Saturday, October 29, 2016

the trumpenproletariat

Yeah, it's rich coming from the national review, but that line about the trumpenproletariat liking him because he makes them feel good (like Oxycontin) has a lot of truth in it. You know this if you've ever met a core Trumpite.* If you work in a factory, or on a farm, or live outside the city, they're hard to avoid. And the core can't shut up about him. Yes, our ideology is ultimately informed by our material situation, but the trumpenproletariat are not giving us a decent critique of NAFTA. They've largely worked out that Trump is completely talking shit when he says he'll "bring the jobs back," like he's some sort of economic necromancer. It's building a wall that gives them a little poke in their pants. "Make the country great again" mostly means you don't wait but five minutes before you send the tanks in for people blocking a pipeline. Of course we still have our brutal crackdowns and state murders, streaming live, but every day one of these protests is tolerated, every football player who takes a knee, is another day where the real world disrupts the ideal one. You have to bring them back in line, so they know their place, like the good old days. Of course Trump could never do this, but it's enough that he isn't afraid to talk about it.

If you actually look at Trump's policy proposals, the ones you can make sense of anyway, they're the same old (bipartisan) anti-government nonsense. His idea to rebuild the country's infrastructure is to incentivize private industry to rebuild the nation through subsidizing them via tax cuts. Wow! What a populist vision! I'll admit I'm thoroughly enjoying watching the neocons squirm and embrace Clinton because of Trump's unwillingness to do what he's told, but this is more a reflection of how awful he is as a person rather than any sort of anti-interventionist ideology. The few times Trump accidentally says something reasonable regarding foreign policy he will ruin it by ranting on about carpet bombing or using nukes against some rag tag group of jihadists.

(That's not to say Clinton's ideas are much better. Clinton is a complete hawk, much more so than Obama, and has been nothing short of awful in regards to Syria. The Democrats are so goddamn tone deaf to the mood of the country right now I can't bring myself to do anything other than ignore them. I thought i'd never see a bigger wasted opportunity than when they pushed through the the ACA, but it appears they will do one better by making us sit through years of Clinton scandals, real and imagined, when they had a historic chance to basically nominate anyone and win.)

Trump is about identity, which is largely but not exclusively white. With that identity comes a romanticization of the past, "memberberries" as South Park puts it. A lot of that has to do with post-war economic security that is no longer here. (It is indeed the loss of that economic security that has allowed Trumpites, and identitarians of all sorts, to flourish.) It is tempting to think Trump ultimately represents a longing for that economic order, albeit in a nasty racist/nationalist rightwing way. That at least gives us hope that we could channel some of that anger for more positive purposes. I don't have that hope. Trump isn't populist enough to stray too from economic orthodoxy, and core Trumpites will openly laugh away Trump's repeated policy contradictions because they primarily care about what he represents, which isn't consciously about economics, and would almost certainly be there even with a more favorable class balance. The Trumpites will need to be put back in their place at some point regardless of whether or not someone is able to conjure up those "middle class" jobs.


*regarding the term "Trumpite" and/or "trumpenproletariat:" I do note a difference between someone who plugs their nose and votes for Trump and someone who is a core supporter. A small difference. It is extremely hard to imagine being able to plug your nose well enough to avoid that smell.

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