We can debate the relative merits of a potential strategy or policy all day long, but it just doesn’t matter anymore. Whether you’re talking about health care, tax reform, Syria, or anything else, all policy questions have been rendered irrelevant by Trump’s win.
We find ourselves in an unusual situation, one in which our President’s sexual assaults, perjury, housing discrimination, mafia ties, fraud, unapologetic insults to combat veterans, his seemingly endless string of business failures, and his round the clock, effortless and even pointless lying all merge into a distracting static. What would be impeachable ethical lapses in any normal administration are reduced here to distractions. It is of paramount importance that we discover who owns this horrible troll in the White House and neutralize their influence over our government.
A political orphan’s guide to current events.
Why was Donald Trump able to gain just enough votes in the just the right places to win the White House, despite the deep unpopularity of his policy proposals? Perhaps for the same reason that Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker or Marco Rubio will struggle against Kanye West in 2020. Policy no longer matters very much in our elections. Because pop-culture following is far more potent than any form of political support or activism.
If you’ve ever traveled in Europe you might have been puzzled to find their churches empty, converted into tourist attractions. Despite all of the talk of American religiosity, there is reason to think that the same trends are at work in the US.
The problem is that Nixon’s Southern Strategy mostly flopped. By some measures he was less successful in the South than Goldwater had been and the Republicans made few inroads there farther down the ticket. The flight of the Dixiecrats didn’t materialize in serious numbers at the local level until the late ’80’s. Something else was at work here to turn the South red.
How does this mess end? There are too many equally likely scenarios to have any confidence in an outcome. For the sake of entertainment, here is one possible scenario.
A political orphan’s summary of current events.
One or two years under a Republican budget, with a Republican health care plan, and a Trumpian foreign policy might be just the kind of rock-bottom experience it takes to sober us up. Will there be damage? Yes. Will it be severe? Probably. Will it harm a lot of innocent people who don’t deserve it? You bet. Compare it to the consequences of a low-grade civil conflict and it seems pretty merciful.
This time, as a bridge to some posts to come, a piece at Forbes revisits the notion of Southern conservatives as a shadow third party.