Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trump's Hurricane Katrina

How many times can white resentment be resuscitated as a political force? Still potent in terms of controlling Congress, I thought it was dead as a factor determining a national election. I was wrong. The rural crackers came out in droves, to paraphrase Bibi Netanyahu speaking of Arab voters in the 2015 Israeli legislative elections, and cast ballots for Trump.

But this isn't a renascent power returning to occupy the center. This recrudescence of white nationalism is just as much about the failure of the Democrats to inspire mass voter participation. We are left with two major parties that have no broad popular appeal. Trump's political genius -- or is it Bannon's? -- was to recognize that in such a political environment any ideology that can galvanize a segment of the electorate is enough to beat the Democratic Party when it is led by Wall Street.

The downside to this strategy is that it is only a matter of time before sunshine appears and people react with revulsion. Charlottesville appears to be that moment. It's Trump's Hurricane Katrina. Voters don't want Gerald L.K. Smith as president.

Statues of Confederate heroes are coming down. Bannon is being made to walk the plank. This from today's Situation Report:
Bannon in Limbo. NYT: “Rupert Murdoch has repeatedly urged President Trump to fire him. Anthony Scaramucci, the president's former communications director, thrashed him on television as a white nationalist. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, refused to even say he could work with him.
"For months, Mr. Trump has considered ousting Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist and relentless nationalist who ran the Breitbart website and called it a 'platform for the alt-right.' Mr. Trump has sent Mr. Bannon to a kind of internal exile, and has not met face-to-face for more than a week with a man who was once a fixture in the Oval Office, according to aides and friends of the president.”
If Bannon goes Trump is left without his mix master; he'll be the star of The Apprentice sitting in the Oval Office with very little hope, other than that provided by the incompetence of the Democrats, that he can remain there after 2020.


  1. Unfortunately, so very true. The Democratic Party leadership has abandoned the working class and allowed the parameters of the debate to be set by the right.

  2. There was one passage in the Bannon story above that stood out among all the paragraphs describing the usual West Wing turf wars:

    "Mr. Bannon’s ability to hang on as Mr. Trump’s in-house populist is in part because of his connections to a handful of ultrarich political patrons, including Sheldon G. Adelson, the pro-Israel casino magnate who is based in Las Vegas.

    "He is especially close to the reclusive conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, who is a frequent sounding board for Mr. Bannon. In April, Mr. Mercer received assurances from Mr. Trump that he was not about to fire Mr. Bannon over his war with Mr. Kushner and moderates like Gary D. Cohn, the chairman of the National Economic Council and a top Trump adviser."

    So white nationalism is not all torch-light parades, swastikas and Confederate war memorials. It is billionaire moguls as well.

    The latest polls have not had time to register the full impact of Charlottesville. Trump is at close to 38% approval based on FiveThirtyEight's polling formula. He probably has another five points to bleed before he is in danger of unavoidable morbidity.

    With a little luck -- no more Charlottevilles in the next two months -- Trump will ride it out.