The meaning of Trumpism is that Americans want to rid themselves of the burden of empire. Trump’s rise augurs a seismic shift in the foreign policy debate in this country, marking the end of the interventionist consensus that dominates both parties. And it certainly means the final defeat and humiliation of the neoconservatives, who are busy spewing vitriol at him and his 'plebeian' supporters. And that alone is worth whatever price we have to pay for the triumph of Trump. For the neocons are the very core of the War Party: their demise as a politically effective force inside the GOP is an event that every person who wants a more peaceful world has been longing for and should celebrate.
For the Sanders and Trump voters, the status quo seems not only unacceptable, but intolerable. And if their candidates and causes do not prevail, they are probably not going to accept defeat stoically, and go quietly into that good night, but continue to disrupt the system until it responds. Unlike previous elections in our time, save perhaps 1980, this appears to be something of a revolutionary moment. We could be on the verge of a real leap into the dark.
In the US the rule of law, and with it liberty, have been lost. With few exceptions, Americans are too ignorant and unconcerned to do anything about it. The longer the rule of law is set aside, the more difficult it is to reestablish it. Sooner or later the rule of law ceases even as a memory. No candidate in the upcoming election has made the rule of law an issue. Americans, even well informed ones, dramatically over-estimate the knowledge of presidents and the neutrality of the information that is fed to them by the various agencies and advisors. Information is power, and presidents get the information that Washington wants them to receive.
When it comes to political entertainment, it doesn’t get much better than presidential election season in the United States. Edward Bernays, the father of modern public relations, examined it in 1928, in his book Propaganda. "Politics was the first big business in America,” he declared, and political campaigns are “all side shows, all honors, all bombast, glitter, and speeches.” The key to victory is the manipulation of public opinion, and that is achieved most effectively by appealing to the "mental clichés and emotional habits of the public."
Frustrated with what he believes is a presidental race gone off the rails, Michael Bloomberg is set to make a run at the White House as an independent candidate, multiple sources say. Although commentators are divided on the effect Bloomberg's entry would have on Trump and Sanders, one thing is certain: Hillary Clinton has the most to lose.
The last time the major political parties disintegrated, back in the 1850s, the nation had to go through a bloody convulsion to reconstitute itself. The festering issue of slavery so dominated politics that nothing else is remembered about the dynamics of the period. Today, the festering issue is corruption and racketeering, but none of the candidates uses those precise terms to describe what has happened to us. Nobody knows where the shit show of 2016 is leading. The uncertainty around it is helping to sink what remains of the old economy, and one can easily discern a very dangerous set of feedbacks creeping into place.
Since 1928, there have been 22 Presidential Elections. In 14 of them, the S&P 500 climbed during the three months preceding election day. The incumbent President or party won in 12 of those 14 instances. However, in 7 of the 8 elections where the S&P 500 fell over that three month period, the incumbent party lost. Statistically, the market has an 86.4% success rate in forecasting the election!
- Islamic State launches militant assault on Indonesia's capital (Reuters)
- Three winners emerge in $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot (Reuters)
- European Stocks Tumble, Credit Markets Weaken on Growth Concern (BBG)
- Stocks and commodity currencies floored by new oil plunge (Reuters)
- China Bear Market Looms as PBOC Fails to Stop Flight to Safety (BBG)
- Anxious phone calls, tense moments before Iran's Supreme Leader okayed U.S. sailors' release (Reuters)
Three weeks out from the Iowa caucuses, and clarity emerges. Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, is in trouble. But if a cloud is forming over the Clinton campaign, the sun continues to shine on The Donald. What does the surge for socialist Sanders and the Republican base’s backing of the outsiders Trump and Cruz and collective recoil from the Republican establishment candidates tell us? As Dylan sang, "The times they are a changing."
"The challenge to Hillary, if Trump is the nominee and pivots to the center in the general election as a problem-solving, independent-minded, successful 'get it done' businessman is that Democrats will no longer be able to count on his personality and outrageous sound bites to disqualify him in the voters' minds."
There’s really one supreme element of this story that you must keep in view at all times: a society (i.e. an economy + a polity = a political economy) based on debt that will never be paid back is certain to crack up. Its institutions will stop functioning. Its business activities will seize up. Its leaders will be demoralized. Its denizens will act up and act out. Its wealth will evaporate. Given where we are in human history - the moment of techno-industrial over-reach - this crackup will not be easy to recover from. Things have gone too far in too many ways. The coming crackup will re-set the terms of civilized life to levels largely pre-techno-industrial. How far backward remains to be seen.