Donald J. Trump: The Necessary President

It’s hard to remember now but in the wake of Obama’s second term, when Hillary Clinton seemed to be cruising to the presidency, there was a very real feeling that Democrats might control the White House for a generation. They had won the popular vote five times in six prior elections, Obama’s step-above-austerity economic policy had staved off a financial meltdown, the economy was steadily improving and demographics and the swing-state map all seemed to be breaking in the party’s favor. If you squinted just right, it looked as if a return to a 90s-like consensus on national politics might just be on the horizon.

It was all a lie, of course. Underlying the optimism were the harsh realities of wage stagnation in the face of soaring corporate profits, and a working class whose prospects for health and happiness declined along with its political efficacy. And into that reality stepped an unscrupulous huckster who stoked racial, cultural and economic resentment to astounding effect.

A year in, President Trump looks less like the fascist strongman many feared and more like the apotheosis of late-capitalism, clarifying the divisions, the stakes, and the absurdity of the current moment. His presidency is a cleansing fire badly needed in neoliberal America. President Trump is a man of his time. He is the necessary president.

On policy, this administration looks a lot like what was promised by the sixteen other candidates in the 2016 Republican field—a massively regressive tax bill, a reactionary on the Supreme Court, and a rejection of regulation and climate science. The difference is that Trump’s crass demeanor matches the vicious Republican policies. The Republican Party finally has an appropriate avatar. The true intent of their agenda has never been more exposed.

Image result for bill clinton donald trumpYet, instead of calling attention to that revelation, mainstream liberals praise the president’s enablers like John McCain, who nominated Sarah Palin to the vice presidency, and Jeff Flake, who (like McCain) voted for the monstrous tax bill. Nancy Pelosi, leader of a party that claims to represent the working class, openly pines for Mitt Romney to be president. A quick reminder, as if you needed one, Romney vilified undocumented immigrants and, in private to wealthy donors, slandered Americans who don’t pay federal income tax, a common Republican lie with classist overtones and racist undertones. The pearl clutching and moralizing of the establishment resistance on the left and the never-Trumpers (largely careerists who backed the wrong horse) would be nauseating if it weren’t so instructive.

Many of Trump’s other priorities, like renegotiating NAFTA and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, are criticized endlessly as reckless and poorly thought-out, which they may well be. But these are the same policies other candidates campaign for by rote. Except when, as candidates, Bill Clinton calls Jerusalem “the capital of Israel” and Barack Obama promises to re-negotiate NAFTA no one in the establishment believes they’ll actually follow through. Not even private reassurances are required (though they are sometimes received).

Image result for michelle obama george w. bushTrump has broken the cycle of establishment liberals who tinker for incremental progress and conservatives who promise order but destabilize both the social compact and the Middle East. President Trump has continued foreign folly, paid out the rich, and encouraged questionable law enforcement tactics. If that sounds like the presidency of another Republican president whom liberals now embrace, it’s no accident. Trump was elected as a blow against the establishment but he’s just a new box for the same product.

But he’s so transparent, that maybe people will affirmatively reject his right-wing agenda, and seek a true alternative. Thankfully, Trump’s presidency makes clear that the division in the country that matters lies between those who accept the status quo—largely because like Trump, Romney and Pelosi they benefit wildly from it—and those for whom the status quo is untenable.

Put another way, President Trump, who is so plainly inept, shows that the system does not work. The establishment hates him for it, and only for that. And that’s a revelation that should frighten and empower the rest of us.


  1. I would agree the system allowed someone of horrible or absent leadership qualities in this case Trump, to 'win the White House'. It shows the 'systems' flaws as well as it's dangers when people don't opt for the 'lesser of two evils' which we've been asked to do one too many times. The days of the 'cream rising to the top' are long past as it appears now as if only the 'hollow feces' float or rise to the surface. There doesn't seem much hope in changing what or who rises. Perhaps it's all about internal and external choices we all make as individuals.

  2. There are a number of reasons why "The Necessity of Trump" have become apparent.
    The fact of the status quo not working for average Americans is only one piece of that pie.
    His presidency has brought a lot of hidden darkness in our country into the light. Blatant racism, inappropriate police behavior, the oligarchical corruption that was already present, then heavily fertilized by Citizens United are just a few.

    While the election of Trump is the culmination of decades of bad policy for the US, of fear-mongering and gas-lighting (especially poor whites) all to get people to vote against their best interests; to say his fascist tendencies are merely apostheosis of late capitalism is irresponsible.

    Trump's own sense that AG Sessions, the DOJ and Congress are in place to do his bidding makes him a very real threat to our actual republic. The fact that the GOP refuse to apply any accountability to him (emoluments violations, possible obstruction of Justice, abuse of power) only bolsters that very real threat.

    The active dismantling of the primary agencies of the adminstration via non-staffing and attrition consolidates more and more power solely to the POTUS with little to no accountability to the people of who he is supposed to serve.

    This piece tries to make a silk purse out of a boar's ear. Trump has revealed to us all what MANY PEOPLE already knew, that the GOP has been the party of racism, xenophobia and classism since the 60's. They have steadily moved towards authoritarianism since 2001.

    You are correct. They have finally gotten their appropriate avatar. It is a perfect example of be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

    Now that the true source of the stench is in the open, we can work to get rid of it.

  3. See you Saturday the 20th of January


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