Beyond the margin with Trump

Donald Trump started the week by continuing a prolonged twitter attack on his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Later he tweeted a ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces then made a widely criticized politically divisive speech to a national gathering of Boy Scouts. Soon came an on-the-record obscene and insane rant by his new communications chief Anthony Scaramucci. Quickly following the Mooch’s rant, Trump fired  his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, and replaced him with the DHS Secretary, former General John Kelly. Woven into all that  chaos was the dramatic GOP loss in the Senate on a series of ACA repeal bills Trump supported.margincenter2

In reaction to all this chaos, The Donald turned on his own party and tweeted that the GOP “looked like fools” and threatened not to follow the Obamacare (ACA) law and to stop mandated payments to insurance companies. He left Washington, traveled to an event on Long Island and suggested to a gathering of police officers that they “…don’t be too nice” to alleged immigrant criminalsa comment widely perceived as a presidential call encouraging police violence. Here’s a link to a rundown of most of the events from the Financial Times

Watching this numbingly frightful week unfold, I remembered whatwhen the shock of Trump’s victory was still newseemed a worst case prediction of what was to come .

On November 29, 2016, only a few short weeks after the election, Rick Perlstein was interviewed by Sky News. Perlstein was a biographer of Nixon and a longtime observer of the American conservative movement, but his interview was cut short by the Murdoch-owned news channel. Although he never got the chance to make his comments on-air, Perlstein published his observations in the Washington Spectator.

None of these things [Trump’s unrealistic campaign promises], however, are possible.

So what happens next? His worshipful admirers cannot blame Trump for the stymying of this agenda: Trump is a god. It must be the people he told them to blame who are actually responsible. The lying media. The quisling Democrats. The sellout Republican establishment. Mexicans, of course. The more Trumpism fails, the more, and more violently, scapegoats will be blamed. And only some kind of stalwart resistance will stand between America and fascism.[emphasis added]

Remember, Perlstein planned to say these things in his on-air interview a mere 3 weeks after the election.

Here’s how he closed his piece: Maybe they [Sky News] didn’t like the direction I was heading; Sky News, after all, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, same as Fox. Or maybe I’m just being conspiratorial: Trump may soon be doing that to all of us. The margin has become the center. Paranoia strikes deep.

Looking back at this prediction from today’s perspective, six months further on in the Trump presidency, we have to say:  without a doubt, Perlstein called it. Except that we might say it’s the fringe, not the margin that is the center for now. If Trump was a flat-earther, we’d all be in danger of falling off the edge.

3 thoughts on “Beyond the margin with Trump

  1. “…into your life it will creep.
    Starts when you’re always afraid…
    Step out of line, the man comes
    And takes you away.”

  2. What we have here is an astounding difference in currently perceived realities. While I would love to believe that Trump’s agenda has been “stymied;” it’s just not true. In a mere six months he:

    Is well on his way to deconstructing the administrative state by failing to staff nearly 2000 vacant executive branch positions

    Handed the EPA to a climate denier, the Education Department to an opponent of public, the Labor Department to a serial violator of labor laws, HUD to a man who declared himself unqualified, and the Attorney General’s office to a man who couldn’t be confirmed as a federal judge

    Declared the mainstream media to be the enemy of the people

    Declared the “court system” a threat to national security

    Shared highly classified Israeli intelligence with one of Israel’s top geopolitical enemies

    Abandoned a strategy alliance with Qatar where we have a military base to appease the Saudi’s who had treated him like a king on his visit

    Praised Duterte for his policy of sanctioning extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers

    Ignored the Office of Government Ethics’ authority to do its job

    Got Keystone PipelineXL and Dakota Access Pipeline up and running

    Proposed a budget with a multitrillion dollar hole created by tax cuts for the rich

    Given the right wing the Supreme Court justice of their dreams

    Withdrawn the U. S. from the Paris Climate Accord

    Threatened to sabotage America’s insurance markets to get his way on his income redistribution plan disguised as health care legislation

    Created a diplomatic crisis with Australia and threatened to invade Mexico

    Signed a series of executive orders authored by Bannon and Steve Miller to fulfill his campaign promises reversing some Obama-era restrictions on off-shore drilling, move toward ending major parts of Dodd-Frank, and initiating a review of the Clean Power Plan. There are at least 45 more targeted to specific constituent groups.

    Replaced the White House website on climate change with a vow to drill for oil on federal lands

    Called NATO obsolete

    Repeatedly denigrated U. S. intelligence agencies then leaked plans to downsize them

    Attacked a local labor leader for calling attention to his lies

    And on and on.

    And we wonder why his base remains strong. They’re getting everything they paid for, with the exception of an Obamacare repeal, which is undergoing death by strangulation instead.

    1. I agree he’s doing a lot of damage.So maybe not stymied exactly as Perlstein thought but he is frustrated on some fronts-and using all his tricks to keep his base fired-up. Still seriously dangerous.

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