Into the Forest

Into the Forest

intotheforestNo one knows what to expect from President Trump, so whether you’re a Kenyan tea farmer or an American software engineer or a South African financial consultant … suspend your fears. What he said in this incredibly nasty election, the alleged horrors of his past – forget. Elections are reality TV, and he knew better than any how to exploit that.

But everyone knows what to expect from a united conservative, Republican government. If that government holds under Trump – and that’s not certain – my predictions are clear:

Conservative Republicans will reverse the cultural gains made in America: Womens’ choice to have an abortion, protection of the LGBT community, expanding voting rights, restricting wealth from influencing elections, expanding access to disabled, increasing services for the mentally and intellectually challenged, growing social services for the dysfunctional, alleviating excessive debt as a path to higher education … at its unlikely best, these will be paused. It’s much more likely there will be major, disruptive reversals.

Conservative Republicans will do anything to grow the economy. In today’s world of capitalism that means increasing the national debt to reduce taxes, reversing environmental regulations because of their costs, trade governed by ruthless open currency exchanges, unshackling the restrictions on corporate mega merges and monolithic banks, and most importantly for so many Americans, today: reducing or even eliminating government entitlements including Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid.

Conservative Republicans believe like Putin it’s better to command respect than admiration. More shots will be fired. More American soldiers will be sent abroad. Because America’s closest historical allies, Europe and Japan, have moved in exactly the opposite direction after experiencing devastating war at home, there’s likely to be growing tension between America and Europe and Japan.

For Africa and the rest of the world it’s even worse news. Your economies are so small relative to ours that conservative Republicans will want simply to keep you stable … at any cost, including as America has so often in the past, supporting dictators however ruthless they may be.

Donald Trump’s supporters turned out in droves – it was a wave election. His supporters are the largest single voting block in America, less educated whites, and they’ve suffered more relative to where they had been as children than any other group.

They’ve always been better off than most Afro-Americans, for example, but where they were 40 years ago was better than where they are today. That’s the opposite of most minorities in America. So the majority suffered to lift the minority. That’s incredibly beautiful, progressive and hopeful, but it’s what lost this election for us progressives:

America does not reward social sacrifice: you can’t lift up the lowest without at least giving everyone above a nudge upwards as well. The very top has reached the moon and is headed to Pluto. But the single largest demographic in America, less educated whites, has fallen the furthest, the fastest. Last night they protested the loudest and won.

Trump’s path to victory meant he had to take over the Republican Party, first. He gammed the system like none other, vanquishing his opponent even though he lost the democratic vote. He is not a democratic president. He does not represent the majority of Americans. That doesn’t matter in America. George Bush didn’t win it, either.

Every level of American government is now controlled by conservative Republicans, but much of what Trump said on the stump does not conform to their ideology. Will Donald Trump join them? He may have no choice, having brought them all to such power. But I’m not so sure. I hope I’m not just being hopeful but critical enough to recognize that the largest single demographic in America, less educated whites, will actually suffer by conservative Republican policy and that he might be sensitive to that:

Poor whites will lose more jobs. More poor whites will die as soldiers. More poor whites will die as their health care is reduced. Fewer and fewer will get the education needed in a hi-tech world.

Trump must choose between those powerful conservative politicians he has surrounded himself with, or the people who got him elected. The twain will never meet.

If Trump’s soul is blue, it’s the beginning of a new, dark age.