The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Shake Your Head

Peggy Noonan has written a fascinating piece discussing the Trump phenomenon. She argues, like many pundits, that the surprising support for Trump is a reflection of the general dissatisfaction with the elites—meaning big government leaders from both parties, their media lackeys, and the big corporate interests (including Wall Street and other crony capitalists) that benefit from big government largess. She writes:
On the subject of elites, I spoke to Scott Miller, co-founder of the Sawyer Miller political-consulting firm, who is now a corporate consultant. He worked on the Ross Perot campaign in 1992 and knows something about outside challenges. He views the key political fact of our time as this: “Over 80% of the American people, across the board, believe an elite group of political incumbents, plus big business, big media, big banks, big unions and big special interests—the whole Washington political class—have rigged the system for the wealthy and connected.” It is “a remarkable moment,” he said. More than half of the American people believe “something has changed, our democracy is not like it used to be, people feel they no longer have a voice.”

Mr. Miller added: “People who work for a living are thinking this thing is broken, and that economic inequality is the result of the elite rigging the system for themselves. We’re seeing something big.”

Support for Mr. Trump is not, he said, limited to the GOP base: “The molecules are in motion.” I asked what he meant. He said bars of support are not solid, things are in motion as molecules are “before combustion, or before a branch breaks.”
Interestingly, socialist Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders says the same thing, and consequently, he is seeing support that is also outsized. Something is going on here.

But neither Sanders nor Trump can solve this problem. Sanders is an extreme left-wing ideologue, and would, unquestionably, make matters worse by championing big intrusive government (B.I.G.) programs that would be the center of everything. Trump is an extreme egotist who has few workable policies and even less ability to navigate the political minefield that is Washington.

To use a harsh metaphor from the enormously popular Netflix series, Washington is the House of Cards and many of its elites (both inside and outside government) are Frank Underwood wannabes. At some level the little people (all the rest of us) recognize that and have begun to push back.

But be careful who you support as you push back. A commenter on Noonan's piece, "Rapheal Avital," used another entertainment metaphor based on the hit Showtime drama, Spartacus. He wrote:
Here's my arrogant effort at voter education: For those of you who watched the Spartacus series - Trump is in the pulvinus, the royal box, with the Magistrate, the Legatus, and the rest of the royalty. He's paying for the games, and for the loaves of bread being tossed at you folks sitting in the stands. That's why you love him. The royalty tolerate him because he's going to great expense to keep your minds on the games and the bread, to distract you from what's really going on. After all your cheering, fist-waving and braying, he'll get exactly what he wants from the royalty, because in the process of serving himself he will have helped defeat the royalty's opposition.

That is really all that's going on here. Back to the games. Enjoy them while you still can.
At the end of the day, I fear that Donald Trump could lead to a win for the party of big government and consequently, the strengthening of power, money, and influence among the elites that big government cultivates. The irony is, a win for B.I.G. interests is exactly what Bernie Sanders wants, but says he doesn't want. All you can do is shake your head.