Up In Smoke: The Myth Of A Normal America


There are no good old days to return to in U.S. politics. The truth about a post-Trump era.

(Editor’s Note: Is the Democratic Party up to the new world we are facing in American politics? Do party leaders really grasp that the old rules of American politics are up in smoke? So far there is scant evidence that the DNC has any grasp how the game board has been redefined. That is bad news for all of us. — Mark L. Taylor)

By Kevin Baker
The New Republic (2/15/18)

The remaining hope for all Americans of good sense, more than a year into Donald J. Trump’s already interminable spin in office, was that the president and his brand of politics would turn out to be a passing aberration. That somehow, once Trump lost his reelection bid, or was impeached or otherwise run out of the White House, or plastered shut his last remaining artery with one Filet-O-Fish too many, we could put back together the sort of civil government that had prevailed for most of the last century and a half. A government that ran by at least some basic, established rules and customs. A politics in which leaders and followers on both sides still operated by some inner regulator of morality, some natural restraint on how far we could go in demonizing each other, instead of running roughshod over what we fondly remember as the democratic process.

Even before Hillary Clinton’s defeat, there were some few who imagined the democratic utopia that would arise organically from the reaction to a Trump presidency. “Some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately,” Susan Sarandon, that noted political sage, informed an exasperated Chris Hayes before the election. The day after Trump’s win, she posted a gorgeous photo of a flower on Twitter, with the message, “Out of the mud grows the lotus.”

Out of the mud grows the hookworm, too. But, hey, point taken.

The probable future for America is not some antidote to Trump but a smarter, more ruthless and effective, version of him.  

“In some ways, Trump is one of the best things to happen to this country because look at how many people are getting off their posteriors,” Michigan’s Green Party chairwoman, Sherry Wells, told Politico last June, adding: “So part of me is giggling.”

But it’s not just the nattering naïfs of the inchoate left who believe there’s a better world a-comin’. Even veteran political analysts such as E.J. Dionne Jr., Norman J. Ornstein, and Thomas E. Mann, who combined last fall to give us a manifesto of hope called One Nation After Trump, have succumbed.

The authors, to their great credit, reject any false equivalences and place the deterioration of our political system exactly where it belongs, in the “radicalization” of the Republican Party. They call out the Trump presidency for the rough new beast it is, note how neatly the Trump campaign managed to avoid putting forward any actual policies to help those Americans the president most appealed to, and expertly trace how it is that Republicans for years have manipulated the basic structure of our democracy to ensure their continued minority rule, no matter how many elections they lose. But all of this clear-eyed analysis just makes their conclusion the farther fetched: “We believe that the popular mobilization and national soul-searching he has aroused could be the occasion for an era of democratic renewal.”

In the trauma of the Trump era, in the signs of increased Resistance, in the rushing of people into the streets, into the airports, into social media, and perhaps even the voting booths—they see cause to celebrate. A “Charter for American Working Families,” a new “GI Bill for American Workers,” a “Contract for American Social Responsibility”—all these and many more policies could emerge and make a thousand muddy lotuses bloom. Just the doing will make the Trumpian vulgarity worthwhile.

This is, in essence, the traditional liberal take on how to make enduring social change. No simplistic, Marxian happy ending, just the continuing fight, which will bring everyone together, up our game, and show us the way forward. This is no pipe dream, insists this idea, but the very way we have always advanced the nation, however slowly, decade after decade.

Forget it.

Admirable as the think-tank optimists may be, their hopes are delusional. A ruthless movement has seized the United States, the likes of which has not been seen in our time, or maybe ever. …

Read the Rest

From The Article Above…

Constitutional law scholar Richard Primus described the Republican point of view in an article posted to the Harvard Law Review blog in November:

“We don’t think in terms of the Democrats one day coming back into power. We are building for a world in which they never exercise power…. In other words, competition between Republicans and Democrats is no longer an iterated game in which two rival parties who see each other as legitimate contenders for political power expect to take turns exercising more and less influence within the system. It’s the last round, and it’s a fight to the finish.” 


Conservative David Frum: The Corruption Of American Democracy


The Commonwealth Club (2/5/18)

While much of the country has been focused on the Trump–Russia investigation, conservative author David Frum has been monitoring the strain the new president is placing on the traditional limits of the Oval Office. During his own White House tenure as George W. Bush’s speechwriter, Frum witnessed the ways the presidency is limited not by law but by tradition, propriety and public outcry.

Frum argues the traditional limits of the Oval Office have been weakened. In his new book, Trumpocracy, Frum outlines how he thinks President Trump could push America toward illiberalism, what the consequences could be for our nation and our everyday lives, and what we can do to prevent it. Join one of America’s leading conservative pundits for a conversation about our changing democracy and where the country is heading.

Link to Story and 70-Minute Video