An interesting time for the Republicans

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, November 13th, 2016 - 55 comments
Categories: class war, uncategorized, us politics - Tags: , , ,

It strikes me that this is a very interesting time to be a Republican.

It’s clear that Trump wants to be a figurehead, holding big rallies for kicks (mmmm), but uninterested in the hard yards:

Donald Trump Prepares for White House Move, but His Tower May Still Beckon

Now, as he prepares to assume the presidency, an open question remains about the capital he repeatedly spurned: Just how much is he willing to become a part of it?

The questions reflect what Mr. Trump’s advisers described as the president-elect’s coming to grips with the fact that his life is about to change radically. They say that Mr. Trump, who was shocked when he won the election, might spend most of the week in Washington, much like members of Congress, and return to Trump Tower or his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on weekends.

Returning home to Trump Tower from the White House may not be Mr. Trump’s only embrace of the familiar. His aides say he has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide, and his aides are discussing how they might accommodate his demand. …

A “hands off” style would be consistent with the position stated by his son, that VP Pence would be in charge of “domestic and foreign policy” and Trump in charge of “Making America great again”. (It also gives credence to the theory that Trump never wanted to be president / didn’t expect to win.)

Already Trump is backing off most of the promises that got him elected. That’s great news of course (except that perhaps we haven’t seen the last of the TPP after all.)

Assuming that Trump is a mere figurehead, the Republican establishment is going to have an unfettered field day. The anti-establishment populist as the ultimate establishment enabler. Already his transition team is chock full of lobbyist cronies. The far-right is going to go large, from financial deregulation to Roe v. Wade. The stuff of nightmares.

The only fly in the Republican ointment is the nature of the chalice that Trump is handing them. His platform was based on draining the Washington swamp and making life better for workers. When the opposite happens, as it will – what will his base do? Will they accept the baubles of victory without the substance they were promised? Or will they rise up and annihilate the Republican party forever?

I doubt that Republicans are thinking about this, as they fight and rush to get their snouts in the trough. They’re going to have a great 4 years. After that, maybe not.

55 comments on “An interesting time for the Republicans”

  1. I wonder how many repugs will attend this

    “Women anxious that a Trump presidency in the United States could set back or destroy many of their rights are planning a massive march in Washington.

    The march is planned for January 21, 2017, the day after Trump is to be sworn into office, at Washington, DC’s Lincoln Memorial.

    On Facebook, where the Million Women March is being organised, some 35,000 people said they would attend within the first 24 hours after it was announced, said Bob Bland, an organiser based in New York.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11747117

    the truth is trump is a rep from that party – repugs will try to take the baubles and then shun him if they can – but they underestimate his venal character and that of his close ones. I expect a sort out, a night of long knives – but not yet, not for a while – best to build the complacency with the Party first, build the base outside the Party – have some rallys, tighten up the inner circle – that sort of thing.

  2. Cinny 2

    I really feel that Americans are over reacting just a little bit at the moment. Crikey he hasn’t even done anything yet. Personally I’m NOT pro Trump but I am anti Hillary and so very pleased she is not President, am still aghast that Agent Orange is however.

    But hey all those protests make for a fantastic revenue as citizens tune into news networks across the USA post election, networks whom would have been worried that their viewer ratings would be dropping now the election is over.

    I strongly recommend watching this weeks episode of The Listening Post, its full of information re the media and trump.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/listeningpost/2016/11/trumped-abyss-reporters-reported-161112060429336.html

    “This week on The Listening Post , we take an extended look at the news coverage of the US presidential election.

    Starting with the on-again-off-again, love-hate relationship that Donald Trump had with the news media, analysing the media’s over-reliance on the polls and looking at the abyss between the Washington press corps and the people to whom they were reporting.

    We also ask how the news media will deal with a president who calls them corrupt.

    In the second half, we dig deep into the history: the way the US corporate media were built, the regulations that went away and the legislation that paved the way for the creation of some of the biggest media companies the world has ever seen.”

    • Garibaldi 2.1

      I’m with you Cinny…. just glad to see the end (I hope) of the Clinton dynasty. The Democrats are not what they claim to be, and as to what Trump is going to do we should wait and see instead of making up crap. My main fear about him is his chance of surviving the next few months, and if he gets eliminated…..? Interesting times.

      • Cinny 2.1.1

        Turns out that many of the anti Agent Orange demonstrations over the last couple of days were organised by a group created by one of Hillarys largest donors.

        Billionaire globalist financier George Soros’ MoveOn.org is the driving force behind the organizing of nationwide protests against the election of Donald Trump.

        https://www.rt.com/usa/366579-soros-orgs-driving-trump-protests/

        Lolz i wonder if he has any media interests and wants to continue the show/revenue?

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          ‘Many’? RT uses the word ‘some’, but in a quick scan through doesn’t quantify that.

          edit,

          MoveOn.org, a liberal group, had called on people to gather in cities nationwide. Ben Wikler, MoveOn’s Washington director, said that people had registered to organize events in 275 cities and communities across the country, noting that many were candlelight vigils and group discussions rather than the sprawling marches seen in New York and Chicago.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/10/not-my-president-thousand-protest-trump-in-rallies-across-the-u-s/

          Just because some people want a post-truth world, doesn’t mean we have to oblige.

        • mikesh 2.1.1.2

          Ironic when one considers the song and dance made by Obama and the Clinton camp about the Donald not accepting the people’s choice.

        • Stuart Munro 2.1.1.3

          It would be surprising – not Soros’s style at all.

          His style is more organising reprinting of Popper’s “The Open Society and Its Enemies” – apparently this makes him an existential threat to Putin.

  3. Bill 3

    I’m thinking your focus is to narrow Anthony. You ask – When the opposite happens, as it will – what will his base do? Will they accept the baubles of victory without the substance they were promised? Or will they rise up and annihilate the Republican party forever?

    That assumes the vote for Trump was affirmation rather than protest. Like BREXIT and like the Scottish referendum, the rise of the SNP, the ‘death’ of Scottish Labour, the rise of Corbyn…I could go on….people are voting against the establishment of these past 40 years; against liberalism; against an increasingly unbearable status quo.

    So when people get agitated over Trump’s failure to deliver on his promise to ‘make America great again’, it won’t merely be the Republican party in the cross hairs. It will be anything and everything that is seen as promoting, defending or hankering for a return to “things as they were”.

    The Republican base, the Democratic base and everything associated with them policy wise, prescription wise or analysis wise is going to be rendered burger.

    • barry 3.1

      So when they don’t get the change that they are hoping for, what is next? The gun?

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      So when people get agitated over Trump’s failure to deliver on his promise to ‘make America great again’, it won’t merely be the Republican party in the cross hairs.

      Not quite.

      A white working class vote for Trump in Michigan or Wisconsin is ***already*** a vote against the Republican establishment.

      • Ad 3.2.1

        Forget about what they were against. It’s immaterial.

        What we are watching is what they are for.

      • No it’s not. The man is appointing the entire establishment to his cabinet, just look at his list of potential nominees.

        He’s been quite clear since appointing Pence that he won’t be setting the establishment on fire to achieve his goals, even if his stated goals were very anti-establishment, I’d be surprised if he achieves even half of the ones the Republicans don’t already secretly want.

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.2.1

          A few people around these parts have enjoyed accusing Trump of being a tyrannical demagogue proto-Hitler dictator in the making.

          Oddly enough though, the US remains a consitutional democracy and yes he is going to have to work through the House and Senate and the Washington DC machinery, and yes, he is not going to get his way on that many things.

          even if his stated goals were very anti-establishment

          He’s already conducted a successful political revolution against both the establishment Democrat and Republican status quo, neither of whom, nor all their DC machine allies, wanted him.

          The rest is going to take a bit of time. (And he’s not the President yet).

          • Matthew Whitehead 3.2.2.1.1

            He’s succeeded as an anti-establishment Republican, however he has a very establishment Republican congress to work with, so it’s more like he struck a blow against them than that he full-on defeated establishment politics, that’s a much longer process than one election cycle would allow for. Whether the Democratic status quo is actually defeated depends as much on what happens with the new progressive wing of that party as it does on Donald’s potential re-election in 4 years. The Hillary supporters are already making noises that suggest they think that their establishment policies were somehow fundamentally sound, which I think both of us would agree is absolute rubbish and clearly the reason why the race was close enough for Donald to “steal” a win using the electoral college.

            The US, functionally, is not a democracy and hasn’t been for decades. It is an oligarchy that holds elections, and while it’s not guaranteed that every winner is an oligarch, it’s guaranteed that enough of them will be to ensure continuation of oligarchical government..

            And Trump is an authoritarian. Whether he governs like one will probably not be clear for at least the first couple years, as usually it’s very difficult to tell an authoritarian from any other type of populist in the first couple of years they spend in government. (because even Hitler was popular for the first couple years, because he focused on red meat for his base before he started in on things like state surveillance and propaganda) I guess that probably means that I agree with you that the rest will take a bit of time, but I am very concerned that “the rest” may indeed end up with authoritarian policies like arresting his political opponents, torturing his nation’s enemies, and suppressing freedom of speech. Add that to existing things like Republican election tampering (such as voter suppression and gerrymandering) and the fact that the USA is already a surveillance state, and things really do look downright scary if Trump does merely what he’s publicly promised to do. (ie. none of this is scaremongering speculation, it’s just taking him at his word where his actions to date haven’t contradicted it)

    • r0b 3.3

      That assumes the vote for Trump was affirmation rather than protest.

      I think it was both, but that’s certainly an interesting angle.

  4. xanthe 4

    well I think it is too soon and not enough information to state that “trump will be a figurehead” rather than president.
    A discussion based on that premise is just speculative now.

    I intend to wait and obeserve before jumping in with that sort of declarative spin

  5. ianmac 5

    “So when people get agitated over Trump’s failure to deliver on his promise to ‘make America great again’
    Trouble with that Bill is that there will be no way to measure it. In four years time Trump can say that the US is better now and will be even better in the next 4 years.
    Like National’s slogan it might mean different things to different people and is unprovable.

    • Olwyn 5.1

      I think Bill’s central point is that a vote for Trump was a vote against the establishment. If Trump proves to be an establishment figure with the right sales pitch for the time, his supporters will be mightily pissed off, but they will not then look hopefully toward the Democrats. If that happened, Trump would be seen as “just another cog in a corrupt machine” that includes the Democrats.

      This observation was made in an article in The Atlantic: “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.” http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/trump-makes-his-case-in-pittsburgh/501335/ Whether or not he “makes America great again” will be less important to his supporters than whether or not his actions in office show that he has their backs.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Also remember that Wisconsin and Michigan both voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, ahead of Hillary Clinton.

        That was a big warning from those rustbelt states to the Democratic establishment.

        They didn’t listen.

        • Olwyn 5.1.1.1

          Yes, they seemed to assume far more political capital than they actually had. Firstly there was the idea that blue collar workers can be safely ignored since they have nowhere else to go – if they are let down for long enough and badly enough they find somewhere else to go. Then there was the idea that once Hillary got the nomination, Bernie’s supporters would fall into line, as Bernie was obliged to do in exchange for running as a Democrat. That didn’t work out either.

          The lesson for the Democrats seems to be this: back in the 70’s you stood opposed to a conservative establishment, personified by people like Richard Nixon. Now the establishment is you, not some impoverished blue collar man, permanently at risk of destitution or prison, who appears to occupy roughly the same spot in your political/social map that Nixon once did. Bernie understands this but I am not sure how many more of them do.

    • Chris 5.2

      I think Pence will be president before the term’s up. Trump doesn’t know how to be the president. And that’s why Pence took the job in the first place, too.

  6. save nz 6

    I’d say if Trump doesn’t keep his promises and they start the TPP type agreements again that was his point of difference to voters – there will be civil unrest. There was already civil unrest with Obama but the people were black, now they are white and if they start uniting – it’s civil war or a revolution in the US.

    American’s have been told they live in the best country on earth, the opportunities are theirs, but after the GFC many people who believed this, found they lost everything, job, house, dignity and identity. The are middle class. The working class had already lost everything under NASDA. So now the middle and working class are going to fight to get back what they have been told since the womb, America is Great and by extension they are deserving of a decent standard of living, not long hours, lower wages, pollution and insecure jobs that neoliberalism has given then.

  7. esoteric pineapples 7

    The white working class has been voting for the Republicans and being shafted by them since Ronald Reagan because their prejudices are more important to them than anything else. They will take being shafted by Trump meekly as always.

    • save nz 7.1

      The middle class are less weak and less meek than the working class. The Clinton types are already rioting. The police/establishment may feel ok to fire on blacks and get away with it, but educated whites?

  8. RedBaronCV 8

    We could take Trump at his word and start applying high tariffs to any goods we import from the USA ( selectively to suit us of course, ) Modify our holiday visa rules to let in those he sees as threats and put the rest of the hard right republicans through a serious interview of many hours at the airport. If he wants isolation for the US perhaps we could get in first?
    Discriminate heavily against white rich middle aged males but not anyone else of course. If he wants to discriminate let’s go there first?
    And the same for the rest of his planks we don’t like.

    But seriously there is the matter of him or the other Republicans causing a huge depression – what can we do locally to insulate our economy from this – and which other countries would like to join us?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      But seriously there is the matter of him or the other Republicans causing a huge depression – what can we do locally to insulate our economy from this – and which other countries would like to join us?

      Did you notice the Dow Jones hitting all time highs this week?

      Do you think that Trump’s trillion dollar infrastructure spending plan is going to be bad for the US economy and bad for jobs?

      • RedBaronCV 8.1.1

        With a small government republican senate? That wall will never be built or much else .
        Anyway my main point is how unpredictable all this is so our best bet might be to get as far away from Dodge as possible – it might be best for our health.

  9. Ad 9

    Trump will learn to operate the executive controls, and he’ll have a great time. The US will get what it said on the tin.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Trump will make plenty of mistakes at first. But compare his campaign and his first speeches on the Primary trail compared to his campaign and his last speeches in November. The man learns, and he learns fast.

      The second half of his first term is when Trump will really hit his stride.

      His choice of Kellyanne Conway as his campaign manager was a masterstoke.

      Conway broke one glass ceiling: first female nationwide campaign manager to successfully bring home a Presidential campaign.

      Trump’s not a misogynist. But he is extremely prejudiced towards character, loyalty and talent.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        The one to watch is the Pence-McConnell relationship. A fully Republican government will install the Republican policy wish list. The time for unity won’t come again for a while.

        • mickysavage 9.1.1.1

          One conspiracy theory I read this morning is that at some stage Trump will be impeached.

          • Matthew Whitehead 9.1.1.1.1

            I’d actually consider it a real possibility that the House will vote for his impeachment, not simply as a vehicle for Pence, but because a lot of the things Trump has stated he wants to do are potentially impeachable.

            It’s just a matter of whether enough Republicans would vote for it.

            I would consider it very unlikely, however, that the Senate would vote to convict him, as you need 67 votes, and I can’t see 40+ Republican senators splitting from Trump unless he lights a Republican donor on fire in front of cameras.

        • mickysavage 9.1.1.2

          One conspiracy theory I read this morning is that at some stage Trump will be impeached. I am sure he will give them plenty or reasons to do this. Then Pence can take over.

          • Ad 9.1.1.2.1

            That’s the House of Cards (Spacey) script.

            Pence doesn’t need that.
            Nor does Ryan or McConnell to achieve their policy ends.
            They can go back to the policy writers at Exxon, Aetna Life, McConnell Douglas, Liberty University, Heritage USA, and Breitbart to continue writing the policy agenda.

            And then just get it enacted.
            They have full majorities across Senate, Congress, White House, and shortly Supreme Court. That’s written on the tin.

            I’m looking forward to Trump’s first State of the Union to actually see the policy programme. Then we will see the truth of how united the Republicans are across the levels of House and White House.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2.2

            You have to ask what would happen to Republican congressmen and senators at the mid terms if they tried to impeach Trump. They would be decimated by the popular vote.

            • Matthew Whitehead 9.1.1.2.2.1

              Depending on whether the Democrats get taken over by the new progressive wing of their party or not, if they do, the Republicans are in for a blood bath in the midterms anyway, at which point some might go for it.

              The real issue is finding the supermajority in the Senate, which I’d consider an outside chance at best.

      • Anne 9.1.2

        The second half of his first term is when Trump will really hit his stride.

        You think he’ll last that long? There’s a legal case or two confronting him over the next little while – the outcome of which might see him deemed unfit to continue as president. Time will tell.

        Trump’s not a misogynist. 😯 😯

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.2.1

          A sitting President is immune from federal prosecution.

          • joe90 9.1.2.1.1

            A sitting President is immune from federal prosecution

            .

            Only at the house’s discretion, he’s certainly not above the law just because he’s President, and if a majority want him out, he’s gone.

            • Pasupial 9.1.2.1.1.1

              That should be; if a supermajority “want him out, he’s gone”. A simple majority won’t do it, nor fortunately can Trump amend the constitution without votes from the Democrat side. Unfortunately, he can declare war with a bare majority of congress.

              • Anne

                Richard Nixon stepped down a matter of hours before he was going to be impeached. History has a habit of eventually repeating itself.

              • Joe’s technically correct about initiating an impeachment hearing and how it works for the House. It’s the Senate that needs the supermajority to actually convict him and chuck him out. That’s never actually happened yet in US history.

                Anne is probably correct that if it looks likely his party will turn on him and vote for impeachment that he’ll probably just resign.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    And if we want to stop similar issues here then don’t create large classes of people who are being shut out who in a state that is getting richer they are holding or becoming poorer.

  11. Sanctuary 11

    Trump is completely inexperienced and is already backtracking at a 100 miles an hour on a lot of rhetoric. He’ll be easy meat for GOP hard right Koch agenda. Expect Kansas comes to the Federal government. What people seem to not have particularly noticed is the Republicans currently control all three arms of the government, and will retain that control for at least two years. Expect them to absolutely ram that advantage home. More voter suppression. More Gerrymanders. More laws designed to entrench corporate power. By the time the GOP are finished when the next presidential election rolls around, one white rural vote will be worth four or five Black or Hispanic votes – that is assuming if after the green light to new Jim Crow laws there will be any Blacks left qualified to vote.

    Now, an America like that will be a powder keg, a Black insurrection would not be out of the bounds of possibility. The whites who elected Trump will feel betrayed – they will possibly go to neo-Nazi organisations, especially if racial tensions explode.

    All in all, this election is a disaster, because it has put in charge those who wish to create a reactionary revolution that seeks to deny the reality of modern America and the modern world.

    • rhinocrates 11.1

      That’s what happens when you install someone completely unqualified.

      Gumby Brain Specialist:

    • Anne 11.2

      This is why Donald Trump won:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/317984/clinton-blames-fbi-boss-for-election-defeat

      Plain and simple.

      Imo, this is the real life conspiracy. Coney didn’t decide to re-visit the alleged Clinton emails scandal one week out from the election without some powerful behind the scenes backing. Anyone who believes he did is living in cloud cuckoo land.

      And it worked a treat didn’t it!

      Will the Democrats take legal action against the FBI chief and the Republican backers who were enabling him? I damm well hope so.

  12. Pasupial 12

    Though he might not want to be a conventional president, it is likely that Trump is interested in being something more than a figurehead:

    Most important, Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.

    I have lived in autocracies most of my life, and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy and salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now:

    Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization…

    Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality…

    Rule #3: Institutions will not save you…

    Rule #4: Be outraged…

    Rule #5: Don’t make compromises…

    Rule #6: Remember the future… That should not be normal. But resistance—stubborn, uncompromising, outraged—should be.

    http://www2.nybooks.com/daily/s3/nov/10/trump-election-autocracy-rules-for-survival.html

    Some of these rules may seem counter-intuitive (especially #4 &5, which seem like advice to paint a target on your forehead), but Gessen goes into more detail in her article. The rules are intended not just; “for surviving in an autocracy”, but also; “salvaging your sanity and self-respect”.

  13. mary_a 13

    “Returning home to Trump Tower from the White House may not be Mr. Trump’s only embrace of the familiar. His aides say he has also expressed interest in continuing to hold the large rallies that were a staple of his candidacy. He likes the instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide, and his aides are discussing how they might accommodate his demand. …”

    A case of deja vu about to rear its ugly head?

    Germany 1930s -1940s style comes to mind? A time when a particular disdainful leader liked to rile up the masses to support his vile bigoted policies through ongoing rallies! This leader too also enjoyed the “… instant gratification and adulation that the cheering crowds provide …”

    A disturbing common factor amongst demagogues/dictators/despots it seems!

  14. Manuka AOR 15

    A chance to smile – “Best of the Bromance” – Biden & Obama (with DT as the fall guy)
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/86404054/best-of-the-bromance-joe-biden-memes-guaranteed-to-brighten-your-day

    Eg:
    Biden: Ok here’s the plan: have you seen Home Alone
    Obama: Joe, no
    Biden: Just one booby trap
    Obama: Joe pic.twitter.com/IDTc2L1sKF

    — Dean E. S. Richard (@deanfortythree) November 11, 2016

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