The Republicans have paved the road on which Trump is driving toward the White House. With their obstructionist politics they have rendered Washington almost dysfunctional which gives Trump the opportunity to say “Washington is broken and only I can fix it.» The irony is that the Republicans now find themselves in a no-win situation where they can either align the party with him and thus define it as racist, misogynistic, anti free trade, anti-Nato (scaring the s… out of Baltic state leaders) and support his corporate tax cuts which would raise the national debt by an estimated $5 trillion. Or they can distance themselves from him and give the election to Clinton and face the prospective of liberal Supreme Court justices, a doubling of the minimum wage, an expansion of Obama Care and her clamping down on Wall St. From the Democrats’ perspective and a little schadenfreude one might say that the Republicans’ dilemma couldn’t happen to nicer guys.
Much of Trump’s base complains that Washington has forgotten them and in revenge they are going to vote for him. But what they are voting for is one who refuses to raise the minimum wage and swears that the first thing he will do as president is to abolish Obama Care costing the 20 million people enrolled in the program their affordable health care. In addition he will dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau whose mandate is to protect consumers from predatory financial institutions such as Wells Fargo which recently issued credit cards to “customers” without their consent and charged them a fee. It is strange how many Americans vote against their own economic interests while complaining that Washington has abandoned them.
Trump has been talking about his famous wall since day one. But he has already constructed a wall which he doesn’t even know he has constructed, a wall between himself and reality. When he still thinks he won the first debate while 62% know that he didn’t, he is living in his own bubble. What would a president out of touch with reality from day one be like in the course of four years? Would we see a growing discrepancy between Trump’s reality and the real world reality and a president ensconcing himself in a mental bunker, not the place from which we want our president to govern.
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When Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy the reaction varied from amused, shocked, to skeptical. Fat cats having to pay taxes like us, the end of corporate subsidies, breaking up big banks, reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, a single payer health care insurance system. Is this guy crazy? What people take for granted here in Europe would never go down in the U.S. We Americans escaped from Europe and we have always considered ourselves to be exceptional (i.e. superior). We are definitely exceptional. We have the highest rate of hunger and poverty in the western world, not to mention the greatest gap between the fats cats and the rest of us, not to mention the highest incarceration rate. So when Bernie wants to change all of this, he would be challenging our sense of exceptionalism.
Now that it looks like he won’t win, the question is what will happen to his ideas? Will Hillary move back to the middle and cozy up with her Wall St. supporters, drop her promise for a $15 an hour minimum wage and generally forget the people at the bottom who are becoming more and more invisible? And what will Bernie do? Judging from the past, he will continue his struggle. And God forbid, what if Trump wins? With the number of the people in the top quintile more than doubling over the past 50 years and the number of those in the middle dropping, American society is on the verge of disruption. Societies cannot function when the upper privileged 20% live in a bubble isolated from the rest. A society is dependent on a strong middle class to provide the necessary services on which 80% depend. When the upper 20% who own 93% of the wealth and possess most of the political power forget that they live in a society, then they may be rudely awakened even in their gated cities, whether the “gates” be mental or physical. If people don’t realize how important this election is, then they don’t understand the dynamics in all societies.