According to the repellent self-righteousness of the mainstream “opinion-makers” (a profession which should be looked upon with contempt in any open society – in no way are they journalists), Trump’s victory is due to the intellectually impaired, the bigots, the racists, the misogynists, Russians hackers, the FBI, Wikileaks, Jill Stein, etc. The liberals nod their heads in disbelief at the unspeakable stupidity of the masses. The last thing they will examine is their own lack of thought, their own lack of empathy and their own hypocrisy. If the liberals did not want the beast to win, they should not have created it. If this election result mortifies you, it is because you have not been mortified enough by what preceded it.
It seems that I am not the only one who considered Clinton a loose cannon and a dangerous maniac. According to John Steppling, corporate America saw it too and let her sink (see here). It sounds pretty unbelievable, until you think about it. Much has been made of FBI Director Comey’s letter two weeks before the election, but it was the Wall Street Journal which revealed Clinton’s fraud and bribery. Steppling writes that the financial establishment split about Clinton and that there was a further split among the Joint Chiefs and the Pentagon where, reportedly, many disagreed with Clinton’s Syrian no-fly fantasies. There was genuine concern in parts of the military that Clinton’s lack of judgement regarding war was pretty dangerous. In other words, Steppling writes, there was growing fear in all corners of the political authority structure that Hillary was the real loose cannon in this election (see here). Repellent by nature and shrieking about war, it was the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff which ultimately sunk Clinton. The idea of Clinton’s fingers on the nuclear button was a bridge too far (see here). The future will tell if anything of this can be substantiated more. I, for one, would not be one bit surprised.
The reason why Clinton lost the election is Hillary Clinton, the corruption of the DNC and, most importantly, the neoliberalism and the neoconservatism of the rotten-to-the-core establishment of the Democratic Party. Clinton had no program, except business as usual and more wars. But America is sick and tired of the status quo and, and although this proved hard or even impossible for the liberals to imagine, the American electorate does not want to risk a war with Russia (see also here).
Neoliberalism, neoconservatism and globalization in the flesh
Trump won the Eastern rustbelt, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These states were once all solidly Democratic. Today, three out of these four states have a Republican governor. Pennsylvania had one in the past. Pennsylvania has, tongue-in-cheek but not un-cunningly, been described as Philadelphia in the East, Pittsburgh in the West and Alabama in the middle. I lived there. This is no longer the first world. It is a cinematographic, and often surreal, landscape of small towns where there is nothing left except empty factories, infrastructure which been rusting away for 30 or many more years, destitute, despairing, numb or near insane people on tranquilisers, drugs or alcohol. Some do not have the means to feed their children breakfast, they go to school hungry – if they go to school. For many, it is either dinner or rent. Forget health care. All of this in a state which, at one time, epitomised the American dream: plenty of good and beautiful land, an enormous industrial infrastructure, full employment, good wages, strong unions, hard working people, affordable education, social mobility. Apart from some urban centres, hubs and suburban areas, some gated communities, Pennsylvania is neoliberalism in the flesh, a world in decay, a stinking human and ecological graveyard – a prison here and there, fracking everywhere. All of that and the obscenely rich in their mansions and their yachts on the East coast, who have been giving the population the finger for the last 30 years (see also here).
As Glen Greenwald asked:
“(W)hy would anyone assume that a candidate who is the very embodiment of Globalist Establishment Power, who is virtually drowning both personally and politically in Wall Street cash, has “electability” in her favour?” (here and here – it was always clear that a part of Sanders’ supporters would never vote for Clinton).
Why, indeed. Trump said in Pennsylvania that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest. There is no doubt about it. Clinton, however, supported the TPP and other “trade” agreements which will mess up people’s lives even more. Obama will use his last days in office to push through the TTP (see here).
Trump, however, always understood. In Detroit, Trump threatened Ford that if they did go ahead with their planned closure and move to Mexico, he would slap a 35% tariff on any Mexican-built cars shipped back to the United States. In Pittsburgh, Trump called upon Apple to produce their iPhones in America instead of in China. What happened? A majority of union members and their families in these four states voted for Trump. People had enough and if the system happens to be so rigged that the choice is between Clinton and Trump, they will prefer Trump.
Picture 1: Picture of the Go Bernie – Never Clinton campaign (source Google Images).
The Democrats believed their own lies, they nurtured their own delusions: “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two or three moderate Republicans in the suburbs of Philadelphia,” said Schumer, a Democratic strategist, in July. Another strategist, Terry, tweeted ‘I want to say to you Bernie supporters who won’t support Hillary in the General, we do not need you. We really don’t. Believe me, we don’t.”
Picture 2: Michael Moore before the nomination and on election day. Why do these people assume that anyone believes them? (Source: Google Images).
Today, the democrats and their stenographers, the apologists of the neoliberal global disorder (read the Guardian), are spewing out the fairy tale about “white supremacy” in Pennsylvania. But this election result does not reflect race. It is not the result of racism that, supposedly, rose to unseen heights the last few years. This is not to say that such pathologies do not exist. Of course they do, because someone has to be blamed and why not black people and the poor? There is, however, no reason to believe – and Obama’s high approval ratings, which are inconsistent with depictions of the U.S. as a country “besotted with racism,” prove this – that America was less racist in 2008 and in 2012 than it is today. Most of Trump’s voters are white, just as most black voters supported Obama. This proves a racial divide, not racism. As Cohn wrote in the New York Times “Clinton suffered her biggest losses in the places where Obama was strongest among white voters. It’s not a simple racism story” (see here).
Of course it is not a simple racism story. Trump’s victory is a backlash against globalization. It is certainly a revolt against the liberal order. I am not saying that the Trump voters figured it all out and that racism does not play a role, of course it does, it always does. Nobody figured it all out. But the Trump voters understand very well that the institutions have left them behind, that many of them ended up in deep trouble and that the liberals did nothing except to marginalise and insult them – this is obvious. Yes, Trump’s victory is to a certain extent a retreat into ugly racism and misogyny. Certainly, Trump said things which are indecent and unacceptable. So, the liberals call him a fascist. They never call Obama anything, although Obama deported millions. Obama never did a single thing – literally absolutely nothing – to stop the scandalous police killings. Obama bombed seven countries during his tenure, without approval of Congress (on the basis of a Bush decree from 2001). Where were the banners ‘Not my president’ when Obama decided to start a war? Yes, all of this is utterly trivial, but it is relevant to the extreme, because Obama is to blame too, the great black hope who spent eight years proving how wedded he was to neoliberal orthodoxy at home and a neoconservative agenda abroad (see here).
While the liberals praise Obama to heaven, it is clear to anyone who is not being paid to be blind that after eight years nothing improved for the population at large – the working population, many of which do not work, unless you believe official statistics – and that a lot of things got a lot worse. This is the richest country on earth, but half of the population lives near or below the poverty line. Go tell in Pennsylvania – by very far not the worst case – that Obama did a good job. Go prove your disconnect from reality.
As Jonathan Cook rightly writes, Obama saved a failed and utterly corrupt and criminal banking system with the result that a tiny, already pornographically wealthy, elite got much richer. These plutocrats recycled vast sums to lobbyists to buy access and control make the voice of ordinary Americans irrelevant. It really is not a question of opinion, there is solid scientific literature on this. Obama’s “war on terror” made every day a pay day for the arms industry – as Cook says, dropping bombs on jihadists and civilians alike, while supplying the very same jihadists with arms to kill yet more civilians, ad infinitum, endless war (see here). If anyone is asking why all of this keeps happening, she is either a “leftist” or a “Trump idiot.”
The DNC and the Democratic establishment were so stupid that they let Clinton rant about her “top priority,” a no fly-zone in Syria. Working people have suffered from precariousness, unemployment, falling wages, homelessness, addiction, without protection or help from government for thirty years now. They don’t give a damn about a no-fly zone in Syria. What did good old Hillary, the great liberal hope, want more? The privatisation of social security (see here). It really is a strange world, both amazing and terrifying.
The attack on liberalism
It is evident that neither the GOP nor the Democrats serve the interests of the population. From a progressive point of view, the sooner we get rid of the delusion that the Democrats are any ‘better,’ any more social democratic, any more pro Keynesian, the better. But you will not read this in the Guardian. You will read about ‘an unprecedented crisis of the political system,’ ‘the rise of fascism,’ ‘the revolt of the clueless’ and the Democratic Party as the embodiment of reason and civility. No one is better at feeding these delusions than Obama himself – nice speeches, eloquent wordings, an impression of human decency, liberalism, progressive values, civil rights, equality, growth, jobs, affordable health care, progress, community, democracy for the world, freedom, globalization, climate change adaptation (see here).
It is the broken music box of a completely corrupt and criminal system. Today, the ideologues are writing up their condescending crap about the “Trump idiots” with that typical liberal arrogance of the (marginally!) better educated who confuse a degree with the entitlement to insult the victims of the policies that they always ideologically supported. Their noxious talk is about rednecks, bigots, racists. It’s not about the elite, the banks, the corrupt political system or where the rednecks come from, well of course not. As Abraham Lincoln said, you cannot lie to all the people all the time. Many Americans had enough of these scribblers, their endless lies, their arrogance, their hypocrisy. They had enough of neoliberalism and war (see here for an interesting interview with Pilger).
There is no way in which the election of Trump is not a disaster. But then, when is the last time that an American election was not a disaster? This election came down to a choice between two disasters, either Clinton or Trump. “Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American people,” Trump said in a closing campaign advertisement, which was immediately followed by flashing images of K Street, Wall Street and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. The Trump transition team is a who’s who of influence lobbyists, including Koch Industries, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Aetna and Verizon. Many other corporate peddlers are called in to manage the transition. The new head of the EPA is climate denier supreme Myron Ebell (see here). Vice-president elect Pence is a Christian fundamentalist. It is bad, very bad.
But I cannot refrain myself from thinking that there is also good news. Yesterday, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump suggested a shift away from the current Obama administration policy of attempting to find “moderate” Syrian opposition groups to support Syria’s so-called “civil war.” ”Now we’re backing rebels against Syria, and we have no idea who these people are.” (…) I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” Trump said. He suggested a sharper focus on fighting ISIS in Syria, rather than placing top priority on ousting Assad. To me, that sounds better, much better, than anything the Nobel peace laureate ever did. What is there to find about this interview in the newspapers today (in casu the Guardian or the New York Times, which has been beaten the drums of war for months, just as in 2003)? Nothing.
Yes, it is all very worrying. And if you are worried, then compare. Two weeks ago, the leak of the Podesta emails provided a window into the big dark hole, the missing soul, of the Democratic Party. These mails show exactly where the real power – and thus the real problem – lies: Froman, a Citibank executive, writing from a Citibank email address in 2008, named most of Obama’s cabinet, even before the great hope-and-change election was decided (it may, incidentally, also explain why Citibank was bailed out, courtesy of the population, half of which is hungry, or close) (see here).
As Greenwald writes, since the 1980s, the elites in the West have taking all the gains for themselves and covering their ears when anyone else talks (see here). Since the ‘recovery’ in the US, more than 90% of all the gains have gone to the 1% and, especially, to the 0.01%, which have never been richer and have never been getting richer faster in history. After more than 30 years of social carnage in the first word, ecological disaster on a global scale and a global economy in tatters, the elites are watching in horror and disbelief as voters revolt. What did these people really think? Their game has always been to demonise the victims of their dysfunctions, their theft and wars and to delegitimize grievances. It is, Greenwald writes, indisputable that the prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions (see here). They have completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims pipe up a bit too much. It is then the question of scornfully condemning them as intellectual troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy – the “Trump idiots” (see here). However, things are clear now. Pandora’s box has been opened and it will not close: the more neoliberalism, the more populist revolt (see here and here). The centre will not hold, there is no question about it.
The truth about this election is that Sanders was ousted by Clinton and her corrupt coterie. Stein was made invisible by a corrupt electoral system. I am not happy that Trump won, far from it. But I am happy that Clinton lost. Those who do not understand this ignore what was blatantly in plain sight: that Clinton is even more in the pocket of the bankers and arms dealers than Obama (if that is possible) (see here).
If there is one thing I never understood, it was how the Democratic Party was planning to get away with it. Here was this repellent woman, obtaining million dollar checks from the Saudi’s, cashing in $250.000 for 45-minute secret speeches on Wall Street, apparently, without the slightest concern for how that would feed into the resentments of her and the Democratic Party as a corrupt, status quo-protecting tool of the rich and powerful (see here). Many Americans are horrified by this decadent aristocracy of political zombies – another indication is that Jeb Bush got nowhere. The Americans didn’t want yet another Bush. They didn’t want yet another Clinton.
One needs to look back in order to properly evaluate Trump’s ascent to power. Under Bush and Obama, the US became a country in which legal authorities allow the president to prosecute secret wars. Those afraid of a Trump coup ignore to which inordinate degree Obama has eroded the power of the legislative branch. It became possible to imprison people without due process, target people (including US citizens) for assassination without oversight. Domestic law enforcement agencies act as para-militarised armies (see here). The penal state allows mass imprisonment. A system of electronic surveillance has become limitless (see here). Both Bush and Obama exploited the “state secrets doctrine” to shield their most controversial policies from the American public (see here). This is not a GOP versus Democrats issue. Just as the conservatives applauded Bush’s power grabs, the liberals cheered Obama’s decrees.
Deception has been going on for a really long time, probably forever, but it seems that history is vindicating Lincoln’s view. It was nothing but lies – from the butcher of the Balkans, to Saddam’s WMDs, Quadaffi’s genocide, the need for human intervention in Syria – none of it is true (see here). As Steppling emphasises, NONE of it (see here). The liberals and the affluent remain immune for suffering as long as it not their suffering. They were happy enough to buy into it all. When it became glaringly clear that the DNC rigged the primaries, they shook their shoulders. So what? The issue was to keep the beast away from the White House. But it was them who created it. The liberals had nothing to say – literally nothing – about Clinton cackling at the assassination of Quadaffi, her coup in Honderus, the fascist coup in Ukraine, the disaster in Syria. As a (female) professor told me last night – flat out, as a matter of fact –
“I believe that Trump is better, internationally, but I am not concerned about that. I hate his views on women and minorities.”
It suffices to abdicate all sense of morality in order to feel self-righteous. As ‘feminists’ we stand up for women, if they are our women, those of our class, from the bubble we live in, isolated from the sufferings of humankind. Bombing women and children does not concern us. And why would it? She is not going to be affected by any of the 400.000 children in Yemen who are currently starving to death because the Saudi’s, pretty close the most despicable regime in the world as well as our close ally, are bombing this poverty-stricken country. These liberals are the wrath of humanity.
The biggest lie the liberals produced was that Trump is bringing fascism, while in reality fascism is already here – maybe not right here, there is none on the yachts of the super rich or in nice, “decent,” insulated, heartless, upper class America. But speak to a single mother living in a trailer in Pennsylvania with no work who lost her social welfare, speak to black people in the deprived neighbourhoods of Baltimore, where life expectancy is lower than in Bangladesh, speak to an Afghani peasant who lost her or his family in a drone attack or to a veteran, suffering from post-traumatic disorder, who sleeps on the street somewhere and runs the risk of being popped off by the police in the richest country on earth and see if THEY do not call it fascism. Go ask in Syria what people think of these decapitating Islamic “moderates” that we support because they fight ISIS, which we also support, because they fight Assad, while Clinton wants a no-fly zone so that these “moderates” can decapitate more people, so the rich can pillage more.
It is the liberals who have promoted fascism. They rationalised it, they justified it, they celebrated it. It is, very simply, their job. If this election means that people saw through it, even just somewhat, even just intuitively, it is nothing but a major victory. The world will never be the same. Trump’ election has shown the limits of the world’s most power manipulation machine. The result is not what we hoped for. Things are not good now, very far from it. This is the interregnum. There will be systemic change. The key is to delegitimize the liberals, to win the ideological battle. A completely new party has to come up with policies that favour the interests of the population at large – growth policies, redistribution, rebuilding social welfare, rebuilding the industrial infrastructure. It has to bring global order, decency and honesty, work for human rights and finally take the fight against climate change serious – all policies for which, according to Chomsky, a majority can be found within the population (Democrats and Republicans), if only there would be a party addressing these issues. That is the big hope. It will take time and effort. The Democratic Party went under in this election. If, at the next election, or somewhere in the near future, the GOP also goes under, the American people will have achieved fantastic progress, both for itself and for the world.
Addendum: Trump just called for a “21st Century Glass-Steagall” banking law (see here).