I’m a great admirer of Adolph Reed. And I generally agree with him. Unlike most of the people I read on the left, I don’t read him contingently. What I mean by that is that he is roughly as “liberal” as I am. People like Paul Krugman are allies because our country is so out of whack. But if the country does take a solid turn to the left, I will be more and more at odds with Krugman in a way that I won’t be with Reed. So I was pleased to see him write, Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important. He means, of course, Hillary Clinton.
Now, I actually don’t have much bad to say about Clinton in the same way that I don’t have much bad to say about Obama. Neither people are truly in my political camp. But they are both like Krugman: in the modern American context, they are allies. Also, in Clinton’s case, I think most of this narrative about her not being honest is due to the right-wing campaign against the Clintons in the 1990s. I don’t find her any more corrupt than any other politician of her stature.
Adolph Reed on 1930s Germany
But there was one thing in Adolph Reed’s article that really struck me. He was talking about how the Communists refused to support the Social Democrats in Germany in the early 1930s. And their leader, Ernst Thällman, famously said, “After Hitler, our turn.” Reed wrote, “His point was that a Nazi victory would expose them as fraudulent with no program for the working class.” Of course, that didn’t happen. Thällman underestimated the ruthlessness of Hitler and the Nazis. Reed goes on to discuss this. You should read his whole article, it is typically brilliant.
I’d like to talk about this in the context of our political system. I am one of those people who thinks that our democracy is stronger than Donald Trump. But I hear a lot of “Bernie or Bust” types claiming that Trump would be such a horrible president that he would only serve one term — if that. And then we would have a wonderful future where everyone is fairies and elves and you can have all the cotton candy you like. This is a total misreading of how politics works in the United States.
How a Trump Presidency Will Go
I think if Trump were elected, it would be Ronald Reagan 2.0. At first, the economy would tank. People would flip out. But then, they’d notice that Trump hadn’t actually started World War III. And the economy would recover. By 2020, Trump would win re-election easily. And by the time he left office in 2024, the country would be in ruin. But by then, the laws of the country would be much worse.
The lower classes would pay a far higher percentage of the taxes than they now do. There would be virtually nothing left of the social safety net. And the federal courts — most especially the Supreme Court — would be so conservatives — that it would be almost impossible to fix the country if a liberal Democrat were elected president with a Democratic House and 70 members of the Senate.
This Is Important
People who believe this “Trump will be such a catastrophe that everyone will see it” nonsense don’t understand how things work in this country. There ain’t gonna be a revolution. The same rich people who are in charge now will be in charge then, but the rest of us will be poorer with far less power to do anything about it. And that’s the best we can hope for. With all the voter disenfranchisement that the Republicans will enact, it could be many election cycles before anyone anywhere near liberal is in the White House.
Adolph Reed is right: this is important. Super important.