The historic Democratic Party is now dead, deeply buried, and not even remembered. The Democrats are now what Republicans used to be: the party of financiers, Northern “intellectual” reformers, and shallow opportunists looking for a gimmick to lift them into the Establishment.
The Republicans are still in part what they have always been---the party of financiers, opportunists, and the timid middle classes. It is true that conditions have forced some of the middle class into a surge of “populism,” but that, to all indications, has already been absorbed and emasculated. That is what Republicans do, co-opt and neutralise insurgencies. The two profoundest foreign observers of America, Tocqueville and Solzhenitsyn, both pointed out that Americans were governed by a fear of being seen as outside the bounds of social conformity. Populism is socially unacceptable, especially among Republicans, and has a short shelf-life.
Ronald Reagan rose to popularity on a wave of “conservative” disgust with the 70s. When he took Bush major as his Vice-President, it was obvious to anybody with more than a short-term perspective that the Deep State was still in charge and the “conservative” movement was over even before the election.
Predictably, Reagan never took a stand against The Deep State on any significant issue. His main contribution to American government was to begin the empowerment of the “neoconservatives” (communist disciples of Leon Trotsky) as part of the ruling elite.
Donald Trump incredibly rose to power and defeated the Establishment on a wave of populist discontent. Then he selected a third-string Establishment empty-suit as his running mate and potential future President. (It is being revealed lately that Pence was an operative in the Stop Trump movement.) Then Trump filled his top appointments with Establishmentarians, some of whom had bitterly opposed him, and discarded the advisers who won the election for him. Clearly, the Deep State is still in charge and populism is without any substantial future without a massive uprising at the grassroots.
True, Trump has worked under an unprecedented barrage of political and media lies and hatred and subversion by his own party leaders. But there is much that he could have done as the most powerful man in the world to change America’s direction by executive action and the bully pulpit. He has failed in that, the only hope for the agenda upon which he was elected. Theodore Roosevelt recommended talking softy and carrying a big stick. As Ilana Mercer has pointed out, Trump talks loud and carries a noodle. A real change requires unwavering dedication, strategic wisdom, and a vision of the rightful goal.
Trump has not answered his opposition with a serious appeal to the people about our future. Illegals are pouring in faster than ever and he has turned upside down his stand against “foreign entanglements.” The largest item in his profile is now an unshakeable support of the Israeli agenda. His tweets are short-term and involved with trivial politics. The mark of a real statesman is wisdom about the long-term health of his society. Trump has shown himself to be a shallow man, as his critics say.
Don’t tell me about the successful appointment of a few Establishment justices to the Supreme Court. How many times has that been revealed as an illusion? Those of us who placed hope in Trump have relied on excuses about deep and cleverly disguised agendas. Belief in that imagined scenario is almost dead in Trump’s base.
It is surely true that in the present condition of our country, no person of wisdom and integrity can possibly survive the course that is required to be elected President. Trump was the best hope we had for real reform and he has shown that is impossible.
The Democratic Presidential Convention next year will be a three-ring circus. The media will do all in its power to gentrify the craziness. It remains to be seen how much of the absurdity will be perceived by the “general public.”
It may be that Trump’s chance of re-election is already decided against by the ongoing demographic replacement of Americans that has turned the U.S. into a country with a Third World population---a transformation that is speeding up and now complete, or nearly so. It may depend on how many of his base are sufficiently disillusioned to defect. Or, conversely, it could depend on how many of the Republicans who don’t like him will stay in the fold. The Republican leadership, with the help of the media, will go all out to suppress the grassroots in the primaries and nominating conventions.
Those Republican leaders, if they have the power, will adopt a platform that is a mild repeat of the Democrats’ with a few gimmicks thrown in that nobody cares about. That is always their default position—to head to the middle, wherever that might be respectable in the existing climate. They think this clever although it never works. They still have the power and perks and have not figured out that they are sitting in a middle that no longer exists and will soon be disposed of.
Believe me, the Republican leadership regards us “deplorables” who voted for Trump with just as much disdain as did Hillary Clinton when she created the term. (In a healthy country, such an arrogantly snobbish contempt for millions of her fellow citizens would have eliminated her forever from any public favour. But our country is awash in pseudo-intellectuals who imagine that they are part of the elite and cheer Hillary onward.)
Of course, there will be the old trumpet call to support “the lesser evil.” How well has that worked? A definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing expecting different results. It is true that we are sometimes in life forced to choose a lesser evil. But the lesser evil is still evil and the practice has become habit-forming. It indicates a lack of spirit and of ability to think outside of the ever tightening box.
Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews