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After Trump

After Trump

Andrew Bacevich

Donald Trump’s tenure as the 45thU.S. president may last another few weeks, another year, or another 16 months. However unsettling the prospect, the leaky vessel that is the S.S. Trump might even manage to stay afloat for a second term. Nonetheless, recent headline-making revelations suggest that, like some derelict ship that's gone aground, the Trump presidency may already have effectively run its course. What, then, does this bizarre episode in American history signify?


Wow. Great article!

Exactly what I have been saying, only stated much more eloquently.

Before Trump there were 160 years of the DNC and the RNC.

After Trump there will be 160+ years of the RNC and the DNC.

There is absolutely no logic in ‘blaming the new guy’ when, clearly, the biggest problems existed before him and will be here after him.

During Obama’s administration, the RNC blamed everything on him.

During the Bush administrations, the DNC blamed everything on (them).

Before each and after each, there has been the same two corrupt parties.

Quibbling over which is slightly worse than the other is naive and results in leaving us exactly where we are. Sadly, it works really well for both parties. It is hard for me to watch people fall for the ‘blame the new guy’ game when the real source of problems is so clearly evident - 160 years of the same two parties in power, taking turns at full control. “Blame” can only rest with them. They have had opportunity to do all the things they promised if they really wanted. They don’t because they stay in power by pretending it isn’t ‘their fault’ they don’t. Keeping a near 50/50 split is to their advantage - providing a solid foundation for their respective propaganda.

I will say I do think there is one difference about Trump’s election that gives me hope. The best thing about his election, I think, is the way it is causing turmoil in the RNC. I believe the RNC meant to do with Trump what the DNC did with Sanders - use him to collect money and support, then dump him, keep the money, hopefully many of his supporters, and install the candidate selected by the party. But, unlike the DNC’s success, Trump got off his leash and ran away with it before they could stop him. So the RNC, as much as they hate him, is stuck trying to figure out how to get rid of him while still looking like they think he is ‘one of them.’

Even though some consternation is seen on the ‘left’ over what happened to Sanders, I had really hoped to see much more turmoil to match the RNC’s troubles. But I guess the DNC is much better at it - as evidenced by having exactly what they did exposed yet still keeping a zealously loyal base. I still harbor hope, though, that the DNC is just better at distracting attention from the people that really are mad about what happened but they are still there in the background - unnoticed but effecting change.


Let us not forget the many unanswered questions, and implausible “evidence” and expert witness statements covered-up and silenced…military and civilian pilots, architects and engineers, firefighters and many others…the “official” narrative has taken us further into the world that makes a trump possible and the hyper partisanship more destructive and empowering of the forces behind one of the greatest crimes in history…




I think the difference between the RNC and Trump and the DNC and Sanders is Sanders, himself, and not some expertise on the part of the DNC. Sanders is an experienced politician and despite what happened in the primaries, he is staunchly loyal to the Democrats and the DNC. He’s progressive activism is less about reforming the party and more about bringing progressives into the party. In fact, he’s said, time and again, that’s his primary goal is to defeat the Republicans and Trump. No matter who the Democrats run as a candidate for president in 2020, you can be sure Sanders will be there with his support.


Yes. Agree. A career politician. Sadly we did see Sanders ‘sell out.’ And isn’t really as ‘independent’ as he ‘says.’ By his actions he shows he is indeed loyal to the DNC. I agree, it doesn’t help.

Still, the people who thought they were supporting something different then were shown they were being played are there, regardless of what Sanders turned out to really be. It may be fruitless, but I can hope…

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A well-stated analysis.
Until (and if ever) such an understanding becomes overwhelmingly widespread, the disjointed colossus that is America will not be reformed from within. But time grows ever shorter, and the climate change elephant in the room, which our own military recognizes as the chief threat short of nuclear oblivion, may well stomp us all flat before such a redemption can even get a fair start. The world is burning, and Nero fiddles.


Bacevich sez: “Trump himself is no more than a pimple on the face of this nation’s history.”

and … “Eventually a pimple dries up and disappears, often without leaving a trace.”

My preferred metaphor has been a single cell in a runaway malignancy. That lone cell may be subsumed into the larger mass, but — as the author notes — failure to cut out the tumor will leave more than a trace on the USA’s body politic. It will leave a corpse.


Yea. And, of course, the exact same thing can be said of the ‘right.’ There is a reason the word ‘bandwagon’ exists - and is understood to have little to do with bands or wagons any more.

Both ‘sides’ have learned to take advantage of that aspect of human nature. Whole bodies of study are dedicated to figuring out the best ways to manipulate people for political purposes. (Not much different than the same studies for advertising and there is a lot of overlap.)

It works quite well. Frankly, as hard as I try to stay objective and logical, I get caught quite often. Politicians and their consultants spend a lot of energy, money and time on it so are very, very, very good at it.

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I would say the internet has changed everything. This country is very different because of the internet. Academics are spending a great amount of time trying to understand the effects of the internet and particularly the effects of social media. A good argument can be made that Trump’s election was only possible through the internet. The internet is where most of the fake news from domestic and foreign sources first occurred. And the internet allowed Trump to communicate directly to the public through tweets without his lies being filtered out. Everything is different and the social media is undermining democracy;. Bacevich is totally off the mark on this.

I read the Dissident Voice article and looked for the book on Amazon. Amazon says it is “Out of Print–Limited Availability.” What gives?

9/11 was an inside job, and We the People are living in the Matrix of lies that flow from that Original Lie.


…on our nation’s butt.

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It’s really a nice article. It shows much thoughtfull ness. Thanks to this esteemed writer.

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"If, on the other hand, you were not okay with where America was headed in 2016, it’s past time to give up the illusion that Donald Trump is going to make things right. "

Wow, that statement is premised on one hell of an assumption, and very close to the classist claim that Bernie supporters were no different from Trump supporters.

Hi skeezyks, this site link says the book is due to be released today - Sept 11, 2018 - I didn’t realize that before.



B-b-b-b-b-but I love my sheepdog! No, no not sheepdog Bernie; sheepdog Chaco; and yes, your very astute sentence perfectly describes Bernie!

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You make a good point about the effects of the internet and social media.

I think the polarizing effects of social media are very evident when one takes a step back to look.

The ability to select a place to get ‘news’ that is filtered and biased to one’s preferred interpretation, for example, appears to be not only acceptable and unquestioned, but is openly embraced.

This site, for example, openly and proudly states it is for ‘progressives.’ Another site I frequent openly and proudly states it is for ‘conservatives.’

When I was young and one’s news media was one local newspaper and an hour in the evening from only three television stations, ‘news’ was predominantly reported as only what happened and what was known. Any opinion was clearly indicated as such, but still generally trod a line that tried not to alienate supporters of either major party. (Ad revenue dictated they should try hard not to drive customers away.)

Attempts to spin were generally met with criticism. What is known today as ‘spin’ or ‘bias’ and is openly acknowledged and expected was known as ‘yellow journalism,’ carried very negative connotations and was rejected.

So people received news that was predominantly as close to being as unbiased as an outlet could reasonably come lest they lose readership. Sensationalism was limited to the checkout counter at the grocery store. Rather than the tendency today of people tuning into only what they want to be true and tuning out anything that doesn’t agree with what they want to believe.

Somehow we’ve taken what should be a great thing - unlimited access to information - and voluntarily turned it into a impediment.


I always go to STOP AND READ mode when Andrew Bacevich’s articles get posted here.

There was a civic morality underlying both parties in 1946 following the defeat of Nazi Germany. Not a perfect one, but a semblance of one. American soldiers had fought as one for this unstated civic morality. But the denial of rights and fairness to the whole of America–take the Tuskegee airmen as one example–was persistent.

When the parties needed to incorporate rights and needs, the parties dragged their feet and delayed, delayed, and delayed. Carve-outs came to straight white men first. All others were ignored.

Perhaps there’s hope. The young progressive voices running and winning in these midterm elections are not necessarily espousing “progressiveness.” They’re espousing fairness and justice for all. That’ something even Republicans can vote for when they grow tired of supporting ideologues.


Lol, a pimple. Well said and argued. Bill Maher and others on the Left that are fixated on Russiagate need to read this article.


A wonderful article. I don’t know which I like better – the image of Trump as a “pimple that will dry up and vanish without a trace” or of him as a kidney stone that is painful but will “eventually pass.”

The basic point is correct too: The trajectory of America has long been set, and will continue with or without Trump – fewer and fewer good jobs, declining real incomes, a dumbed down society as education continues to get the back of the hand in the US, growing income gap between the wealthy and powerful, and the rest of us.

The only thing that will change that trajectory will be if the American people stop attacking each others, and join together to resist the massive ongoing heist that the wealthy are perpetrating. We need a huge new movement to organize unions, as happened in the economic crisis of the '30s. Screw the crummy labor laws, all that’s needed is worker solidarity and it will happen. We need national health care . Everyone wants it, but our politicians won’t give it to us. Answer: vote the bastards out and only vote for people who will approve quality Medicare for All, And end the damn wars, slashing the Pentagon budget by at least 75% immediately. Most of it is a fraud anyway, funding weapons that serve no purpose but enriching the arms industry by some $300 billion a year. Who needs 15 aircraft carrier battle groups and troops in 150 places around the world? Right there we’d have enough money to do everything eveyone wants and needs: attacking climate change, modernizing publlic transit, fixing roads that are a national embarrassment, bolstering Social Security, establishing world-beating quality education for all, etc., etc.

Dave LIndorff
founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net