Friday, March 18, 2016

Time To Stop Laughing At Trump's Buffoonishness?


The Economist's Global Forecasting Service is not talking the Trump Freak Show as a joke. This week, in an assessment of global risks, a Trump presidency rants between a European Union breakup and the tide of jihadi terrorism destabilizing the global economy. They cooly lay out their case without partisan rancor or hysteria:
Thus far Mr Trump has given very few details of his policies-- and these tend to be prone to constant revision-- but a few themes have become apparent. First, he has been exceptionally hostile towards free trade, including notably NAFTA, and has repeatedly labelled China as a "currency manipulator." He has also taken an exceptionally right-wing stance on the Middle East and jihadi terrorism, including, among other things, advocating the killing of families of terrorists and launching a land incursion into Syria to wipe out IS (and acquire its oil). In the event of a Trump victory, his hostile attitude to free trade, and alienation of Mexico and China in particular, could escalate rapidly into a trade war-- and at the least scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the US and 11 other American and Asian states signed in February 2016. His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East (and ban on all Muslim travel to the U.S.) would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond.

Although we do not expect Mr Trump to defeat his most likely Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton, there are risks to this forecast, especially in the event of a terrorist attack on US soil or a sudden economic downturn. It is worth noting that the innate hostility within the Republican hierarchy towards Mr Trump, combined with the inevitable virulent Democratic opposition, will see many of his more radical policies blocked in Congress-- albeit such internal bickering will also undermine the coherence of domestic and foreign policymaking.
Governmental deadlock and dysfunction-- an outcome plutocrats and oligarchs always crave and usually thrive on. Politico's Roger Simon understands the Trump Freak Show. His 1996 book, Show Time: The American Political Circus and the Race for the White House was a best seller before Life's Losers became the potent political force in Republican Party politics they are today. But Simon isn't laughing anymore-- and this week he warned his readers they shouldn't be either. He brought up Chuck Todd's interview with Trump after he had claimed he was attacked by someone with ISIS ties. Todd wondered what evidence there was for that claim.
“I don’t know,” Trump responded. “All I know is what’s on the Internet.”

And what more does a potential president really have to know? If it’s the truth, the Internet will print it. If it’s a dangerous lie, the Internet will print it.

So take your choice. And have some fun doing it.

Not everybody gets this. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama said the current campaign for president is “vulgar and divisive.”

“There are values that our parents taught us and that we try to teach to our children to try to treat others the way we want to be treated,” Obama said. He also said we should not have to explain to our children “this darker side” of U.S. politics.

But you know what I say to that? I say listen to Sarah Palin, with whom Trump likes to go on the stump because she adds intellectual heft to his campaign. Here is what she said Monday at a rally in Tampa, Florida:

“We don’t have time for all that petty, punk-ass little thuggery stuff that’s been going on with these quote-unquote protesters, who are doing nothing but wasting your time and trying to take away your First Amendment rights. And the media being on the thugs’ side-- what the heck are you guys thinking, media?”

Me, I’m thinking how did this person ever get the Republican nomination for vice president? But that was probably a joke, too.

Humor is part of our lives. Which is why we use words like “circus” to describe this current presidential election, because circuses are fun and harmless and it makes us feel less guilty when we are fascinated by it.

In an interview this month in the Washington Post, Joan Baez said of this election: “It’s entertaining, it’s insane and it’s sick and it’s nasty, and I’m like a lot of people: I can’t resist watching it. And then I turn it off and try to do something decent. Anything. Like have a cup of coffee.”

Which I think is as honest a statement as I have read recently.

On Sunday, in West Chester, Ohio, Trump was downcast that only one protester showed up and there was no big disruption of his speech. “In some ways,” Trump said, “it makes it more exciting.”

The next day, at an airport in Vienna Township, Ohio, Trump said: “Tell your friends, vote for Trump. You’ll look back two years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now and say, that was the single greatest vote I ever cast.”

And don’t worry about the consequences. Because it’s all just a circus. A laugh. A yuk. A hoot. A giggle.

Voting is your right. At least for now.

But two years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, you may have to tell your children and your grandchildren just what you thought was so damn funny.

Head-to-head match ups for months have all shown that Bernie is the best bet-- by far to defeat the right-wing menace, whether it comes from Trump or from Cruz. The electability argument is not about Democratic voters who will get behind whoever wins the Democratic primary contest. The electability argument is about independent voters-- who want to see Bernie in the White House but say they won't vote for Hillary. Nominating Hillary for the presidency is very dangerous if you think a Trump or a Cruz presidency would be bad for America and Americans. Please help make sure that doesn't happen, by chipping in what you can here:
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