Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Democrats: don't neglect the corruption

What I learned from taking part in the Tax March over the weekend was striking enough that it feels worth repeating: there's a substantial group of citizens, not so much usual protesters but newcomers to active dissent, whom the Cheato's blatant, lazy, greed simply repulses.

If Democrats don't carry this message front and center, in every aspect of campaigns for the House and Senate in 2018, they'll be missing a real opportunity to broaden their appeal.

Professor Stephen Walt is demonstrating how to talk about this in the unlikely arena of foreign policy.

Trump doesn’t actually care if his policies work or not. He doesn’t care if health care is ever fixed, if the climate warms up and millions of people die, if coal miners or autoworkers get new and better jobs, if the Islamic State is ever defeated, or if U.S. infrastructure is rebuilt. All he cares about is whether he can convince people that he’s responsible for anything good that happens and persuade them that adverse developments are someone else’s fault. It has been apparent from day one that Trump cares first and foremost about himself, his family, and his fortune. Full stop. Doing the people’s business — that is, actually governing — is hard work, and it really cuts into the time you can spend on the golf course.

Not caring about getting anything done is also liberating: It means you can hire whomever you want, give them a thousand impossible things to do before breakfast, and then get back to correcting your slice. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why [son-in-law] Jared Kushner has a job in the White House that no one could possibly perform.

It’s also why you don’t see [Kushner] devoting much time or effort to trying to resist the Washington foreign-policy establishment his father-in-law once so vociferously maligned, as evidenced by the recent humanitarian intervention in Syria and discussion of sending tens of thousands of ground troops there. It is entirely predictable that Kushner, and Trump, would abdicate to the Blob, since their stated political beliefs, even when they contained a glimmer of insight, were never moored by practical knowledge. The Trump family’s essential interest in the jobs they’ve acquired is personal vanity; they’re happy — indeed, obliged — to outsource those jobs’ other aspects.

It's not hard to make these points, because they are simply true. Sure, political junkies may consider them too obvious to be worth mentioning and cynics may just dismiss Trump's greed as the way of Washington and elite capitalism. But there are lots of people who care and who want something better. Tell them they have a right to object to kleptocracy and you unleash a force. Offer them candidates who credibly propose a better way, and they just might buy it.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

Yes, I think that's the way to go. But also he needs to be held to account. I'm afraid that will never happen.

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