Trumpism vs. Clintonism

In Vanity Fair, T.A. Frank writes on “Why Democrats Are Becoming the Party of the 1 Percent”:

Will rich people suffer if [Donald Trump] is elected president? Well, yes. Yes, they will. Because we all will. But that’s a pat answer, because Trump and Trumpism are different things. Trump is an erratic candidate who brings chaos to everything. Trumpism, on the other hand, is the doctrine of a different Republican Party, one that would cater not to the donor class, but rather to the white working class. Rich people do not like that idea.

Yesterday’s primary handed victories to Trump and Clinton, and, if Michael Lind is right, Trumpism and Clintonism are America’s future. Lind’s point, which he made last Sunday in The New York Times, is that Trumpism—friendly to entitlements, unfriendly to expanded trade and high immigration—will be the platform of the Republican Party in the years going forward. Clintonism—friendly both to business and to social and racial liberalism—will cobble together numerous interest groups and ditch the white working class…

The racialization of American politics is a decades long drift-in-the-making, with the Democratic Party now a Coalition of the Fringes (to borrow a Sailer phrase), which makes the party increasingly hostile to working class whites as a result.

As the only other game in town, with a watered-down but ostensive conservatism a part of its platform, the GOP then becomes the only refuges for such working class whites.

[F]inancial support for Democrats among the 1 percent of the 1 percent has risen dramatically, more than trebling since 1980. Traditionally, though, the Republican Party has been seen as the better friend to the wealthy, offering lower taxes, fewer business regulations, generous defense contracts, increased global trade, high immigration, and resistance to organized labor. It’s been the buddy of homebuilders, oil barons, defense contractors, and other influential business leaders.

Trumpism changes the equation. If homebuilders face workplace crackdowns on illegal hiring, their costs go up. If defense contractors see a reduced U.S. military presence in Asia and Europe, their income goes down. If companies that rely on outsourcing or on intellectual property rights see their business model upended by discontinued trade agreements, they face a crisis. Sure, many rich people hate Obamacare, but how big a deal is it compared to other things they want: more immigration, sustained and expanding trade, continued defense commitments? Clintonism, by comparison, starts to look much more appealing…

In a world of Trumpism and Clintonism, Democrats would become the party of globalist-minded elites, both economic and cultural, while Republicans would become the party of the working class. Democrats would win backing from those who support expanded trade and immigration, while Republicans would win the support of those who prefer less of both. Erstwhile neocons would go over to Democrats (as they are already promising to do), while doves and isolationists would stick with Republicans. Democrats would remain culturally liberal, while Republicans would remain culturally conservative.

I generally agree with this prediction, save for the last sentence. I think there is real potential for a radically rebuilt GOP — rebuilt along paleo/Alt-Right lines – to retain a healthy, and perhaps even dominant, libertarianism on cultural issues, particularly as younger people enter the fray. Insofar as a rebuilt GOP can attract various people who never considered the GOP before, there may be some variant of an ‘Alt-Left’ that emerges and that finds common ground with Alt-Right on immigration and trade. This would strengthen the already sizable libertarians forces in the GOP on social and cultural issues.

On the idea of NR-types gravitating to the Democratic Party, I can totally see that happening. I’m almost finished reading James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution (1941), a book that is quite prescient today, having predicted what we are increasingly seeing: left/right politics being overshadowed by a top/down Ruling Class. Beginning in the early 20th century, the ‘managerial class’ began replacing the past epoch’s laissez-faire capitalist class. This managerial class operates in both business and government, the lines between the two becoming blurred, the latter an apparatus of the former, and the former an apparatus of the latter. The interests of multinational corporations, and supporting government apparatchiks becomes one of globalization: more immigration, more ‘free’ trade, more E.U. style ‘world governmental’ bodies.

The combination of super-rich Democrats and poor Democrats would exacerbate internal party tensions, but the party would probably resort to forms of appeasement that are already in use. To their rich constituents, Democrats offer more trade, more immigration, and general globalism. To their non-rich constituents, they offer the promise of social justice, which critics might call identity politics. That’s one reason why Democrats have devoted so much attention to issues such as transgender rights, sexual assault on campus, racial disparities in criminal justice, and immigration reform. The causes may be worthy—and they attract sincere advocates—but politically they’re also useful. They don’t bother rich people.

Frank is spot-on here. This is the crux of the dynamic today and the front line of the looming battle between the new Democratic Party and a new GOP.

It’s a costly arrangement. The more that Democrats write off the white working class, which has been experiencing a drastic decline in living standards, the harder it is for them to call themselves a party of the little guy. The more that the rich can frame various business practices as blows to privilege or oppression—predatory lending as a way to expand minority home ownership, outsourcing as a way to uplift the world’s poor, etc.—the more they get a pass from Democrats on practices that hurt poorer Americans. Worst of all, the more that interest groups within the Democratic Party quarrel among themselves, the more they rely upon loathing of a common enemy, Republicans, in order to stay united.

This has already been happening at warp speed. The Democratic Party is literally hostile to whites, particularly working class whites. The continued drift of whites to the GOP will eventually reach a point where the NYT will genuflect on whether the GOP is now ‘the party of white people’, etc. Also, as the Dem’s Coalition of the Fringes hardens (and increasingly resembles a circular firing squad, perhaps an inevitability when the party is increasingly motivated by identity politics), the only thing that successfully holds this Coalition together, to quote Sailer again, is KKKrazy Glue.

Things get darker still, for, if the G.O.P. becomes ever whiter, failing to peel away working-class voters of other races, then partisan conflict could look more and more like racial conflict. That is the nightmare. Our politics are bad enough when voters are mobilized mainly by culture-war issues, such as abortion, because compromise is often impossible. But when voters are mobilized by issues of identity, something most people can’t change, then nothing works. It’s just war.

Darkness is a matter of perspective.

It ain’t called the Dark Enlightenment for nothing.

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