“Ha, ha. You all have a clown for a president. This will be interesting.” — a friend of mine from New Delhi, India
It’s no secret that some of the politicians who purport to represent the interests of the “tired,” the “poor”, and the “huddled masses” are the very opposite of “poor” and/or “huddled” (they may be “tired,” I don’t know).
The Clintons are the most obvious example. Both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton demand somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000 for a single speech. That’s around four times higher than the median household income – for one speech.
But even in a world characterized by such hypocrisy, Donald Trump takes things to a whole new level.
It’s incredible to me that Trump professes to represent America’s “forgotten” voters – the “silent majority.” You know, the people who at some point lost their livelihoods to China or some other foreign boogeyman and are now united in their support for the bellicose billionaire and his promises to restore the country to some bygone era of prosperity.
We’re talking about a guy who (literally) lives in a golden tower with his name emblazoned on the front. Trump openly brags about how rich he is at rallies attended by supporters who are, to use a John Candy colloquialism, “still a million bucks shy of bein’ a millionaire.”
How does this person become the champion of the working man?
Consider the following from Paul Krugman:
Trumpism is, however, different. The campaign rhetoric may have included promises to keep Medicare and Social Security intact and replace Obamacare with something “terrific.” But the emerging policy agenda is anything but populist.
All indications are that we’re looking at huge windfalls for billionaires combined with savage cuts in programs that serve not just the poor but also the middle class. And the white working class, which provided much of the 46 percent Trump vote share, is shaping up as the biggest loser.
The movement that’s about to take power here isn’t the same as Europe’s far-right movements. It may share their racism and contempt for democracy; but European populism is at least partly real, while Trumpist populism is turning out to be entirely fake, a scam sold to working-class voters who are in for a rude awakening.
And do you know what’s funny (well, actually it’s not funny, but you know what I mean) they’ll be several someones out there who, instead of reflecting on the above, will focus instead on how much they hate Paul Krugman. Of course when asked to explain why they hate Paul Krugman, all they’ll be able to come up with is that some blogger somewhere said he was a Keynesian devil.
The truly said part about the whole thing is that four years from now, after this whole charade is exposed for the train wreck it most certainly is, many voters won’t understand what went wrong. And we all know that “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”