Fenster writes, to R—- ,
You ask about Trump’s new NFP deal. It is ludicrous. Damaging? Dunno. The Dems and the anti-Trump Rs will do anything to keep him out and so we can expect all kinds of caterwauling, even from Rs, over how this or that thing goes too far and he is finally kaput. You and I even get caught up in it. Did he really step in it this time? Is he finally a goner?
Truth is I sure don’t know. The problem with our current state of affairs is that mere citizens are kept in a permanent state of not being able to know anything for sure. When the main sources of information you have relied on in a mass technological society to give you your bearings on most everything have been corrupted what do you do? You have to rely more on your own instincts, analysis and alternative sources but that is itself dicey. You end up having to piece things through by looking at this and that anomaly and considering what the disjointedness means.
Take the polling issue. It makes no sense that we would see two polls so very different relative to whether Rs favor T or D. What does that mean? Could be bad polling. More likely one is fake. Which one? Perhaps one should ask cui bono?
Consider these elements.
- There is no question AT ALL that T has commanded the support of the base for a while now. And that his supporters have been notorious for sticking with him.
- The poll saying D has a big lead seems to rely on the parts of the new R tent that are not in control— the wealthier and more educated Rs that have seen their party go working class and don’t like it. Why should this resentful anti-T minority suddenly emerge as the dominant group of voters?
- By contrast the poll showing T in the lead seems more explicable— it is in keeping with past consistent support and it represents the views of a sample that probably was more balanced in terms of middle American, rather than country club, support.
- Anti-Trump = Establishment = Deep State. These guys have shown they gave the superior means and will to do bad things like cook poll results. So, all else being equal, if one of the polls was cooked it was the one showing T support dropping and D surging.
Tentative conclusion : T still commands the base and the D poll is just the first of many 2024 psy-ops intended to break T.
No question D is getting his financial support from big money and T from small donors. That prompts T people to smell a rat — “D is just a Deep State shill”.
I think it is more complicated than that. As Robert Barnes says, D has the fingerprints of a candidate that was cultivated for years. That’s what they do, and it is how our political class may talk populism but always do as they are told. Look at D’s background and you can see suggestions of that.
But Barnes also says that that does not mean D is a patsy. If the only candidates we get are manufactured a great man will have to arise from those smelly roots. T was the exception of course , and the fact that he was not groomed and is unreliable is why they now hate him, after decades of safe and idiosyncratic celebrity.
But T is an outlier. Any senior politico who takes populism seriously will have had to opt to bite the hand that fed him. Barnes seems to think that is possible with D—that he is a smart and aggressive working class kid who rose in the conventional way but who may opt (like Putin) look to revive a weakened system of government to push back on oligarchic control.
That is a nice thought. I hope it is the case, since I would like both T and D to be my kind of candidate and let the best man win.
Besides, Barnes also thinks that the big money backing D doesn’t want him to win. They only want a war that damages both T and D, such that Pompeo or Haley or Pence can swoop in and save the day. I find that extremely credible. But if there is any truth to it for sure T and D both know the Regime wants both of them gone, especially if (as has been happening) D increasingly gets tough about his populist positions.
My guess is D is saying this:
“OK rich donors I will take your money even though I know what you are up to. You want me to kamikaze T. You don’t want me as president. But keep giving me money. That’s fine. I will use it to take positions at least as bold as Trump’s. I will do it with more force and clarity and drive than T himself (who, truth be told, is a flake and getting stale). So I will not flinch—I will run a race on Trumpian themes and think I can win that way. And if I win you will have to hope I will still be your boy. I may not. So you decide: keep backing me as a way to indirectly promote the anti-Trump crowd who at the moment have zero support. Or drop your support of me if you see me as a sincere populist, and try to find some other way to defang populism and install a Deep State shill in the presidency”.
If so, smart, and Putin-like, too. If that is what he is doing I could go for it.
I have hung with a highly flawed T as the devil I know. But he is honestly such a goofball. The Deep State doesn’t like him because he is erratic but he is erratic for me too.
He got suckered in on vaccines and made it all about China, not the corruption of public health on his own watch. And he still won’t acknowledge it. “We got these things to market in record time!” Meanwhile D is more and more taking on the public health demon within, and that is a good thing.
Let me step back and take the long view.
My earliest political inklings came during JFK, and his killing ushered in an entirely new era, from the Beatles, to America as world leader, to the Me Decade, to endless interventions. Interesting as the ride has been, I think my whole life has paralleled the slow destruction of self government in favor of good times under a managed state.
Those who insisted on the sovereignty of the people, or even that any kind of government should be supreme over private interests and the hidden levers of power that are beholden to them, were eliminated.
JFK was turning against an intelligence function just in its strapping adolescence when he was killed by it. RFK too. And King.
And even Nixon. Biggest landslide victory ever and out on his ass a couple of short years later. Watergate was essentially another establishment contrivance.
And Trump of course.
These guys are no longer strapping adolescents. They are mature adults now, and unscrupulous ones.
I think all of that is true, even if the media didn’t tell me so and I have had to piece it together. I just don’t want to have endless discussions anymore with my progressive friends who think we are still back in 1964 and it is all about fat Republican bankers who hate black people. This is the situation we live in now.
But if you get past all the bullshit and see the situation for what it is you are-alas-forced to confront new questions that your prior bickering kept from your view.
- Are we at a point in history where self government cannot do what is expected of it? Is it inevitable that we would have seen the triumph of the professional and managerial classes and the institutions they control? Is it maybe even desirable? Are we becoming more like China for a reason — that all advanced technological societies will sooner rather than later resemble one another in terms of social control, lack of formal popular sovereignty, technological super-powers and transhuman tendencies?
- Or are all the powerful forces at work unstable and brittle underneath? Will they fall despite their great powers, as the Martians were destroyed by viruses in the War of the Worlds? Our betters are no longer strapping adolescents but are they strong and powerful adults or are they rotting from within, already weakened codgers with big guns?
- Or maybe it is not an either/or but a kind of both/and. Let’s say it is inevitable that the world has changed, that the republic envisioned by the Constitution is not feasible, that the professional and managerial classes have the upper hand for a reason, that they will if left unchecked stamp out any remaining self-government in an attempt to create a new authoritarian approach more akin to China, and that they will attempt to outrun any popular pushback by giving the people what they seem to want and urging them to let the good times roll on.
But alongside that it may also that they may end up failing to persuade people they are delivering good times. People may eventually . . . ummm . . . notice that their wealth has evaporated, their public works are in disarray, that government is by and for the oligarchs, that they do not like no border, no gender distinctions, no identity.
In this #3 alternative we will need to square the obvious inadequacy of our corrupted form of government and our dissatisfaction with what it produces with the clear strength and power of the new tools transforming the world. We cannot wish away the world transforming abilities of AI, robotics, genetic engineering, social credit scores, and the surveillance state. Madison’s three branches of government, pitted against one another, and his presumption of the cleansing powers of a free press, may not be a workable tool for future use.
We invented a Constitution from scratch to deal with new problems. We may have to do something like that again. A document aiming to cultivate habits of liberty and a modicum of legitimacy and sovereignty in an age where we unavoidably have to deal with entirely new problems. Unless “the people”—whatever that means—get serious about the new world they live in the tools used to fashion that world will be owned by an oligarchic class.
We need some kind of new Constitution or, barring that, at least new modes of thinking and discussion aimed at a reassertion of popular sovereignty and a takedown of those who feel entitled to rule over us in an unaccountable fashion.
Is that possible? Probably not in one step. History works like rock-paper-scissors. Experience suggests that democracies descend to oligarchies that descend to tyrants that ascend — if you are lucky—to self government. I think we may need a detour to a tyrant before we can come back to self government.
I am not endorsing that but I am predicting it.