The Republicans are resorting to gold medal-level mental gymnastics to defend their Mafia boss. If you’re following the impeachment hearings, you can really see how Donald Trump’s rise is the logical fulfillment of the “Base Strategy” developed by former Bush consigliere, Karl Rove.
Quick, off the top of your head, who’s the intellectual founder of modern conservatism? Maybe you think it was Edmund Burke, the 18th-century Irish statesman who critiqued the French Revolution and served as an intellectual foil for leftist radical Thomas Paine. Or perhaps you think that modern conservatism stems from the 20th-century British political philosopher Michael Oakeshott, who ruminated on the “conservative disposition” that was supposedly “cool and critical in respect of change and innovation.” Then again, maybe you think modern conservatism goes back to Sarah Palin, who once saw Russia from her house.
If you picked any of these figures, you’re wrong. Modern conservatism doesn’t stem from a well-known political philosopher or a politician. The foundations of modern conservatism lay in the teachings of a disembodied spirit-entity known as “Seth,” as channeled through the writings of a mid-20th century occultist named Jane Roberts.
Donald Trump is a boorish, brash, braggadocious blowhard. He’s the kind of guy who’s richer than — and therefore better than — you, and if you don’t agree, then you’re an idiot. He’s tailor-made for the shame-drained slime bucket that is American politics. This fact ought to be a no-brainer at this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, but America’s over-paid beltway media fluffers still can’t comprehend why the GOP voting base laps up Trump’s uncouth stew of xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, and overt plutocrat sanctification like a St. Bernard who’s jowls-deep in a bowl of gravy-slathered kibble.
In an article for Reuters, for example, Bill Schneider claims that Trump is a new kind of candidate, an unholy, Frankensteinian daemon cross between “the political outsider and the fringe candidate.” This makes the blustery, ball-capped billionaire all the more perplexing to Schneider, who observes that, “Trump is a multibillionaire running against the establishment. He’s a candidate with no coherent political philosophy running as a conservative champion. It doesn’t make sense. But, so far, it’s working.” Trump’s conservative grass-roots appeal confuses the American punditocracy because they don’t want to admit that the secret to U.S. politics is exclusivity: that those with their grubby white maws already stuck in the national cookie jar will always vote to exclude other groups who are demanding some crumbs of their own.
On June 28, 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the nation in one of his regular “Fireside Chats.” The Great Depression had left millions of Americans languishing in unemployment and despair, and with these circumstances heavy on his mind, FDR used his Fireside Chats to offer some level of comfort by informing the citizenry on the progress of his New Deal recovery plan.
On that particularly sweltering late June day, the subject was, among other things, conservative criticisms of Roosevelt’s policies. After rattling off some parched statistics about how his programs were boosting the economic recovery, FDR ceased the dusty policy wonkery and went right for the emotional jugular. “The simplest way for each of you to judge recovery lies in the plain facts of your own individual situation,” the President stated. “Are you better off than you were last year? Are your debts less burdensome? Is your bank account more secure? Are your working conditions better? Is your faith in your own individual future more firmly grounded?”
It must be downright maddening when things that you perceive to be so straightforward, so intuitively obvious in their apparent “naturalness” instead turn out to be way more complicated and multifaceted than that you could ever imagine.
Things like gender. I mean, “gender” is a fairly black-and-white concept, no? There’s boys and there’s girls, right? Well, it turns out there’s actually way more to the concept of gender than mere “male” and “female.” This has always been the case historically. But Jumpin’ Jehosaphat, Batman! For some cultural conservatives, the idea that “gender” isn’t a cut-and-dry, black-and-white (insert-other-hackneyed-phrase) concept is an injustice that will not stand, man!
Every year, the long Labor Day weekend rolls across the American landscape, spurring millions to fire up their consecrated backyard pyres for the purpose of sacrificing vacuum-sealed mammal and poultry parts — all to celebrate getting a few days off from a job they’re lucky to even have. Indeed, Labor Day has now become a largely hollow observance of late-summer soft hedonism; a chance for Americans to kick back and grasp a few days worth of respite from the soul-devouring drudgery that defines the majority of their time on earth.
Labor Day’s transformation — from a day honoring the sacrifices of the Labor Movement into a rare respite from the relentless capitalist domination of human life — speaks to the totalitarian grip that the consumer-based market leviathan now holds on the collective American body.
It’s tough being a Democrat. Every election cycle, donkey club members must go through the excruciating process of endless spinal implementation surgeries just to muster enough backbone to mouth the liberal platitudes that ostensibly constitute the foundations of America’s only major “progressive” political party. But let’s be honest: it’s hard being a liberal when the foamy-mouthed wingnuts are nipping at your tucked-back tail and the empathy-starved financial sector is flooding your coffers with Federal Reserve chicken feed.
The perpetual question-asking about what it means to be a liberal is once again in full swing amidst of the early primary campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The major issue at hand is just how much punishment the next potential Democratic president ought to reign down — Sodom and Gomorrah-like — on that craven nest of Sherif of Nottinghams known as the American Financial Sector.
If you haven’t yet gotten your ticket to board the 2016 Trump Train, you’d better move quickly, because tickets are going fast and The Donald is racing down the GOP primary tracks with a head full of more steam than a four-star Turkish Hammam.
Donald Trump recently graced Iowa (which, along with New Hampshire, is America’s key primary-season schtupping ground) with his presence by barnstorming the barn-dotted Iowa State Fair in true Trump style. The Donald landed his helicopter amidst the cavalcade of Americana that is double-bacon-wrapped corn dogs and life-size butter cow sculptures. He also gave helicopter rides to an excited gaggle of fresh-faced Murican’ moppets.
And potential GOP voters can’t get enough of it. As one young mother explained, “I’d take him over the president we have now, I think there are better options — but he’s entertaining.”
It’s a wide-open secret that the American South has long been a haven for right-wing political nut-baggery. There are a multitude of reasons for this, many of which I discussed in a piece for Salon. But over the last few decades, a particular style of extreme, far-right, anti-government, gun-humping circle-jerkitude has found fertile ground in the good ole’ U.S. of A’s scattered rural hamlets. In America’s amber-waves-of-grain littered Heartland — much of which is still in the South — far-right populist movements have multiplied like deranged Donald Trump statements. They don’t share much by way of organization, coherent goals, or even basic levels of sanity, but they’re all united in their core belief that the federal government is the root of all evil in the modern world and is hell-bent on snuffing out every backwoods, freedom-firing, bible-believing Bubba from Mayberry to Hooterville.
Donald Trump embodies what it means to be American. No, seriously, hear me out. The Donald is loud, brash, and seemingly allergic to the concept of nuance. Indeed, Trump appears to possess a bottomless well of misguided self-confidence completely unpolluted by the mitigating toxin known as shame. That alone would put him in the pantheon of American leaders who not only carried big sticks, but also wagged them incessantly into the rest of the world’s collectively embarrassed mug.