US politics is setting course for better not worse

As usual, we turn to the ABC for the worst possible take on US politics. Stan Grant has taken a leaf straight out of the “we’re all rooned, said Stanrahan” playbook:

CNN called this a “solemn” moment. The impeachment — again — of Donald Trump is about the soul of America.

It is more accurate to say it is a reflection of the damaged soul of America.

While news networks and political pundits cast this historic moment as renewing and upholding democracy, the truth is American democracy looks like a sham — a rigged game played by Washington elites.

America is a tribalised society, fractured along class, race and culture. One thing they do agree on is that politics is the problem.

There are some who would say this second impeachment is proof the system works. It is instead a system trying to catch up.

The system that delivered us Trump is now trying to rid itself of him.

But the impeachment of Trump only reveals how deep this cancer is. Ten Republicans voted to impeach but the Republican Party overwhelmingly stands with Trump. Trumpism is alive.

The nation’s capital looks like Baghdad: heavily armed military on street corners. There are more American troops in Washington DC than in Afghanistan.

History was made, and it underscores that our world is at an historic juncture. The post-American world is coming increasingly into view.

And on it drones into near-suicidal pessismism.

My view is different. The problems that beset US political division have just taken a major turn for the better. The election of the Democrats to both houses and vaccine rollout means four important things.

First, the Biden Administration is now in a position to deliver fiscal policy on its platform of class remediation which includes higher corporate and capital gains taxes, much higher minimum wages and better health care. Certainly, these will be beset by the usual divisive politics. A major test for the Dems’ determination will be whether or not they target the filibuster early on. If they do so it will be a clear signal that they are serious about reform. If not, it will suggest that they are indeed still playing games and readying to throw their hands up and blame Republicans for failing to deliver on the platform. But the opportunity is very clearly there.

Second, the Dems have a good shot of impeaching Trump successfully in the senate which will prevent him from ever running again.  Republicans will enter a period of savage civil war if it doesn’t happen.

Third, the putative MMT revolution means the Dems will also be able to carpet-bomb states with economic renewal public investment. This has two important implications. First, they will seek to sure-up the traditional mid-west rust belt states that swung to Trump because the Clintonian Dems forgot about class politics. This will go a long way to ensuring that these states remain blue for eight years and keep the Dems in the White house. As well, it will enable Washington to do the same in red states such that they can deliver improving living standards for the first time in many years. This will not cure all evils but it will go some way to lifting working centrists towards getting a better job and buying a new car instead of sitting around being enraged by 8Chan.

The first three points mean that likelihood is that Trump is history and with him goes the cult of personality with no obvious successor.

The danger is clearly there that such a figure could emerge to rally the right-wing nutters but that brings me to point four. With a bit of luck the vaccine rollout will end the pandemic and keep it that way into the future. There is a very real chance of it returning in mutated form but there is an equally good chance that the base of vaccine science will be sufficient to pace with it if it does. Stan Grant pays no heed to the role of the pandemic in exacerbating US divisions even though, as Niall Ferguson pointed out recently and I have argued all year, there is a long history of nasty pandemics precipitating violent revolutions. Such mass health trauma sends people barmy for a while and clever populists can mobilise that collective neurosis.

None of this is to downplay real US divisions and the danger of further political convulsion. But it is realistic to conclude that US political divisions are setting course for better outcomes for the next eight years. The odds are certainly better than gloomy ABC commentary suggests. After all, US democratic institutions are intact and that brings its own historical inertia.

Stanrahan be damned.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. As soon as Trump has left office the Dems will turn on each other like the GOP is. If polls are to be believed anymore, Congress has a 15% approval rating. Biden won’t last the first 12 months. Conflict with Iran/reignition of Syrian conflict by year’s end.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Lol.

      If nothing else his has made the fact that the US needs something external to vent their frustrations on every few years, otherwise they implode, completely and utterly obvious to all who care to look and understand.

      Trump didn’t care too much for bestowing the gift of freedom on those poor, misguided countries, and now they’re on the brink of a civil war (well, maybe not the brink yet, but certainly in another 5 years if this continues).

      Hopefully Biden can discover another country in desperate need of some freedom and quickly send the troops there to keep his people entertained and from killing each other.

  2. Shades of MessinaMEMBER

    “ Ten Republicans voted to impeach but the Republican Party overwhelmingly stands with Trump. Trumpism is alive.”

    I would suggest that self-interest, not Trumpism, is alive and therein lies the problem for most modern democracies.

  3. Reus's largeMEMBER

    The bigger worry is the Dems call for re-education camps for the trump supporters, it is starting to look like Germany pre WW2 …..

    • A bit strong to go for the naht-see comparison. It is closer to the Great Leap Forward from my point of view.

    • FUDINTHENUDMEMBER

      If you kill cops and attack politicians you go to prison. So if by “re-education camps” you mean prison, then yes, the Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol and killed police should go to “re-education camps”.

  4. I want to take a minute or two, and give much respect due
    To the man that’s made a difference in my world
    And although most men are ho’s, he flows on the down low
    ‘Cause I never heard about him with another girl
    But I don’t sweat it because it’s just pathetic
    To let it get me involved in that he said she said crowd
    I know that ain’t nobody perfect
    I give props to those who deserve it
    And believe me y’all, he’s worth it
    So here’s to the future ’cause we got through the past
    I finally found someone that can make me laugh
    You so crazy, I think I want to have your baby

    What a Stan, what a Stan, what a Stan,
    What a mighty good Stan

    Yes he is!

    Snortle 😉

  5. SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

    The nation’s capital looks like Baghdad …..

    Oh dear me Stan, does it really, really?

    More American troops in Washington then Afghanistan…..

    So that’s a bad thing now

    🤪🤣

  6. I think people have had enough. They just want to get back to Living Life again.

    I still think Australia has high House Prices, Debt, an Aging Crisis and a future Feminist Divorce Explosion waiting to happen. Until we actually see something solved, Im not sure Im really convinced.

    If America drops $2 trill of stimulus then Australia’s going to have to fire back. I really wont be surprised if Australia goes the Migration route ( again ) and floods this Country with insane migration levels. I hope not but my faith in this Country is so low now that I really wouldnt put it past it.

    If America drops $2 trill to save itself, that doesnt exactly help Australia. Australia will be forced to retaliate which only makes things more expensive in Australia. Higher house price rises etc.

    All its doing is burning time… wasting peoples life… twiddling our thumbs as we wait another 2 years for the next inevidable. Going nowhere. Doing nothing. Endless waste.

    To me it just signifies volatility… and volatility just means wasted time.

    I think the social inequality in Australia is such a disaster that its even making me question the value of money. Its so ridiculous that Im not even sure money has any meaning anymore. Some idiot invests in Bitcoins and now he’s one of the richest Australians owning 6 houses? So what? At some point this Social Inequality has to be rectified or Money just wont make sense anymore.

    • ” Money just wont make sense anymore.”
      I think you are making money far more complicated than it actually is.

    • Jumping jack flash

      $2 trillion is not going to be enough.
      Their aim is a new golden age of debt, and that’s going to require a fair bit more.

      Surely they’re tired of beating around the bush with MMT and NIRP and all that other stuff that doesn’t actually work? How many years has it been? Almost 2 decades of back to back interest rate cuts, and now the truly insane economic shenanigans are rolled out with little additional effect. That’s no way to run an economy.

      Now they have their chance to actually fix the problem and get the debt economy self-sustaining. Go for it!

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Pretty much agree with all your comments Mathias. The world has become a very strange – and unfair – place.

      CPI has revealed itself to be a poor measure of cost of living when house prices have moved to outrageous levels (supported by landed folk and politicians).

      A lifetime of working hard with a median paying job might permit you to buy a hovel on the fringes of Melbourne or Sydney. It is a disgrace.

  7. I agree with the optimistic assessment. There will always be fearful angry loons, as we can see on these posts, but the general vibe is for less polarization.

  8. Hopefully there is an underlying vitality under all the commotion………plenty of rioting when England ruled the waves…….never seemed to harm them. Can’t help but laugh at the ceremony going virtual with Tom Hanks producing a spectacle for the faithful. Bread and circuses in the time of travail to keep peoples minds unfocussed.

    Those DC policemen didn’t seem to look like a cohesive unit……..looked like it was a second job for a lot of them…..something about the uniforms and the way they formed line. Not the A team that should have been there.

  9. What’s with the photo? Grant is into “analysis”? The picture and article should be in the op-ed pages, like the rest of ABC “news”.

  10. Stan might be a bit of a Debby downer, but at least he is (for once) phrasing the conversation correctly. Hardly his most offensive work?

    “While news networks and political pundits cast this historic moment as renewing and upholding democracy, the truth is American democracy looks like a sham — a rigged game played by Washington elites. America is a tribalised society, fractured along class, race and culture. One thing they do agree on is that politics is the problem.”

    Quite reasonable really? one has come to expect a far more partisan narrative than that from our ABC.

    IMO Planning for anything better than what the US had pre Trump is more wishful thinking that a considered analysis. Everything you have quoted above makes sense, but it’s economist speak, completely rules out the human element and that is always the most destructive.

    As others have mentioned, with the orange enemy dispatched, they will seek other conflict (DNC and GOP), it is their natural state, fear and division as a political strategy is not an aberration and it certainly wont abate from its extremes anytime soon. Trump has now just become another line item in the long list of ‘ism’s’ and it will be used at every opportunity for years to come when you need a baseless sledge to attack critics, opponents, policy, opinions you name it. And for that reason alone, the era of hyper partisan hyperbole wont be ending any time soon, maybe that spoon full of stimulus sugar will help the medicine go down, but the patient is still critical.

  11. COVID everywhere by winter

    The Republicans will win in 2022, and in reality Biden doesn’t have a majority right now in either house because conservative democrats won’t allow him to push most of his liberal agenda through.

    I think the vaccine will have little effect and social distancing, quarantining, etc will remain for years to come. We might go back to normal but I’ll believe it when it happens.

    It’s also pretty clear that Trump didn’t incite a riot. The best they can come up with is the phrase “fight like hell”. We all know he means that figuratively.

    If we’re going to pin this on Trump then we definitely need to hold Kamala Harris to account because she was out there drumming up money to bail out arsonists, looters, murderers. Imagine if Trump was drumming up money for the guy with the buffalo horns on his head. Instead Trump denounced it unequivocally.

    • Not so sure. The GOP was mortally wounded before Trump and never a truly willing ally. I agree that Biden will be ineffective in enacting legislation.

    • RobotSenseiMEMBER

      Trumpism will be the wound that the GOP cannot heal in 2 years, particularly if Cruz et al remain on the scene.

      Many pundits were confident Trump was going to win this election too.

      • COVID everywhere by winter

        No they weren’t. Biden was a heavy favourite despite the media gaslighting the public for 4 years.

        Trump still got 75 million votes. If COVID never happened Trump would have romped to victory on the back of an unemployment rate that was at a 60 year low before the virus, strong economy, stock market at an all time high, the peace President (first President in decades to not wage a new war).

    • Yes. And how different would the narrative be if blm were able to get into the the whitehouse, but the capitol rioters were halted. Actually, what am i thinking, the narrative from the msm is always the same.

  12. Rorke's DriftMEMBER

    The only way I can bring myself to read DLS commentary these days is as a curiosity, of how someone can view the same world as I live in yet see this alice in wonderland alternative reality. So covid vaccines are good, democrats controlling both houses as saviours?

    Biden is a decrepid puppet, suffering mental health issues, his cabinet appointments are deep state hacks. You’re seeing the dying days of a broken, corrupt political establishment and failed institutions in the US.

    Trump is the future and America’s and the worlds only real hope against the encircling health dictatorship we are facing. Thankfully, I believe he will prevail and we can rid the US and this planet of the matrix of control and corruption that fellow citizens such as DLS naively cheer on.

    I believe the US will break free and lead the world into a new era, under Trump, the right man at the critical hour.

    • Jumping jack flash

      “Biden is a decrepid puppet, suffering mental health issues, his cabinet appointments are deep state hacks.”

      Indeed

      It is lucky that the elected “leaders” in most cases these days are simply there as conversation pieces and for their distraction value while the real work goes on behind the curtain.

    • No, biden is the great unifier. Thats why he and kamala both directly accused the capitol police of racism right after the vote. One voice free from censure and alternate opinion will heal all division …. at least on the surface.