I won’t lie. I had a major meltdown. A yuuuge meltdown. The most tremendous meltdown at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when the election was called for Trump as Wisconsin pushed his electoral vote total over 270. I was flummoxed.
I decided to put some time between the result and any in depth thoughts. I went out for a bike ride on the 9th, and disappeared for the weekend to Morningwood to split logs and get away from the noise machine.
I split and stacked about 2 chords of red oak from two trees that were knocked down when a tornado passed overhead in August. After splitting the logs I had to load a wheelbarrow a dozen times with 80 lbs of logs and push it 150 feet up a steep hill to the wood piles. It was a hell of a workout.
I don’t think anyone but the most partisan or most naive actually thought Trump was going to win the election. By the campaigns’ own admission, their internal data had them losing the election. Since then, so much analysis by so many people who got things so wrong has gone out over the airwaves and into the print and online media. It’s wide ranging and as varied in reason as there are pundits doing the analysis. For what it’s worth – my two cents:
The Dems made a mistake just giving HRC her “turn”. The only challenger she had for the nomination was a Democratic Socialist leaning Independent who had to join the D party to run against her. He energized a movement of young progressives but ultimately, the D party was backing HRC and was shown to be anything but an impartial player in giving her the nod. I truly believe that for all her core competencies and knowledge of how to actually BE president, she was an awful candidate at campaigning FOR president. She has poor political instincts, isn’t spontaneous and able to react on her feet and get away from rehearsed lines. The D party should have seen from the force of Bernie’s campaign that this was a disruption election. The recovery since 2008 has been unevenly distributed and Bernie was able to voice that. HRC never saw it or experienced it and thus was unconvincing in her acknowledgement of it. The Dems also greatly underestimated the degree of Clinton fatigue both in R and D voters. In a year where people were hungry for change, the D’s ran the ultimate in status quo.
The 16 GOP candidates who lost to Trump made a mistake in assuming that their base voters give a flying fuck for Free Trade, low taxes and social issues and typical GOP doctrine. They’re just as pissed at the party establishment at Dem voters are. Trump saw that anger and exploited it. While the 16 losers were arguing over the nuances of party doctrine and which was the more principled conservative Trump was tapping into the base voter’s anger by spouting nonsense. Trumps campaign rhetoric was basically a long monologue on all the shit those people who listen to Ingraham, Limbaugh and Hannity hear every day. Ban the Muslims, hate on Obama, Clinton is the enemy and Mexicans are taking your jobs. The country is going to hell and it’s not your fault.If your life sucks it’s Washington’s fault and the elite media is enabling the destruction.
I don’t think Trump believes half of the shit he said on the campaign trail. He’s an exploiter and he saw a chance to win by breaking convention, running against the establishment and playing the role of demagogue. He played it convincingly. Now – I do believe he’s a narcissistic cad with a sense of entitlement whose only interest is in himself and his ego. But, he’s also not an ideologue. Something I’ll get to later.
If I hear the term “Blue collar non college white” coming from the mouth of someone who’s spent their entire life and career in D.C. and New York I’m gonna puke. Andrea Mitchell has no more understanding what motivates these people than I do of quantum physics. As I drove around Morningwood all summer and this fall traveled to South Dakota to hunt pheasant, driving through rural IL, WI, MN and SD the Trump/Pence signs were thick. They were everywhere in ways I’ve never seen for Romney or McCain before him. This is what made me nervous before the numbers began pouring in on election night. The fact that Trump – despite his awful language, plain disregard for the truth, clear lack of knowledge on most issues, ugly demeanor and unconventional, disorganized campaign got rural America on the hook and never lost them. Rural America is tired of being the butt of jokes. They’re tired of all the government initiatives benefiting the urban areas while the industries they drew jobs from – manufacturing, mining, milling, timber, agriculture either disappeared or were moved.The cities got tech incubators and highways and bridges. Rural America got CAFO’s and fracking projects that stunk up the air and ruined their drinking water. And if some jobs stayed, the wages haven’t gone up in 10 years. You can only tell someone they’re something they’re not (ignorant, racist, hateful) for so long before they say, you know what? Fuck you! Rural America didn’t turn out for Trump the way they did because they’re fearful bigots. They turned out because they’re tired of being ignored.
Now – you do get the Rubes flying confederate flags up in Central Wisconsin but with few exceptions, the people I interact with are decent, honest, work hard and want the same things for themselves and their families that everyone wants. Opportunity and a sense of community. When you see your opportunities diminished and your sense of community being marginalized, well, you’re gonna want to lash out at the status quo with the only power you have and that’s the vote. Voting for Trump over Clinton was the ultimate Fuck You to everything they hear Hannity tell them is “elite”.
Trump won’t build a border wall. He won’t ban Muslims. He won’t change the vetting process for immigrants coming into the country. He won’t assign a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton. If he did, he’d be eligible for impeachment. Look it up. That’s one of the articles Nixon was impeached on. Abuse of executive power. Trump won’t replace Obamacare. He’s quickly realizing that if you keep those with pre existing conditions eligible for coverage then you must include an individual mandate to keep the pool of insureds from sinking into adverse selection, and if you have an individual mandate, you must subsidize the ability of people to pay premiums. His statement of allowing cross border competition for insurance companies to sell across state lines shows a profound lack of understanding about how health insurance works in the United States. It’s all about provider networks which by necessity are local not national. The only way to fix Obamacare is to adopt a single payer universal system and raise taxes to pay for it. Otherwise congress will just simply repeal the entire ACA and we’ll revert back to where we were in 2008 and before. That option won’t have any political will behind it.
Trump will also have a very difficult time avoiding ethics scrutiny with his business holdings. Let’s see if Jason Chavetz is as keen to hold hearings with the House Ethics and Oversight committee as he vowed to be with the Clinton Foundation had HRC won.
Trump won’t tear up the Iran nuclear deal
Trump won’t successfully renegotiate NAFTA.
He’s already twice made very kind, magnanimous public statements about both Obama and Clinton. This change coupled with the quick about face on some of his biggest and loudest stump speech highlights probably won’t anger his voters. Maybe it will.
Despite the national freak out by those of my political stripe, Steve Bannon isn’t a racist White Nationalist. It’s worse – He’s a deeply cynical Greed Head. He made a lot of money owning a movie studio and being an investment banker.In other words, selling air to anyone he could game. He stepped into Breitbart and ran it to make money. He didn’t write the fake news pieces but he did recognize the number of clicks that came in when those fake news pieces were published. He made a shit tonne of money. Bannon is shrewd and agnostic when it comes to making money. He’ll make it clean if he must and he’ll make it by exploiting Rubes if he must. He doesn’t care, just so long as he makes money. I suspect this is why he and Trump get along. I like that he (Bannon) seems to be a non ideological pragmatist willing to blow up institutions and conventional wisdom. Remember, institutional conventional wisdom with bi partisan backing gave us the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crisis. The experts got it wrong in both those cases. Maybe an outsider who is a deeply cynical nihilist will be a good thing. The only thing that truly bothers me about him is that his complexion reminds me of every career drunk I’ve ever seen – liver spots,baggy grey eyes, sallow inflamed skin riddled with broken capillaries. It takes one to know one and this guy is a fucking drunk who will go on late night rampages with a bottle of wine and half a bottle of vodka. That’s what is scary about him – not that he made lots of money drawing Rubes to his web site.
Trump will roll back regulations on the Financial Industry, Banks and Environmental Protections. In the short term Financial stocks are gonna love it. But I’d start to short the financial industry about 2 years after Dodd-Frank is repealed. I just hope it doesn’t blow the world economy up again.
I think Trump will either be a one term president or will resign before the end of his term because he’s overwhelmed with the job.In the short week after the election, he’s made public appearances with the President and on 60 minutes and the more he speaks the more it is clear that he doesn’t really know what the fuck he’s gotten himself into. He’s clueless. His chief talents are self promotion and marketing. He lacks the intellectual curiosity necessary for a president to grasp complex situations.
The thing that I find truly frightening and I hope the animosity of Bannon for Paul Ryan will be a brake against is the House going completely nuts. The R’s have all three branches of government for the first time since 1928 (Great depression followed shortly) and 2003-2007 (Great recession shortly followed). Hang on to your hats kids.
So – things are seldom as good as you think they are or as bad as you think they’ll be. I’ll count on that.