FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Trump Train Chugs Along

No rivals left in the race. This was the effect of Donald Trump’s victory in the GOP primary in Indiana, which netted him 57 delegates and sunk the aspirations of two near irrelevant contenders. It had been one of the most savagely negative campaigns, characterised by tens of thousands of “attack ads” directed against a person who has effectively become the presumptive Republican nominee for President.

After huffing about country and drawing God out more than He would ever care for, the vampiric Ted Cruz conceded that he would be suspending his campaign. Not even his courting of the evangelical vote had worked.

A glimpse of his mind, if ever such speeches can yield any insight, would have suggested God and cruise missiles, the continued nonsense about the US as an exceptional power that needs to rub noses in the dirt of history and bully its way to glory. When having to inflict indecencies on the international stage, always call yourself indispensable.

Ohio governor John Kasich joined Cruz in the exit ceremony, and being similarly short of ideas about why he had reached such an impasse, called on that good figure in the sky. “As I suspend my campaign today I have renewed faith, deeper faith that the Lord will show me the way forward.”

This repeated insistence on drawing out the services of a divine absentee land lord over the tenancy of life has been a striking feature of the Republican contenders, an aspect of which has been side-stepped by the Trump show. Earthly realities, even if they seem to be mediated through the fogged up lenses of television and re-runs of The Apprentice, seem to be of greater interest there.

In New York, Trump appeared at the podium, flanked by the usual female bodyguard of model wife and model progeny, and stuck to the formula that sees him as the likely main candidate for the GOP.

The mixture of populist aspiration and gibberish followed, though what is always refreshing about Trump is a near de-secularised notion of American faith. The only divinity he ever saw was no doubt in the mirror, and such attitude shows.

In a call reminiscent of the seductive luring of Ronald Reagan Democrats during the 1980s, he suggested that the miners of West Virginia and Pennsylvania would be looked after. This is a point he has reiterated through his campaign: bring back American steel and coal, and stick it to those powers indifferent to US interests. “I’m a free-market guy, but not when you’re getting killed,” he claimed before rally-goers in Carmel, Indiana. “Look at steel, it’s being wiped out. Your coal industry is wiped out, and China is taking our coal.”

This is all fanciful stuff, given that coal, and its miners, is very unlikely to come back. In the words of Paul Krugman, “The real war on coal, or at the least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost.”

Trump rubbished the Clinton legacy around free-trade and its maniacal push for offshoring jobs and keeping costs down, despite being himself a beneficiary of an America that prides itself on keeping wages low.

Then came half-sensible remarks about US infrastructure, which resemble, he argues a “Third World country”. Such tags are always deceptive, but the Republic has been fraying, and greying, at the edges for some time. The problematic nature of Trump-speech is its hazardous whirl, from sensible utterance to moronic plunge. Noting how US airports need to be improved relative to international counterparts, he was happy to suggest that investment in the military needed to increase dramatically. Good militaries, in this dreamed up logic, make good economies.

The Republican movement has become dizzyingly desperate in how to evaluate the Trump phenomenon. Some insist on fighting him to the bitter end, or at the very least to the convention itself. The Never Trump Pac, created to specifically make sure Trump does not appropriate the Republican Party, continues to be noisy through the views of such figures as senior advisor Rory Cooper.

GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is not of same mind. “We all need to unite and focus on defeating Hillary Clinton,” he tweeted. Having attempted, in the weirdly innane world of Twitter-speak, to hashtag Trump into electoral oblivion, Priebus weakly turned it to a hashtag against Clinton (#NeverClinton).

The yay sayers are growing in number. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, boxed as suitably moderate, decided that that Trump was his man. The response from Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett was swift and brutal. “Alleged wanker moderate Jon Huntsman throws in with Trump. Pathetic.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal insists that the GOP stop being the “stupid party”, a Herculean task at best. Arizona Senator John McCain, despite having been mocked by Trump over his past as a prisoner who was tortured, has decided to become a ticket holder on the Trump train.

The point of Trump’s current lead is that any move at the convention against him will be seen as disastrous. On the other hand, the GOP machine men and women will be wondering if going with Trump will also come with its own destructive promise, a suicide pact that will banish the party into the wilderness. The chalice is being readied.

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

December 12, 2018
Arshad Khan
War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned
Paul Street
Blacking Out the Yellow Vests on Cable News: Corporate Media Doing its Job
Kenneth Surin
The Brexit Shambles Rambles On
David Schultz
Stacking the Deck Against Democracy in Wisconsin
Steve Early
The Housing Affordability Crisis and What Millennials Can do About It
George Ochenski
Collaboration Failure: Trump Trashes Sage Grouse Protections
Rob Seimetz
Bringing a Life Into a Dying World: A Letter From a Father to His Unborn Son
Michael Howard
PETA and the ‘S’-Word
John Kendall Hawkins
Good Panopt, Bad Panopt: Does It Make A Difference?
Kim C. Domenico
Redeeming Utopia: a Meditation On An Essay by Ursula LeGuin
Binoy Kampmark
Exhuming Franco: Spain’s Immemorial Divisions
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Democratizing Money
Laura Finley
Congress Must Reauthorize VAWA
December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail