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Trump's Three Enablers: The GOP, the Media, and... The Establishment Democrats

Trump's Three Enablers: The GOP, the Media, and... The Establishment Democrats

Robert Reich

Even if he loses (and I believe he will), Donald Trump has done incalculable damage to America – eroding the trust and social cohesion the nation depends on.

But he couldn’t have accomplished this without three sets of enablers. They must he held accountable, too.

The first is the Republican Party.

For years the GOP has nurtured the xenophobia, racism, fact-free allegations, and wanton disregard for democratic institutions that Trump has fed on.


In order for the Overton Window to be pushed further to the right, it requires the collaboration of those on the “relative left.” In the end, regardless of who wins whatever election, the conservatives have already won.

And indeed they have won: Clinton is hardly a leftist and yet for the next four to eight years she will be labeled as such by the Republicans and the media. We will keep lurching toward the right because there is no “left” left in the US.


Good analysis Prof. Reich. I would like to add the decades-long assault on education through emphasis on jobs training. Critical thinking has largely been eviscerated in the majority of the electorate. The longest election cycle in history (at least one-and-one-half years, by my count) has been filled with the highest amount of pablum and the lowest amount of substance in my memory. Democracy (or, more accurately put, representative democracy) requires an informed electorate, as Jefferson stated. Where were discussions of the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, etc.? This country has been fully exposed as an embarrassment by this election cycle. Oh well, the world deserves a good chuckle, even if it must be had in its bomb shelters…


“Not only did the media fawn over Tump”

Has Reich picked up a copy of the New York Times or listened to NPR lately??? Other than bashing Russia on a regular basis, their overwhelming bias towards Clinton was staggering.


Since we have long known what the Republicans stand for, and we all know what drives the media, which among the three entities pilloried by Mr. Reich is the most morally blameworthy?

The answer: the Democratic Party, which once upon a time was the party of working people, the poor, and the disadvantaged but now stands with the corporations against the people, and whose elites crushed the hopes of millions by destroying Bernie Sanders, who fought in vain for all the things the Democrat Party once stood for.

Never again will I vote for a Democrat who isn’t a fighter for the people. Stein/Baraka!!


Yep, blame the Democrats for the rise of Nixon, Reagan, Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Paul Ryan. It’s totally their fault that Nixon began an effort to specifically appeal to white working class reactions to issues like school busing, school funding parity, voting rights, and law and order. I mean, that Republicans held the White House from basically 1968 to 1992, meant nothing. When Kevin Phillips, back in 1970, urged the Nixon administration to enforce the voting rights act to explicitly elicit a negative reaction from white voters, we should just ignore it. I mean, there weren’t powerful forces, like those that created conservative legal groups in the 1970s, working to move the white working class away from Democrats. Nope, it was all Bill Clinton and trade deals.


First, “…the trust and social cohesion the nation the national depends on” was eroding long before Trump. The only people who didn’t know that were the clueless 1%, those deliberately wearing blinders and people working too hard to survive to have time to pay attention. The latter group was almost certainly aware they were being shafted - they just didn’t have time to understand the forces in play.

As to Mr. Reich’s last question: “What, if anything have these enablers learned?” Nothing at all that will benefit anyone but themselves.

Let’s get real here. Trump is a symptom - not a cause. It’s time to change the entire conversation.



Now a word about The Democratic Enabler, John Podesta:


Mr. Reich and Thomas Frank need a new audience to sell books to, so are selling their thesis that the last 40 years is the fault of Democrats to folks who are trapped in time warps. Because of course, when Reagan broke the PATCO strike and appointed a new anti-labor majority to the National Labor Relations Board, he was being pro-labor. It was the Democrats who forced him to take those actions. When Reagan’s labor department failed to enforce actions against employers on health and safety issues, then focused its time on union busting, that was due to Democrats obviously. And let’s not forget the awesome power of Reagan’s coded racial appeals, which were also the fault of Democrats.

Yes, losing the white working class was due to Democrats.

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You are missing the point. Yes, republican have moved rightward, but they could only go so far as long as there was a force on the left opposing them. As the left moved “center”, they went more rabidly right wing. Hence the crazier and crazier republicans of the past 15 years

But, this shift is only enabled by the democrats also moving right. Heck, Clinton is now approximately where Reagan was 35 years ago on many issues. There is no left represented in our system at this point.

People can’t keep blaming the republicans for all the ills of the world - the 2 parties are both owned by the same large campaign contributors. Whichever party wins, the large donors agenda is maintained and the “little people” get screwed.


Under reagan, democrats (arguably) were still fighting for these things.

Since Bill Clinton and the DLC started running the democrats, they have joined forces with the reactionaries fighting against the little people.

Bring up all the “evil” republicans you want, but the fact is that democrats used to fight against them. Under Bill clinton, you had Nafta, welfare “reform”, massive increase in sentencing for black youths, bank deregulation, reintroduction of warfare as a diplomatic tool, and, if not for Monica, we would have had Social Security privatization. They sold out to the highest bidder and turned their back on their natural constituency.


“What, if anything, have these enablers learned ?”

The enablers have learned that pandering to the 1% while selling the 99% down the river is a hugely profitable.

The DNC’s highest priority is sustaining and growing the billion corporate dollars it receives each year. Winning elections is a lower priority. Nominating Sanders would have chased most of the money into the GOP war chest. Win or lose on November 8, nominating Clinton sustains and grows the corporate cash flow.


Abby Martin does a great job, one of the best journalists around in my opinion. This excellant doc on Podesta needs to be seen by everyone.


Clinton and Trump suporters won’t pay attention to Martin. They are 100% faith based, 0% evidence based.


With most US voters mired in identity politics, and the Clintons imbedded in celebrity culture for three decades, its no surprise to see so many celebrities helping them.


I in no way am arguing the Bill Clinton is exempt from criticism. I opposed NAFTA and the Commodity Futures Trading Modernization Act as amended in the 2000 budget, which by the way, Sanders voted for despite the myth put out in primary that he didn’t (Oh, and it’s a lie to pretend its deregulatory amendments were hidden; the bill was very publicly blocked by Senator Phil Gramm to get them in it). However, to sit and pretend that Democrats were going to man the progressive barriers after 1) they did man the barriers with labor backed candidate, Walter Mondale, who was utterly destroyed in the 1984 election; 2) saw that the Republicans had held the White House for nearly a quarter of a century by successfully pealing working class white voters away using racial based economic resentments (welfare queens) and law and order messaging; 3) by the late 1980s, had amassed a large media and nonprofit legal infrastructure, which we take for granted today, to enhance their institutional power and fight unions and liberally aligned nonprofit organizations in the courts and in the press. They also had cultivated a strong relationship with white religious voters, over cultural issues, that Democrats and liberal groups simply did not have by the end of the 70s.

My problem with Frank et al and the “latest” historical revision of the last 40 years is it just doesn’t fairly represent the obstacles liberals and progressives faced from the other side. Clinton was notable because he managed to get elected in a conservative political environment, one in which the Republicans were considered to have a “lock” on the presidency, and one where they had made substantial inroads in Congress, including holding the Senate six years of the Reagan administration. That is also why his enemies attacked him so visciously too. In fact, Clinton’s weakness likely came as a result of pushing too far to the left too early on some issues, like healthcare reform and gays in the military. He increased taxes on the wealthy and was beat over the head for that too.

Dear Sick-- you are absolutely right. It was Clinton and his DLC that laid the foundation for Bush and his sanctimonious nihilism. But I remember how the country “felt” back in the 90’s (I was 50 in '94) and as a progressive, living in a liberal state, I couldn’t for the life of me find a coherent argument from anybody for the “old democratic” thought process. It was all Yup, Yup, Yup. They were the vanguard of what turned out to be republican Democrats, living in a principle free zone and caring only for their 401k. Bill got in front of that bunch and said he was leading the parade. But they, the children of the Hippies, deserted justice and social responsibility long before Billy the Slick captured their votes. And Blacks and the poor and the working class are still paying the price for his terms in office.


Precisely why Trump is part of the rigging. The only logical explanation for Trump’s limp general election campaign is that he is planted to give Clinton the White House. In exchange, Trump gets boatloads of free publicity (there is no such thing as bad publicity in the entertainment world) to bolster the launch of his TV network where his fans can get 24/7 Trumpabuse forever.


Trump likely has a personal suite in his new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue to provide a quick escape for the Trump family in the unlikely event that they land in the White House, or for him to be able to heckle Clinton close up when she moves back into the White House.

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Clinton’s 1993 budget, for which Democrats were beat over the head for, reversed the Reagan era tax rates on the wealthy by establishing several additional top tier income tax rates of 36% and 39%. It also raised the corporate tax rate to 35% and 38%, depending on income, and the alternative minimum income tax was raised to prevent wealthy individuals from shielding their wealth from taxes. Not everything about Clinton was Glass Steagal and NAFTA. He lost Congress, but the success of the economy under him, in spite of his high earner tax raises, also gave liberals a powerful argument against the regressive tax policies of the Reagan era.