Why Trump-phobia is for rubes
Let's start with this piece:
There's a bunch to chew on in here. Let's start with the cash-on-hand situation:
Despite raising $3.1 million and loaning himself another $2 million, Trump began this month with less than $1.3 million cash on hand.
Clinton, by comparison, raised $28 million and started off June with $42 million in cash.
Now, some people might imagine that this vast disparity doesn't count for a lot. After all, Donald Trump is getting a lot of free time in the news media, isn't he? What needs to be remembered here is how Barack Obama won a second term in the run-up to the 2012 election, by attacking Mitt Romney in the swing states. If this scenario repeats itself this year, Trump will have no real means of fighting back, especially if the mass media can be well-paid to ignore his campaign, as they were when they were ignoring Sanders to prop up Clinton's campaign.
So where are the big moneybag Republicans sending their money, if not to Trump? Clinton. And why not? Clinton has their positions, and even if "The Federalist" wants to pretend that they'll be in "principled opposition" to Clinton, we're talking about someone who has had plenty of practice cozying up to Republicans. Doug Henwood, on Clinton's career in the Senate:
What Hillary did do was make friends with her Republican colleagues. While ideologically dubious, it did have the long-term benefit of softening potential opposition to her future campaigns for the presidency. As Daniel Halper (a smart, nonrabid conservative) writes in his recent book Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine:
I spoke to many, if not all, of Senator Clinton’s biggest opponents within the Republican Party during her time as First Lady. On or off the record, no matter how much they were coaxed, not one of them would say a negative thing about Hillary Clinton as a person — other than observing that her Democratic allies sometimes didn’t like her.
She buddied up to John McCain and attended prayer breakfasts with right-wingers like Sam Brownback of Kansas. She befriended Republicans who had served as floor managers of her husband’s impeachment. Even Newt Gingrich has good things to say about her.
Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee this year by defeating fifteen rivals who were offering the voting public toxic crap in running against each other, by getting a lot of free media from the mainstream press. Trump has thus climbed an easy Republican hill to find himself before the insuperable cliff that Clinton will represent in the November election.
None of these Republican rivals had the web of connections that Hillary Clinton has, and the Democratic Party primary offers prima facie evidence that this is so. It was easy to witness the vast number of celebrities who lined up to parrot their vacuous rationales for a Clinton vote, as well as the wealthy connections in each state who maxed out at Clinton fundraisers and the political connections in about half of the states who could be counted upon to provide election "irregularities" and thus to grant Clinton the margins of victory she wanted.
Meanwhile, a lack of money for Trump means a lack of staffing for Trump:
-- The FEC reports show that Trump has about 70 staffers total, one-tenth as many as Clinton’s 683. But, instead of rushing to staff up, he bragged about it during an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News last night.
Will Trump's political party save him? No.
- One of the problems with Trump depending on the RNC: Many state party leaders don’t like him. Because he’s not building his own field operation, he’s depending on the official GOP apparatus. In Ohio, that means leaning on loyalists to Gov. John Kasich, who is withholding his endorsement, the Columbus Dispatch notes.
What will the Republican Party do?
-- The Stop Trump movement now counts 400 delegates as allies, quickly transforming what began as an idea tossed around on social media into a force that could derail a national campaign,” Ed O'Keefe reports. “While organizers concede their plan could worsen internal party strife, they believe they are responding to deep-rooted concerns among conservatives about Trump. … ‘Short-term, yes, there’s going to be chaos,’ said Kendal Unruh, co-founder of the Free the Delegates movement. ‘Long-term this saves the party and we win the election. Everything has to go through birthing pains to birth something great.’ Unruh said her cause is winning support from ‘the non-rabble rousers. The rule-following, churchgoing grandmas who aren’t out protesting in the streets. This is the way they push back.’”
Not that the challenge to Trump is likely to succeed or anything. Expect Trump to have enough "success" in national polls to scare the nice liberals into voting for Clinton, before his inevitable loss. (55% of them, according to Bloomberg, are already there -- I'm sure Clinton will want the rest.) Otherwise, he's a decoy. He's there because Bill Clinton suggested in a phone call last year that he might "strike a chord" with the Republican base, and in all likelihood he's doing a favor for a friend.
So unless Bernie Sanders can pull a rabbit out of a hat at the Democratic convention, or unless the Republicans can rally the American public around a candidate who will be the product of a delegate revolt, or unless Hillary Clinton herself actually faces indictment for what are most likely her crimes (in open air and with the whole of the elite class backing her), Hillary Clinton will be our next President.
Perhaps such assurances will satisfy some of the Trump-phobes. For the hardcore ones, however, Trump-phobia has an ulterior purpose -- to get support for Hillary Clinton from those (in reality the vast majority of us) who have nothing to gain from a Clinton presidency. Trump-phobia is therefore not likely to go away until the Presidency is firmly in Hillary Clinton's hands. Trump-phobia is about this: "don't build a 'third party,' don't build any sort of alternative to elite rule, because omigod Trump is a fascist, and if he takes power we'll have war and genocide and all that." I have yet to find any real evidence that Donald Trump is serious about his positions, or that he'll be granted a free pass to do what he wants in the White House by a Republican Congress more likely than not to hate him.
Now, there is, to be sure, a kernel of truth in Trump-phobia. Unfortunately for the Trump-phobes, however, it has very little to do with Donald Trump himself. What's scary about Trump is his appeal to what I'm calling "Trumpism," or, more simply, right-wing nationalism. To be sure, The Donald has said things that were racist, sexist, rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. And for this he has acquired a number of white supremacist followers. So indeed Trumpism, the ugly residue pushed to the surface by Donald Trump's campaign, should be feared.
The problem with merely fearing Trumpism, in isolation from the rest of reality, is that Trumpism gets "pushed to the surface," and thus becomes an effective bogeyman for nice liberals, as a response to elite policies which impoverish the masses. (The liberals, meanwhile, have been voting for the particular brand of elites making these policies since Michael Dukakis challenged George H.W. Bush in the 2008 Presidential election.) This is why I argued earlier that a vote for Clinton will not stop Trumpism. When you push policies that are in fact what Trump is promising now, amidst a shrinking middle class and a revolution of reduced expectations, people like Donald Trump appear to be the Great Alternative Candidates that everyone should support. Gopal Balakrishnan:
On numerous occasions since the 90s the left has rallied to a center-right candidate to ward off the far-right and the results have been disastrous. Not only is the far right strengthened by bolstering its credentials as the only real opposition force to the establishment, the left is drastically weakened at the expense of the center-right.
There are a number of signs, now, that another Clinton presidency will further impoverish the masses -- most ominous among them are Hillary's promise that Bill will "fix the economy" when she's elected. Yes, that's right, Bill Clinton, big participant in all those Peterson Foundation meetings. Austerity is practically guaranteed, then, and eventually someone far more serious than Trump, while advocating Trump's agenda, will ascend to the White House as a reaction.
Look, without the help of neoliberalism, American Right nationalism appears to have been unable to acquire sufficient hegemonic power to govern on its own. Nobody in the Sixties was genuinely afraid that Barry Goldwater or George Wallace would win the Presidency. But if we want the reign of the next Donald Trump to be short and sweet, we're going to have to start building alternatives to Hillary Clinton. Now's a good time for that.
NOTE ON ETIQUETTE: I'm not interested in a "third party." That's just other people's name for it. What I want to see is realignment.