IMHO if Trump wins we're all goosed

Some pretty scary stuff in this Economist article.

How MAGA Republicans plan to make Donald Trump’s second term count

They think they know how to banish the chaos and frustrations of his first four years

Jul 13th 2023

THE OVERWHELMING memory of Donald Trump’s time in office is of chaos and resentment. It was summed up by the shameful end to his presidency, when his whipped-up supporters sacked the Capitol in a bid to keep him in power. Mr Trump has since lurched from an ignominious post-electoral impeachment to two criminal indictments, with perhaps more in the offing. The former president seems obsessed with relitigating his election loss in 2020: “I am your justice,” he thundered to a crowd of supporters this year. “I am your retribution.”

Mr Trump is likely to win the Republican presidential nomination for 2024. You might think victory in the general election would foreshadow even more chaos—this time without the grown-ups who, it turns out, at first reined in their impulsive new boss. In fact, a professional corps of America First populists are dedicating themselves to ensuring that Trump Two will be disciplined and focused on getting things done. They are preparing the way and you should not dismiss their efforts.

In contrast to the slapdash insurgency that captured the White House in 2016, the veterans of Mr Trump’s first term have been years at work, as our Briefing this week lays out. Even at this early stage, the details are something to behold. Thousand-page policy documents set out ideas that were once outlandish in Republican circles but have now become orthodox: finishing the border wall, raising tariffs on allies and competitors alike, making unfunded tax cuts permanent and ending automatic citizenship for anyone born in the United States. They evince scepticism for NATO and pledge to “end the war on fossil fuels”, by nixing policies designed to limit climate change.

Alongside these proposals is something that aims to revolutionise the structure of government itself. MAGA Republicans believe that they will be able to enact their programme only if they first defang the deep state by making tens of thousands of top civil servants sackable. Around 50,000 officials would be newly subject to being fired at will, under a proposed scheme known as Schedule F.

At the same time, to fill the thousands of political appointments at the top of the American civil service, the America Firsters are creating a “conservative LinkedIn” of candidates whose personal loyalty to Mr Trump is beyond question. Merely expressing qualms about the storming of the Capitol on January 6th 2021 is grounds for disqualification. None of this is a shadowy conspiracy: it is being planned in the open.

America Firsters will argue that civil-service reform promises to enhance democracy by preventing the unelected bureaucracy from stymying the programme of an elected president. Although checks and balances are an important part of America’s constitutional design, the civil service is not one of the three branches of government it enshrines.

That argument does not wash. One objection is practical. The draining of brains from government would come just as the expansion of the American state across the economy makes a competent bureaucracy more important than ever. Running a modern nation state requires expertise in administration, economics, foreign affairs and science. If officials cannot challenge political appointees’ madder proposals for fear of being fired, policy will rot from the inside.

A second objection is political. A future Democratic president endowed with imperial powers and unchecked by reality is not something Republicans should wish for. One reason for the professionalisation of the bureaucracy in the 19th century was to provide the ship of state with enough ballast to keep sailing from one administration to the next.

A third objection is that these changes would give an overmighty president direct control of the Department of Justice. By being able to sack all of its purported dissenters, the administration would obliterate the norm of legal independence. If so, Trumpian resentment would be channelled into concrete vengeance. That prospect should concern all Americans.

Having encountered resistance from his previous attorneys-general, the prime criterion for Mr Trump’s next one would be a suppleness of spine: a willingness to quash investigations into the president and his allies and to authorise them against his long list of real and perceived political enemies. Although Mr Trump would have little practical reason to continue to foment distrust in the electoral system—since the constitution precludes a third term—the need to be vindicated about his supposedly stolen election in 2020 may lead him to do so, all the same.

If the Republicans win both houses of Congress, as is possible, nobody in the executive or the legislature will be in a position to stop Mr Trump. After all, most of those in charge will already have publicly attested to the legitimacy of storming the Capitol. The federal courts will become one of the few remaining redoubts of independence and expertise in the American system. It is hard to see how they will not also come under sustained attack.

If these carefully laid plans were enacted, America would follow Hungary and Poland down the path of illiberal democracy. True, America has more guardrails against backsliding—including centuries of democratic history and a more raucous and more decentralised media. However, these guardrails are weaker than in the past. Moreover, many Americans would be left worse off by these plans. Trust in institutions and the rule of the law would suffer, leaving the country yet more divided.

Donaldus imperator

Some people will try to take comfort from the idea that Mr Trump will not win the primary, or that he will lose the general election. Perhaps his nominees will not be confirmed, or the emperor of entropy will sabotage his own supporters’ designs. That is unforgivably complacent.

Mr Trump is favourite to win the nomination in a country where general elections are determined by a few tens of thousands of votes. In victory, a team of practised demolition experts would prime their explosive ideas. The deconstruction of the administrative state could begin. The vain and tyrannical whims of an emperor-president would emerge from the rubble. ■

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Rightly or wrongly, and despite some attempts at gerrymandering, the total number of Republican voters has been decreasing and was fewer than that of Democrats in the last two presidential elections. As in NI there’s a shrinking right wing demographic: primarily due to age, but also other factors like an increasing percentage of young well-educated voters.

Even if the Orange One (actually he seems to have changed that colour) gets as far as being an eligible candidate (yes, I know he’ could theoretically be allowed to campaign from jail) his constituency has shrunk from that which cost him the last election.

Regrettably it isn’t the comparative total numbers that matter. The way the Republicans have gerrymandered the voting districts and suppressed the opposition votes, it just takes enough committed right wingers in targetted districts to swing the vote in their favor.

The USA is a big country with wide regional differences and substantial numbers of extremists. It claims to be the most democratic country in the world. The UK nurtures similar fantasies of being thoroughly democratic while having a Prime Minister , who is the effective head of the country, who hangs on to power at all costs. We see similar action in other countries and decry it. But are we really much better?


I’m not sure this is accurate, I think there are very few extremists in America but whether you’re talking there, or Syria or Iran, or China, or the UK, or the one I will ignore due to Godwin’s law but is perhaps the most obvious, what is true is that these things should act as a reminder to us all how easy it is to take normal, not extremist people and to use the contentious word that is actually coming back into use, brainwash them into becoming radicalised.

This is why the few extremists themselves are actually so dangerous, especially when given power, as be it a Murdoch, an Adleson, a Thiel, or a Johnson, le Pen, a Trump, or one of the many dictators masquerading as a president, when these characters get influence the normal people can very quickly start to act against their own interests, and what they know and believe to be right. The cult of Trump has shown that very clearly, good, kind caring people being fed a constant diet of right wing press for a decade, people who have extraordinary respect for the United States causing an insurrection and defiling the US capitol, something they’d never, ever have done before they were radicalised.


Bit like Brexit then

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Brexit is another like Trumpism that I believe will be in text books in years to come alongside classics like the Chinese brainwashing camps and Nazi Germany as examples of thought reform. Robert J Lifton who wrote the classic book in the subject Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism is 97 now, so although he’s been pretty outspoken about Trumpism I don’t think we’ll see anything more academically from him, but I’d love for someone like him to look at Brexit.

You can see the thought reform in front of your eyes, brexiteers say the same things, hold the same views, and I don’t just mean general views,it’s often like looking at robots reacting identically, it’s fascinating and I think to most people who have an interest or knowledge in cults and coercive persuasion it’s clear that there’s been a lot of the same stuff used, way beyond the marketing/ propaganda that we all face a ton of in everyday life. The Cambridge Analytica stuff showed how intensely targeted messages were, they were looking for brexit sympathisers to pump out constant messaging to them across both their online and offline lives, you can see that it becomes relatively easy to get people in a state where all the know is what’s being fed to them rather than what they know. They do know what a disaster it’s all been and how it was completely the wrong thing, but to use the old adage used for other cults it’s like peeling the onion, it takes a long time and many layers for people admit that they were wrong, that they were duped, and that they need to change their position so things can be corrected.

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For decades Tory politicians have been railing against Critical Media Studies for not being a ‘real’ subject. Whereas in fact, the analytical and critical skills such courses impart should be introduced much earlier at secondary or even primary level. If more people had these skills fewer would be duped the way they were over Brexit.


Yes of course but the daily Mail says it’s bad so let’s ridicule and dismiss it without actually wondering why! That’s why I have no time for the ‘You couldn’t make it up! Political correctness gone maaaad!’ stories that get posted here every so often. There’s absolutely no critical thinking as to why they’re being written, or whether there’s actually any truth in it, just a blind ‘the mail said it, and it aligns to what I think is probably right, so it must be true’.

I think, particularly in the US, it’s actually ‘it aligns with what I want to remain the case’ especially in the face of shifting demographics of race, education and religious belief’.

Oh, and I forgot gun control - what an omission and perhaps the biggest difference between US and UK - imagine if every Brexiteer was an armed fundamentalist Christian…

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Yes, I agree completely.

When I said “it aligns to what I think is probably right, so it must be true” I was thinking about these ludicrous articles about teachers not being allowed to say dad and mum, or the most recent with Rye College having to have an emergency OFSTED inspection because the sun and Mail whipped up a frenzy about kids identifying as cats, both. Anyone who uses an ounce of critical thinking (or common sense) would know it was a load of distorted, or entirely made up, nonsense, but some people live in a world where the big bad woke is coming to get them, trans people are lopping off kids genitals, you can’t even look at a black person without being labelled a racist, and so much more hysterical nonsense, that when they hear of a newspaper saying they’re putting litter boxes in schools for the kids who identify as cats, it must be true.

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Depressing, but an interesting what if that was actually the case?

Obviously bad for the garden bird population, but cats are incredibly independent animals who wouldn’t be dependent on the Welfare State yet OTOH are capable of great displays of affection. And or course, they keep down rats and mice.

Unfortunately, I suspect the Mail and/ or Sun neglected to consider the above potential positives

I seem to recall that it was actually the case, in that there were a few schools in America that did stock a small amount of cat litter. Unfortunately the horrific reason they did was not because of students identifying as cats as the idiots tried to make out, but that the litter was part of the emergency kits kept in classrooms for if kids had to be locked in for a significant period due to a school shooting or other attack. I’m not sure if it was for the poor kids to pee in, or whether it was to be used to soak up blood or such, but either way, a rather damning indictment, not least of the gun obsessed Republican Party who spread the ridiculous story to start with. All of which came out afterwards of course, they had no knowledge when they made up the litter box nonsense that any school did actually have litter.

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Didn’t know that was the source, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people just tried thinking again and weren’t so unquestioningly gullible

The more the merrier - I hope!


Another strongly Democrat voting state though (the last time a Republican won the state was 1988 when Bush narrowly beat Dukakis).

The Supreme Court has agreed to look at the decision of the Colorado Court banning Trump from standing because they take the stance that he is gulity of insurrection .
Their decision is vital, but Trump stuffed the bench with his own supporters.

Particularly that little crying shit Kavanaugh.

The Meidas Touch on YouTube has been on Trump’s tail for some while now. They stick to him like glue and follow every move he makes instantly. This just one the Meidas Touch legal advisors outlining Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court.


Trump rally Iowa

Mail.pdf (1.2 MB)

A thousand words