Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Don't Panic!

On the one hand, argue Ross Kaminsky and Victor Davis Hanson, President Trump is risking a debacle with his insufficiently prepared attack upon the ruling class. They are talking about his immigration pause, presently getting shredded by a liberal judge in Seattle and the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

On the other hand, according to Richard Fernandez, Democrats are in danger of a descent into hysterical  irrelevance, equivalent to the decline of the British Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. Under the leadership of their current geriatric set they might get left behind the radicals of Berkeley and the inconsolable liberal women, and find the Democratic Party turning into a radical leftist organization.

So it is the best of times and the worst of times. Either Donald Trump is going to lead the Republican Party to ruin with the ill-considered rhetoric and insufficiently thought-out initiatives. Or the Democratic Party is going to lose its mind and forget that its power depends not on middle-class feminists and AntiFa street fighters but the loot it hands out to its people of the subordinate self.

Or you could say that Donald Trump is cunningly storming the ruling-class's citadel and overwhelming it with attacks from all directions. And the Democrats are cunningly getting their base riled up to overwhelm the Republicans who are, in the final analysis, squishes.

The simple answer is: we don't know. That's because both left and right are getting fed up that they are getting nowhere. The left is convinced that America is being held up by an evil cabal of fascists, sexist homophobes blocking the road to the Promised Land; the right is convinced that America is being ruined by a leftist ruling class that divides the nation up into warring identity factions.

The obvious answer to all that is that it is 84 years since the last real realigning election, featuring the 1932 presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It is in the natural flow of things that, after 84 years of the basic New Deal politics things should now be getting out of joint, and that a political crisis will be needed to set the terms of US politics for the next 80 years.

So will the conflict be decided by a realignment election? If so, it would be the 2020 election with a 60-40 split in the vote. Frankly, I can see either a big Trump win in 2020 just as easily as I can see a Democratic revival.

Or will the conflict lead to civil war, either a hot war or the cold civil war proposed by Dennis Prager? He takes the position that up to now the right has not really been fighting. On his view the importance of Donald Trump is that he has responded to the call for the right to fight back against the left's march through the institutions. And he has done it by bringing a group into the Republican Party that was once the core of the New Deal coalition: the white working class.

Will Trump lead the right to victory? Or will the left, with its domination of the "deep state," frustrate the insurgency of Donald Trump?

I'd say it depends in great part upon whether Trump manages to appeal to African Americans, and persuade them that he has their back and that the Democrats have betrayed them.

I keep harping on the message of Charles Murray in Coming Apart. Today's America is pretty good for well-born liberals. No doubt, because they designed and built it. America is not so good for the non-college-educated middle class, and not at all good for the bottom 35 percent, where the men don't work much and the women don't marry much. So there has to be an opportunity for some populist to tell the bottom 35 percent that the current rulers don't care about people like them.

The fact is that President Trump is giving the Republican base what it asked for. It said it wanted a leader that would no longer truckle to the liberal establishment, afraid to be branded with the mark of Cain as racists and sexists and homophobes, and the base got what it asked for.

Now we will find out if the fight-back strategy is going to work.

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