Trump’s Speech and Systemic Failure

President Donald TrumpI didn’t notice much thoughtful reaction to Trump’s speech last night. There was, of course, Lindsey Graham saying that Trump was very presidential. And there were lots of normal people making reasonable comments. But I didn’t see much analysis. And I think I understand why: there was nothing to analyze.

A good example of this comes from Matthew Yglesias, The Real Crisis Is That Trump Has No Idea What He’s Doing. It ends with, “Repudiation at the polls clearly hasn’t caused Trump to rethink anything about this disastrous approach, so we’re now all just left to hope for the best over the next two years. With luck, at some point, we’ll have a functioning government again.”

Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing. And so he just falls back into repeating his usual talking points. The only difference was that there were several minutes of him demagoguing a couple of stories where immigrants killed Americans. I’m really not sure it will move public opinion — at least after it is widely reported tomorrow that his speech was filled with deception and performed by a squinting man with barely suppressed rage. I’m sure it was a big hit with the base, however.

Beyond Outrage?

But this is what our nation has come to. It’s hard to get outraged by what Trump did last night given that he (with almost complete support from Republicans) does every day. What is there to say that hasn’t been said countless times before? If people support Trump, there really isn’t anything that he could do that would change that.

Well… There was this article in The New York Times, A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane. This town is in the panhandle of Florida — you know: Alabama. So it’s filled with Trump supporters. And this is best summed up by Crystal Minton, a prison secretary, and single mother, “I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this. I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

It’s a remarkable statement. Were the good things the hurting of the right people? Who are these people who need hurting? They clearly aren’t the ones with real power over her. I assume they are brown people — especially from other countries.

It hardly matters. Her big mistake was to believe that Trump (or any Republican) would ever do what was in her interest. One good thing about Trump is that he’s laid the game bare. He doesn’t speak in subtext. And he doesn’t have any problem screwing over his own voters.

What’s sad is that even if people like Ms Minton do figure out that they’ve been conned, they will continue to vote Republican. They will learn not to vote for Trump (at least for a while) but will continue to vote for Republicans with the same policy.

Our Useless Media

Most of the writing about Trump’s predictable performance last night has been focused on the networks’ choice to air this garbage. As has been widely noted, the networks gave air time for a presidential speech on immigration to Bush in 2006 and Trump in 2019. But they denied it to Obama in 2014. Oh my! I wonder why?!

Most people claim that the networks were “played” by Trump. For example, Media Matters reported, The Networks Got Played. Ten years ago, I would have agreed. Now I don’t think so.

The people at the networks may think of themselves as liberal, but they are exactly the kind of people who benefit from Republican policy. The anchors and executives (the people with power) are all millionaires. They’ve done well by Trump’s tax cut. They may prefer a less-chaotic Republican, but Trump is delivering for them.

Systemic Failure

All of this — Trump, Republicans, the media — come down to systemic problems in this country. We have a president who was “elected” by a minority. We have Republicans throughout the nation in charge because of gerrymandering. The Supreme Court is conservative because norms are no longer followed and our entire system of government apparently depends critically on them. It’s all a mess.

The only good thing I can say is that as the country gets more and more unequal, it will become more and more likely that the people will rise up. But until them, at least half the nation will be looking for a president who will hurt “the right people.”

4 replies on “Trump’s Speech and Systemic Failure”

  1. James Fillmore says:

    I’ve always somewhat wondered if Trump didn’t run for President partly just for the Secret Service protection. Once no halfway legitimate bank would cover his incessant fuckups, he started borrowing from rather dodgy characters, not necessarily the sort of people you can countersue away.

    One can, of course, hire a private security force, but if you don’t pay them enough, they are quite bribable. (Oops, I was going for a pee break, must’ve missed that schedule coordination with Agent Zabnar, sorry my employer was shot 37 times. For the right fee, however, I’m quite skilled at gouging out the eyeballs of lesser assailants.)

    The Secret Service is not full of goons, and they can’t be bribed. Once you’ve been a Presidential nominee, they’ll follow you around for the rest of your life. A disturbing notion for most of us, but possibly reassuring if you’re out millions in hock to some guy named Steve who also happens to own the entire GDP of Whatthefuckrovia.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      I think that’s giving Trump rather too much credit. Is he really that aware? And do the people dealing with him not know all along who he is? I don’t mean the idiots who signed up for his “university.” But I don’t know. At this point it’s all confusing. I’m just waiting for when it all magically turns into a socialist utopia.

      • James Fillmore says:

        No, he’s not aware. Of anything. He’s been carried, all his life, by people who covered up his rank stupidity. Daddy at first, a TV production crew later.

        Don’t be too hard on the people who got suckered by Trump University. Yes, they responded to the slings and arrows of outrageous capitalism by wanting to get rich, and falling for an utter scam. Who hasn’t?

        • Frank Moraes says:

          Yeah. I don’t mean to be hard on them. I do wonder how anyone can have gotten the impression that Trump was anything but a bumbling trust-fund baby? But I sympathize with them. And from what I’ve seen, they exhibited the stupidity that comes from desperation.

          It’s funny to watch Trump and Romney “battle.” Trust-fund baby vs trust-fund baby? It’s like pro-wrestling!

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