Monday, August 29, 2016

Bad Apples

American politics is like a game of Bloody Mary. If any subject more taboo or complicated than a bland platitude is spoken aloud, everyone freaks out and starts sleeping with the bathroom door shut. As if merely naming something gives it power.

Like the Alt-Right, or more accurately Young Republicans who are honest about their racism. Really, there's not a single difference between Alt-Right and Original Recipe except the Nazi anime avatars.

It's really just branding. Or re-branding, as Trump's ascendancy is making more and more Republicans unelectable. And despite Hillary's histrionics, the Alt-Right very much is Repuclanism as we have known it for decades:

In this election, we have the opportunity to repudiate not only Donald Trump but Trumpism, and not only Trumpism but the entire apparatus that gave us this man and this moment. That apparatus is the Republican Party and the modern conservative movement. The movement and the party that gave us the Southern Strategy, that made white supremacy the major dividing line between the two parties, that race-baited its way to the free market as the dominant ideology of our time, that made hysterical, revanchist militarism the common sense of bipartisanship, that helped turn the Democratic Party into the shell that it is today (with plenty of assistance of course from people like Bill Clinton), that gave us Donald Trump.

Trump is a walking nightmare to his own party because he is their apotheosis. The GOP folks who'd like you to think of them as staid and rational are horrified not by the blunt fascist rhetoric but that their own deeply held reactionary beliefs are being trumpeted about. And it worries them because it's embarrassing around the other rich parasites in their little upwardly mobile enclaves in New York and DC. The Alt-Right, the Young Republicans of the 21st Century, are an echo of that trashy showmanship because they don't have any friends to offend.

Most important of all though, the Alt-Right is as impotent as their anointed Glorious Leader. Even if they constituted more than a fraction of a percent of the electorate, they're too busy masturbating over children and contemplating suicide to be an effective political force. Much like Trump's campaign logistics, there's no there there.

By the time the dust settles on this bummer of an election, the only purpose the Alt-Right will have served is as a convenient scapegoat for all those "decent" Republicans who still want to starve anyone not born into a Fortune 500 executive suite. They'll be able to point to them - "See? It was those neonazi freaks, not us!" - and Hillary will join them, since she's just as much an establishment conservative as her BFF and noted war criminal Henry Kissinger.

The Alt-Right won't mind of course. Those sad screwheads would love to be used by a woman.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Your Vote Does Not Matter

There isn't so much a silver lining to Election 2016 as there is a gallow's humor punchline. For all the striving of Third Parties and the popular push for social democracy, the choices in November come down to Donald Trump or a Republican. That's the most nihilistic of slapstick.

Since before the Philly convention the Clinton campaign and its apparatchiks have worked hard to court establishment Republican support while showing contempt for their nominal base on the political Left. Either Clinton herself is being honest about her long-held neocon principles or she is committing career suicide. Her supporters think it shows she can win in November but they also think Muslim women objecting to Jen Kirkman's shitty jokes is misogyny. The Democrats, from the ruling class to the rank and file, are sailing towards the future with an Alfred E. Neuman "What, me worry?" obliviousness to how much everyone hates them.

The same hate, much more than racist nativism, just fuels Donald Trump's campaign. It's easy to dismiss his supporters as paranoid morons because they are - every single one of them -  but this is less a collection of individual failings than it is the collective result of generations of political and government dysfunction. Trump fans thinking Black Lives Matter is secret ISIS psyops comes from the exact same social atomization and sense of powerlessness that lead so many (presumably) sane people to think September 11th was orchestrated by the Bush II administration. As documented by Matt Taibbi in The Great Derangement, the point of 9/11 Truthism isn't so much a quest for justice as it is a grasping after personal meaning in a culture simultaneously celebrating individual achievement and stymieing that very same achievement through social and economic policies by and for a 1% oligarch class.

That Trump was born and bred in that class doesn't worry his supporters anymore than Clinton's professed love of Goldwater worries the good liberals. The presidential race is too tied up in atavism and personal egos grasping for that same elusive meaning as the Truthers for anyone to give ground or admit that the majority of Americans who don't like either of these assholes might have a point. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Hitler Trump, same as no vote same as questioning the DNC's vote-rigging in the primary. Everything is acceptable if it's your side and all the Muslims should vote against Trump if they don't want to be deported (implicitly voting for bombing other Muslims). It's the Jack Johnson versus John Jackson fight everyone expected between Clinton and Jeb! but much cruder thanks to Trump's Fox prime time manner of speaking.

But what's really ugly is that Donald Trump is the successful insurgent candidate. The Democrats have waged war on their own base to keep Sanders off the ticket, only to turn around and see the supposedly authoritarian opposition fold to some neonazi yahoos who believe Alex Jones. The same forces that have spent twenty-odd years calling for Hillary Clinton's head are now lining up behind her to protect their own phoney baloney jobs.

The most successful challenge to the system is coming from a minority fringe of cranks, the same flat-earth flatheads Karl Rove cultivated as "values voters" which, with his limited intellect, he believed could be steered by his seven-figure Yalie buddies indefinitely. Those same piggies are now running for cover behind the woman they hate most in the world and precedents suggest she will steamroll over The Donald in an electoral blowout to rival Nixon's in '72. Trumpism as a sentiment may be here to stay but the GOP as an effective political force is now castrated, their only hope for success being low voter turnout.

And would that be so bad? There's a neocon at the head of the liberal party and an incestuous con-man perched atop the wreckage of the opposition, so why bother legitimizing this farce by choosing sides? Vote Third Party or for yourself or not at all. You're vote really, truly does not matter.

Assuming it ever did.