Hitler). This should tell us that we are being played.

        IMO, we should ignore this chaff – what high official say, and is said about them. Instead let’s focus on what they do. For Trump, he has been a bog standard Republican. That is, any GOP placeholder in the White House would have done much the same thing.

        Equally important are what has done that is distinctive. A long list of actions demonstrating remarkable incompetence. There is the record-setting turnover in senior staff, the amazing incompetence of policy execution, the lack of successes, and near-total disregard of the populist promises that put him in the White House.

        Debating if Trump is “stupid” or a “bully” are fun, but take our eyes off the center ring.

      2. Melancon – follow-up

        More interesting than Trump is the universal reaction to this series of posts since January 2016. I show that the US political system is decaying, and how we might get a strong leader who disregards our institutions and history.

        People talk about Trump. Is he a super-genius? Stupid? Hitler? The big picture is ignored.

        This is a distinguishing characteristic of Americans today: politics is entertainment. We talk about them as we do about actors and athletes. Fun fun fun!

      3. “… distinguishing characteristic of Americans today: politics is entertainment. We talk about them as we do about actors and athletes.”

        Very true. And it has been for some time now. E.g. even though Obama wasn’t a clown initially, he slipped into “acting” as soon as he realized what’s going on; and he was even smart enough not talking about it — that may be why he got a second term (me thinks).

        With Trump this is rather a “novel” story: His “winning” on a populist agenda is not entirely accurate description of the 2016 elections’ results — Trump’s “win” was a consequence of considerable portion of the electorate voting against the alternative — and that’s an entirely different narrative and not just playing with words. In a logical world, this should almost guarantee he will not win in 2020; unless the opposition would nominate a “non-mammal”, or we do not live in a logical world, or both.

      4. Jako,

        “Trump’s “win” was a consequence of considerable portion of the electorate voting against the alternative”

        That’s just a guess. One of many stories told about the election. All we know is that he won by the rules of the Presidential Election.

      5. Larry,

        “That’s just a guess.”
        May be correct; however, that’s also quite a useful guess — as in: “Face saving” one; as also in: “Would any self-respecting nation on Earth…”

        Well, I don’t know the Donald, so any opinion I can hold of him may be just another guess.
        If, OTOH, I could form an opinion about that person by the way he is reported to interacts with others and what he has accomplished so far, I’d say — a buffoon at best and a miserable actor and an exceptionally rotten person at worst. There’s a positive trait he may have though (as per my observation) — he can make other people he interacts with feel well (Am.Eng.: ‘good’) about themselves…

      6. Jako,

        “May be correct; however, that’s also quite a useful guess”

        There are not useful guesses, except in that they point to possible lines of investigation. But instead a lot of the comments here are wild guesses that read like they were written by someone with the IQ of Reed Richards and telepathic power of Professor Xavier.

        “I could form an opinion about that person by the way he is reported to interacts with others”

        My guess is that you are reading what his foes say, reported by Leftist journalists.

        “and what he has accomplished so far”

        So if you were President and (as is likely) you accomplished little, we could call you a “buffoon” and “exceptionally rotten person.”

        “as per my observation”

        You have made no observations, other than (perhaps) watching his public appearances (like judging actors by watching their films).

  2. I never liked Sarah Palin. I first heard of her because Bill Kristol, of all people!!!!, promoted her. I never liked McCain so I was not going to vote for him and voted for Obama as the less dangerous candidate (I still believe that).

    The reckless arrogance of the Deep State isn’t new, and goes back decades. Trump is a very real sign their power is weakening, to they overreacted and engaged in abuses that will only make him stronger.

    My candidate in 2016 was Cruz, if I don’t believe he was eligible having been born in Canada. Cruz attracts hate from the establishment just like Trump and for the same reasons.

    I fully believe we are in the last days of the Republic and have been having mostly sham democracy for decades.

    The oligarchs rule in America and outsiders are a threat.

    But until the Democrats look clearly at their own behavior and stopped indulging in fantasies about Trump and Russia, they are unable to have the necessary perception to address reality.

    The Democrats need to dump identity politics and neoliberalism, but they can’t. And I don’t know if they can accept losing again……

    Trump hasn’t done as much as he could because he has been in a nonstop political battle worse than anything I have ever seen (and I was a toddler during Watergate).

    Obama was a faux outsider, in that he had the complete backing of the Chicago machine behind him and had all the proper credentials (and his mom was in the foreign policy community).

    Plus Hillary is the most unlikable politician I have viewed and made horrible campaign choices.

    Maybe by 2024 the Dems will start looking clearly, but I doubt it. Identity politics is destructive not constructive and the Democratic oligarchs are beholden to extreme SJW politics.

    1. Gaius,

      “Trump hasn’t done as much as he could because he has been in a nonstop political battle worse than anything I have ever seen”

      We can only guess at such things. I see no signs that Trump attempted to do anything. He appointed bog-standard GOP functionaries to most key posts, despite their firm opposition to the things he promised in the campaign. He has had no plans or interest in doing whatever he fancied at that moment. All this was obvious during the election.

      “But until the Democrats look clearly at their own behavior and stopped indulging in fantasies about Trump and Russia”

      Applies also to the GOP. Both parties are doing what they want to do, and see no reason to change. The changes have to come from us. And there are no signs of that happening, either.

  3. FM: “In 2008, Democrats ran a candidate with little political experience.”

    Agreed, but the guy was really smart, focused, and had the right instincts to do a pretty good job, which is increasingly hard to find since the “Reagan Revolution.” Mind you, I’m not bashing Reagan, he did a decent job as well (although with very different goals in mind), but I all the bad trends in US government seem to start popping out of the woodwork after that point. My best guess is that they were all due to delayed stresses caused by Watergate and the logical (?) succession from Richard Nixon (talented but not very morale) to Jimmy Carter (very morale but not very talented) to the Presidency (talk about a candidate with “little political experience!”).

    But I digress. I agree with your basic issue with Obama which seems to be that he’d have been more than twice as effective a president if he’ had more time to build up relationships with the Washington Insider community, but I’m not at all sure he had the time. And boy, was he ambitious!

    Any other issues with Obama?

    My great fear is that we’re going to get a bombastic liberal version of Trump in 2020 (which WOULD continue the Trump legacy (sigh) of bad government most of the time with the occasional gleam of adequate and extremely rare gleam of smart government policy). As you’ve noted, this didn’t begin with Trump although I briefly hoped it might end with him. I HATE THIS TREND but cannot seem to interest my fellow voters in more than a dart-throwing level of analysis of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, which, as you’ve already noted, is the real problem here. We the people don’t want to think to hard any more…

    1. Pluto,

      “Agreed, but the guy was really smart, focused, and had the right instincts to do a pretty good job, which is increasingly hard to find since the “Reagan Revolution.””

      That is exactly the problem. You are impressed by Obama’s skill at campaigning. But that “pretty good job” refers to activities unrelated to a president’s ability to govern. We elect presidents as if we were voting on “Dancing with the Stars.” Politics is entertainment.

      Competent boring guys – like Truman and Ike – would not stand a chance today.

      This won’t end well for us.

    2. FM: While I agree that Obama was not boring, I feel he did a pretty good job of governing as well. I cannot imagine the US right now without Obamacare for example. It is just too horrible to think about.

      Another issue to consider in your “campaigning” theme is that Presidents now MUST use their campaigning skills to get the Congress to pass legislation while they are in office. In effect, the President now campaigns all the time, starting with getting elected, and then to put enough political pressure on Congress to get it to do its job.

      I recently briefly looked at Robert Caro’s enormous history of LBJ and his accomplishments, and even though I lived through those times, was stunned at the difference between the 1950’s and 1960’s political environment in Washington and today’s Washington. It is almost impossible to comprehend how we got from one place to the other in 50 years.

      As for your comment about “boring competent guys not standing a chance in today’s political environment,” Truman would not have been elected if he had not ridden FDR’s coattails (another not-boring President). Eisenhower rode his reputation as an effective war leader into the White House or he wouldn’t have made it either.

      The path to the US Presidency at least since FDR, has REQUIRED an unimpeachable reputation acquired elsewhere (e.g. Eisenhower) or huge ambition combined with a larger than life personality that is far beyond that of people who can successfully weigh the personal costs and benefits of being President like you and me.

      I would run away as fast as I could if offered a chance to be President. The country would not like me and I’d hate the job if I won.

      1. Pluto,

        “Presidents now MUST use their campaigning skills to get the Congress to pass legislation while they are in office.”

        Firs, these are not even remotely similar skills. Knowing how to do a TV talk show or speak to a crowd in a shopping center on a Saturday morning is not remotely similar to negotiating with Congress.

        Second, negotiating with Congress has been a key component of the president’s job since Washington. Working public opinion to encourage Congress has been a key component since Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson (who was poor at it).

      2. FM:”Knowing how to do a TV talk show or speak to a crowd in a shopping center on a Saturday morning is not remotely similar to negotiating with Congress.”

        Agreed, but as far as I can tell these days, Presidents no longer do back-office negotiations on the contents of bills Congress. They do their negotiations in large part directly in front of the public while drumming up public support for their positions in the Congressmember’s districts whom they want to influence on the bills. This is also true to a lesser extent for Congressmembers trying to communicate with the President. All of this brings to mind the comment attributed to Churchill that Democracy is the worst form of government until you consider all the others.

        As long as the two sides still communicate sufficiently, the system works. But the increasing risk that the lack of face-to-face private communication between the key indiividuals and the nature of campaign communications is reaching the breaking point. Especially with Trump, who seems to campaign by Tweet. Tweets are a very cost beneficial campaigning tool but the VERY short message combined with Trump’s natural urge to do snark is NOT helping do not make it an effective negotiating tool.

        Here’s a nice article (in several senses of the word) about the current Trump – Pelosi relationship. Better late than never, I suppose…

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ap-interview-pelosi-says-she-asked-trump-to-meet-with-her/2019/04/11/29aada0e-5cab-11e9-98d4-844088d135f2_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9530ff68672d

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