Home | About | Donate

Don’t Cry for Me, America


Don’t Cry for Me, America

Andrew Bacevich

Whether or not Donald Trump ultimately succeeds in winning the White House, historians are likely to rank him as the most consequential presidential candidate of at least the past half-century. He has already transformed the tone and temper of American political life. If he becomes the Republican nominee, he will demolish its structural underpinnings as well. Should he prevail in November, his election will alter its very fabric in ways likely to prove irreversible.


It doesn´t seem to me that Trump has risen all that frighteningly high. It seems rather that the American electorate has sunk to an all time depressingly low. Still, I´m waiting for The Dumpster to recite a poem of perhaps four verses. That should be enough to sweep a great number of folks off their feet, or at least leave them scratching their empty heads in blank confusion. I remember William Blake wrote that the proper response to poetry is not criticism but poetry. The proper response to Trump ought not to be serious news coverage, but satire and parody; yet, as an exasperated cabaret conferencier is said to have remarked, while attempting parodistic pot-shots at Hitler: "One just can´t shoot that low."


A half a loaf is a lousy way to buy bread. This article keeps talking (very eruditely nevertheless) about the Trump phenomenon which exists as we all see but the author hardly mentions Bernie. The other half of the phenomenon picture.

It was Bernie's meteoric rise early in the campaign that sparked the press to try and rig the game a little by featuring Trump instead. As they did and Trump exploited the free publicity then his growing crowds became news while Bernie's much larger crowds were hardly mentioned. The press never expected Trump to have staying power much less become a front runner but that is all rhetoric under the bridge now.

Bernie has had staying power despite being starved by a rigged game and biased press. Why isn't that big news? It is because the rigged game may just work and America will be the worst for it. Trump isn't the historic figure in presidential politics but Bernie is. Trump has had both the money and the press but the author ignores that Bernie has had neither. Nevertheless people have flocked to Bernie and if he doesn't make it neither will people's faith in our democracy.

Bernie is the historic figure in this election. So much is being marshaled against him that democracy seems an endangered species.


Re: Bernie Sanders, the observation that "celebrity confers authority" seems to me to invert the actual dynamic - particularly given the mainstream media. Authoritarianism of predatory marketing confers celebrity. In the latter, it makes sense that Bernie Sanders' rise has been relatively quiet in media terms, while substance struggles against the toxic tide of sensationalism, which in turn fuels militaristic violence, bigotry, polarization, stunningly shallow evasiveness and other tools of authoritarianism.


The comparison of Trump and Peron is entirely inappropriate. The left-leaning populist (albeit corruption prone) Juan and Evita Peron (and Loisiana's similar Huey Long too) were sober and skilled social-democratic politicians compared to Trump.

Is the author confusing the Peron with the savage Junta that followed his death?

I think one must go further to the brown side in any comparisons to Trump.


You have got to stop trying to make your writing so dense with hyper adjectives and adverbs that are super descriptive. Sometimes you might realize that a simpler way of something (Hemmingway style maybe) works best. To read some of your sentences is like a puzzle and even when someone figures out what you are referring to they can't really be sure that is what you mean. Take this sentence of yours >>> "Authoritarianism of predatory marketing confers celebrity." I think I know what that means but there is no way to be sure because there are no specifics and your adjectives preclude applying the usual norms of language >>> authoritarianism I know what that is but you apply the noun as an adjective (adverb?). Predatory marketing which is kind of like a verb used as a noun which is fine but if it is authoritarian then in what way. You make people guess too much. You have things to say but please just say them so people know what you mean.

As I understood what you wrote it isn't inverted at all. Are you saying sensationalism confers celebrity? I am confused I guess. Sorry.


Trump a genius? Whaaaa? This isn't a carefully played book, it's the essence of a jerk on display for everyone to gawk at. And if he gets elected, it isn't because the American people are fed up with the old version of republican democracy, it's because they're every bit as idiotic as their idol, or too disenchanted to participate. I do agree that this marks the end of our country such as it has become, should this Joker-style clown prevail.


I'm not so sure that the Republican Party will "implode" just because an out of touch, corporate friendly, inexperienced, militaristic bigot becomes President. On the contrary, it may be exactly what corporate America wants. Trump will definitely improve his economic situation during his brief four years in the White House, but better the thief that you know than the thief you don't! How much he steals is irrelevant though as long as the corporate gravy train runs on time.
I feel that the rise of Trump or some other blowhard like him is inevitable now that the corporate floodgates have been removed. It is after all very difficult to find a presidential candidate that is willing to throw the 99% under the bus while making them simultaneously believe that you share their anger. In other words only skillful sociopaths need apply. I would say that the Republican political recruitment apparatus has been very successful at bringing out the best sociopaths American society has to offer! Martin Shkreli for President in 2020 anyone?


The entire nation should be ashamed for permitting the kind of hatred and vitriol to come out of the mouth of a presidential candidate. That we are not apparently capable of limiting behavior to being civil while seeking the highest office, is embarrassing. It should not be permitted by a candidate, period.


Look at Trump and how the authoritarian manner is exercised - often free from truth/facts. This occurs in an authoritarian media that is also largely a monopoly. Stylistically scornful. Look at the party hierarchies: authoritarian, exclusionary, etc.- not to mention super delegates, a reinforcement of authoritarian hierarchy by making them integral to process. These create celebrity. Reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan's observation that the medium is the message,
Marketing narrows human societal considerations to 'targets'. This is what shapes format, content, style, etc. In other words, who/whatever wields the reins of AUTHORITY over the medium confers celebrity.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


"Russia threatens Europe" Isn't it the other way around? Who pushed NATO to Russia's door step? I would have thought better of Mr. Bacevich. I guess not.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Bacevich is a master at writing drab, passionless essays that leave a reader feeling as if she has just eaten a huge bowl of cold oatmeal.

The Eva Perón/Malania Trump analogy was neat, but other than that? Pssh. Really need to start skipping articles when I see his byline...


" In all but name, the United States will cease to be a constitutional republic."

Trump is the perfect leader for the Fourth Reich. Amerika now may have the correct leader for what it has become, in all but name: a fascist, world wide Empire; not even close to a constitutional republic because Amerika has been and is a military dictatorship. As an example, ( read Extreme Prejudice by Susan Lindauer ).

Trump quoted Benito Mussolini that one lion is worth 100 sheep, that about sums it up: one fascist buffoon that thinks he is a lion, quoting another fascist, buffoon who thought he was a lion!


Trump is PT Barnum.
He gets more than most the core nature of modern American politics: it's showmanship. It's about the politician as entertainer, a class of people we hold in vastly higher esteem than mere politicians.
Trumps own supporters see him more as a tv star than a political dilettante, reveling in the cameras he bathes in. Donald's the center of attention. Ergo, so are his supporters. They're all on the number one show in America!
It's a bizarre phenomenon more suited to a movie fare than life, but it's proving useful in my opinion. Trump is highlighting what many of us have been saying for years: this system is a joke. And no one's more in on that joke than Donald Trump.


If and when Hillary wins the nomination, what is this site going to be like? Is it going to be all Trump-bashing all the time? Is it going to be reams and reams and reams of Trump panic with an occasional, "Hillary is no prize either, but getting back to Trump..."

Will it give Chris Hedges his platform back? Will it invite back all the people that got banned for trying to warn others that what is happening today –the corrupt Democratic party is burying Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday– was going to happen? That it didn't matter how much money he raised, how enthusiastic his supporters were, that the god-damned game was rigged? That electoral politics in America are exactly what people like Hedges have claimed: a meaningless spectacle void of substance? An energy-sucking waste of time?

Just like the Democratic party itself; the graveyard of social movements.

Bernie aside for a second, is CommonDreams going to sheepdog for the corporate Democrats? Is that what this site is about?


Part of the problem here is that the American Electorate at large, especially in more recent years, has been electing people into office, regardless of whether they're the GOP or Democrat(s) who are inexperienced and don't know what the hell they're doing.

If the whole history of our country (i. e. the United States) is any indication, this has been a long time coming.


"That a considerable number of Americans appear to welcome this prospect may seem inexplicable." Actually America is inexplicable. It is inexplicable that a considerable number of Americans appear to vote for Hillary Clinton, for all her warmongering and corrupt and unreliable record, and then especially Afro-Americans and Latinos, when she is behind devastating policies against welfare and immigration, and even coups in the US "backyard"...