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Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad

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* Equal pay for equal work. Maternity leave. Paid daycare. Infrastructure spending. Student debt. Ivanka, who declared she wasn’t a Republican, just gave the best speech–or was it a fairy tale–of the Convention. She succeeded in getting the befuddled GOP crowd to applaud for ideas they’ve vilified for decades.

* Aside from one ritual nod at “evangelicals,” Trump completely ignored the traditional cultural issues that have freighted the GOP for 30 years and went right for the working class anxieties that the Democrats have failed to quell since the advent of neoliberalism. You can see why the smarter Democrats are running a little scared.

* First GOP presidential nominee speech to mention LGBTQ and not abortion?

* Why, look, there’s Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin getting arrested again in PrimeTime! How does she keep gaining access to these venues? Don’t Trump’s law-and-order coppers profile diminutive white women? I just hope she doesn’t blame poor black teenagers the way she did in Seattle during the WTO protests.

* Trump’s speech was also remarkable for the way he seduced neoconservatives to applaud for lines which were laser-shots at the interventionist wars from Iraq to Libya to Syria. Once again, he denounced the Iraq war a disaster. Was Pence squirming?

* Have NAFTA and the WTO ever been attacked at a Democratic Convention? I’ve never even heard the WTO mentioned by a Democratic candidate, perhaps because of the hearing loss I suffered at the anti-WTO protests.

* They’re playing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want!” No kidding, Donald. An ironic sense of self-awareness? (Mick Jagger will sell his work to anyone. Though “Sympathy for the Devil” might have been a better choice.)

* 75% approval rating for Trump’s speech in CNN’s poll. Look out!!! The potential political impact of Trump’s rant can probably best be assessed by how furiously the Democrats denounce it.

* Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, just told Chris Matthews that the Trump campaign was “anti-regime” change (except, of course, for Obama–but that goes without saying–so to speak).

* When is the last time “Big Business” was lashed at a Republican convention? Buchanan, perhaps?

* If Trump loses in November, he could always resurrect his TV career by hosting American Horror Story X. His speech was like some raging Old Testament prophet preaching about the Secular Apocalypse. It drew from Nixon in ’68, Wallace in ’72, and Buchanan in ’92. It sizzled with the righteous fire that the Democrats haven’t shown since Jackson in ’84.

* Trump wilted to the one true power in American politics: the Israel Lobby. He went from saying he wanted to deal even-handedly with Israel and Palestine to swearing that he was totally beholden to the Israeli state.

* Trump’s problem (one of them) is that his own VP candidate isn’t buying anything that he and Ivanka (esp), are selling on economics, trade, infrastructure investment, cultural tolerance (relatively speaking), and foreign policy.

* Trump has put HRC in check on the VP stakes. The obvious counter to Trump’s populist appeal to working class voters would be to pick Warren or Sherrod Brown, who have both, reportedly, been discarded, even for symbolic purposes. Will she really double down by tapping Dem Party economic elites like Kaine (bankers best friend) and Vilsack (voice of Monsanto)?

* I’ve been watching MS-DNC tonight and none of their commentators, with the partial exception of Matthews, seem to be able to read the class politics at work in Trump’s speech. This is an ominous sign for the network of a party which is supposed to represent working-class people. It has instead become the vessel for an strange collage of NGOs and identity-devoted sectors that in reality, of course, rarely “intersect”. Obama was gifted enough to hold this fragile coalition. HRC will have to bribe them–with Wall Street $$? The liberals have effectively ceded class-oriented politics to the National Front right.

* Trump talked explicitly about the working class: bricklayers, truck drivers, electricians, steelworkers. It has been a hallmark of Clintonspeak since 1992 that they only talk about the “middle class”, a nebulous zone of educated suburbanites with aspirations toward upward mobility.

* Of all the Democratic commentators, crusty Chris Matthews, who has a vestigial relationship to the working class, is the only one who seems to understand Trump’s appeal to a key demographic of the Democratic Party. HRC’s problem is that her own appeal to the financial and defense contractor elite isn’t strong enough to compensate.

* Trump knows how to talk about class politics in the peculiar American context better than any major party nominee since Mondale, though Mondale as stilted as Trump is hyperbolic. I don’t know how HRC overcomes this except through a campaign of escalating fear-mongering. HRC will offer fear of Trumpian fascism; Trump will counter with fear of The Other: immigrants, black youth, Muslims.

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

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