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Donald Trump: America's Berlusconi?
#1
With the benefit of hindsight, how will presidential historians characterize Donald Trump's time in office?  I know that's looking far into the future.  What I can say, without equivocation, is that Trump poses more imponderables than any of his successors.  And that means unprecedented uncertainty.  We have only his business record by which to judge the potential nature and quality of his leadership.  He is the only American president to assume the mantle of leadership without benefit of either military or political experience.  Oh sure, he can assemble a "crack team" of retired generals and savvy politicians to advise him, but there is something valuable in and of itself to having been in the field of combat or having served in high political office beforehand.  That kind of experience provides a perspective that a total outsider like Trump cannot possibly bring to the table: real lessons on the horrors of war and the limits of power.

According to Strauss and Howe, the Fourth Turning crisis that now confronts us cries out for a Gray Champion.  We already have threads aplenty that addresses that topic, which I consider one of the weaker tenets of their theory.  Our previous Gray Champions were not all that "gray" to begin with--before their inauguration: Washington (57), Lincoln (52), and FDR (51), who was younger than his disastrous predecessor--Hoover (54).  Younger candidates than were on offer this past election might well be able to lead us out of the "swamp" in which our country is mired.  A Gen-Xer...maybe even a Millennial four to eight years from now.  (He or she could hardly do worse than the Boomer presidents who have preceded them.)

Anyway, I digress...

Trump, who has been underestimated politically all along the way, could well turn out to be the Gray Champion.  That, of course, is the best case, according to S&H theory.  But I just don't see it.  Trump has neither the intellect, nor experience, much less the character of Washington, Lincoln and FDR.  Not even close. 

He is no doubt a demagogue, the first of that political ilk to reach the pinnacle of power in America, succeeding where Father Coughlin, Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and George Wallace failed.  But I am not prepared to call Trump a fascist, as some pundits have called him, political commentators who--quite frankly--should know better.  I would hesitate even to call him a strongman in the manner of Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez, although I would not rule that out altogether, especially if a meta-crisis strikes on his watch, one that brings out his worst tendencies.  Either possibility is a worst case.

The most likely case is that Trump goes down in history as a (faux) populist, like Italy's Silvio Berlusconi.  The two men bear an uncanny resemblance.  This article appeared in The Guardian prior to our election: "We’ve Seen Donald Trump Before – His Name Was Silvio Berlusconi:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre...e_btn_link

We keep being told that the Donald Trump phenomenon means we have entered the era of post-fact politics. Yet, I would argue, post-fact politics has been tarnishing democracy for some time. Twenty-two years ago a successful businessman sent a VHS tape to Italy’s news channels. It showed him sitting in a (fake) office. He read a pre-prepared statement via an autocue.

The man’s name was Silvio Berlusconi, and he was announcing that he was, in his words, “taking the field”. The first reaction was derision. Opposition politicians saw his political project (the formation of a “movement” called Forza Italia – Go for it, Italy – just months ahead of a crucial general election) as a joke. Some claimed a stocking had been put over the camera to soften the impact of Berlusconi’s face.

But Forza Italia soon became the biggest “party”. In the working-class Communist citadel of Mirafiori Sud in Turin, an unknown psychiatrist standing for Berlusconi’s movement beat a long-standing trade unionist. Berlusconi had not just won, he had also stolen the left’s clothes and some of its supporters. That first government was short lived, but Berlusconi would dominate Italian politics for the next 20 years – winning elections in 2001 and 2008 and losing by a handful of seats in 2006. In terms of days in office, Berlusconi ranks as Italy’s third longest-serving prime minister, behind Mussolini and the great liberal of 19th-century Italy, Giovanni Giolitti.

The parallels between Berlusconi and Trump are striking. Both are successful businessman who struggle with “murky” aspects linked to their companies – tax, accounting, offshore companies. Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud in 2013, which effectively put an end to his political career. But business success and huge wealth was part of his political appeal, as they are for Trump. Beyond wealth, Berlusconi, like Trump, always painted himself as an outsider, as anti-establishment, even when he was prime minister. And, like Trump, Berlusconi’s appeal was populist and linked to his individual “personality”.

Berlusconi’s personal-business political model has since been followed by others in Italy. It could be argued that both Beppe Grillo’s populist anti-political Five Star Movement and Matteo Renzi’s insider-outsider appeal (until recently) have been created very much in Berlusconi’s image. One could go so far as to say Berlusconi transformed politics. The mass parties of the postwar period had become increasingly irrelevant, but he didn’t need a party just as Trump doesn’t really need the Republican party...

If Donald Trump merely turns out to be a political leader in the mold of Silvio Berlusconi, that simply guarantees the kind of feckless or mediocre leadership that we have seen before in previous presidents.  That is hardly the worst case.  Still, the policies that Trump has proposed, and the team that he is assembling, promises more of the same neoliberalism that has brought class resentment--and worse impulses, in some of his supporters--to a fever pitch.  That would be bad enough...
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#2
Donald Trump will have used populism to achieve power and then impose (with the support of the Republican majorities of both Houses of Congress, majorities that will not end until at least 2020, to bring about a reactionary social order, one in which no human suffering is in excess so long as it enriches and indulges economic elites responsible only to themselves. Such is not fascist in itself; that is how the Gilded Age was in the American North, and that is how the Jim Crow South operated. Both social orders (and they both existed in America as late as 1930) were democracy for a few.

Berlusconi had no chance to transform Italy into the Corporate State that became impossible after the defeat of the original Italian fascism because of Constitutional safeguards that the British and American s imposed upon a liberated Italy. Constitutional safeguards against a demagogue who sells out the masses to a reactionary Congress and the lobbyists who truly control Congress are fully inadequate in the United States.

The Republican Party is more using Donald Trump than Donald Trump is using the Republican Party.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#3
This "fascism" talk is way overblown.

Do you honestly believe that there are ever going to be concentration camps and the like in this country - or even a return to full-blown Jim Crow?

There might be mass emigration though - and without the government even trying to keep anybody from leaving. The yahoos will jeer the emigrants as they get on the boats, to be sure - but nothing beyond that.
"It was better with them that were slain by the sword, than with them that died with hunger, for these pined away being consumed for want of the fruits of the earth" - Lamentations 4:9
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#4
(01-06-2017, 09:47 AM)Anthony Wrote: This "fascism" talk is way overblown.

Do you honestly believe that there are ever going to be concentration camps and the like in this country - or even a return to full-blown Jim Crow?

There might be mass emigration though - and without the government even trying to keep anybody from leaving.  The yahoos will jeer the emigrants as they get on the boats, to be sure - but nothing beyond that.

...or committing suicide, which many people will do as they see the American dream turning into a nightmare that they can neither condone, reform, or adjust to. Being obliged to suffer for people who live in opulent splendor and conspicuous excess is a thoroughly-unsatisfying way of life from which many of the ancestors of current Americans fled, and that is what we will find as a norm. Basically, America will at best look to have returned to the social norms of the early-industrial era but without the basic innovation that improved people's lives.

I would be wary of a mean-spirited demagogue who suddenly aligned himself completely with the most reactionary elements in American life. At that, Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump really have something dangerous and at best demeaning in common. In view of what that grossly-immoral man has said and done, Donald Trump offers me no hope except in his failure. If it takes a meltdown on the scale of 1929-1932, then so be it. Such may be necessary to make Americans good again -- looking out for each other, questioning the authority of self-proclaimed elites, and having to judge official pronouncements for their veracity.
 
Were I thirty years younger I would emigrate. I do not trust this man with my civil liberties. I would not trust Big Business shorn of all responsibilities for any decency except to ownership to treat people well with a President and Congress that I expect to enable the worst in greed and bureaucratic cruelty toward employees and customers.

...Nobody could have predicted that Adolf Hitler was going to set up concentration camps and persecute Jews. Nobody believed that someone who brought so much pride to a nation of people with hurt feelings and economic distress could bring them even greater ruin and shame than anyone could have expected. Persecuting the Jews? A people who thrived in Germany under ideal conditions could still do well enough if they lost a few things. After all, a people who had survived the Inquisition and tsarist pogroms could survive anything. Besides, people said as late as 1938, when Hitler finally dispensed of his conservative partners and allowed Kristallnacht -- "this is Germany, a civilized and sophisticated country".

OK, we Americans have Mark Twain and not Goethe; Gershwin, Copland, and Ives and not Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms... we probably have greater painters than the Germans ever had. But we are likely to cast aside the political heritage of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and both Presidents Roosevelt... for what?

Donald Trump may not be quite that bad -- but he offers me no cause to trust him on economics, civil liberties, foreign policy, or justice. American politics is about nothing more than the enhancement of the power of economic elites at the expense of everyone else. I expect to hate life in Trump's America much as I would have hated life in Castro's Cuba, with its militarism, regimentation, and numbing propaganda.

I dread having his finger so close to the Red Button that can destroy civilization. Hitler never had atomic bombs at his disposal.

We liberals must resist. We still have our own Founding Father -- Martin Luther King. Where is he when we need him most? We will have to create him in ourselves.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#5
But the German liberals of 1848 did not resist.  They came to Wisconsin, and Iowa, and South Dakota.

And this is a nation of runaways - including my own great-grandparents, who couldn't stand how the Northern Italians looked down on them.  So they came to New York City - and, no accounting for taste, Philadelphia! LOL

Same goes for the Jews, who fled pogroms in Poland/Belarus/Ukraine/Russia for New York - and from there, Miami.

And the Irish?  Instead of fighting for their freedom from the British, they found Boston more to their liking.
"It was better with them that were slain by the sword, than with them that died with hunger, for these pined away being consumed for want of the fruits of the earth" - Lamentations 4:9
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#6
(01-06-2017, 11:03 AM)Anthony Wrote: But the German liberals of 1848 did not resist.  They came to Wisconsin, and Iowa, and South Dakota.

And this is a nation of runaways - including my own great-grandparents, who couldn't stand how the Northern Italians looked down on them.  So they came to New York City - and, no accounting for taste, Philadelphia! LOL

Same goes for the Jews, who fled pogroms in Poland/Belarus/Ukraine/Russia for New York - and from there, Miami.

And the Irish?  Instead of fighting for their freedom from the British, they found Boston more to their liking.

...and where do we American liberals go?

Southern blacks really had to force change in their world to make their world tolerable.

We have no choice but to resist the slide into despotism here.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#7
Is Donald Trump Jimmy Carter?  This Slate writer appears to believe so.  He considers the possibility that Trump might be FDR but puts the odds of that as low.
Quote:Is Donald Trump going to be a transformative president, in the mold of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan? Or will he be more like Herbert Hoover or Jimmy Carter, a president whose failures pave the way for a transformative successor?

A number of thinkers on the left, including Jack Balkin of Yale Law School, have been asking that question since Trump’s victory in November, drawing on political scientist Stephen Skowronek’s influential “political time” thesis. The basic idea is that there is a recurring pattern in presidential history, which starts when a transformative presidency creates a new political order out of the ashes of an older one (think the transition from Hoover to FDR). This transformative president is typically followed by a loyal disciple (Harry Truman, for example), and then by a president of the opposite party who has little choice but to operate within the existing political order (Dwight Eisenhower). As long as a given political order persists, power rotates between presidents who are devoted to the reigning political orthodoxy (John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson) and those who resist that orthodoxy but can’t quite dislodge it (Richard Nixon). Skowronek’s cycle ends with a president who seeks to uphold a political order that is on the verge of collapse due to internal conflicts and contradictions that grow ever more difficult to reconcile. In the cycle that began with FDR, the unlucky president left holding the bag was Carter. The Georgia governor tried to keep together a New Deal coalition that united Northern liberals and Southern conservatives via his idiosyncratic mishmash of Christian moralism and technocratic wonkery, but he instead triggered intense intra-party opposition, up to and including a formidable primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. These “disjunctive” presidencies inevitably fail and pave the way for the next transformative presidency.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_p...arter.html
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#8
Ms Wonk,

Einzige intoduced the same political model to the board before I left.  It actually fits most of the party systems quite well, other than two periods in the 19th century (1800 to 1828 and 1860 to 1901) when one of the two major parties (the Federalists and the Democrats) weren't competitive at the Presidential level.

It's pretty much what I am expecting.  The party system that began with Reagan has been breaking down for a while, and I expect Trump to either transform the system (note that this statement is not the same as "Make Everything Wonderful and Give Us Everything We Want") or break it once and for all, paving the way for someone who can.

One can also point out that Trump could be a transformational two term president and not necessarily leave a wholly positive legacy.  Again, "Change" and "Realignment" are not necessarily synonyms of "Progress" and "Improvement", as people generally use those words.
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#9
(01-06-2017, 12:10 PM)The Wonkette Wrote: Is Donald Trump Jimmy Carter?  This Slate writer appears to believe so.  He considers the possibility that Trump might be FDR but puts the odds of that as low.
Quote:Is Donald Trump going to be a transformative president, in the mold of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan? Or will he be more like Herbert Hoover or Jimmy Carter, a president whose failures pave the way for a transformative successor?

A number of thinkers on the left, including Jack Balkin of Yale Law School, have been asking that question since Trump’s victory in November, drawing on political scientist Stephen Skowronek’s influential “political time” thesis. The basic idea is that there is a recurring pattern in presidential history, which starts when a transformative presidency creates a new political order out of the ashes of an older one (think the transition from Hoover to FDR). This transformative president is typically followed by a loyal disciple (Harry Truman, for example), and then by a president of the opposite party who has little choice but to operate within the existing political order (Dwight Eisenhower). As long as a given political order persists, power rotates between presidents who are devoted to the reigning political orthodoxy (John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson) and those who resist that orthodoxy but can’t quite dislodge it (Richard Nixon). Skowronek’s cycle ends with a president who seeks to uphold a political order that is on the verge of collapse due to internal conflicts and contradictions that grow ever more difficult to reconcile. In the cycle that began with FDR, the unlucky president left holding the bag was Carter. The Georgia governor tried to keep together a New Deal coalition that united Northern liberals and Southern conservatives via his idiosyncratic mishmash of Christian moralism and technocratic wonkery, but he instead triggered intense intra-party opposition, up to and including a formidable primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. These “disjunctive” presidencies inevitably fail and pave the way for the next transformative presidency.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_p...arter.html
Interesting theory, like others on offer, including that of Strauss and Howe.  (Perhaps this post should be its own thread...just saying.)  Anyway, what does Balkin's theory say about how Trump's presidency is likely to be characterized?  Any predictions so far?
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#10
One thing is certain: Obama did not leave America in ashes. According to this theory, Donald trump can be a transformative president only in the sense that he turns glory into rubble. Obama is a mirror image of Ronald Reagan except for sharing the foreign policy.

I can imagine a Donald Trump disaster more than I can imagine a success. Quite frankly, I would rather be in another country for the duration . How does Uruguay sound? I do not mean "oo-rroo-gwye". I can see him foisting a bad economic climate for 95% of Americans on behalf of the upper 2%, causing NATO to splinter just as Vladimir Putin sets his dreams upon incorporating parts of the former Russian and Soviet Empires, getting caught in huge corruption scandals, and fostering a 1929-style crash.

I doubt that there is another Obama in the wings. I do not mean "Michelle", although she seems to have far more political acumen than most political figures. Obama's type usually comes after a Crisis is over and settled.

Donald Trump is so awful with delusions grandeur as huge as his integrity and political acumen are slight that I can hardly imagine him succeeding except as a stooge of the lobbyists who really control Congress that I can imagine him (and much of Congress) going down in a military coup. Success for him is in Making America Great Again -- if one's idea of 'greatness' is the 1920s. I am old enough to remember plenty of people who lived in the 1920s and the Great Depression -- and for all the hardships of the Great Depression, they had little good to say of the 1920s.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#11
I don't know that it's a different theory from Strauss & Howe.  There is a subcycle within the generational cycle of alternation between dominant generations - idealists and civics - and recessive generations - adaptives and reactives.

If there's a pattern here, it's an interesting question whether Trump fits into the Carter slot or the FDR slot.  Certainly Bill Clinton adapted to the Reagan orthodoxy the same way Eisenhower did to FDR's.  Carter tried to change it, but his ideas - zero based budgeting, etc. - didn't work on a federal level.  If Trump moves toward real protectionism and tries to disassemble the globalist system, he might end up in the mold of Hoover and Carter.  On the other hand, one could argue that Obama has already moved well away from the Reagan orthodoxy; he certainly didn't embrace it the way Clinton did.
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#12
(01-06-2017, 12:52 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: I don't know that it's a different theory from Strauss & Howe.  There is a subcycle within the generational cycle of alternation between dominant generations - idealists and civics - and recessive generations - adaptives and reactives.

If there's a pattern here, it's an interesting question whether Trump fits into the Carter slot or the FDR slot.  Certainly Bill Clinton adapted to the Reagan orthodoxy the same way Eisenhower did to FDR's.  Carter tried to change it, but his ideas - zero based budgeting, etc. - didn't work on a federal level.  If Trump moves toward real protectionism and tries to disassemble the globalist system, he might end up in the mold of Hoover and Carter.  On the other hand, one could argue that Obama has already moved well away from the Reagan orthodoxy; he certainly didn't embrace it the way Clinton did.

That cycle is about forty years in duration. Think about this: Ronald Reagan became President about forty years after the pearl harbor attack.  The President elected in 2020 will be half a generational cycle away from the transition from Carter to Reagan. One cycle in the article is about half a generational cycle, and it makes sense that even if the two cycles in the Presidency have very different effects, two of them make a generational cycle.  It makes sense that fundamental change in the political order happens in a Crisis, and less likely in more placid times.

George III to the Continental Congress, Buchanan to Lincoln, and Hoover to FDR signal massive change in the political order.

The Reagan era comes to an end in two weeks, at least in foreign policy. Economics? Economic inequality will be intensified so much that millions will quickly become far poorer. "Make America Great Again" may be the slogan, but "Worse for me" may be a commonplace for multitudes.

The peak of danger in the last Crisis was 1940... when Western Christian Civilization seemed on the brink of collapse in the wake of sudden, swift, unforeseen victories of Nazi Germany. The Wave of the Future expected to be singing the Horst-Wessel-Lied in the British Parliament and perhaps the Capital building in Washington DC -- excuse me, Hitlerstadt. 2020 is eighty years away from that dark and dangerous moment.

Five years later, the US Army was taking over in Dachau and Mauthausen, putting an end to the nightmare.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#13
Warren,

It's a bit broader than that.  You have a transformation president, an acolyte who follows in on his coattails, a swing back to the other party (who is nonetheless restrained by the system put in place by the first) followed by a swing back to the party of the first, who doubles down on that party's agenda even as it no longer really fits the current issues, a period of transition that lasts four to 12 years, and then another transformational president to address the present issues and start the cycle over.

You can look at Jackson, followed by his acolyte Martin Van Buren, the swing to the first Whig Presidents Harrison and Tyler, and then Young Hickory, James Polk.  The aftereffects of Polk's policies (chiefly all the issues surrounding the territories gained in the Mexican American War, and how they aggravated the smoldering issue of slavery) led to a period of drift and escalating tensions in the 1850s, followed by the transformational presidency of Lincoln.

The next period that follows the model was the Progressive era, with Teddy setting the agenda, Taft coming in after, and Wilson being the first Progressive Democratic president (as opposed to the only other Democratic President during the late 19th century's Bourbon Democrat agenda).  The Republicans come back in with their Return to Normalcy (although here they double down, not on Teddy's agenda, which migrated to the Dems due to a power struggle within the Republicans, but the Old Right agenda the Republicans had embraced before.  The transitional period here was Hoover's presidency, which despite popular mythology was at the time all about the Engineer President's technocratic interventions into the economy, which were too timid to deal with the Great Depression.

The Next transformational President was of course FDR, followed by Truman, Eisenhower's Republican presidency which repudiated the legacy of Bob Taft and the John Birch types, with Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson doubling down on the New Deal legacy with Civil Rights, the New Frontier and the Great Society.  Nixon was unable to fully capitalize on his undeniable gifts because of Watergate, and the country drifted through the Presidencies of Ford and Carter.

The last one was Reagan, bringing in Bush 41, Clinton's New Democrats, the apotheosis of National Review style Fusionism in GWB, with Obama's presidency an uneasy mash of Nixon's talents and Ford's fecklessness (particularly in Obama's second term).  The question remains whether Trump will be able to capitalize on the moment and bring on a new party system, or whether he fails/the Democrat's succeed in bringing forth a fulfillment of the Obama coalition in the 2020s.

It's not a perfect model, and doesn't really fit the period between Jefferson and Jackson, or the Gilded Age period of overwhelming Republican dominance.  But it isn't necessarily a bad one, either.
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#14
Addendum -- Donald Trump will show whether political experience before becoming President is all that necessary, and whether being terribly unpopular throughout one's term in office cripples one as President.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#15
(01-06-2017, 12:37 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Ms Wonk,

Einzige intoduced the same political model to the board before I left.  It actually fits most of the party systems quite well, other than two periods in the 19th century (1800 to 1828 and 1860 to 1901) when one of the two major parties (the Federalists and the Democrats) weren't competitive at the Presidential level.

It's pretty much what I am expecting.  The party system that began with Reagan has been breaking down for a while, and I expect Trump to either transform the system (note that this statement is not the same as "Make Everything Wonderful and Give Us Everything We Want") or break it once and for all, paving the way for someone who can.

One can also point out that Trump could be a transformational two term president and not necessarily leave a wholly positive legacy.  Again, "Change" and "Realignment" are not necessarily synonyms of "Progress" and "Improvement", as people generally use those words.
I would bet my money on Trump being the last gasp of the reactionary system put into motion by Reagan and Thatcher, some 36-years ago, that being neoliberalism.  If Trump's policies amount to little more than a "booster shot" for neoliberalism, as I humbly foresee it, then that could hardly be called transformative.  I believe that neoliberalism will eventually collapse of its own dead weight, perhaps as early as 2018-2020.  Post-crash (2008), neoliberalism has fallen into disrepute, and (abortive) political challenges have been mounted against it--here and abroad.  It's living on borrowed time, for no other reason than a core principle that I learned in my first economics course: the law of diminishing returns.  It's taking higher and higher "doses" of neoliberalism to stimulate the global economy, which is now mired in what some have labeled "secular stagnation."  Trump's administration looks all but certain to deliver further privatization, deregulation, tax cuts, austerity, ad nauseum...all part and parcel of the same old neoliberalism.  It may deliver some GDP growth in the short term, as the stock market is currently discounting.  But a sustained economic boom that generates a widely-shared prosperity and tamps down the class resentment that put him in office?  I just don't see it.

Has Trump already transformed politics?  Without question.  So did Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, who I think Trump more resembles than Caesar, Hitler, Mussolini, or any other dated historical analogue that people want to bandy about.  Which is why I started this thread in the first place.  Perhaps I suffer from "recency bias," but I think Silvio Berlusconi--not that many years removed from elected office--offers much better clues as to how Trump will behave and govern while in office.  Maybe even predict Trump's measure of success.

Will Trump transform the political/economic system, not just politics?  I rather doubt it.  He has assumed the mantle of neoliberalism--with his own unique twist, perhaps--and the executive team that he is now assembling promises more of the same.
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#16
TeacherInExile,

Predictions, I'll bite.

1) Trump as Carter:
     
Despite Trump's rhetoric, he fails in making any lasting change, and the country goes through another brutal recession, the jobs don't come back, his efforts at foreign policy blow up in his face, etc.  The Dems make big gains in 2018 (despite the unfavorable map) and especially 2020.  They run somebody who can excite the Bernie Sanders types as well as the people (particularly minorities) who swung the primary for Hillary then failed to show up for the general.  They capture enough statehouses by 2020 to put a serious dent in Republican gerrymandering (which will still be limited by the fact that Dems are concentrated in major cities and the Republicans in rural areas and exurbs).  The Republicans try and resist, but are irreparably tarnished via association with Trump and their worsening hold on nonwhite and young voters.  The Dems push through a laundry list of Obama and Sanders campaign promises, building a lasting coalition of nonwhite and Yuppie voters that function as a latter day New Deal coalition.  The Republicans squeak in in the 2030s with some nonwhite guy who, despite some conservative tendencies, is nonetheless pro-SSM, immigration, environmentalism, what have you.  Obama becomes the Teddy to this (2020s Dem)'s FDR, the Nixon to their Reagan, with Trump as the last gasp of those evil, reactionary, white men.

2) Trump as Reagan:

Trumps actually manages to follow through on his campaign promises, and they actually end up working.  Immigration reform tightens the labor market (raising wages), infrastructure spending and tariffs actually lead to substantial job growth, he either avoids launching any wars/they seem successful and popular.  The remainder of the Rust Belt turns red, VA shifts back thanks to the booming defense contractor business red-shifting NVA, and Trump is re-elected with not just commanding leads in the Electoral College, but a mandate from the popular vote.  The Dem's half-hearted efforts to resist with sanctuary <insert place here>s and sit-ins at Congress blow up in their face.  They limp helplessly from election to election searching desperately for someone who can bring back the Obama magic.  Pence takes office in 2025, only for changing demographics (Texas, Georgia, and Arizona are now purple states trending blue) and misteps (possibly inherited from Trump, possibly not) losing him the election in 2028.  The Dems get back in, but the turn towards nationalism has been set and they are once again dominated by their union base (who managed to reorganize in the private secot once labor markets are tight and jobs plentiful), and have to carry out their agenda in the context of domestic (Green?) infrastructure investment and benefits targeted at the working class.  Or maybe they come back in as purely the party of the professional class, switching around completely from the old New Deal coalition.

These possibilities are exclusive of others, and are only meant to serve as starting points for ideas on how things could shake out.
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#17
(01-06-2017, 01:50 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote:
(01-06-2017, 12:37 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Ms Wonk,

Einzige intoduced the same political model to the board before I left.  It actually fits most of the party systems quite well, other than two periods in the 19th century (1800 to 1828 and 1860 to 1901) when one of the two major parties (the Federalists and the Democrats) weren't competitive at the Presidential level.

It's pretty much what I am expecting.  The party system that began with Reagan has been breaking down for a while, and I expect Trump to either transform the system (note that this statement is not the same as "Make Everything Wonderful and Give Us Everything We Want") or break it once and for all, paving the way for someone who can.

One can also point out that Trump could be a transformational two term president and not necessarily leave a wholly positive legacy.  Again, "Change" and "Realignment" are not necessarily synonyms of "Progress" and "Improvement", as people generally use those words.
I would bet my money on Trump being the last gasp of the reactionary system put into motion by Reagan and Thatcher, some 36-years ago, that being neoliberalism.  If Trump's policies amount to little more than a "booster shot" for neoliberalism, as I humbly foresee it, then that could hardly be called transformative.  I believe that neoliberalism will eventually collapse of its own dead weight, perhaps as early as 2018-2020.  Post-crash (2008), neoliberalism has fallen into disrepute, and (abortive) political challenges have been mounted against it--here and abroad.  It's living on borrowed time, for no other reason than a core principle that I learned in my first economics course: the law of diminishing returns.  It's taking higher and higher "doses" of neoliberalism to stimulate the global economy, which is now mired in what some have labeled "secular stagnation."  Trump's administration looks all but certain to deliver further privatization, deregulation, tax cuts, austerity, ad nauseum...all part and parcel of the same old neoliberalism.  It may deliver some GDP growth in the short term, as the stock market is currently discounting.  But a sustained economic boom that generates a widely-shared prosperity and tamps down the class resentment that put him in office?  I just don't see it.

Has Trump already transformed politics?  Without question.  So did Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, who I think Trump more resembles than Caesar, Hitler, Mussolini, or any other dated historical analogue that people want to bandy about.  Which is why I started this thread in the first place.  Perhaps I suffer from "recency bias," but I think Silvio Berlusconi--not that many years removed from elected office--offers much better clues as to how Trump will behave and govern while in office.  Maybe even predict Trump's measure of success.

Will Trump transform the political/economic system, not just politics?  I rather doubt it.  He has assumed the mantle of neoliberalism--with his own unique twist, perhaps--and the executive team that he is now assembling promises more of the same.

Teacher,

Yes, yes, neoliberalism, neoliberalism, neoliberalism.  You can do what you like here (subject to WM discretion), but you've become a bit of a one-note-johnny on the subject of late.  Try and remember that neoliberalism is not just privatization and tax cuts, but free trade, skepticism of government spending, support for immigration, etc.  It's just 19th century classic liberal ideas in drag.  Trump definitely seems to support certain aspects of it, but not others.  Tariffs, for one, which are one of the few constants in Trump's ever-changing positions over the years, are definitely not neoliberalism.

Immigration restriction, a trade war with china, tax cuts combined with profligate spending on infrastructure and military buildup leading to inflation, would definitely transform the political/economic system, and don't require us to assume that Trump will magically become a different person as president.  They're simply a likely consequence of his campaign promises, which presidents actually have a half-way decent record at keeping.  Not all of them, mind you, but more than half.
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#18
Quote:#2 is non-seasonal and flies in the face of the S&H model.

How do you figure?
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#19
(01-06-2017, 02:50 PM)SomeGuy Wrote:
Quote:#2 is non-seasonal and flies in the face of the S&H model.

How do you figure?

This is the discussion I would rather have with you.  This is a cogent encapsulation of the key issue on which the S&H model will stand or fail.  Both of your options are consistent with the S&H model, but they are really the last stand for the model.  I would propose a third possibility.  That neither of these there options is correct, but that Trump is Bush II, to be followed by another Obama, that is, we continue on as we have been for the past few decade, the 2008 4T trigger starts to seem as invalid as the 2001 trigger does. In this third case the S&H model is invalidated.


Even if #2 comes true wouldn't this support the idea of a 2016 trigger?  I would submit that Trumps victory was unexpected, just like 911 or the 2008 crisis.
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#20
Quote:This is the discussion I would rather with you.


No problem, Mike, I've always enjoyed talking to you, even (especially?) when you're wrong I want to tell you that right in your wrinkled, wrong little face.  Tongue

Quote:This is a cogent encapsulation of the key issue on which the S&H model will stand or fail.  Both of your options are consistent with the S&H model, but they are really the last stand for the model.

If the world is exactly the same in 2030 as it is now, geopolitically speaking, without a clear and obvious divider the way even the US Civil War/Franco-Prussian War was for Britain in their Victorian 4T, then sure.

Quote:I would propose a third possibility.  That neither of these there options is correct, but that Trump is Bush II, to be followed by another Obama and another Bush and so on.

Even if T4T ends up being busted system, which I am far from allowing right now (but whose failure state I outlined above), I question this possibility.  Ignoring S & H for a second, this has never matched any period in US history.  Even if the country doesn't change according to T4T model, it does change, issues and demographics change, the party system changes, policies change.  The notion that the 6th party system will totter on indefinitely is wrong on the face of it.  No party system lasts forever, no political coalition is without internal tensions that will spawn eventual realignmnent.  Things will change.  Come on, you're failing in your boomer role here, you're supposed to be encouraging me, not the other way round. Wink
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