FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 9.21.36 AM

* 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.

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail