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What Trumpism means for democracy

If Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination – an increasingly likely prospect – the party will implode and the US will cease to be a constitutional republic in all but name. Not that any of that will matter to Trump  

‘Trumpism is not a program or an ideology. It is an attitude that feeds off of widespread anger and alienation’.
‘Trumpism is not a program or an ideology. It is an attitude that feeds off of widespread anger and alienation.’ Illustration: Vin Ganapathy for the Guardian


Whether or not Donald Trump ultimately succeeds in winning the White House, historians are likely to rank him as the most consequential presidential candidate of at least the past half-century.

He has already transformed the tone and temper of American political life. If he becomes the Republican nominee, he will demolish its structural underpinnings as well. Should he prevail in November, his election will alter its very fabric in ways likely to prove irreversible. Whether Trump ever delivers on his promise to “Make America Great Again,” he is already transforming American democratic practice.

In contrast to the universally reviled Martin Shkreli, however, Trump has cultivated a mass following that appears impervious to his missteps, miscues, and misstatements.

What Trump actually believes – whether he believes in anything apart from big, splashy self-display – is largely unknown and probably beside the point. Trumpism is not a program or an ideology. It is an attitude or pose that feeds off of, and then reinforces, widespread anger and alienation.

The pose works because the anger – always present in certain quarters of the American electorate but especially acute today – is genuine. By acting the part of impish bad boy and consciously trampling on the canons of political correctness, Trump validates that anger.

The more outrageous his behavior, the more secure his position at the very center of the political circus. Wondering what he will do next, we can’t take our eyes off him. And to quote Marco Rubio in a different context, Trump “knows exactly what he is doing”.

Read more at the Guardian





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16 Responses to "What Trumpism means for democracy"

  1. CRM114  March 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    @Amelius, certainly you know that if Donald addresses the “Israeli firsters” at this point, that the already very evident multi front attack against him will intensify. Witness, for instance, how his statement that he would be “fair” in discussions between Israeli and the Palestinians has brought near yelling at him from Rubio and Cruz (with Hillary trumpeting the same from her end) that they will “always stand by Israel”, as if Trump had created some capital crime. He is well aware of what he is up against with AIPAC and PNAC. Regarding the latter, Bill Kristol is all but unglued over the thought of a Trump presidency, stating public that Trump must not win, and outlining the strategy now pushed by Romney to deny Donald Ohio and Florida. I completely agree with you there are those who have no intention of letting Donald interfere with what they have built.

  2. stonehillady  March 2, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    You guys are starting to spook a lot of us, on who you actually are really working for …Of course Trump is not perfect, but he is NOT a parasite, nor a religious fanatic, nor a neocon…….and another thing, why the hell didn’t you tell us that the thugs that shot Lavoy Fulicum in Oregon were UN people………..that is even a bigger crime being here on our soil then the shooting…..Why aren’t you on top of this……unless you are the cover for Federal Gov. and the UN.
    The Federal Gov. (BLM) is ruining ranching and and have no LEGAL authority, the Sheriff is top dog, and he can deputize everyone to take on the UN or whoever who comes into their county.
    I suppose you guys endorse Sanders which is absolutely insane, his free stuff give away, will only lead to less good paying jobs and the North American Union goes full blown…is that what you want ? Are you really NWO guys ?

    • Amelius  March 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Trump is a big business type guy. With Trump, the world is guaranteed more of the same war mongering and political despotism. Democracy is dead and gone in America. The USG has become the western branch of the Knesset and Trump will carry on this tragedy to insure he doesn’t offend his many friends and business associates in Israhell. If America is looking for a leader to serve as the head of the corporation of the USG, then Trump is your man. Personally, I can not think of a more frightening scenario than Trump having control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He advocates America using military force to steal middle eastern oil. The establishment knew voters would be so sick of Bush and the reps, that they would vote for Obama and the dems. Now the establishment knows that voters are so sick of reps and dems and politicians in general, that they are likely to vote for a business man rather than a politician. That’s Donald Trump. The next in line to serve as a Judas Goat, PR marionette.

    • Amelius  March 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Also, Trump’s juvenile schoolyard debating tactics of yelling over his opponent to avoid providing an objective response to allegations made against him, are a testament to his lack of experience in diplomacy. Does he think he’s just going to yell over Vlad at the UN? War is usually the result of failed diplomacy. I find his 9/11 rants to be repulsive. His 9/11 “truth” is more of the same Muslims under the bed nonsense. When asked if he was a bigot, he replied, “I’m the least bigoted person you’ve ever met.” That doesn’t cut it for me. “Because I said so”, might be ok to tell your 5 year old kid, but that’s not going to suffice for the president of the USA when dealing with the international community.

    • CRM114  March 3, 2016 at 6:41 am

      Just a small bit of factual information from someone who knows something of Mr. Trump based on actual experience. Just do an internet search on how Trump wrested control of Central Park’s Wollman Rink from New York City back in 1986. The rink was dilapidated and had been closed for six years. It was an eyesore and the city pumped nearly $13 million into failed attempts to renovate it. It was the epitome of government ineptitude, cronyism and corruption. Trump was granted control of the project, rebuilt it for less than $2 million (under budget), in a contract wherein he waived any profit. He fixed in a few months what languished under city management for six years. The New York Times then opined that governments could learn from Trump’s example. The fact is that the establishment knows well that Trump will disrupt the golden goose they have fed off of up until now at the public’s expense. This and the fact that he has publicly denounced the prevarications of the Bush dynasty, and promised to release the full 9/11 report, has our handlers in full panic mode.

    • Amelius  March 3, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      The story about the rink is impressive, but I could hardly care less about what the New York Times says. The way I see it, Trumps whole election campaign is about feeding on controversy. He says whatever he thinks will cause an emotional public response, he doesn’t care if it’s positive or negative. That gets him a lot of publicity, but I don’t see how his shock tactics will help America, or the world, if he happens to win. I mean really, build a wall between the US and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it? Im fairly certain I heard him mention using military force to steal M.E. Oil. His unwarranted islamaphobic proposal of banning Muslim immigration? What about the largest problem that faces the US? The near total subjugation of the USG by Israeli firsters, buying both sides of congress and dictating foreign policy to suit Israel. When will Trump address this issue? Has he mentioned cutting the illegal foreign aid program to Israel? I don’t believe any of the selected Manchurian candidates have any intention of rocking the boat in this regard.

    • Amelius  March 4, 2016 at 12:26 am

      As a builder, I understand that it makes no sense whatsoever to try and rebuild a structure on a foundation that has been compromised. I believe the same logic applies with this discussion as well, because the foundation of the entire system has been compromised and therefore it’s illogical to attempt a rebuild without addressing this problem first. As far as the full 9/11 report goes, I have a hard time believing it’s going to tell us anything we don’t already know about it. I would expect the full report to be nothing less than an extended version of the intelligence insulting, government approved conspiracy theory involving 19 Arabs with box cutters, many of whom are still alive today. I’ve heard the missing 28 pages finger the Saudis and I could see why that worries officials because working together with them after the fact might be defined as treason, but surely if the report fingers Israel, the true perpetrators and sole benefactors of 9/11, that certainly defines treason. Either way, the ZioCons are not going to let Donald Trump compromise what they’ve been building for the last hundreds plus years.

  3. wjabbe  March 2, 2016 at 11:05 am

    At least if Trump does make it to the top, he is not a lawyer. There is a strong case to be made that lawyers have destroyed our country because they dominate all three branches of our government obliterating all checks and balances. Paul Revere should have shouted “The lawyers are coming, the lawyers are coming”. Lawyers have suspect reputations going back centuries in history. Even in the mythical society of Utopia, lawyers were banned because they “disguise matters”. This is a polite way of saying the are pathological liars. “I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters” John Keats. Quoted from “IBM and the Corruption of Justice in America”, pp. 330-331.

    • Amelius  March 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      The fact that political hopefuls must accept contributions from lobbyists, which translates to politicians selling their influence to the highest bidder, is a major factor in the destruction of America. Lobbyists funding all sides and representing the same entity ensures that America loses, no matter who wins. I know what Donald Trump says about lobbyists and that he’s not indebted to them, but Trump spending his own money to run is a large gamble for him. If he wins, his gamble has the potential to pay off 1000 fold. As president he would be in a position to make decisions that would largely benefit his own business. This, IMO, is a massive conflict of interest. Also, IMO, the problem is not where you get your billion dollars to have a chance at the presidency, it’s the fact that you need a billion dollars to have a chance. As for the lawyers, like in any influential position where there is a potential to sell influence to the highest bidder, there is potential for corruption. Therefore, I don’t believe the profession itself is corrupt, although some of the people practicing this profession are corrupt.

  4. scousekraut  March 2, 2016 at 9:50 am

    To JohnZ

    The Guardian is most certainly not owned by Murdoch. Nor does it have lots of endless celeb articles. It is however, crap. They all are.

    It did use to occasionally have some decent articles but those days have gone though some of the writing on
    non-controversial topics is still quite good.

  5. Cold Wind  March 2, 2016 at 8:14 am

    It is my view, President Obama himself has made Trump possible, if not inevitable. Still, given VT’s tragic support for the current CIA choice leading Americans to ruin, one gets the sense that VT will end up supporting a similar but inevitably a worse choice for America, namelyHilliary Clinton. Either way, America is not going to survive another four years without ending the Federal Reserve System and without ending the decades long Zio-occupation and take-over of Washington.

  6. Edward Dodge  March 2, 2016 at 7:38 am

    “If Donald Trump secures the republican nomination,…, the US will cease to be a constitutional republic in all but name.” Where the hell has the author of this bee for the last 35 or so years? It figures this comes from the “Guardian”. We should expect no less propaganda from just one of many UK published tabloid rags. How’s your birdcage liner?

  7. Ajeocci  March 2, 2016 at 7:34 am

    The Republican party needs to implode. They have become as dirty as the Democrats. The people want Donald Trump because they are sick and tired of the same old shit year after year after year. The Republicans promised “big changes” if they controlled the House and Senate, but they have done exactly shit to stop Obama’s rampage. The Republicans insisted that Trump sign a pledge to align with their party, and now we see the G.O.P. elite doing everything they can to swamp his candidacy. The people are not going to stand for that. If they scuttle Trump, the Republicans can kiss their sorry asses goodbye. They have become almost as disgusting as the Democrats. Party of the people? Where? Not in America. Both parties think they have a tired old horse too weak to buck them off so they’re going to ride him ’til he drops. Disgusting bastards, all.

    • Dan  March 2, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      Actually it’s the Republican leadership that needs to be tarred, feathered, and run out of DC–stooges all for Zio-Wall Street’s rape of our economy, genocides for Israel, and the willing budget authorizers in every material respect of the Obama agenda. One thing has been made clear in all this Trump bashing, and that’s that Zio-Wall Street and the Zio-Neocons are the ventriloquists behind not just the Republican leadership, but Hillary and the costumed, Israel-first bureaucrats in the Pentagon we mistake for patriots and American military leaders. How many of those young amputees all over the VA hospitals these days, or those sent home dead in pieces, or those hundreds whose cremated remains were thrown into landfill dumpsters, or those committing suicide in shocking numbers because of the barbarities they were forced to inflict on Israel’s enemies do you imagine are the sons of these neocons?

  8. Foci  March 2, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Mr Duff : “If Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination – an increasingly likely prospect – the party will implode and the US will cease to be a constitutional republic in all but name.”

    Too late for the scare tactics, that horse already left the barn. The Patriot Act, NDAA, ACA which Roberts voted as a “tax” to make it legal.

    yea, vote for Hillary, what a joke…..or Bernie, just as long as it’s a big D, right?

    • Edward Dodge  March 2, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Where in this story is the quote you cite attributed to Gordon Duff? This article was written by someone named Andrew Bacevich, probably a tribe member, form Boston University.

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