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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I was wrong. But about what?

Ever since shortly after Donald Trump began to show strength in the polls with his Breitbart-style horseshit, racism, male supremacy, and completely incoherent, indeed comical, foreign and domestic policies, I thought, wrote and said: This guy is running to lose. I even imagined a conspiracy headed by a "deep game" of Bill Clinton to secretly promote a candidate against which Hillary, even with her mostly right-wing-contrived "baggage", could and should easily prevail. Not only prevail, but deliver a win in the Senate permitting at least protection of all the hard won gains the US working class SHOULD hold dear: Defense of Obamacare, medicare, medicaid and social security, union and collective bargaining rights, a modicum of justice in the appointment of judges including the supreme court, etc, etc, etc. Even upping the minimum wage nationally was perhaps in the cards, as well a significant investment in infrastructure including in hard hit coalfields. 

The polls agreed. Every time he lowered the bar on raw appeals to his phony "anti-establishment", and garbage politics, focused on the grievances of white men, through  targeting Latino, Black,Asian, immigrant and women voters for crude insults, the polls reported his support dropped precipitously. 

But the polls were wrong. The country was actually much more like my state of West Virginia than anyone wanted to admit. And what is that like? That's like a state where the major source of middle class incomes, and the sole revenue model for state finances --- coal and natural gas -- is dying or moribund, but the coal industry has pinned blame for the state's poverty and lost happiness on Obama and Clinton. It now does not matter whether, or to what degree, there is any truth in the charge. The point is: lost opportunities, and lost hope, drove the current result. If you separate the results from that reality, there is no way out. That lousy reality, doubly lousy with the edge of hatreds directed at African Americans, immigrants and unions, has been building for a long time: over 40 years in fact.

What did I get wrong? That a Hillary led coalition could withstand a Trump campaign and leverage it to deal a critical blow against the austerity policies of the billionaire-led Republicans and their declared war on  inclusive democratic governance. 

What did Hillary get wrong? Lots of commentary coming on that, no doubt, and more data as well.  But, my gut tells me that the political conversation when both Bernie and Hillary were debating raising wages, big investments in jobs, big investments in education, big investments in retraining, labor rights...was far superior to the "Trump is unfit to serve" messaging that dominated MOST of the campaign after the Democratic convention. A shorthand way of saying this is: She should have picked Bernie for VP if she -- or I -- really calculated the dynamics needed to WIN correctly.

What now? I do not know. I have no idea what Trump's real policy positions are, if he even has any.  Most of his statements from "build a wall" forward are idiotic and impossible, and have no value beyond their entertainment, agitational origin. If he does not, then I am sure some very strong institutional actors will capture him fairly quickly. Which ones? Who knows?. But I am sure in their contention for control,  they will do nothing to defend the American people against the economic and social chaos that has now been unleashed. A recession is now coming. The FED has exhausted its remedies in fighting the great financial crisis. No fiscal stimulus without raising taxes on the rich is possible. So the crap from Trump on jobs and "bring America Back" will end up the cruelest joke.  We will see how all that horseshit stands when unemployment reaches 30%

Indeed, they can be relied upon to quickly resort to force and scapegoating to herd us toward hell.

Its time for the Higher Wages and Equality Party to take the field friends and comrades. Its also time to get much tougher and more prepared for a protracted and determined struggle that will reach into every home, be on the lips of  every dinner conversation. Be on the watch for immediate aggressions against vulnerable American communities. Be prepared, as neighbors, to respond where state and public services fail. We are our own protection. Take care of each other. Its late,but everything comes next.



John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV

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