Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The day after the night before...

What a terrible night -- yet, not a great surprise to me, though a great disappointment. Here are a few thoughts.

1. Trump still has to govern -- has to do something. He has made a lot of promises to his "base": blue collar people -- promises I don't think he can keep, at least not under the terms of his campaign rhetoric. He will clearly make life miserable for lots of people on both practical, personal and ideological grounds. But, what can he do about healthcare that will make his base happy? Simply ending ObamaCare will just make things worse. Nothing except single-payer will actually make health care affordable: everything else will make the lot of his base much worse, especially going  back to a "free-market" system. His tax plan simply will not work, and will certainly make things much worse for his base and everyone else except the very wealthy (and maybe even them). I'm sure you can add many other examples. He will really need to come up with something outside the box of his campaign slogans in order to keep his followers who are misguided but justifiably angry.

(BTW: Wall Street has been split on Trump, and the Dow Jones doesn't look nice. Yet the greedy folk on The Street have always been susceptible to money being thrown at them, which maybe Trump is willing to do. Of course this will not help him with the disaffected people who put him in office. There is still the possibility that Trump will make Wall Street a scapegoat victim of his "populism" -- he clearly doesn't need them the way the Dems seem to.

2. There's been a lot of talk recently about how Trump has split the Republican Party, which, say the talking heads, "will never be the same." I'd ask: What about the Democrats? I don't know if Bernie (whom I supported) would have done better as a candidate (I doubt it, given his ethnicity and "socialist" associations). But what's left? Will the Dems come up with someone who will really create an economic democracy in this country? Someone who won't have a Timothy Geitner as financial advisor? Someone who will not secretly chat up the elite from Goldman-Sachs? Someone who will blame the Republicans publicly for lack of economic progress? Although I generally like Obama, he refused during at least all of his first term to attack Republicans, by name, for obstructionism.) The Dems seriously need someone who is seriously on the side of working people. Is there such a person around (beside Bernie)? Send me your suggestions. 

Are the Democrats even a viable opposition party?

3. More generally, I think it is impossible to have a "liberal democracy" when we don't have an economic democracy. American-style capitalism leads to extreme inequality which leads to a lot of disgruntled people, which leads to Trump. (It's not just America -- the same kind of economic inequality in England led to Brexit. The party of Reagan here is the same as the party of Thatcher there. What is it about English-speaking people?) I'm afraid that the only way out of this is a major recession (hopefully not a depression), and a leader of the stature of a Roosevelt (not the stature of a Clinton).

Finally, no one really knows what Trump is going to do. I think that for most of his adult life he was a Democrat. He's is a pretty self-centered person, but, as I said above, he has to govern, and he really doesn't owe anyone anything. So far, he has surrounded himself with very unsavory characters (e.g. Giuliani, Christy etc.), so the signs are not very auspicious; nevertheless, we don't yet know who the real president Trump will be (or if there is, in fact, any real Trump).

Anyway, that's my current thoughts on this debacle. We have to live through this and live through another major economic debacle and hope that a new Democratic Party -- or a third party -- will provide a really good alternative to Trumpism and Clintonism and our grotesque economic inequality.  What else can we do?
Please send me your comments. More on this later.

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