To Defeat Trump, We Need a Vision, a Message and Tactics to Match

Source: Portside/ the Guardian

Author: Stephen Crowley

Emphasis Mine

The US is now more politically divided than at anytime since the civil war. And yet, as of next month, America will be much like a one-party state. With a new US supreme court justice, the party will effectively control all three branches of government. Say goodbye to the famous checks and balances of the US political system. Now the balance, and those checks, will have to come from the streets.

The American political system is broken. Trump lost the popular vote by close to 3m ballots. Yet he has shown a readiness to bully political dissenters, and an inability or unwillingness to disentangle his personal financial interests from the business of running the country.

He has nominated Wall Street tycoons, generals and political extremists to top positions. True, his nominees may get tough questioning, even from some Republicans. But make no mistake: personal flamboyance aside, the Trump agenda is essentially the Republican agenda.

Trump will enter office as perhaps the most unpopular newly elected president in history. And yet the famous institutions established by the US constitution, meant to prevent the usurpation of power by any one individual or faction, no long appear up to the task. That civic responsibility – of organizing to prevent tyranny – must now fall to everyday Americans. But that social movement will need to have a strategic vision, one that connects with the justifiable anger that drove many voters to Trump.

Such powerful social movements are not unprecedented in US history: the organized resistance to British colonial rule; the underground railroad and the abolition movement; the strikes and labor organizing of the 1930s spurring the New Deal; the civil rights movement and the various movements it inspired. Our country, and our world, would look entirely different today without the hard work and struggle of these activists, organizers and resisters.

Yet any protest movement against the extremes of the Trump administration must be strategic and not merely reactive. That means that the tactics must align with the movement’s strategic vision. Simply taking to the streets, blocking traffic or marching on Washington will not be enough. Nor will it suffice to simply revive the Clinton coalition.

The bigotry, sexism and racism of Trump and the extremists he has dredged up must be stopped at all costs. But a successful movement must drive a sharp wedge between Trump and many of the disaffected Americans he drew to his campaign. Single-issue protests must be tied to broader concerns, or they will succumb to Trump’s uncanny ability to divide and conquer.

The soft underbelly of the emerging Trump government is the outrageous claim that he and his fellow billionaire appointees have the interests of America’s working class at heart. The campaign of Bernie Sanders demonstrated the potential for a politics that, while celebrating diversity, calls for a solidarity of the many against the powerful few who continue to benefit from capitalism run amok. And under Trump run amok it certainly will. While Sanders did not “win” in the formal political sense, he inspired millions, including many young people who have historically been the foot soldiers of social movements.

Social movements don’t need a majority to be effective. Research shows [1] that governments around the world have been shaken to their foundations, and often toppled, when a mere 3.5% of their populations [2] are organized in opposition. This is because any government, no matter how much it controls the formal levers of power, must also in the end retain legitimacy.

Questioning the legitimacy of those in power is central because it can lead people to question the nature of power itself: does it lie with the formal power-holders, or with the people themselves? Ultimately, whether a major corporation or a global superpower, any hierarchical organization – much like a human pyramid – relies entirely on the many at the bottom to carry out the orders of those on top.

A couple of recent examples, while seemingly small in themselves, point to the potential for a broader movement of social power. The Fight for 15 campaign has been enormously successful in fighting for a livable minimum wage. And now that Trump has nominated a fast-food mogul for his labor secretary, such campaigns can shine a spotlight on the hypocrisy of the president-elect’s promise to provide “good jobs” for Americans.

The decision to halt the Dakota Access pipeline was a huge victory for Native Americans and environmentalists. But a decisive factor in the Department of Army’s decision might have been the thousands of veterans [3] who mobilized to block the pipeline. If an anti-Trump movement could draw in veterans, police officers, rank-and-file union members, in whatever number, it could prove unstoppable.

Such a movement also needs a strategic vision, with a message of solidarity and tactics to match. It has been done before. The future of our country, and indeed our planet, is at stake. We must do it again.

An appeal from The Guardian: “The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too. If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to pay for it our future would be much more secure. Become a supporter. [4] Make a contribution. [5]

Stephen Crowley is Professor of Politics at Oberlin College, and a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. For many years he has taught a course on nonviolent protest movements and revolutions. 

See: https://portside.org/print/2016-12-16/defeat-trump-we-need-vision-message-and-tactics-match

Moyers ; Winship: The Speech Hillary Should Give Before Trump Takes Office

America needs a watchdog, and Hillary needs to make the sales pitch.

Source: AlterNet

Authors: Moyers/Winship: BillMoyers.com

emphasis mine

Imagine that a day or two before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Hillary Clinton, as the candidate who received the greatest number of votes — and after a period of personal reflection and evaluation — addresses the nation.

My Fellow Americans:

On Friday, January 20th, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. As mandated by our Constitution, he received a majority of the votes in the Electoral College and thus for the next four years will be given the powers and responsibilities of our nation’s chief executive.

But I believe that I, too, have a mandate, one given to me by the 65 million of you who supported me over Donald Trump in the popular vote, some 2.6 million votes more than he received.

If we are to continue as a democracy, for the next four years and beyond, those voices cannot stay silent.

I urge every one of you who voted for me to help express that mandate and make sure our voices are heard. As each of them comes up for re-election, we will field candidates to run against Donald Trump and his friends in Congress and the statehouses, and we will run against them hard. But until then, let us prepare by joining together as a movement and creating the constituency of what will be, in effect, a shadow government — one that will serve to track and respond to every single bad action undertaken by the Trump administration and its monolithic Congress.

This shadow government will forthrightly express its opposition to such actions and not only call them out as the damaging policy they are, but also offer constructive alternatives that we believe will serve and advance the proper agenda for our nation. No proposal or executive action will go unanswered. We’ll even voice support if it’s warranted — but I fear so far there is little evidence that will be the case.

Historically, this follows the British tradition of a shadow government created by the party in opposition that monitors the ruling party and creates greater transparency, encouraging an honest dialogue based on facts and a thorough knowledge of history and policy. Our shadow government will reflect the experience and knowledge of a core group of men and women who understand how policy is made in Washington, but it will also call on the wisdom and experience of elected mayors, state legislators, public servants, activists and organizers who know the needs of our municipalities, counties and states across the country.

I propose that for every Cabinet officer named by Donald Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate, we in the opposition will have a shadow cabinet member who will monitor the work of that department and comment as needed.

Consider one example: President-elect Trump has named Tom Price, a US Representative from Georgia, to be secretary of health and human services. He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which now offers health coverage to more than 20 million Americans who have never had it before. Whomever we select as our shadow secretary of health and human services will speak out against repeal — but should Secretary Price recognize reality once he is confirmed and offer changes or alternatives that make sense and do the most good for the people, the shadow secretary will voice support.

What’s more, our opposition will be vocal against any attempt to privatize Medicare, which some leaders of Donald Trump’s party have announced as a major and immediate goal. As a general principle, the shadow secretary would urge that the United States move closer to a single-payer system, a Medicare-for-all health care like those in so many other countries that would be more equitable, save lives and create a healthier, more prosperous society. Does this run contradictory to what I supported during my campaign? Yes, it does. I was on the wrong side of the issue. Most of us are familiar with St. Augustine’s observation that it is human to err; few are aware that he went on to say: “It is devilish to remain willfully in error.”

Our shadow secretary of state and secretary of defense will support America’s interests abroad, remain true to our long-term relationships with NATO members and other allies, and constantly work toward peace. While protecting ourselves from terror, we will continue to be a nation of immigrants that welcomes those who come to us in genuine pursuit of liberty and a fresh start.

Nor will the dog whistles of hatred and prejudice that haunted the campaign and the weeks after go unchallenged. Our shadow department of justice will continue the fight for civil rights and voting rights that the incoming administration threatens to suspend. We will not let discrimination destroy our country.

We will have a shadow secretary of the treasury, a shadow secretary of health and human services, secretary of education and secretary of veterans’ affairs. Each and every Cabinet-level post will have its equivalent, as will the heads of many of the top regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

A shadow version of the Securities and Exchange Commission will speak out against attempts to return Wall Street to the reckless days of speculation and behavior that led up to the terrible financial crash of 2007-08 and the recession that followed. President Obama inherited both and worked hard to lead the recovery. Thanks to the policies of the last several years, President-elect Trump will inherit a thriving economy very different from the one the Republicans left behind in 2004 — and very different from the one he described during his presidential campaign. But I have said to my own friends on Wall Street, whom I came to know as constituents and donors when I served two terms in the Senate, that I now firmly believe that “business as usual” will no longer do. A United States of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase is untenable if prosperity is to reach Main Street instead of hitting a dead end on Wall Street.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is DOA. As candidates, Donald Trump and I agreed on that. Our shadow US trade representative will favor international agreements that continue the flow of goods and services among nations but preserve jobs while generating new ones and protecting our interests. Further, we will monitor transactions like the recent Trump-Pence deal with Carrier, which keeps several hundred jobs in Indiana while still losing hundreds of others to Mexico in exchange for the kind of tax breaks that Donald Trump denounced during his campaign. We’ll tell the truth behind the propaganda and the optics, and work instead toward a healthy, thriving atmosphere for economic growth.

A shadow Federal Communications Commission will oppose media consolidation and resist attempts by a Trump-era FCC to overturn the net neutrality rulings that protect a free and open internet. And a shadow Environmental Protection Agency will make sure that any attempts to pollute clean air and water, to pay off industry with deregulation, will be unable to hide in the shadows away from the public eye.

You get the idea. In doing all of this, we hope to bolster the system of checks and balances essential to our republic — a system that already is being battered by an onslaught of irrational, authoritarian impulses. In the face of the fake news epidemic that infects social media, we’ll make freely available to the press and the public facts and data essential to the functioning of a representative government in which all viewpoints are fairly heard.

We will call out the continuing scourge of money in politics.  Every one of us in politics knows that even as we seek the votes of everyday Americans during our campaigns, once elected it is the big donors who get our ear. I am especially disturbed that President-elect Trump has named as his White House counsel Donald McGahn, a man who has eviscerated campaign finance reform in our nation. We also note that many of his Cabinet choices, including Secretary of the Treasury-designate Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of Education-designate Betsy DeVos have donated or bundled millions for Donald Trump and the Republican PartyAs the Center for Responsive Politics has noted, Ms. De Vos and her family have  given “at least $20.2 million to Republican candidates, party committees, PACs and super PACs” — some of it to senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will vote on her confirmation.

Our shadow government will support the reversal of Citizens United and other court decisions that have flooded politics with rich people’s money. During the recent campaign, I called over and again for reversing Citizens United, and I realize now that my own fundraising among the wealthy compromised my position. Again, I was on the wrong side. Sen. Bernie Sanders was on the right side. He showed all of us that you can mount an effective national campaign with small donations from millions of American citizens. That’s the way we must go. Our shadow government will be dedicated to ending the buying of America by the superrich.

The Washington swamp that Donald Trump has pledged to empty obviously will not be “drained,” given his myriad conflicts of interest, the “kitchen cabinet” of corporate CEOs he has chosen to advise him, and his support of the same old revolving door between corporate America and government. Our shadow government will call out those who spin through that door — including members of Congress from both parties, who pass through it at dizzying speeds to join lobby and legal firms that use their influence to line their pockets and swell the profits of the corporations that hire them.

It’s time to end the crony capitalism that backslaps and pays off its pals as it kicks the working class to the curb. No more bribes in the form of tax cuts for big business. No more backdoor deals — or threats — that briefly generate jobs or only temporarily keep them in America.

Again, I know that some of you are saying that Hillary Clinton has been guilty of many of these things, too. And again I say, to a great degree, yes, it’s true. You know the words of the great American poet Walt Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself.” But I want to go deeper than that, and say that when you lose a campaign for the presidency, despite receiving millions more votes than your opponent, you ask yourself: “Where did I go wrong? How was I tone deaf? Why couldn’t I reach the people who doubted me and convince them I was on their side?” I see clearly now that I simply didn’t understand or appreciate the full extent of people’s frustration with how lopsided our political system is in favor of privilege, or how the inequality in our economy has devastated their own lives and their children’s futures. It is the greatest mistake of my political career.

I’d like to think I have learned from this last campaign how and why my party and our nation have gone wrong. It’s the painful lesson of my long career in public service, and I now take to heart the words of historian Mark Mazower, who has said: “The political class has a very impoverished historical memory and as a result it has a very limited imagination. It is by and large made up of people who do not see themselves in politics in order to effect sweeping change and so they tend to operate very incrementally and very technocratically. They’re very suspicious of vision and as a result what fills their brains is party calculation – which of course always occupies politicians but in the past coexisted with bigger things.”

This must end. Our shadow government will be devoted to the vision of bigger things and a better America for all. All of you will be able check our progress. And we will regularly hold hearings around the country to listen to what you have to say, especially in the regions where so much economic hardship and personal loss have resulted in millions of voters sending up a cry for change, no matter the messenger.

In the immediate days to come, we will hammer out the details on how best to choose and organize this watchdog government. I hope you will join with me and offer your thoughts as we identify those who carefully will watch the Donald Trump presidency and report to you his missteps, excesses — and when called for, his successes.

Our eyes are upon you, Donald Trump. As we work to protect and better our country, you will hear from us, loud and clear. We will not be complacent and we will not allow the trampling of our republic to go unchallenged.

Thank you. May God bless — and save — America.

(N.B.: no supernatural powers are in play: we must save ourselves!)

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com.

Michael Winship is the president of the Writers Guild of America, East and senior writer of BillMoyers.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship.

see:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/hillary-clinton-inaugural-address?akid=14969.123424.EW___0&rd=1&src=newsletter1068417&t=4

Trump’s Biggest Scam: Fooling His Voters into Thinking He’s One of Them

Trump’s actual relationship to the establishment is complex in an opportunistic way.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Nomi Prins, Craig Wilson / Tom Dispatch

Emphasis Mine

This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.

Give the guy credit.  Donald Trump makes perspective — on him at least — almost inconceivable, and that’s no small accomplishment.  Is he heading up or down?  Polling well or poorly?  Going to win or lose?  Who knows?  Take Nate Silver whose FiveThirtyEight website recently launched its poll of polls with The Donald having only a 19% chance of taking the presidency.  Silver was remarkably on target in election years 2008 and 2012, but he’s been off when it comes to Trump (and he’s hardly alone), so who really has a clue what that 19% may really mean on November 8th?

For months and months, Trump has performed a masterful version of media jiu-jitsu, leveraging the interest in him from what seems like every journalist, newspaper, website, and cable news network on Earth into more free publicity and coverage than any individual may ever have gotten.  It’s been impossible to escape the man. There probably wasn’t a day in months without a Donald Trump story (or often multiple ones) and he’s regularly dominated the news cycle with his latest outrageous statement or provocation, no matter what else is going on.  There is no Brexit without Donald Brexit; no ISIS without Donald ISIS, no Hillary without Donald Hillary.  He hires, fires, invites, rejects, embraces, insults, tweets, challenges, denies, refuses, ingratiates, blackballs — and whatever he does, it’s news By definition.  And don’t forget the endless scribblers and talking heads, faced with his all-invasive version of reality, who cough up reams of “analysis” about him, which only furthers the way he Trumps the world, no matter what they write or say.

You can almost hear the echoing voice from some ninth rate horror film echoing down the corridors: I tell you, you can run, but you can’t hide, ha, ha, ha, ha…

In Donald Trump’s world, as far as I can tell, there is only one reality that matters and it can be summed up in two words that begin with D and T.  Were he to become president, he would give Louis XIV’s famed phrase — whether or not the French king actually said it — “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state”), new meaning.

During these past many months of Trumpery, Nomi Prins has been sorting out the nature of the money game in American politics (onshore and off) for TomDispatch.  Now, she turns to the billionaire who has taken possession of us all.  Her focus: his frenetic version of “You’re fired!” this election season and how that’s played out with the Republican establishment, without whom (and without whose money) she doubts he can make it to the Oval Office.-Tom Engelhardt

Donald Trump’s Anti-Establishment Scam
The Insider Posing as an Outsider Trying to Get Back on the Inside

By Nomi Prins with Craig Wilson

Establishment: A group in a society exercising power and influence over matters of policy, opinion, or taste, and seen as resisting change.” — Oxford Dictionary

Early on in his presidential bid, Donald Trump began touting his anti-establishment credentials. When it worked, he ran with it.  It was a posture that proved pure gold in the Republican primaries, and was even, in one sense, true. After all, he’d never been part of the political establishment nor held public office, nor had any of his family members or wives.

His actual relationship to the establishment is, however, complex in an opportunistic way. He’s regularly tweeted his disdain for it. (“I wish good luck to all of the Republican candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?”) And yet, he clearly considered himself part of it and has, at times, yearned for it. As he said early on in his run for the presidency, “I want the establishment — look, I was part of the establishment.  Let me explain. I was the establishment two months ago. I was like the fair-haired boy. I was a giver, a big giver. Once I decided to run, all of a sudden I’m sort of semi-anti-establishment.”

An outsider looking to shake up the government status quo? An insider looking to leverage that establishment for his own benefit?   What was he?  He may not himself have known.

He once rejected the idea of taking establishment (or Super PAC) money, only — more recently — to seek it; he rebuffed certain prominent establishment players, only to hire others to help him (and fire yet more of them).  He’s railed against the establishment, then tried to rally it to his side (even as he denounced it yet again). Now, with the general election only four months away, it turns out that he’s going to need that establishment if he is to have a hope in hell of raising the money and organizing the troops effectively enough to be elected. There, however, is the rub: power brokers don’t suffer the slings and arrows of “outsider” scorn lightly.

As a result, if he now needs the establishment more than he’d publicly admit, it may not matter.  He may find himself ostracized by the very party he’s set to represent.

Once upon a time not so long ago, making America great again involved a bankroll untainted by the Republican political establishment and its billionaire backers. There would, The Donald swore, be no favors to repay after he was elected, no one to tell him what to do or how to do it just because they had chipped in a few million bucks.  But for a man who prides himself on executing only “the best” of deals (trust him) this election has become too expensive to leave to self-reliance.

One thing is guaranteed: Donald Trump will not pony up a few hundred million dollars from his own stash.  As a result, despite claims that he would never do so, he’s finally taken a Super PAC or two on board and is now pursuing more financial aid even from people who don’t like him. Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, erstwhile influential billionaire backers of Ted Cruz, have, for instance, decided to turn their Make America Number 1 Super PAC into an anti-Hillary source of funds — this evidently at the encouragement of Ivanka Trump.

In the big money context of post-Citizens United presidential politics, however, these are modest developments indeed (particularly compared to Hillary’s campaign).  To grasp what Trump has failed to do when it comes to funding his presidential run, note that the Our Principles Super PAC, supported in part by Chicago Cubs owners Marlene Ricketts and her husband, billionaire T.D. Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts, has already raised more than $18.4 million for anti-Trump TV ads, meetings, and fundraising activities. (On the other hand, their son, Pete, Republican Governor of Nebraska, has given stump speeches supporting Trump.)

To put this in context, that $18.4 million is more than the approximately $17 million that all of Trump’s individual supporters, the “little people,” have contributed to his campaign.  (He is no Bernie Sanders who raised $220 million from individuals in the 2016 campaign season.) Even with all his wealth, Trump is in a funding nightmare, lacking the confidence of the Republican party and its most generous loyalists.

To be sure, other establishment billionaires have expressed support for Trump, like funding kingpin Sheldon Adelson who said he’d fork over $100 million to the Trump cause. It’s just that he hasn’t done that yet. Chris Christie is similarly trying to help raise funds for the campaign.  But the man-who-would-be-veep hasn’t had much luck. So far, at least, Trump’s biggest establishment supporters have been more talk than action.

The Trump Team

In addition to the usual money not flowing in from the usual crowd, there’s the issue of actually preparing to staff a future administration with the usual people, not to speak of the seasoned set of advisers that normally surround presidential candidates. Increasingly, it seems that they may not be available or have already left the proverbial building — and that’s a problem.

Trump has vowed to fill his administration with “the best people.” (In a perfect world, they would, of course, be his clones.) Yet so far, he’s been pursuing what he has characterized as a “lean” strategy, which means that few are yet on board and it’s getting late in the game to fake it.

Usually by this time in the election cycle, nominees have pulled together their inner circle, mostly from well-known or rising establishment players, including policy wonks by the bucketful.  He hasn’t.  According to Vin Weber, a D.C.-based partner at Mercury, which bills itself as a global, high-stakes public strategy firm, who crafted Mitt Romney’s “policy shop” in 2012, the lack of infrastructure is unprecedented. Romney’s policy shop was first formed 18 months before the 2012 election and fine-tuned in January 2012. We’re in July 2016 and from Trump on this score — nothing. Nada. “Nobody in Washington that I know of,” Weber says, “is assembling a staff for an incoming Trump administration.”

Given his public war with his party, Trump may find himself without anyone left to fire.  It’s one thing to cut back on government, another to have no one around to do anything.

Maybe winging it on national policy and disparaging those who might someday make such policy is endearing in The Donald, but not to the Washington establishment.  Whatever the case, it might be useful before the Republican convention, which already promises to be a bizarre spectacle, to consider who Trump’s “best people” are — and aren’t — at the moment. Who are his most loyal advisers and supporters? Who would take a political bullet for him or put that bullet in him?

For the answers to such questions, it’s necessary to consider three categories: blood, money, and power. In the land of Trump (and Clinton), of course, blood — that is, family — comes first; financial interests, second; and the political power-elite (a.k.a. the establishment), last.

For Trump, family is foremost; general election finances are still remarkably lacking; and that final group remains infinitesimal, given how big the Washington establishment actually is.  And do note that this has not been because The Donald hasn’t tried to broaden his establishment support. He just seems congenitally unable to succeed at it.  It’s a deal he can’t broker. His supporters may think of him as one of them, but his outsider status has come about by default, not by strategic choice, and it shows.

Trump’s most loyal support comes from his family who make up his core “board of advisers.”  They are anything but inside-the-Beltway types.  If, however, he were to make it to the Oval Office, they could certainly be the new Clintons, the latest bloodline in Washington.

So from family to finances to establishment, here’s a rundown on key players in Trump World, who’s up and who’s down, who’s in and who’s out.

Trump’s Establishment Gets on Board

Ivanka Trump, Campaign Adviser

Omnipresent in his campaign, daughter Ivanka is the executive vice president of development and acquisitions in the Trump Organization. She “actively participates in all aspects of both Trump® and Trump branded projects.” The presidency is, of course, the ultimate branded project and were the economy to fall off a cliff one Trumpian day, the White House might make the perfect Trump luxury condo building.

For all practical purposes, Ivanka, not wife Melania, is Trump’s “first lady” (in waiting). She appeared on the presumptive board of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice.  It was widely rumored that she was the one who had the clout to get Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager who lifted Trump to victory in the primaries, fired. Put another way, the “establishment apprentice” got the shaft because he crossed the person with the real power in Trump’s campaign.

Before the turn of the twentieth century, the Stillmans (bankers) married the Rockefellers (industrialists) to breed young Stillman-Rockefellers who controlled a chunk of the banking sector for decades while advising multiple presidents. Depending on the fate of Donald Trump’s presidential bid, perhaps the 2009 Jared-Ivanka merger (wedding) will someday be seen in the same light.  It was, after all, witnessed by an array of movie stars, television personalities, and politicians like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and present New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

If Trump is elected, Kushner could wind up appointed, say, Secretary of Real Estate. (Okay, that post doesn’t actually exist — yet.) Kushner set up critical meetings between Trump and key Republican dignitaries and leaders that were meant to elevate his father-in-law’s relationship with the party establishment.

In early May, the New York Times reported that “Donald J. Trump has asked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to begin quietly compiling a blueprint for a transition team should he win the White House in November.” If his recent actions are a guide, Kushner will undoubtedly try to snag some significant establishment players as the race progresses.

Paul Manafort, New Campaign Manager

Manafort, a man of controversy, comfortable with wealth and luxury (though refusing any cash compensation for being on the Trump Train), has 40 years of work for the Republican Party establishment under his belt. In addition to being a former principal at the lobbying firm of Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, he played a leading role in George H.W. Bush’s nomination at the 1988 convention, Bob Dole’s in 1996, George W. Bush’s in 2000, and John McCain’s in 2008.

For a campaign selling anti-establishmentism, having a manager from the inner circles of D.C. might seem like sheer Trumpocrisy, but such seeming contradictions are the essence of The Donald.

Manafort, by the way, has kept an apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, which, as we know, is “one of the world’s elite luxury residences, catering to public figures, athletes, celebrities, and other affluent sophisticates.” In other words, he’s establishment with a view.

Michael Glassner, Deputy Campaign Manager

Glassner is another classic insider. An adviser to the George W. Bush campaign of 2000, he became a top adviser to Sarah Palin in the 2008 election (which may have been a recommendation in Trump’s eyes). He had also once been an adviser to Bob Dole and the Southwest regional political director for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. Glassner is one of the small team of Trump’s establishment guys reportedly responsible for his chaotic preparations for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Donald F. McGahn II, Chief Legal Counsel

McGahn, one of Washington’s best-connected lawyers, is legal counsel for Trump and a partner at Jones Day, the elite law firm that lists anti-trust and government regulation as its top specialties. By February 2016, the firm had already received more than $500,000 in payments from the Trump campaign.

According to MSNBC’s Zachary Roth, McGahn “was a crucial player in creating the out-of-control campaign finance system that his boss now denounces.”  He has helped connect Trump with Republican congressional leaders at his D.C. offices, further dispelling the myth that Trump is anti-establishment.

Steven Mnuchin, National Finance Chairman

Not to be outdone by Hillary’s Wall Street connections, Trump recently bagged a former Goldman Sachs partner to run his fundraising operation (the one he used to say he didn’t need). In terms of Mnuchin’s own political contributions, like the firm he once worked for, he’s spread the wealth around. He donated to both Romney and Obama. He also contributed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate andpresidential campaigns. In 2012, he donated $20,000 to the Republican National Committee. Overall, Mnuchin has contributed more than $120,000 to political groups over the past two decades, slightly favoring Democrats.

Shades of Trump, according to Variety, he left Relativity Media, where he had been a co-chairman, two months before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. He also led a group of billionaire investors that took over beleaguered California bank IndyMac from the FDIC at a bargain price during the financial crisis, profiting, that is, from the pain of California’s foreclosure victims.

Who’s Gone From the Trump Train?

The list of those who have jumped off or were thrown from the Trump train is also heavy on establishment types, though most weren’t exactly from its crème de la crème. Among them were:

Corey Lewandowski, Former Campaign Manager

Lewandowski developed his establishment muscle working for various Koch Brother initiatives and was legislative political director of the Republican National Committee in 2001. He had also worked for three congressional representatives and, most recently, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers-funded organization.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s analysis of Federal Election Commission documents, Lewandowski was “paid $20,000 a month,” — the equivalent of an annual salary of $240,000, “or 45% more than 2012 GOP nominee and multimillionaire Mitt Romney paid his senior staffers.” He was involved in a notorious incident with a female Breitbart reporter.  It seems that, organizationally, he lost out to Paul Manafort, alienated Ivanka, and in June was fired by Trump.  He hit the tracks running — CNN promptly hired him as an on-air analyst for a reported $500,000.

Stuart Jolly, Former National Field Director

Jolly resigned on April 18th. He had previously worked at the Oklahoma chapter of the Koch brothers’ flagship group, Americans for Prosperity, and also at the Education Freedom Alliance, an organization focused on expanding school choice and free-market economics.

Upon leaving he offered this advice to Trump: “My hope is that you will continue to listen to those who have propelled you to victory.” However, he soon returned as a national adviser for political and fundraising activities at the pro-Trump Super PAC, Great America.

Roger Stone, Former Top Adviser

Stone, too, has been an establishment GOP operative for decades. In 1974, he left his position as staff assistant for Senator Bob Dole amid controversy over Nixon White House “dirty tricks.” Five years later, he co-founded the National Conservative Political Action Committee where he developed a knack for creating negative campaign ads.  Before he resigned from the Republican Party on his blog in 2012, he had worked on 12 Republican presidential campaigns.

The story of his fate in the Trump campaign is murky. The Donald insists he fired Stone, while Stone insists that he was the one who said, “You’re fired!”

Rick Wiley, Veteran Republican Adviser

An establishment player and a former political director for the Republican National Committee, he was removed as Trump’s national political director in May 2016, two months after having been brought on board by Paul Manafort. The media cited various unnamed sources offering various reasons why.  Whatever the explanation, he was in and then he was out, because measured thinking about position selection isn’t a Trump priority.  Wiley now works for the Republican National Committee.

Jared Kushner, Campaign Adviser-in-Law

Ivanka’s husband, real-estate developer Jared Kushner, tried to persuade one and all that his ownership of the New York Observer didn’t make the paper’sendorsement of The Donald any less objective.

Who Doesn’t Want to Be Seen at Trump Station?

The list of establishment players exhibiting no interest in associating with The Donald or an absolute animus against him seems to expand by the day. It includes, of course, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, and Lindsey Graham, among so many others — key players all in the Republican Party. Romney typically didn’t mince words, saying, “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: he gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.”

Romney might be wrong about the hat.

Meanwhile, a troop of prominent Republicans are heading for the hills, not the party’s convention. Congressional representatives are going into opposition; convention delegates pledged to Trump are restless and other delegates are muttering about revolt. A former Republican national security adviser and a former Republican treasury secretary (and former Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO) have thrown their support to Hillary and the establishment cast of characters thinking about heading for the exits continues to lengthen.

If much of the rest of the establishment follows the present pattern and departs Trump Station, what will this election look like? If history is any guide, family is not enough in American politics, only in banking. A candidate needs a party establishment for everything from experience to organization to money.

Trump himself lacks experience in government or public service of any sort. He’s essentially at sea when it comes to what it might mean to govern this country.  In this, he is anything but typical among Republican frontrunners who became president.  William Taft was a former secretary of war. Herbert Hoover was secretary of commerce. Warren Harding was a senator. Calvin Coolidge was his vice president. Dwight Eisenhower was a decorated general. Richard Nixon was his vice president and had been in Congress for years. Ronald Reagan was, yes, an actor, but had also been the governor of California. George H.W. Bush had been a congressman, an ambassador, and director of the CIA. His son was, of course, governor of Texas.

If Trump continues to play the outsider card (as he essentially must, given what his supporters now expect) and continues to alienate ever more of the establishment, he’s likely to find himself fighting a battle of diminishing returns in his own party. And what about that establishment’s money? After all, what’s an election these days but a pile of donated money and backroom deals?

We know he raised significantly less than Jeb, Ted, and Marco and still beat them in the primaries, and that undoubtedly gave him a certain unrealistic sense of what was possible in a presidential campaign. The result: this May his campaign raised only $1.3 million to Hillary’s $42.5 million. If that’s a sign of what’s to come and his supporters, unlike those of Bernie Sanders (the only true populist in the race) don’t begin to up the ante drastically, watch out. 

Unsurprisingly, establishment pockets are looking a good deal less deep these days when it comes to him, though Trump has begun to say that he might need to find up to $1.5 billion to run this race.  Key establishment money-raising figures have now visibly turned their backs on him, just as he did on them.

The Koch brothers are not atypical in refocusing the future contributions of their Super PACs on Republican races in the Senate and House. Charles Koch even signaled the possibility, however faint, of taking a further step and using his money for the other side. “We would have to believe [Hillary’s] actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way,” he said in an interview on ABC’s This Week. When asked if it was possible that another Clinton could be better than a Republican, he added, “It’s possible.” (With establishment money, all things are possible.)

Outside groups — PACs and Super PACs on both sides of the aisle — have already spent a combined $34.1 million on Senate and House races, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of Federal Election Commission data. That’s nearly double the amount spent at this point in the 2012 campaign. The Freedom Partners Action Fund Super PAC, a political arm of the Koch empire, has dividednearly $10 million among four key Senate races in Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. It has, however, kicked in only $36,000 for anti-Hillary efforts and not a penny for Trump.

American Crossroads, a Karl Rove Super PAC, is also opting to focus on Republicans in the Senate, though so far it has doled out just $100,000 for that effort and $135,000 against Hillary. Rove has called Trump “a petty man consumed by resentment and bitterness,” which tells you all you need to know about where he’s likely to put his outfit’s money this election season.

It’s increasingly clear that the GOP establishment is playing a different end game than The Donald. Whether Trump or Hillary wins, they want a Congress stacked in favor of their needs, and perhaps many of them are looking to a Paul Ryan run in 2020 as their saving grace.

Trump Wins

So here’s a question for that ultimate insider of outsiders: Can Donald Trump actually lose the 2016 election?  Let’s say Hillary beats him, as the polls of the moment suggest she will.  Has he lost?  Probably not.

After all, he’s brought his brand to a far broader global audience on a stage so much larger than any Apprentice imaginable. He could lose dramatically, blame the Republican establishment for being mean to him, and then expand the Trump brand into new realms, places like Russia, where he’s long craved an opening. Vladimir Putin and he could golf together bare-chested while discussing the imminent demise of the American empire. “My country could have been great again,” he could sigh, “if only it had voted me in.” His consolation prize: a Trump Casino in Moscow’s Red Square?

In other words, whether the establishment supports him or not, whether he wins on November 8th or not, his brand wins, which means that he triumphs.

Consider this: the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue with views of the White House is already wrapped in blue Trump International banners as it’s being converted into a luxury hotel. Due to open two years ahead of schedule and two months before Election Day, it’s one of Ivanka’s projects.  It ensures that her father has branded the avenue regardless of whether he ends up in the White House or not. Given the property’s location and what its “presidential suite” is sure to look like, working in the Oval Office might prove to be a downgrade.

 Nomi Prins, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of six books, a speaker, and a distinguished senior fellow at the non-partisan public policy institute Demos. Her most recent book is All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power (Nation Books). She is a former Wall Street executive.

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/donald-trumps-anti-establishment-scam-insider-posing-outsider-trying-get-back-inside?akid=14424.123424.NykLLl&rd=1&src=newsletter1059895&t=8

It’s “the Donald”

Trump’s political successes come from throwing out the rules, and saying what he pleases—now it’s going to reflect on the party itself.

Source:AlterNet

Author: Stephen Rosenfeld

Emphasis Mine 

Republicans across the country are swallowing hard and wondering what Donald Trump is going to be like as their presidential candidate—as if the answers are not clear enough.

Some are hoping he will dial down his vulgar mouth and start acting presidential, as if magically transformed by what mainstream media had been calling an “aura of inevitability.” You saw hints of that in his speech Tuesday night, where, in his typical swing of the pendulum style, he praised Ted Cruz after savaging him for days, even accusing Cruz’s father of consorting with John F. Kennedy’s assassin.

(N.B.: I submit that a candidate qualified for POTUS should BE presedential, not need to ‘act’ the role.

Americans who have been paying attention already know more than enough about Trump, even if he has a showman’s gift to endlessly keep stunning and provoking. That is why two-thirds of Americans not only tell pollsters they not only strongly disappove of him, but many are scared of him. Hillary Clinton’s negatives are high, but not like that.

There are open questions about the race as it enters a new orbit, such as how low will his ugly swipes go, or what scandals from Trump’s past will emerge, or how and when will Democrats hit back, and will they be able to stop him when all the Republican presidential hopefuls did not? The Democrats, and especially Hillary Clinton, have their playbook, while Trump’s political successes have come from throwing out the rules.

Here are seven things we know about Trump and what his candidacy will likely mean, even as the country heads into new territory led by a crazed super-celebrity billionaire.

1. Trump won’t keep his mouth shut. Any notion of better behavior or a classier act has repeatedly shown itself to be a mirage. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has said that Trump will continue to be Trump, because he is “a person who tells it like it is.” That means building himself up by putting others down, whether it’s attacking Mexicans, Muslims, women who question him or his values, and anybody else for any headline-grabbing reason.

2. His persona is based on unpredictability. He bragged to the Washington Post’s editorial board that part of being a top negotiator was acting out and upsetting the other side’s expectations. And so he can be rabidly anti-choice to please evangelicals, yet come out for same-sex marriage, saying he’s known Elton John and his partner for years. Or within 24 hours he can trash Ted Cruz and then praise him. Trump believes this somehow is a magnificent virtue, not a liability for the person at the helm of national power. As Lewandowski said, Trump “has the ability to change the narrative at any moment,” as if that is a bedrock principle for governing. When Bill Clinton was president, he infamously said and believed whatever he wanted on TV all the time—facts be damned. But Trump is introducing a whole other level of dysfunction.

3. There will be no moderate makeover. That’s the old cliché; appeal to the purists and extremists to win primaries and caucuses, and come the General Election, tack to the political center because that’s where tens of millions of voters who didn’t take part in the nominating contests start paying attention. (In 2016, it looks like the primary and caucus turnout will be 30 percent of all voters next fall.)  But there is no way Trump can pretend to be moderate, given everything he has already said and social media’s reach. There’s no denying that he exults in ranting and raging as has been seen on the campaign trail. There’s no undoing what he’s done and said ad nauseum for months.

4. He’ll split the party into factions. After Trump won Indiana, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called for the party to line up behind the presumptive nominee. That will be much harder for Republican candidates running this fall, who, looking at their own futures, will have to decide if they’ll run with him, in spite of him, or against him. All those shades are already occuring, with many longtime party leaders saying never. These fissures are likely to cost the GOP its U.S. Senate majority.

Before Trump’s clinching the nomination, there were predictions the Senate was ripe for a Democratic takeover. Twenty-four of the 34 Senate seats in play this fall are held by Republicans. Democrats only need to pick up five for a majority. The party has strong candidates in states that turn out blue majorities in presidential years, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania. Trump not onlweakens these GOP incumbents, his candidacy raises a question of what may happen in the House, though GOP gerrymandering after 2010’s redistricting still deeply favors House Republicans. Nonetheless, there’s little to suggest that Trump is about to become the great unifier, meaning Republicans could face a historic meltdown and defeat this fall.

5. His campaign will be marred by scandal. Most people—except for supporters who have fallen under his “make America great again” spell—know that Trump has issues with telling the truth. You can be sure there’s plenty of dirt behind however rich he really is. The country has yet to see his tax returns, which will be a Pandora’s box of slick moves to avoid taxes. There’s Trump’s four business bankrupties involving $4.7 billion in debt, where small business vendors at his casinos were partly paid, hurting the little guy. He has a little-known but extensive history with New York City’s mob, as he built and ran his casinos according to journalists who covered him for decades. And there is even his strange personal life, as pondered by the New Yorker’s new profile of a future possible first lady, Melania Trump.

6. Toss in the Supreme Court and it gets uglier. It is pretty easy to decode the game Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been playing doing everything he can to block President Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee. McConnell is going for broke, hoping somehow the GOP will not lose its conservative majority on the Court for decades, even if it loses the White House in the shorter run. But add that stonewalling to Trump’s raging and what emerges is a political season where Americans are going to have to decide if they’re ready to hand more power to people who want to upend many things in wholly untried and untested ways. Conservatives might say Bernie Sanders is also a bombthrower, but his remedies have substantial precedents in the 1930s New Deal policies of Franklin Roosevelt and 1960s Great Society programs of Lyndon Johnson. Not so with these Republican “leaders” and a Trump-led GOP.

7. A nasty race will get nastier. Trump has singlehandedly brought a dirtier level of gutter politics to presidential politics, embracing every smear in sight and enjoying his taunts, bullying and strongman act. He’s already gone after Hillary Clinton for playing the “woman card,” being incompetent, being a terrible person, accomodating her cheating husband, and more. Despite these juvenile antics, Democrats know what it means if they lose the media narrative to a headline-provoking stuntman. They are also well aware that Hillary’s unfavorable ratings in national polls are akin to Trump’s.

The Democrats will hit back and hit hard, but the question is not just when and how, but who? There are reports that Democratic super PACs are buying multi-millions in TV ads before the Republican Convention to shape impressions—as if that was needed (and might backfire by playing into his hands as being a target). Nonetheless, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, as many expect, will Bill step it up? Will the current president? Trump is not the only sharp-tongued politician in America.

But Don’t Worry, Be Happy 

Paul Manafort, an older Washington hand who was hired to be Trump’s Republican National Convention manager, told the Republican National Committee in its recent meetings in Florida that Trump has just been “playing” a part just to get the nomination and he will change once he starts campaigning for the fall.

Talking about saying anything that closes a deal! That’s like being told by the candidate himself to sit down, make yourself at home at one of his resorts, relax and have a drink, grab a meal, play some golf, grab a spa treatment and then get the super-sized bill.

It will be one thing to see Republicans pay the price for embracing Trump, and another for Americans who will be forced along for the upcoming ride. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about the coming Trump candidacy is that while he may be taking all of the country and the GOP into the gutter with him, if the past is prologue, there’s a chance Trump and his party will be left in the gutter for years to come.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008).

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/7-ways-gop-about-become-national-freak-show-trump-their-nominee?akid=14225.123424.TpSJQx&rd=1&src=newsletter1055895&t=2

Why the Conditions Were Perfect for Bernie’s Socialist Crusade

Behind Bernie’s unlikely appeal is a generation marred by precarious employment and economic disruption.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Robert Kuttner

Emphasis Mine

Once again, Bernie Sanders has demonstrated, with a trifecta of big wins in Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington State, that he has broad and enthusiastic support, especially among the young. Equally astonishing is the large percentage of voters who say they are attracted rather than repelled by Sanders’s embrace of socialism.

But if you’d bother to conduct your own focus group among Americans under 40, neither phenomenon should be surprising. Except for those graduating from elite universities, with either full scholarships or wealthy tuition-paying parents, this is the stunted generation—young adults venturing into a world of work, loaded with student debt, unable to find stable jobs or decent careers.

This is also the post-Cold War generation, for whom Soviet communism is a distant memory (along with reliable jobs). For this generation of Americans, capitalism is not exactly a good word, nor is socialism a bad one.

And this is the generation that finds employer-paid health insurance hard to find; often the “Bronze” version of the Affordable Care Act, with its high out-of-pocket payments, is all they can afford; a generation paying too much of unreliable incomes in rent, and putting off the dream of homeownership and having children.

So, when a candidate comes along calling for free college education and free universal health care, and far higher minimum wages, it sounds pretty fine. And if capitalism means the 1 percent making off with everything that isn’t nailed down, then maybe Sanders-style socialism is worth a try. So say the young.

Private frustrations and longings have at last become politicized. And well they should be. Because the reality of the rules of the game turning brutally against the young has nothing to do with technology or the immutable realities of the digital economy—and everything to do with who gets to write the rules.

The policy wonk types like to point out that the Sanders program would require a huge tax increase.

And indeed it would. But as long as the tax hike is on the upper brackets, that only adds to the appeal of the program. During and after World War II, the top marginal tax rate was north of 90 percent, and this was the era of a record economic boom.

At the heart of this generational revolution is the vanishing good job. Until recently, the claims of a new, on-demand economy, made up of short-term gigs, was challenged by economists, even liberal ones.

It was kind of a new category that didn’t show up in the data. You could debate whether Uber and Task Rabbit and kindred companies were good or evil, but they just didn’t affect that many workers.

Now, belatedly, this shift is being confirmed. The economists are right—most of the unreliable jobs are not on-demand gigs. Rather, they are other forms of lousy “contingent” work. That category includes temping, contract work, on-call workers, workers hired by staffing agencies, workers with no job security, and inferior forms of conventional employment like adjunct college professors who can make less than minimum wage, Ph.D.’s and all. (So much for the education cure.)

Jobs that used to pay decently are being turned into inferior jobs, whether in the manufacturing economy or the service economy. Yes there is an uptick in entrepreneurship, but for every young person who creates a company like Amazon, there are tens of thousands working in its warehouses.

The Labor Department, denied adequate funding to update its numbers, had not revised its count of contingent workers. So two eminently mainstream economists, Lawrence Katz of Harvard and Alan Krueger of Princeton (one of the very people carping about the cost of Sanders’ program) hired the Rand Corporation to do what the Labor Department should be doing—surveying actual current workers.

Katz and Krueger analyzed the results. And guess what? They confirmed in rich detail what your local 28-year-old could tell you: Real jobs are getting harder and harder to find. No wonder the uptick in GDP growth is not impressing voters, especially younger ones.

So Sanders is likely to continue making off with the youth vote. Even if he falls short of the nomination, this is bad news for Hillary Clinton. Whatever her other virtues, most young Americans don’t see her speaking to the realities of their condition.

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, reports a 60 percent increase since 2005 in the proportion of U.S. workers who have these inferior forms of employment.

This also presents a real conundrum for mainstream, moderate liberal economists like Katz and Krueger. Altering these trends will require radical reforms, not adjustments at the margins.

Sanders’s program may cost a lot of money. It may be socialistic. And it may require congressional majorities that will be a long time coming. But Sanders has the loyalty of the kids because he is speaking truth.

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect and a visiting professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School. His latest book is Debtors’ Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility.

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/why-conditions-were-perfect-bernies-socialist-crusade?akid=14126.123424.Dqrt5R&rd=1&src=newsletter1053651&t=10

How the U.S. Went Fascist: Mass Media Makes Excuses for Trump Voters

Networks and newspapers are trying to explain away racism from a prominent GOP candidate. That he won the evangelical vote again in Nevada is helpful for us in seeing that American evangelicalism itself is in some part a form of white male chauvinist nationalism and only secondarily about religion.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Jaun Cole/Informed Comment

Emphasis Mine

The rise of Donald Trump to the presumptive Republican standard bearer for president in 2016 is an indictment of, and a profound danger to the American republic.

The Founding Fathers were afraid of the excitability of the voters and their vulnerability to the appeal of demagogues. That is the reason for a senate (which was originally appointed), intended to check those notorious hotheads in Congress, who are elected from districts every two years.

But it isn’t only the checks and balances in government that are necessary to keep the republic. It is the Fourth Estate, i.e. the press, it is the country’s leaders, and the general public who stand between the republic and the rise of a Mussolini. The notables have been shown to be useless. Donald Trump should have been kicked out of the Republican Party the moment he began talking about violating the Constitution. The first time he hinted about assaulting the journalists covering his rallies, he should have been shown the door. When he openly advocated torture (‘worse than waterboarding’), he should have been ushered away. When he began speaking of closing houses of worship, he should have been expelled. He has solemnly pledged to violate the 1st, 4th and 8th Amendments of the Constitution, at the least. If someone’s platform is unconstitutional, it boggles the mind that a major American party would put him or her up for president. How can he take the oath of office with a straight face? The party leaders were afraid he’d mount a third-party campaign. But who knows how that would have turned out? Someone with power needs to say that Trump is unacceptable and to define him out of respectable politics, the same way David Duke is treated (Trump routinely retweets Duke fellow-travellers).

Then there is the mass media. As Amy Goodman has pointed out, corporate television has routinely pumped Trump into our living rooms. They have virtually blacked out Bernie Sanders. Trump seems to have connived to have 10 or 15 minutes at 7:20 every evening on the magazine shows, such as Chris Matthews’ Hardball, who obligingly cut away to Il Duce II’s rants and gave away his show to him on a nightly basis.

Not long ago, extremely powerful television personalities and sportscasters were abruptly fired for saying things less offensive than Trump’s bromides. Don Imus was history for abusive language toward women basketball players. But Trump’s strident attack on Megyn Kelly as a menstruating harridan was just allowed to pass. Jimmy ‘the Greek’ Snyder was fired by CBS for saying African-Americans were ‘bred’ to be better athletes. But Trump issued a blanket characterization of undocumented Mexican labor migrants as rapists, thieves and drug dealers. Of course this allegation is untrue.

I watched the Nevada caucus coverage on MSNBC and was appalled at the discourse. One reporter tried to assure us that Trump voters were not actually voting for racism and bullying politics, they were just upset. But polling in South Carolina demonstrated that Trump voters were significantly to the right of most Republicans on some issues. In SC, 38% of Trump voters wished the South had won the Civil War, presumably suggesting that they regretted the end of slavery.

Another MSNBC reporter helpfully explained that Trump voters feel that ‘political correctness’ has gone too far. But what does Trump mean by ‘political correctness’? He means sexism and racism. So what is really being said is that Trump supporters resent that sexist and racist discourse and policies have been banned from the public sphere. There is ample proof that Trump’s use of ‘political correctness’ identifies it with sexist and racist remarks and actions.

Yet another asserted that ‘some of’ Trump’s positions ‘are not that extreme.’ Exhibit A was his praise for Planned Parenthood. But he wants to outlaw abortion, i.e. overturn the current law of the land, which is extreme. (A majority of Americans support the right to choose, so he is in a minority).

Chris Matthews explained to us that people hoped he would do something for the country rather than for the government.

But Trump has made it very clear that he is not interested in a significant proportion of the people in the country. He is a white nationalist, and his message is that he will stand up for white Christian people against the Chinese, the Mexicans, and the Muslims. Just as Adolph Hitler hoped for an alliance with Anglo-Saxon Britain on racial grounds (much preferring it to the less white Italy), the only foreign leader Trump likes is the ‘white’ Vladimir Putin. That he won the evangelical vote again in Nevada is helpful for us in seeing that American evangelicalism itself is in some part a form of white male chauvinist nationalism and only secondarily about religion.

By the way, the idea that Trump won the Latino vote in Nevada is nonsense. In one of a number of fine interventions at MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out that something on the order of 1800 Latinos voted in the Nevada GOP caucuses, of whom perhaps 800 voted for Trump, i.e. 44% of this tiny group. Trump lost the vote of even this small group of hard right Latinos, since 56% of them voted for someone else.

There are 800,000 Latinos in the state of Nevada (pop. 2.8 million). In 2012, 70 percent of Latinos voted for Barack Obama, while Mitt Romney got 25%. My guess is that Trump can’t do as well among them as Romney did.

It has been a dreadful performance by the press and by party leaders. They are speaking in such a way as to naturalize the creepy, weird and completely un-American positions Trump has taken.

This is how the dictators came to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Good people remained silent or acquiesced. People expressed hope that something good would come of it. Mussolini would wring the laziness out of Italy and make the trains run on time.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked by a lady after the Constitutional Convention what sort of government the US had, he said, “A Republic, Madame, if you can keep it.”

You have to wonder if we can keep it.

Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan and maintains the blog Informed Comment.

 

See:http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/how-us-went-fascist-mass-media-makes-excuses-trump-voters?akid=14008.123424.GcZEKd&rd=1&src=newsletter1051277&t=8

Here’s How 7 of Bernie’s Economic Proposals Would Radically Improve the Majority of Americans’ Lives

Source: AlterNet

Author: Gerald Friedman Dollars and Sense

Emphasis Mine

No one should be surprised by the popular support that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has attracted in his run for president as a democratic socialist. Nor should we be surprised that he has drawn attacks charging that his policies will bankrupt the United States. Sanders’ proposals for infrastructure, early-childhood education, higher education, youth employment, family leave, private pensions, and Social Security would total over $3.8 trillion over 10 years. While this is a large number, it would be barely 6% of federal spending for 2017-2026.

Apart from any benefits these programs would bring directly, their cost would be reduced in four ways: Two operate by offsetting current spending and tax policies—either replacing existing federal spending or reducing tax breaks currently subsidizing private spending. The other two, which account for over 70% of the cost reduction, are the “dynamic effects” of increased economic growth—boosting tax revenues and reducing federal safety-net spending when the economy expands.

A quarter of new spending would be offset by savings and by faster economic growth. (See Figure 1.) The ongoing effects of the Great Recession that began in 2007 have left many resources underutilized. By putting unemployed workers and discouraged workers (who have stopped looking for jobs) back to work, the Sanders program would increase economic activity and government revenues while reducing spending on safety-net programs like Supplemental Nutrition.

Taking these dynamic effects into account, the net cost to the public treasury would be about $2.7 trillion, instead of $3.8 trillion, over 10 years. That is, over a quarter of the total tab would be offset by reductions in other forms of government spending and by increased tax revenue derived from faster economic growth.

Each of the seven spending proposals would benefit from offsets and dynamic effects. (See Figure 2.) Universal childcare and free college tuition, for example, would replace existing spending on programs for childcare assistance and much of the spending on Pell Grants for students at public colleges, spending on infrastructure would offset some required maintenance spending, and raising Social Security benefits would allow some seniors to avoid dependence on Supplemental Nutrition (SNAP) and other safety net programs. The programs would also increase tax revenues by eliminating some existing “tax expenditures”—tax breaks that subsidize private spending—like deductions for employer-provided child care.

The programs would accelerate the recovery from the Great Recession. (See Figure 3.) Eight years after the beginning of the Great Recession, the American economy remains depressed. While the economy has been growing steadily since the end of 2009, output remains nearly 5% below capacity. Only 59% of the adult population is employed, down from over 63% before the recession and the lowest level in 30 years.

I estimate that, due to increased government spending, the Sanders program would increase GDP growth rates for 2017-2026 enough to result in a projected GDP in 2026 $4 trillion higher than without the programs.

The Sanders program would add six million new jobs. (See Figure 4.) The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that, due to sluggish economic growth, the percentage of the working-age population employed will fall between now and 2026, from 59% to 57%. The Sanders program would directly create jobs in infrastructure, in child-care services, in higher education, and for young people. It would also create additional jobs indirectly, as the newly employed and others spend their additional income. All told, I calculate that the program would raise employment by six million jobs by 2026.

Government spending would decline relative to GDP within the decade. (See Figure 5.) Federal spending would initially increase faster than GDP under the Sanders program. After 2021, however, federal spending would be lower as a percentage of GDP than it would be under Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections, because of the strength of the economic recovery engendered by the Sanders stimulus. This is actually a conservative estimate of the boost to GDP because it does not include the productivity-raising effects of infrastructure spending and increased education.

Gerald Friedman teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author, most recently, of “Reigniting the Labor Movement” (Routledge, 2007).

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/heres-how-7-bernies-economic-proposals-would-radically-improve-majority-americans?akid=13995.123424.I4YXYv&rd=1&src=newsletter1051042&t=14