Analysis of the Trump Meltdown

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

Hillary Clinton cleaned Donald Trump’s clock Monday night, at least in terms of rational debate. But politics is also about the irrational, so the Democrats and their tactical allies still need to double down on their efforts in the next six weeks.

First, Trump doesn’t seem to know that assertions are no substitute for arguments. He can carry on about how he’ll ‘bring jobs back’ all he wants, but he never says how. HRC presented a package essentially for a high tech manufacturing, green New Deal industrial policy (borrowed from Sanders and Stein, to be fair) that actually would make sense. The closest Trump comes is to hint at tariffs, which would raise consumer prices at the cost for those jobs.

But here’s the rub. Take the birther stuff. No rational person believes that Obama’s mother, while taking a flight to Kenya to have her baby, also rigged the Honolulu hospital and newspaper records back then to show he was born there so that one day he might be POTUS.

So what do all those who support Trump’s claim really mean? It is simply that Obama is an African American, and as such, it was bad politics that he broke the color line to the Oval Office. This can be said in private, but not in public, at least most times. The  birther movement, fueled by Trump for years, was meant to ‘correct’ it by de-legitimizing Obama's election or, at least, by compelling Obama to display deference to the alpha white male.

And that is exactly what Trump did last night with his bombast about how it was HE that compelled Obama to show his papers.

Thus the pertinent question for all of us is: how much of the electorate believes the country will be much better off if Blacks, especially Black males, return to an older practice of showing deference to whites of any sort? Progressive-minded voters likely thought Trump made a fool of himself with that round of bluster. But did he? It depends on who is counting whom.

The same could be argued for Trump’s answer to HRC’s point about how he had to pay fines twice for racial discrimination in housing. Trump said he did indeed do so, along with many others, but paid it off "with no admission of guilt." If you’re the part of the electorate that likes living in integrated neighborhoods, then this doesn’t cut it. But what if you’re part of the electorate that appreciates real estate people who do what they can to keep "good" neighborhoods "good?" Quite likely, they’ll read the answer differently.

We could make similar points on Trump’s anti-women remarks and much more, but you get the point.

One last point Trump made about international policy was of interest to me. He said we shouldn’t be "the cops of the world." I would agree. It’s a multipolar world, and peaceful coexistence and collective security are in order. But I don’t think this is what he had in mind. Rather than the cops of the world, my takeaway is that he would have us be the "mafia of the world," running a protection racket, where you pay up or get your knees capped, and he gets to be "the Don" in a very different way.

Carl Davidson, a retired computer technician, is a USW Associate Member now living in Aliquippa, Pa., his hometown, and the location of the former J&L Steel Mill, where many in his family worked and where his grandfather and a cousin died on the job. In Chicago, he served as a computer consultant for SEIU and several other unions, and was the editor of FIRR News for the Federation for Industrial Retention and Renewal during the campaigns against plant closings. In the 1960s, he was active in the civil rights movement, a national leader of student new left and the anti-Vietnam war movement. He worked on President Barack Obama’s first political campaign in Illinois, on his campaign for the U.S. Senate and for the presidency. Together with Jerry Harris, a former Chicago steelworker, he is author of CyberRadicalism: A New Left for a Global Age and editor of Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives for People and Planet. He is the author and co-author of several other books and lectures on the topic of the Mondragon Cooperatives, a network of 120 worker-owned factories centered in Spain, and writes for the Beaver County Blue website.

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

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