The Ultimate Progressive
By Daniel Riccuito
He would make a fine president, a great unifier.
The evidence is there in American progressives, a twitching political body, whose every outraged spasm finds its origin in Donald Trump. Snake charmer that he is, Mr. Trump has already hypnotized the Left, masterfully coiling around himself its ingrained factionalism and reflexive infighting as a single, undivided entity. The snake may win one day -- well, one can hope -- squeezing the impresario to death. In the meantime, it's quite the show.
By contrast, left-leaning voters droop, as if on command, after successfully spawning one of their own -- i.e., electing a Democrat. Case in point: President Obama's "kill list," words polite enough for morning banter over eggs and toast -- even after a sixteen-year-old United States citizen found himself extra-judicially assassinated. Where were the cries of "Fascism!" then? Why weren't today's Trump critics quick to go into their St. Vitus Dance, complete with obligatory finger-pointing convulsions, egged on by Jon Stewart? Their anti-Arab racism is showing. By extension, it's safe to predict that if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders succeeds him, Obama's "progressive" status will translate beautifully, unifying liberals under a self-enforced decorum that embraces state power over the Constitution.
If, that is, their leader sports the all-important "D" instead of an "R."
One critically important thing to remember about Trump is that he attracts attention. He won't be able to slip colossally destructive trade agreements through Congress the way Obama did with TPP. And if "the Donald" continues to expand America's hideous drone program as our current Commander-in-Chief has done, brand-loyal Dems will holler from the rooftops about crimes against humanity. If either Clinton or Sanders reaches the White House, massaging our complacency with their automatic Lesser-of-Two-Evils eminence, the true owners of our political system will be well pleased, whereas Trump might be less effective, wonderfully polarizing in his ability to galvanize the Left's ire (such as it is).
Ineffectual presidencies are the best kind.
Hillary Clinton is far more frightening than Trump, because her racism is more sinuous than his and would find expression in actual racist policy-making. Would it be outlandish to paint Hillary Clinton a bigot? Or worse, the bureaucratic face of White Supremacy? "They need to be brought to heel" is looming huge for Black Lives Matter at the moment. When Hillary made the remark, she was pushing for anti-crime legislation, brainchild of husband and then-President Bill, who later apologized for record-breaking mass incarceration rates. African Americans wound up taking the brunt of it, naturally.
Clinton fans ignore the fact that in her 1996 interview with NPR she made this unqualified pronunciamento about her political role model: "I'm proud that I was a Goldwater Girl." Partisanship always eclipses common sense. After all, the esteemed Barry Goldwater opposed 1964's Civil Rights Act. No small matter. And yet, Ms. Clinton, when she evinces insufferable evil, does it in just this way -- by omission, a hallmark of unspoken privilege.
Remember back in the 90s when Hillary called black people "Super Predators" --or when a broad constituency supported Bill Clinton's Welfare Reform in the name of bourgeois rectitude? Hillary now defends the Prison Industrial Complex via her adorable proxy, Chelsea Clinton, to the applause of white liberals, who would cringe if Trump were the ignominious front man for the identical political argument. In other words, we're not just electing a president. We're setting up a complex social dynamic, requiring that we take council from our own history.
Donald Trump might be the lunatic that finally awakens otherwise somnambulistic voters, particularly the American Liberal Class, to the fact that something essential is broken here. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman disagrees, as do middlebrow readers in love with a Manichean worldview. Mr. Krugman has stepped outside of the wonkery of economics to tout the Dems, as if all evil reposes on the other side of some invisible line separating them from the GOP.
This is insane, given what we know about the philosophy of Reaganism finding ideal conservative technocrats like Clinton (NAFTA, Welfare Reform, the repeal of Glass-Steagall) and Obama to implement that philosophy in concrete policy terms. Vote Trump for progressive change.
Published March 17th, 2016
Daniel Riccuito is an artist who runs The Chiseler, an online publication dedicated to obscurity—forgotten authors, lost languages, and neglected stars. Riccuito has written a book on Great Depression slang, The Depression Alphabet Primer, and contributed to Cineaste. He lives in New York City.