Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Electoral Politics Further Devolves: Neither Trump's Nor Hillary's Die-Hard Fans Care About The Lies And Hypocrisy


There is fear among progressives that if Hillary becomes president she will hire Wall Street predators to staff key positions in her administration-- including, for example, Larry Fink as Treasury Secretary-- and, by now, we've all learned that personnel is policy. Trump supporters-- I hate to generalize but, alas, life's losers-- think they are, collectively, hiring someone for the presidency who will destroy everything that has dealt them a bad hand and made their brutish, meaningless, ugly existences brutish, meaningless and ugly. Greg Sargent explained it to Washington Post readers yesterday in a less brutish fashion.

Sargent was commenting on a revelation by Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger on a new line of low-end Trump merchandise that can capitalize on his following with people who can't afford luxury condos and golf memberships in Scotland but who want something Trumpy. His selling Phillips-Van Heusen shirts with a "Donald J. Trump Signature Collection" logo on the label. They're made in low wage hellholes like Bangladesh, China and Honduras, where near slave labor workers have jobs that were formerly done for living wages in North Carolina and South Carolina, two states that are very Trumpy. (The collection is also marketing sunglasses, perfume, cuff links and off-the-rack suits.)
On the campaign trail, Trump has blasted Ford Motor Co. for opening factories in Mexico, criticized a U.S. drug company that moved its headquarters offshore and said he will eat no more Oreo cookies because its maker, Nabisco, moved part of its production to Mexico.

...During Thursday night’s Republican candidates’ debate, Trump said he knows how to fix the policies that encourage outsourcing because he spent so many years taking advantage of them.

“Nobody knows it better than me,” he said. “I’m a businessman. These are laws. These are regulations. These are rules. We’re allowed to do it... But I’m the one that knows how to change it.”

Trump’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have tried-- so far to no avail-- to undercut his popularity among working-class voters by portraying him as someone who rampantly outsources jobs.
The idea is, simply, like hiring a bankrobber as a police chief, bank robberies will be solved. Just hire Trump-- or Clinton-- to be president. Sargent is wondering aloud why the hypocrisy charge doesn't stick to Trump.
The most likely explanation-- beyond the most obvious one, which is that information like this is simply not getting through to Republican voters-- may be that, in a perverse way, revelations like these actually bolster his message, rather than undercutting it. Trump’s argument is that he has a unique grasp, via direct experience and participation, of all the ways in which our political and economic system is rigged to make it easier for people such as himself to fleece working Americans. This understanding of how the game really works positions him well to fix it. He has been in on the elites’ scam for decades, and now, having made a killing off of it, he’s here to put an end to it.

Trump has made this argument explicitly, again and again and again, in multiple different ways. At the most recent GOP debate, Trump effectively declared that he understood better than any other candidate that politicians are bought and paid for-- because he has bought and paid for politicians himself! At the debate, Trump also rebuffed criticism of his reliance on immigrant labor here and foreign labor abroad by arguing that “because nobody knows the system better than me…I’m the one that knows how to change it.” Trump didn’t apologize for these things. Instead, he converted them into evidence that he understands how immigration and global trade rules are enabling people like himself to screw over workers, while his rivals don’t.

Trump recently acknowledged that he’s been milking the system for a very long time, but turned that, too, into an argument for his candidacy. “I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right?” he said. “But you know what? I want to be greedy for our country.”

Still more: When Trump vowed to raise taxes on top earners and hedge funders last fall, he claimed that soaring executive pay is a “total and complete joke,” a scam engineered by the executives themselves. This, again, was based on inside knowledge. “I know these guys,” Trump said of hedge funders. “I know companies very well.”

My strong suspicion is that attacks on Trump’s less-than-pristine ways of acquiring his wealth, which are designed to portray him as a sleazy, greedy profiteer, lead a lot of GOP voters, particularly his supporters, to say: “So Trump is a sleazy, greedy, profiteer? Good-- please be sleazy, greedy and profiteering on my behalf.”

Now, as it turns out, Trump’s actual tax plan delivers a huge windfall to top earners. And in many other ways, Trump is scamming his supporters, as well: he’s exaggerating the impact of trade deals on the fortunes of American workers, and absurdly suggesting that his promise of carrying out mass deportations shows that he has the toughness necessary to crush the immigrant threat to their economic interests.

The point, though, is that voters who are prepared to buy into that larger story Trump is telling-- about the various ways in which our economic and political systems enable elites, immigrants, and shadowy foreign bureaucrats to screw over struggling Americans-- probably won’t see it as a negative that Trump himself profited massively off that system, and won’t see a problem with his argument that this uniquely equips him to blow it up. These are only the latest signs that he “tells it like it is.” For those who are already open to believing that Trump’s tale shows that he has their backs, the final step of accepting that argument really isn’t all that big.
Kind of sounds like simple-minded Hillary fans who buy into her "threats" to make her Wall Street financiers "just stop it." Yesterday Trump said we're going to bring in the most brilliant negotiators from Wall Street to make America great again and we'll win again; makes perfect sense if you're a Trump or Hillary supporter. I knew it was a mistake for Congress to de-prioritize public education spending. Now we have imbeciles incapable of critical thinking being asked to make democratic decisions in an increasingly complex world. Bring back civics classes!

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home