Saturday, August 13, 2016

Donald Trump's next con: Dumping Democracy

Insurrection by Insinuation?

Joan Walsh, writing in the New Yorker, lists Trump's most egregious claims. But the nadir of this very long list is his claim that, should he lose, it would be evidence of "rigging" of the election. Never mind that, As President Obama has explained, such rigging is impossible because of the management of elections at state and county levels. The damage has already been done. The seeds of distrust of our democratic processes have already been planted in the minds of his supporters. And that distrust, Walsh asserts, will undermine Clinton: "Trump’s lies about election rigging will do real damage to a Clinton presidency."

The propensity of Trump voters to believe his lies is especially worrisome now that he’s aggressively pushing the idea of a “rigged election” as his poll numbers worsen. “I’m afraid the election’s gonna be rigged, I have to be honest,” he claimed last week in Columbus, Ohio. In Virginia, he blamed the “dishonest machine” around the Clintons for the coming theft. He told Fox News: “I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.”

...It’s now time for Republicans to challenge Trump’s wildest claims, especially about voter fraud and election “rigging,” or else face down an angry GOP base that refuses to accept a legitimate American election. One could argue that GOP obstruction of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama represented the rejection of a legitimate election, and some Republican leaders may see the angry Trump supporters as an aid in thwarting Hillary Clinton, too. But encouraging millions of people to believe lies about our democratic election process is undermining democracy itself. Some Republicans, at least, have to believe that, and speak out against these toxic lies and Trump’s manipulation.

And in the end, some anti-Trump Republicans are probably going to have to do more than say they don’t support the GOP nominee. By October, it may be that the only honorable stance is to tell other Republicans that they themselves will vote for Clinton—and to ask that these GOP voters do too. A Clinton landslide would help dispel claims of voter fraud and election rigging—and also prove that Trumpism is an angry dead end. That should appeal to anyone who hopes to be part of a vibrant national party.

Pieces of Silver: The failure of Republican leadership

However, cautions Paul Krugman, don't count on the Republican leaders, like Ryan and McConnell, do what Walsh asks - to "speak out against these toxic lies and Trump’s manipulation." The GOP is in thrall to the very rich and their pieces of silver are lower tax rates.

By now, it’s obvious to everyone with open eyes that Donald Trump is an ignorant, wildly dishonest, erratic, immature, bullying egomaniac. On the other hand, he’s a terrible person. But despite some high-profile defections, most senior figures in the Republican Party — very much including Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader — are still supporting him, threats of violence and all. Why?

... if you’re wealthy, or you’re someone who has built a career by reliably serving the interests of the wealthy, the choice is clear — as long as you don’t care too much about stuff like shunning racism, preserving democracy and freedom of religion, or for that matter avoiding nuclear war, Mr. Trump is your guy.

... listen to the conservatives who have reached their limit. Recently Avik Roy, a leading Republican health-policy expert, had the personal and moral courage to admit what liberals (and political scientists) have been saying for years: “In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”

All that has happened this year is a move of those white nationalists from part of the supporting cast to a starring role. So when Republicans who went along with the earlier strategy draw the line at Mr. Trump, they’re not really taking a stand on principle; they’re just complaining about the price. And the party’s top leadership isn’t even willing to do that.

But whatever doubts they may be feeling don’t excuse their actions, and in fact make them even less forgivable. For the fact is that right now, when it matters, they have decided that lower tax rates on the rich are sufficient payment for betraying American ideals and putting the republic as we know it in danger.

Robbing Peter to pay for Paul Ryan

Trump's lies gain credence partly because of the conference of referential validity - they get repeated constantly in the media and thereby become more firmly believed by Trump's supporters. The minds of those supporters have been prepared by decades of conservative propaganda created and promoted by the leadership of the Republican party. Trump is a symptom or symbol of that stream of unconsciousness. The real story I continue to claim is not Trump but what he represents - a large proportion of the electorate which is prepared to believe his lies and who seem immune to rational thought. They will still be here after Trump, hopefully, is dumped. They will still vote for the Republican candidates who deliver them nothing but robbery to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

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