This week, Donald Trump’s campaign took a new and even darker turn. As multiple women accused the Republican Presidential nominee of sexual harassment and sexual assault, Trump gave speeches on Thursday and Friday that had two themes: he denied all the charges against him, most notably by arguing that his accusers were not attractive enough for him to assault, and he claimed that the accusations are part of a global conspiracy against him, involving the Clintons, the news media, international banks.
Trump has long been a conspiracy theorist. He gained a prominent role in American politics in 2011 by questioning Barack Obama’s birthplace…It’s no surprise, then, that Trump has been advised for decades by Roger Stone, a prominent political strategist and conspiracy theorist who believes that Lyndon B. Johnson had Kennedy killed…and that George H. W. Bush may have tried to kill Ronald Reagan…
But it took someone a little smarter — and more cynical — than Trump, Stone, or Jones to distill Trump’s platform of protectionism, closed borders, and white identity politics into one message about a global conspiracy. The man behind this new message is Steve Bannon, who became the C.E.O. of the Trump campaign in August. Bannon is on leave from Breitbart, the right-wing news site where he served as executive chairman, and where he honed a view of international politics that Trump now parrots.
Bannon embraces the growing populist movement in America, including the “alt-right,” a new term for white nationalists, who care little about traditional conservative economic ideas and instead stress the need to preserve America’s European heritage and keep out non-whites and non-Christians. Under Bannon, Breitbart promoted similar movements in Europe, including the United Kingdom Independence Party, the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands. Bannon likes to say that his goal is “to build a global, center-right, populist, anti-establishment news site.” After the election is over, Breitbart, which has offices in London and Rome, plans to open up new bureaus in France and Germany.
This ambition extends to supporting the election of right-wing candidates…
…He believes that the white working class is still the key to the election, because the Clintons have never been able to win without this demographic. While Bill Clinton won two Presidential elections with the support of white working-class voters, this view is wildly at odds with recent changes in the electorate, which have made the Democrats more reliant on minority voters and college-educated whites…
Bannon’s view of the media is similarly narrow. He sees the dominant conservative media players as the establishment, not as allies. He views Fox News as highly unreliable on the nationalist cause…He despises Rupert Murdoch—the chairman and C.E.O. of the News Corporation…When Bannon ran Breitbart, he didn’t want his reporters appearing on Fox, because he believed the cable news channel had made smaller conservative news outlets subservient to it…
Bannon…is a right-wing new-media entrepreneur who is building a political and news infrastructure that mimics Europe’s nationalists. After Trump’s speech on Thursday, when he linked Clinton to “international banks” and “global financial powers,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, issued a statement that Trump “should avoid rhetoric and tropes that have historically been used against Jews and still reverberate today.”
The rhetoric that Bannon is feeding Trump makes it increasingly likely that Trump will lose in a landslide. Polling averages show Trump trailing Clinton by eight points, the largest gap since August…Most election forecasts put Clinton’s chance of victory at about eighty per cent.
Trump’s response to these numbers has been to tell his supporters, repeatedly in recent days, that the election is “rigged,” creating a sense of grievance about the likely results that can be exploited after November 8th. Trump and Bannon have given up on trying to defeat Clinton. They seem more interested in creating a platform for a new ethno-nationalist politics that may bedevil the Republican Party—and the country—for a long time to come.
To me, the only question to be resolved is what will they end up being called. Will they win the battle for control of the Republican Party – still an important name – and defeat more traditional Congressional Republicans? Will they maintain a position within the Republican Party as the new leaders of the Tea Party – created by fossil fuel barons like the Koch Bros and creeps like Dick Armey. Or will they try to take the Tea Party out of the Republican Party forming a right-wing 3rd Party – if they lose the battle for internal control of ideology and the all important purse strings.
I don’t care what the answer is. Recognizing the likelihood of this proto-fascist movement bringing together everyone from “respectable” Congressional racists like Jeff Session all the way over to Klan and militia types – my responsibility is to support movements for democratic solutions on the Left, within and without the Democrats, and oppose the dangers presented by a united white supremacist, fascist movement in America.
This is only the beginning, folks.
Thanks, Barry Ritholtz
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told religious conservatives at the Values Voters Summit Sept. 9 that blood might have to be shed if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
“I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically,” Bevin said Saturday. “But that may, in fact, be the case.”
He added, citing Thomas Jefferson’s “blood of patriots and tyrants” quote: “The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood. Of who? The tyrants, to be sure. But who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren.”…
Bevin, a tea party supporter who has been known to make a controversial comment or two, clarified his comments to the Lexington Herald-Leader, saying blah, blah, blah. The usual craptastic clarification ritual required for right-wing nutballs to cover their butts over advocating/foretelling violence, anarchy and insurrection…
Bevin’s comments echo a tea party rallying cry that has cropped up from time to time. Activists and even some lawmakers have cited Jefferson’s quote to reinforce the stakes for their political movement.
As for the 2016 campaign, Bevin’s comments are the latest example of elected officials promising very bad things if the wrong candidate is elected…Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann warned recently that a Clinton win might mean this could be the “last election” in which Americans would be able to elect a president with “godly moral principles…”
Conservative talk show hosts have warned of even worse, up to and including civil war. But Bevin’s comments appear to be the most full-throated warning about a Clinton presidency so far from a high-ranking GOP elected official.
Easy to blame demagogues. Half the responsibility must be laid at the feet of fools who vote thugs like this into office. It doesn’t matter if their excuse is ignorance or stupidity. They lined up in support of fear-mongering.
❝ An federal appeals court will consider whether the government can bar people from taking pictures of their ballots in voting booths. The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston will hear arguments Tuesday whether it is a violation of free expression or a way to prevent fraud.
❝ New Hampshire became the first state to prohibit ballot selfies in 2014. The law makes it a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, for voters to take pictures of their ballots and post them on social media. The law was blocked a year ago by a federal judge, and the state appealed. This law was amended from one in 1979 that makes it illegal for a voter to show a ballot to someone else with the intention of disclosing how the person plans to vote.
Twenty-six states ban taking photos of ballots through various laws, including prohibitions on bringing cameras into polling places…
❝ Three New Hampshire residents, who are challenging the law, took selfies as they voted, including writing in the name of his dog who had died a few days earlier for the U.S. Senate.
❝ Snapchat is among the groups seeking to end the bans, writing in an April brief, “The ballot selfie captures the very essence of that process as it happens — the pulled lever, the filled-in bubble, the punched-out chad — and thus dramatizes the power that one person has to influence our government.”
New technology, namely the smartphone, is in conflict with concerns about vote buying that date to the 1800s…
❝ One year ago, enforcement of a similar ban in Indiana was blocked by a federal court. Federal District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker called the law “a blunt instrument designed to remedy a so-far undetected problem” in reference to vote buying.
Today’s idjit version of the Republican Party is in love with the whole 19th Century legend of illegal voting. Our “moderate” Republican Governor here in New Mexico let the Secretary of State waste over $200,000 investigating undocumentados registering and voting in state elections.
She came up with 12 people who registered – all of whom apparently thought they were required to register. Only 2 ever actually tried to vote and when the mistake was explained to them – they left the polling place peacefully. Not exactly a great use of taxpayer dollar$.
Thanks, David Gura
While seemingly elegant in theory, globalization suffers in practice. That is the lesson of Brexit and of the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. And it also underpins the increasingly virulent anti-China backlash now sweeping the world. Those who worship at the altar of free trade – including me – must come to grips with this glaring disconnect.
Truth be known, there is no rigorous theory of globalization. The best that economists can offer is David Ricardo’s early nineteenth-century framework: if a country simply produces in accordance with its comparative advantage (in terms of resource endowments and workers’ skills), presto, it will gain through increased cross-border trade. Trade liberalization – the elixir of globalization – promises benefits for all…
In the US, Trump’s ascendancy and the political traction gained by Senator Bernie Sanders’s primary campaign reflect many of the same sentiments that led to Brexit. From immigration to trade liberalization, economic pressures on a beleaguered middle class contradict the core promises of globalization…
In short, globalization has lost its political support – unsurprising in a world that bears little resemblance to the one inhabited by Ricardo two centuries ago. Ricardo’s arguments, couched in terms of England’s and Portugal’s comparative advantages in cloth and wine, respectively, hardly seem relevant for today’s hyper-connected, knowledge-based world. The Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson, who led the way in translating Ricardian foundations into modern economics, reached a similar conclusion late in his life, when he pointed out how a disruptive low-wage technology imitator like China could turn the theory of comparative advantage inside out…
Of course, this isn’t the first time that globalization has run into trouble. Globalization 1.0 – the surge in global trade and international capital flows that occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – met its demise between World War I and the Great Depression. Global trade fell by some 60% from 1929 to 1932, as major economies turned inward and embraced protectionist trade policies…
Similarly, the means of Globalization 2.0 are far more sophisticated than those of its antecedent. The connectivity of Globalization 1.0 occurred via ships and eventually railroads and motor vehicles. Today, these transportation systems are far more advanced – augmented by the Internet and its enhancement of global supply chains. The Internet has also enabled instantaneous cross-border dissemination of knowledge-based services such as software programming, engineering and design, medical screening, and accounting, legal, and consulting work.
The sharpest contrast between the two waves of globalization is in the speed of technology absorption and disruption. New information technologies have been adopted at an unusually rapid rate. It took only five years for 50 million US households to begin surfing the Internet, whereas it took 38 years for a similar number to gain access to radios…
Unfortunately, safety-net programs to help trade-displaced or trade-pressured workers are just as obsolete as theories of comparative advantage…
The design of more enlightened policies must account for the powerful pressures now bearing down on a much broader array of workers. The hyper-speed of Globalization 2.0 suggests the need for quicker triggers and wider coverage for worker retraining, relocation allowances, job-search assistance, wage insurance for older workers, and longer-duration unemployment benefits.
Stephen Roach cautions, “the alternative – whether it is Brexit or America’s new isolationism – is an accident waiting to happen.” Globalization is not only inevitable, the most recent wave is complete. The backwash is populated with opportunist capitalists jumping ship this time for a 10% wage advantage instead of greater – some fleeing China to Mexico for the second time. Replicating the short lurch that followed the passage of NAFTA in the Clinton years.
What comes next in emerging markets, newly-developed and developing economies will be friendly competition and cooperation. That already is a central point of advocacy in China and ASEAN nations. Obama and President Hillary [probably] are stuck with the stereotypical American political solution of playing the blame game to unemployed and underemployed constituents – while Congressional know-nothings continue their death spiral-dance with religious conservatives hoping to retain their seat-of-the-pants veto of any legislation that might aid American workers. We’re faced with the potential of nothing changing in Washington until the elections of 2022 and 2024.
OTOH — If Americans are bright enough to remove bigots-pretending-to-be-conservatives from Congressional power in the November election, there may be an opportunity to implement the sort of safety net Dr. Roach suggests. We’ll see. Part of being both an optimist and cynic is my confidence in science and knowledge aiding our species in solving the problems we create. Just not in my lifetime.
Now, during this core period of globalizing economy, who controlled our lawmaking, regulation and oversight? Was it Republican conservatives and their snugly allies, Blue Dog Democrats, conservative Democrats?
Thanks, Ian Bremmer
❝ Corey Lewandowski is a CNN contributor even though he’s subject to a nondisclosure agreement legally prohibiting him from criticizing Trump, his family, or any of his businesses. Suffice it to say Trump’s former campaign manager has lived up to his end of the bargain — Lewandowski basically serves as a paid Trump campaign source during his CNN appearances.
On the other side of the spectrum, Trump recently filed a $10 million lawsuit against former senior campaign consultant Sam Nunberg for allegedly violating that same NDA. As ThinkProgress previously wrote, Trump accused Nunberg of “leaking information to the New York Post about a public fight and romantic affair between two other Trump campaign staffers in May.”
❝ Both Lewandowski and Nunberg were high-ranking Trump staffers, and it’s somewhat understandable Trump wants to prevent the sort of sensitive information they’re privy to from going public. But on Thursday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that even online volunteers who merely want to phone bank for Trump must sign that same more than 2,200 word NDA, even though most of them will never meet Trump or his family.
❝ The agreement…legally prohibits volunteers from disclosing Trump’s confidential information in perpetuity…And also prohibits them from saying anything bad about Trump — forever.
❝ With litigation being settled in private arbitration.
The openness of our prospective populist dictator is just about what I’d expect.