Don’t Give In To Coup Fantasies; Power is More Straightforward
By Arun Gupta (January 30, 2017)
I am getting notes and articles forwarded from numerous people, smart people, that are full of paranoid speculation about coups, false flag operations, and military mobilizations.
This is exactly what the Trumpkins want. They want you to be paranoid, to be consumed by fear and irrationality. The last thing they want you to be is thoughtful, careful, rational. They want you to overreact and succumb to lurid fantasies.
Their exercise of power thus far is muscular but also chaotic, banal, and largely symbolic.
Take the Muslim ban. It is possible the botched order was a trial balloon by Bannon to see how various forces would react — the media, protesters, the judiciary, civil society. But it spurred an incredible resistance. Yes, many people will suffer but they really shot themselves in the foot with this one.
The Trumpkins have phenomenal contempt for everything from bourgeois political norms to the idea of democracy to the left and progressives. But stop thinking this is Year Zero, as many pundits are calling the Trump regime. Their power grabs fit into a history of power grabs by presidents of both parties, going back to FDR. There are moments where some limits are placed, such as after Watergate, but then a new president undermines most controls and expands powers further. That is true, in different ways, of Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
If you really want to know the impact of what Trump is doing, start following the commodities and equities markets closely. Trump probably pulled back so quickly on the green card ban because of the protests and the furor from Silicon Valley. Trump and his league of doom may hate the tech industry, but they can’t ignore the biggest companies in the world.
Today the markets are down and the volatility index is up because Trump is spooking businesses and investors. The markets will be a huge brake on his regime.
Look at the flurry of orders and proposals in his first week that directly impact the economy. This is what I mean by banality. The Trumpkins are well aware if they don’t deliver on jobs and economic growth they will be a one-term administration. Even gerrymandering and voter suppression won’t save them. So they proposed and dropped a 20% tariff on goods from Mexico, which would have been severely disruptive to U.S. businesses and consumers. This was incredibly inept and exposes that Trump is as much of a shitty manager as a master manipulator. They ban and unban green card holders because of its deleterious impact on the tech industry. Trump’s order trying to revive the KXL and DAPL pipelines probably face years of legal challenges. His order about using U.S.-made pipelines is meaningless because most pipeline is already made here. This is what I mean by symbolic.
I’ve said this before and will say it again. Be scientific. demand specific, credible and verifiable evidence and primary sourcing. Be skeptical and cautious about drawing conclusions. Don’t speculate endlessly on motives and psychology, especially when they are unknowable. Power operates in a far more banal fashion than a fantastical one. This is a long game. Keep your wits about you and we will get through this together.