Having Said Nothing About Smashing the “Glass Floor”, it's the Democrats that are Ultimately Responsible for Trump's Win
While much is said about smashing the “glass ceiling”, nothing is said about getting people access to the land – smashing the “glass floor” [part 3/3]
According to a well known actress by the name of Amy Schumer (second cousin to Chuck Schumer, the Democratic apparatchik disliked by some for his alleged ties to Wall Street), "People who voted for [Trump] are weak" and a bunch of "kicking and screaming babies". Which is a bit rich coming from a liberal, a person who is supposedly against monolithically generalizing groups of people – Muslims, immigrants, gays, etc. – but has no problem monolithically labelling voters of the opposition as what might as well be deemed a bunch of degenerates (or "irredeemable" "deplorables", as Hillary Clinton described "half" of them). Putting things a bit more diplomatically, former British prime minister David Cameron stated while still in office that proposals of Trump's were "divisive, stupid and wrong", to which Trump, in pure Trumpian Aikido-styles, twisted around and replied with "I'm not stupid, OK?"
So let me ask you this: Who's the more stupiderist here? The stupid ones that pulled the levers and voted in I'm not stupid, or the stupid ones who should have known that the stupid were actually stupid enough to vote in I'm not stupid and so stupidly put in their stupidest candidate who was bound to lose against the only (I'm not) stupid candidate as stupidly stupid as their stupidest?
Confused? No worries. Because if you want to know who's truly the stupiderist of them all, then you need look no further than yours truly. That's because I spent the past year and a half telling everybody I could "Nuh uh, you just watch, Trump – the future triager-in-chief – is gonna win this thing." And then, having never heard Trump utter anything else besides "you're fired!" in my entire life, I decided to listen to the three presidential debates. After the first and then the second I was telling everybody – including died-in-the-wool and died-in-denial Clinton supporters – that Trump had obliterated Clinton.
However, after listening to the third debate in which I laughed even harder than at the first two, and after continually hearing Clinton tell Trump (in what could only come off as condescending to anybody but the true-believers) that he lives in an "alternate reality", I couldn't help but start getting the impression that Clinton was practically handing Trump the election on a silver platter. Was Clinton really that daft that she'd overtly ostracize a significant chunk of the electorate who are living in an alternate reality (more on that in a moment), effectively throwing away the election? "Naw, she can't be." But if she wasn't that daft (which is where I ultimately went wrong), then what was going on? Well, it was at that point that I proceeded to envision some mumbo-jumbo, cockamamie, highfalutin nonsense that supposed that seeing how Clinton knew she was going to win the election (because, as I began considering, it was rigged), she was purposefully being condescending and antagonizing towards a significant portion of the electorate with the specific purpose of driving a wedge between the left and the right, something that Trump – the fall-guy also supposedly in on the rigging – would milk to no end, in effect providing a perpetual distraction in the face of peak oil and the collapse of industrial civilization. However, and as we all now know, that didn't quite happen. What did happen is that Trump played up the outsider, populist role and left plenty of space – if not traps – for Clinton to expose herself as the status quo elitist candidate.
Anyway, and as I think was obvious enough from the start, Trump's promises of looking out for the little guy, going after the "establishment", etc., are quickly turning out to be a rather unsurprising sham. Trump has already pointed out that prosecuting Clinton over her email debacle is not a priority, and having told his supporters (albeit mildly) to stop harassing minorities, it's possible – possible – that the worst of his rhetoric was simply made to cater to a particular segment of the population in order to help garner a few extra votes. For as he replied when asked whether he'd gone too far with the tone of his campaign, "No. I won." Part of the act? Let's hope so. (In case I'm being too dismissive I'll point out that Nafeez Ahmed doesn't think it's an act at all and should be taken very seriously.) Nonetheless, and when the time comes, it can be expected that tax cuts are going to go to the rich, corporate tax rates will be lowered, regulation on banks will continue to be reduced, infrastructure will continue to decay, and it's going to become even harder to be poor in the United States. Or in other words, more of the status quo.
In effect, and much like the outgoing and fraud-of-a-president Barack Obama – who appointed Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner to key positions in his administration, propped up a fraudulent banking system, and didn't jail a single banker – Donald Trump should be taking home Advertising Age's Marketer of the year award for 2016. As Noam Chomsky put it,
Right after the  election, President Obama won an award from the advertising industry for the best marketing campaign [edging out the shysters at Apple] and the International Business Press executives were euphoric... They said, We’ve been marketing candidates like toothpaste since Reagan. This is the greatest achievement we have.
To which Chomsky then added
I don’t usually agree with Sarah Palin... But when she mocks the ‘hope-y, change-y stuff,’ she’s right.
In other words, the United States may very well be going from the empty words of a president who promised to help minorities to the empty words of a president who promised to screw over minorities. From the BS marketing-parlance of "Change We Can Believe In" to the BS marketing-parlance of "Make America Great Again", both worthy of the glowing approval of the grifters sashaying down Wall Street and Madison Avenue.
For while Trump and company are putting together what appears to be the ho-hum corporate plutocracy one would expect from your run-of-the-mill Republican hack, Trump advisors have reportedly floated JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon as a possible Treasury secretary. That likely won't come to fruition, but it will allow Trump to appoint his preferred choice of Goldman Sachs partner, hedge-fund manager, and Hollywood producer Steve Mnuchin, followed by a "hey, at least we didn't appoint Jamie Dimon!"
Anyway, while Republicans may be a bunch of "kicking and screaming babies", it's worth noting that although they certainly did kick and scream throughout the primaries, they nonetheless had the temerity to let democracy take its course and give Trump his fair shot at winning their party's leadership, a lot more than can be said for the Democrats who undemocratically sabotaged Bernie Sanders' primary campaign. Because yes, if Bernie Sanders hadn't been conspired against by the DNC, chances are he would have won the Democratic primary, and having done so, would have very likely trounced Trump in the general elections. So if there's anybody that's kicking and screaming now, as well as showing no self-critique or introspection, that would be none other than Democrats (except for Zach) who are blaming anybody and everybody else for their own sordid elitism and corruption: Vladimir Putin, (the missing) Julian Assange, James Comey, Facebook, "fake news", Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, millennials, insubordinate voters, and the Electoral College.
Electoral College? Right. Because as memory serves, when Sanders began winning what went on to be 23 states in the Democratic primaries, a majority of super-delegates refused to cast their votes in parallel to the popular vote, making Sanders' candidacy look like a lost cause in the eyes of the media and potential future voters. Where, one might ask, were the Clinton-ite "popular vote" complainers then? Watching re-runs of The Apprentice?
Possibly even worse is the blame put upon sexism and an impenetrable "glass ceiling" – for let's not forget that one of the two comments that helped tank Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign was "binders full of women". In other words, and although Trump did spew an unending array of inexcusable sexist remarks, sexism doesn't quite play the ultimate deciding role in federal elections that some would like us to believe it does. Nonetheless, it was stated in Time Magazine that
It turns out the glass ceiling is reinforced with steel beams... [T]he stench of sexism engulfed Clinton's quixotic bid for the presidency, magnifying her flaws and minimizing her considerable strengths. It's possible that a male candidate with Clinton's political baggage would have been able to transcend his mistakes. It's possible that a male candidate would not have faced the same scrutiny and suspicion, or have been held to the same impossible standards. It's possible a male candidate would not have had such trouble connecting with voters.
Now let's get one thing straight. Had of virtually any other female been the Democratic party's candidate, then like Sanders, they too would have likely trounced Trump. White Elizabeth Warren, black Nina Turner – heck, even a woman dolled up in Smurfet blue-face who spent the entire election doing nothing but giggling would have likely also stamped Trump's return ticket to the boob tube. Why, then, was Clinton quite possibly the likeliest woman – person – in all of the United States to lose against Trump?
First off, this was what many have called a "change" election – a time to ditch the status quo. And nobody, it should hardly need explaining, represented the status quo more than Clinton. Although the liberal media did their best to play down and dismiss it, no candidate was deeper in the bankers' pockets than Clinton. Furthermore, Trump readily recognized the position of powerlessness that millions of Americans were, and are, stuck in (the "alternate reality" I mentioned earlier) due to the neoliberal regime which most certainly is rigged against them. When said people then heard Trump repeatedly proclaim that the system was "rigged" against him, they nodded their heads in unison with a "shit yeah this thing's rigged!" This was only exacerbated when the DNC rigged their primaries against Sanders, which not only gave Trump's message more ammo but left those on the left who were themselves already frustrated with the status quo with little recourse but to vote for the racist, sexist, xenophobic guy who at least spoke (or at least appeared to speak) a modicum of truth.
Moreover, we can forget this diversionary nonsense about Clinton's email server and the FBI's on-again off-again investigation. Because what millions of Americans (including neocons) realized was that Clinton had the much more hawkish stance (and history, as Secretary of State), and if anybody was going to get the United States into a shooting match with Russia it sure didn't seem like it was going to be Trump.
Much how the rural Canada that I've briefly been through is littered with military recruitment offices, I'm quite sure that the (economically decimated) rural areas in the United States are little different and that a career in the military is often the only option for a decent income. So when it came time for many women in the fly-over states to choose between being grabbed in the hoo-ha or the possibility of seeing a family member of theirs return in a body bag, many women chose to take one for the team rather than assist their upwardly mobile "sisters" with their "glass ceiling"-smashing self-aggrandizement. Duh. So no, contrary to how those such as Brooklynite and Salon writer Amanda Marcotte put it, (many) females who voted for Trump are by no means misogynists but were rather principled enough to stand up for their families against predatory politicians who see no problem in sending off the loved ones of the disenfranchised, possibly to their death, for no other reason than their own self-aggrandizement. As John Michael Greer put it,
While affluent feminists swooned over the prospect of a woman taking on another traditionally masculine role, and didn't seem to care in the least that the role in question was “warmonger”.
In effect, it was hardly right-wingers that won Trump the election; for years many liberals, with an air of smug and sophisticated superiority, have voted for the kleptocrats of the Democratic party while giddily taking the payoffs tossed their way to appease their upward mobility, their flavour of identity politics, and so forth. Having allowed their hope-y change-y kleptocrats to not only flatten the Middle East after it was deemed not okay for the previous kleptocrats to do so, but to also give them a pass as they exacerbated the divide between the rich and the poor, well, like clockwork the time to pay the piper once again swung back in their direction. This came courtesy of a candidate who exposed Democratic apparatchiks for the elitists they are and who was sly enough to convince people that he wasn't nearly the exact same thing. In just one example, and as Jonathan Cook put it, "He is a climate denier, she is a climate evader." (I am however quite keen to see if Trump does actually pull out of the TPP – and/or if Republican apparatchiks find the desire and means to oust him first.)
Returning to the present, and keeping up with the "momentum" of the anti-Trump brigade, Sanders hasn't ruled out another run in 2020 ("Hindsight is 2020"!), Michael Moore has stated that it's time to "Take over the Democratic party and return it to the people", troops are rallying around a Keith Ellison as the progressive pick for head of the DNC, and on and on and on. Things are going to be different this time! But along with how different the landscape is going to be after a few years of Political Apprentice, one thing that will in all likelihood be vastly different in four years' time is the situation with energy.
To get it out of the way, yes, were I American and saw any point in voting in the United States' federal election I would have voted for Sanders in the primaries and probably written him in in the general election as well. That, however, doesn't mean to say that Sanders' campaign ever made much sense, because what Sanders and company are essentially calling for is the equitable kegger. Although I had heard of Sanders prior to 2015 (via the forward he wrote for John Nichols and Robert W McChesney's book Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America, which was quite good until its techno-utopian concluding chapter), I proceeded to do an Internet search for "Bernie Sanders peak oil" just before he announced his campaign. That got me nothing but a single measly result, a comment left on Sanders' official Facebook page: "Would somebody please tell Bernie about Peak Oil!"
Ultimately, and although he's an equitable one unlike Trump and Clinton, Sanders too is a cornucopian. His plan for free education was based on a tax on Wall Street speculation – on a Ponzi scheme – which on top of being completely absurd is one wonky lesson to be teaching prospective students. And although he was of course being facetious, Sanders recently told USA Today that "I’m going to make Mars a progressive planet. I’ll be there first, planting the flag. People don’t think big enough!" As far as I can tell, Sanders is just as blind to the limits to growth as the rest of them and may very well be deemed the progressive colonialist.
That being so, one can almost already hear the non-acknowledgement-of-limits-to-growth partisan gibberish that will start up again in two and a half years' time once the Democratic primaries get underway, and whose template has already been stamped by The Simpsons creators via their recent comment about their 16-year-old Trump-as-president episode:
The important thing is that Lisa comes into the presidency when America is on the ropes, and that is the condition left by the Trump presidency. What we needed was for Lisa to have problems that were beyond her fixing, that everything went as bad as it possibly could, and that's why we had Trump be president before her.
In other words, Trump is the big bad bogeyman. Yes, the United States' economy is quite possibly going to tank in the next few years, but contrary to what liberals watching The Simpsons on Fox think it'll have nothing to do with Trump – or at least won't need the extra push. Having followed the housing bubble shenanigans to a T, four years is ample time for the overdue fracking bubble to finally burst, once again sending the United States' economy (along with much of the rest of the world's economies) into a tailspin.
But for argument's sake, might it actually be possible that Sanders is aware of the looming fracking bubble burstage, and of peak oil, and of limits to growth, and that although he appears to be supporting the equitable kegger and to be hitting the pedal to the medal so that his John Deere can also hit the precipice at top speed, is it possible that he and company are secretly planning for the equitable spin-down of the United States' economy as the collapse of industrial civilization makes its way from the peripheries (the fly-over states) to the center (the bi-coastal haunts of the affluent chattering classes)? It's possible. But like I showed myself in my previous post, it's probably best to take these federal politicians at face value and presume that they take our energy dilemma as seriously as Democrat apparatchiks value democracy.
Where does that leave us? Well, as I alluded to at the end of my Donald Trump / Anthony Bourdain post several months ago, what this all ultimately comes down to is the smashing of "glass ceilings" versus the smashing of "glass floors". The "glass ceiling" is what Clinton is concerned with – the practice of excluding women of privilege from the pinnacles of power and wealth. Smashing the "glass ceiling" can only benefit the few women at the upper limits of the class structure though, and besides vicarious, vacuous thrills are able to do nothing for the vastly greater amount of women of the wage class and lower reaches of the salary class that Clinton's policies over the years have brought impoverishment to.
Because by an order of several magnitudes there is a vastly greater amount of people in the United States and worldwide who are not only losing their jobs to globalization and automation but who lack adequate access to basic necessities such as food. As if that weren't enough, the amount of people without access to such basics is set to increase even more once the effects of climate change really start to kick in and once industrial agriculture starts to fall apart due to shortages of various inputs – and which neither Republicans nor Democrats (including Sanders) have anything to say about. And although handouts from would-be "glass ceiling" smashers and others can be useful in the short-term, the best solution to getting people fed is via access to land – to smash the "glass floor" – be it via reclaiming the commons, getting young (and astonishingly willing) farmers land to farm on, etc. None of which is easily accomplished.
A few years ago I was privy to attend an event with Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson in conversation, one of the questions they were asked being "What can be done to encourage young people to farm, and what can be done to make it easier for those young people who are willing and eager to farm to get started?" As Jackson started it off,
Wes Jackson: Next question. [Laughter] I'll let Wendell go first and then I'll second it. [Laughter]
Wendell Berry: I'll go first and he can correct me. [Laughter] Well I remember my grandmother saying to me “Honey, don't ever farm.” And she was speaking from fourty years of hard times in the fifty or so years that she had been married to my grandfather. And that advice is still going on. And it's because in the agricultural system that we've got, and have always had, the farmer is the last considered and the lowest paid in the whole structure. This is going to make it very hard to keep the farm-raised young people on the farm... There are in spite of all the difficulties some people who – young people – who are attracted to farming. And that is to say they have a vocation. And something does need to be done to help them to get land, and there are efforts of that kind going on. But chances are that it won't be going on fast enough. But nevertheless young people without farming experience are committing themselves to farming, are getting a hold of land – that's marginal, often – but doing well at farming. Their situation still is pretty dire because they're not making enough money from it. This raises another issue, the cheap food policy, that has been a mistake. Food's under-priced, people aren't paid well enough for producing it and so on, which brings up another problem, which is that even cheap food is too expensive for a lot of poor people. So... so Wes take care of that. [Laughter]
As we've just seen over the past year and a half, when people are driven to the wall by globalization, automation and other disenfranchising practices, they can unfortunately become so desperate that they'll vote for the candidate offering a glimmer of hope, even if said candidate is running on a disagreed-with platform of sexism, racism, xenophobia, etc. And while the club of the disenfranchised is bound to enlarge its membership even further (and faster) under a Trump administration than under Obama's, we can best believe that Trump, if he even makes it that far, will be masterminding his plan to ward off the equitable cornucopians once the reactionary (and radical?) Left organizes itself, perhaps even laying the groundwork so that four years after that the host of The New Celebrity Apprentice will be able to Constitutionally take his shot at the presidency (although he'll be 77-years-old by then). Who knows?
Don't ask me, but if there's one thing we do know I'd say it's this: barring democracy having the chance for a more equitable spin-down, whoever's got the more shrewdly effective marketing campaign will continue to occupy the captain's seat on the oh-so magnificent looking Titanic, while its crew and patrons alike argue over the arrangement of the deck chairs. For while Democrats vehemently complained about Trump's prior-to-the-election reluctance to concede if he lost, it's now Democrats who are desperately seeking any means by which they can have the election flipped to Clinton. Following discovery of irregularities in vote tallies where voting machines were used (but which has been dismissed by Nate Silver and 538 as no irregularity), Jill Stein has now –
– ah stuff it, enough of these theatrics, I'm out. If you're sticking around, enjoy the cruise. I hear dodo bird is quite tasty this time of year.