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Trump’s Re-election Strategy: Pit Us Against Each Other

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/21/trumps-re-election-strategy-pit-us-against-each-other

This is another narrative of some kind of powerful forces through some mechanism that is never described, “pitting us (i.e. the left and the at least nominally fascist Trump cult) against each other”. Who is this “us” kemosabe? This whole narrative is agency-robbing and counterproductive.

How does Mr. Goehl propose turning people who regard themselves as either petit-corporate class or just temporarily frustrated members of the “corporate class” and are under the thrall of full-blown fascist narratives into people who will magically acquire Marxian class-consciousness which will be needed in order to “unite us”? This comes from liberal misconception that political struggle is about “converting people” who oppose us through persuasive debate. Such a thing is a fools errand. Political struggle in the electoral sphere is about organizing and turning out the unorganized majorities who are already on our side.

And we have those numbers on our side already. The "pro-Trump poor white worker is largely a myth. Research since the election shows that the great majority of the lowest two income quintiles (the majority of whom are black and latino) are NOT Trump supporters. Trump supporters came from the solidly middle-upper middle class and petite bourgeois small business people who reside in rural or outer suburban areas, or well-paid hard-hat workers in certain limited sectors (mostly coal and oil) who see their economic fortunes tied to Trumps successful crushing of action on global heating.

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Your comment is why throwing out my values to stand with a party who believes that

"For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin”

isn’t going to happen.

sadly, it is not just Trump dividing the resistance, its Democrats both centrists and progressives demonizing each other instead of emphasizing ways to work together since neither can win without the other. This site for example has had so many posts/comments attacking Pelosi, Schumer etc and less progressive sites have plenty of attacks on Sanders, AOC etc Then there is the Israel-Palestine issue, designed to inflame and divide where even in the anti-Trump world both sides nastily attack the other. In my state of Rhode Island the so-called “Sunrise Movement” keeps protesting not some polluter, or Trump ally, or local legislators who killed environmental bills, or our DOT that cutting bike/pedestrian projects to widen highways, no they keep attacking our US Senator Shaeldon Whitehouse who more than the other 99 has done the most to call attention to climate change and ocean pollution. Hard to see how Trump and the Kochs could be any happier with that priority!

It’s not just the progressives against the retro-dems, it’s them thar more-progressives against the less-progressives — or at least that’s what the DNC is trying to push from what I’ve seen on their subsidiary MSNBC lately.  Now that wind-sock Joe’s serious case of foot-in-mouth disease is beginning to weaken his support, and Bernie is gaining ground (at least in the wider polls like Gallup), Rachel et al are touting polls that show Warren gaining ground.  Yep, that’s their plan — split us progressives between Bernie & 'Beth, and then the Stupor-Delegates can hand the nomination to a Biden/Harris ticket on the second or third vote.   And thus hand the general election to Tweetle-Dumb who, if he hasn’t already destroyed the country by this time next year, will surely do so during his second term . . .

To me the key is that truly progressive policy proposals should benefit the vast majority of people making this strategy defeatable. Traditional Democrats seem to ignore rural areas and stand by while Republicans foster fear that liberal policies are out to destroy their culture.
But a progressive climate policy will make Big Fossil Fuel pay a carbon tax for the filth they put in the air and I say the money from that tax should go straight to farmers who put more carbon in the ground and to helping displaced workers find new climate friendly jobs.

A progressive Medicare for All system will bring quality health care to rural America where a higher percentage of people are currently without insurance and where medical personnel are lacking due to the current system of incentives.

Rural areas account for 19% of the U.S. population but suffer 27% of the military deaths and disabilities. A progressive foreign policy will audit all military missions and greatly reduce our foreign entanglements.

The idea that rural America is naturally allied with a degenerate self-absorbed New York City billionaire is ridiculous. A progressive agenda is an agenda for 99% of Americans.

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The trouble is, Canada is a test case for a carbon tax which included tax rebates that more than offset the consumer costs for most Canadians, yet the rising Canadian right-wing has successfully made the current federal carbon tax very unpopular in rural and small town areas through strategies like this:

My view is that the Canadian carbon tax is kind of stupid politically since it includes taxes on consumers when they buy gas. I think taxing the industry is smarter and smarter yet is to give the money directly to farmers who help to put more carbon in the ground. My second choice would be James Hansen’s idea that the money from a carbon tax on industry be directly reattributed evenly to the population since they are the ones who will suffer from the emissions. I’m not extremely high on Hansen’s redistribution idea since the amount per citizen will be too small. My basic point is that it is smarter politically to have people directly see the benefits - rather then having the costs directly affect them and the benefits being the harder thing to see.

About pitting the middle class against each other: My brother-in-law works for a major airline as a manager. He’s not a CEO but has a job that puts him in the high six figure category. He and my sister consider themselves to be “middle-class.” I see them as upper middle-class. The rest of the family is lower to middle middle-class. Here’s the argument around the dinner table. They say: We have never been in a better economic position than we are now. Why do they think that? Because they travel all the time and, according to them, more people are traveling than ever before. Planes are full and airlines are offering special prices at the last minute, so more people can travel. Where do they get the money to travel if the economy is so poor, they ask? My brother-in-law has stand-by privileges with the airline he works for–duh. They travel every month to another part of the world. They live in a mini-mansion, and are living “the good life.”

My point–many people are convinced that trump has been good for the economy, and I wonder myself how so many people can afford to travel. I’m guessing that these people are part of the corporate middle class with jobs that offer vacation time and perks. I can’t afford to travel. Airfare is way beyond my budget. But how can a family of 5 afford airfare and then take all those kids on a cruise?

We are being confused and mesmerized into thinking that everything is grand, while poor people are getting even more poor and homelessness is on the rise. But the majority of the middle class are still very comfortable. What will it take to wake up?

You are correct. They are not naturally allied with Trump.

However, the critical thinking capacity of many Americans has degraded as the educational system has degraded.

Hence, many Americans use the simple heuristic of “I vote republican” or “I vote democrat” based upon mythological differences between the two parties.

Agreed - though I am not sure we should blame the education system for that.

Further reinforcing this is how eight states like my own (Pennsylvania) have a “straight ticket” button on the polling machine where you can just vote for your party for every office. Unfortunately - in poor areas where there almost always aren’t enough voting machines, the straight ticket vote makes things go quicker so banning it would make the lines longer and make it even harder for poor people to vote (i.e. even though I am against it because of how it hurts alternative parties, I think the upgrade in quality and quantity of voting machines has to happen first before straight ticket voting is eliminated).

No, it is not a tax on gasoline. That Ontario Doug Ford mandatory propaganda gas pump sticker (which would be a flagrant violation of the 1st amendment if it was in the USA) just shows their estimated resulting increase in the cost of gasoline from the tax on industry - and this carbon tax goes to rebates - which, of course, the denialist Ford government is not going to mention on the sticker.

There is no way we are going to reduce the usage of fossil fuels unless the fuels become more expensive. Period.

Yikes! you are correct. I had read some articles saying that the gasoline tax is a straight 4.4 cents per liter paid by the consumer in the provinces that didn’t otherwise have an appropriate level carbon pricing system in place. But now I’ve found the actual law and see that the payments are indeed actually made by producers and transporters of the fuel as you indicated. Thanks for the help.

If we unite to take on the real cause of economic decline—a corporate class intent on becoming ridiculously rich at the expense of the rest of us — we have the power to create the change we so desperately need.

Though the wonks wouldn’t dare breathe it, could something as abstract as geopolitics have pushed its way right up next to greed as a causative factor??? Let’s put it this way: Greed is the real cause, but mimesis in opinion-espousing is the main obstacle to the solution? If it appears to be half-way rational, I can state it?

It’s not just the hyper-greed (which is there). It’s also that a lot of vision will be needed to get everyone meaningfully involved in a Green New Deal (working). Whatever working job in the deal…it will have to be meaningful. I mean UBIs and Medicare for all would help, but then you have the challenge of total societal paradigm change. However, thanks to MSM the concept out there is that the economy of the present is pretty well oiled. Based on that concept, no one wants to interrupt the rhythm WHEN YOU HAVE TO FACE THE EVIL RUSSIANS! So, apart from the “cause,” that folks is at least one big obstruction barring our way to a solution.

Trump’s got conservatives [in the population] thinking he’s being diplomatic with strategically wise Russians, and he’s got centrists and “liberals” thinking he’s sold his soul to demon Putin. The thinking of “liberals” and centrists is so torqued out there, it’s like it’s in some McCarthyistic ionosphere. Rage. Confusion. Distraction. Many Russiagate skeptics have made this observation. Has this group of analysts stated they believe Trump’s in premeditated conscious control of these two ways in which he’s perceived?

I know others say he always manipulated one contestant into being a scapegoat on The Apprentice. Couldn’t stand more than two minutes of that show myself, but it does seem that now he’s still got 30% of voters thinking liberals have wigged out into deep TDS (scapegoats scapegoated because they’re “deranged”).

Please note, this entertainer has gotten the very element that used to be realistic about Russia worked up into a red scare frenzy. Of course, on the surface he puts the frenzy down; but, folks, has it distracted Democrats to the nth degree, or what??? That’s the liberals. But look at Congress. Both red & blue in congress are so worried about a cut in “aid” (that only represses dissidents) to Ukraine, which they like to think whoops Russia…that that is the only thing they can almost unanimously condemn Trump for! THAT! I don’t think like either of the aforementioned groups, or like the Pubs inside and outside congress who think he’s negotiating wisely. Weirdly, though, I can have some respect for some positions the dude has taken, just as does Andrew Bacevich. But I also think we should push him, at the very least, to push aside the shtick.

Both of these divisions of voting Americans think Trump’s at least trying to accommodate the Russian leadership some [as I say, the center & left think too much]. Add up the whole performance, though, and really the accommodating doesn’t outweigh the threats. I suppose people are in denial about the fact that he isn’t over accommodating, because, if they really opened their eyes and saw how much he’s in Russia’s face, they’d be forced to ponder how the east (and even Europe) might eventually respond by locking us way outta the game.

Then, in terms of that “new wall” Zoltan Grossman wrote about in 1994, it’ll be as if there’s a new new wall…with the US on the wrong side?

Wake up, he’s in their face.

“Erecting the New Wall…” 1994