Enough already of this ceaseless business of shock, horror, and “can he last?” gibbering among America’s gobsmacked journalists and politicians.
I get it that many in the news and electoral industries are bursting their brains trying to make sense of Trump’s rampaging wickedness and seeming immunity to accountability.
But come on, CNN and Democratic Party. Your outraged perplexity is of no damn help here. Had you listened at any point prior to November 8, 2016, tens of millions of Americans could have bluntly filled you in on what we’re dealing with here and what we have to do about it.
For starters, here are three truths that are well understood by the vast majority of Americans – including many white and brown voters, Clinton and Trump voters, Sanders voters, and people who didn’t bother to vote at all:
Trump is not a horrible accident or a foreign invasion. Sure, clandestine Russian boudoir videos and hacked electronic polling systems and malleably anti-informed voters and predatory fake news algorithms on social media all helped set the stage for the Trump presidency. But Trump began when the first white plantation lackey chased the first brown escaped slave into the swamp for money. Trump is every white American who has ever whipped, jailed, feared, fled, lynched, envied, and depended upon brownness as a foil for his or her own invented identity of oppositeness. Trump is the nation’s oldest perpetual offspring: reborn again and again to the embered white demands of cotton and the Reconstruction backlash and Jim Crow and the Nixonian Silent Majority and the urban-aimed War on Drugs and The Wall. The vacuum of insatiable whiteness re-creates the need. Trump provides this moment’s satisfaction. Trump is the youngest 400-year-old American alive. Accidental and contrived? Hell, no. Trump is intrinsically organic to the American diet.
The United States is not a democracy. This is blasphemy to well-meaning campaign donors who have summer homes along the nation’s finest beaches. But it is unbearably obvious to the rest of us. Twenty-first-century America is not even within screaming distance of democracy. The flagrant rule of money over politics has made American democracy an ad slogan and a joke. The United States is a mega-plutocracy whose elite is so surreally wealthy that it excretes sufficient waste to keep its suppressed majority high above the world’s average standard of living. Today’s American corporate monarchy has so far managed to keep a relatively privileged but still abused and suffering white body politic obeisant to unfairness – as long as these white subordinates get the share of privilege to which they have learned from experience to feel entitled.
Trump did not win with lies. Trump won by digging his filthy incisors into a truth that the money wing of the Democratic Party wouldn’t touch: the system is rigged. Modern corporate capitalism is a king’s game that has as much to do with free and fair competition as leprosy has to do with flawless skin. I know: duh. Virtually every working and non-working person in America knows this – except for those who have canyons full of money and those who aspire to. Trump said it aloud – The System Is Rigged – and he said it with a raw and bitter rage that played perfectly to a group of roundly cheated white folks who can’t yet admit that their role as racial overseers is soon to be history. Bernie had a compelling structural prescription (watch his devastatingly detailed policy rundown, at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, of how to cure us of profit-driven health care) and a passionate presence, his awkward-white-guy pedagogy and shortage of mainstream traction notwithstanding, and he could have beaten Trump had the Democratic National Committee not vetoed his opportunity to do so. And Hillary, from her “Stronger Together” jingle on downward, was an exercise in noncommittal sloganeering that inspired legions of passionate hopefuls to stay at home on Election Day. The tragedy of Trump for our country is that he won by dishonestly co-opting the economic populist message that the corporate Democratic Party was afraid to touch – and that he then blended it with brutal racism and misogyny as insurance with his bitter core audience.
The good news, amid the current and future horrors, is that on the day when a charismatic, media-savvy progressive dares to unapologetically own a non-bigoted, f**k-you narrative toward today’s American monarchy, there will be tens of millions of citizens who have reason to listen.