By Paul Street
Yes, He’s Awful
Much of what liberals say about Donald Trump and the chilling political moment the Trump presidency represents is true enough.
Trump really is the arch-authoritarian malignant narcissist that liberals say he is. Trump thinks he deserves to rule the nation like an absolute monarch or some ridiculous Banana Republic dictator. He believes he’s above all the law, consistent with Louis XIV’s dictum L’etat, C’est Moi (“the state is me”). The notion that Trump can pardon himself from any crime really is the height of imperial arrogance.
Trump really does value nothing but the advancement of his own wealth and image. There is no person, no principle, no higher loyalty he is not willing to sacrifice on the altar of self.
Trump really is the almost perfect embodiment of venal malevolence that liberals say he is. The idiotic military parade Trump has scheduled for the next Veterans Day is an exercise in proto-fascistic, Mussolini-like imperial-presidential self-adulation.
“The problem here isn’t just liberal hypocrisy and double standards. The deeper issue is that, as the great American iconoclast Mark Twain knew, you cannot maintain democracy at home while conducting an authoritarian empire abroad.”
This racist and sexist beast befouls the nation and world with his ghastly, eco-cidal presence. The sooner he draws his last undeserved breath, the better for all living things (or maybe not: Mike Pence could be worse).
The Authoritarian and Inauthentic Opposition
Fine, but why does this despicable, orange-tinted insult to common human decency occupy the White House? He holds the most powerful office in the world because the Democratic Party has long been and remains what the late liberal-left Princeton political scientist Sheldon Wolin called the Inauthentic Opposition. “Should Democrats somehow be elected,” Wolin prophesied in early 2008, they would do nothing to “alter significantly the direction of society” or “substantially revers[e] the drift rightwards. … The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts,” Wolin wrote, “points to the crucial fact that for the poor, minorities, the working class and anti-corporatists there is no opposition party working on their behalf.” The corporatist Democrats would work to “marginalize any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans.”
Wolin called it. A nominal Democrat was elected president along with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2008. What followed under Barack Obama (as under his Democratic presidential predecessor Bill Clinton) – a different and possibly more dangerous kind of malignant narcissist– was the standard “elite” neoliberal manipulation of campaign populism and identity politics in service to the reigning big-money bankrollers and their global empire. Wall Street’s control of Washington and the related imperial agenda of the “Pentagon System” were advanced more effectively by the nation’s first Black president than they could have been by stiff and wealthy white Republicans like John McCain or Mitt Romney. The reigning U.S. system of corporate and imperial “inverted totalitarianism” (Wolin) was given a deadly, fake-democratic re-branding. The underlying “rightward drift” sharpened, fed by a widespread and easily Republican-exploited sense of popular abandonment and betrayal, as the Democrats depressed and demobilized their own purported popular base.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did nothing to correct that problem. Quite the opposite. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )