Reality Check Report This Comment
Date: October 16, 2016 06:02PM
Amid the bleakness of Shakespeare's King Lear one character, Edgar declares:
the worst is not/so long as we can say "this is the worst".
Just when you think it can't get any worse – Trump as candidate – here comes
a more troubling prospect: the Trump next time, four years off, who defeats an
unpopular President Clinton.
It's easy to tick off what gave the Republican nomination this time to a bossy,
ignorant demagogue – the loss of industrial jobs, anxiety over borders and
trade, racist resentment of minorities. Perhaps, as well, bewilderment at a
multipolar world where America can't get its way.
None of these is about to fade.
The old jobs aren't coming back. China is shrugging off traditional
manufacturing so the plants in America's industrial belt aren't going to be
opening again. In any case the robots are arriving to disrupt manufacturing and
The anger of white working-class males, incited by Trump, is bound to simmer
angrily at a distrusted woman in the White House imposing background checks for
gun buyers and appointing three or four liberal justices to the Supreme
After years of decline violent crime is increasing. The cost of Obamacare is
rising and will need higher premiums and bigger subsidies. The Congressional
Budget Office projects debt to rise from 2.9 to 4.9 per cent of GDP over the
The US genius for innovation runs strong but the US system does a lousy job of
distributing the gains. Stagnant real wages will feed grievance over immigration
and there's little a president can do about it.
The US will continue to be defied – not just by Putin, even by President
Duterte of the Philippines. North Korea or Syria are problems without
solutions, leaving chauvinists to lament the US has never been more powerless.
The truth is this catch cry has been thrown at every president since Harry
Truman, including Ronald Reagan in his last years. But the US Right stridently
insists America is surrounded by enemies. The neo-cons who gave us Iraq and
unleashed Islamic State are demanding America prove its greatness with new wars
in the Middle East.
If Clinton takes office on January 20 she will have been defined as
"crooked Hillary" by Republican attacks over emails, the family
foundation and paid speeches to Wall Street. Only one voter in three sees her as
honest or trustworthy and she may have the lowest approval rating of any victor
since polls began. No honeymoon. Little goodwill.
Add lashings of misogyny to this toxic atmosphere and all is tailored for a
Republican revival, and a revival with strong elements of Tea Party radicalism
and Trump's populist white nationalism.
As a result the Republican Party of 2020 will be different from that of Reagan,
the Bushes and McCain. It will be the party of the white working class,
viscerally anti-trade. The party will be as anti-immigrant as right wing
European parties like Marine Le Pen's. Nativism and populism will be the glue
that holds it together.
So, the Trump next time? The challenger who can render Hillary a one-term
president like Jimmy Carter or George H. Bush?
Donald Trump Jnr, now 38, or Ivanka Trump, 34, might be tempted. There is
Trump's running mate Mike Pence. If they survive there are the vindicated Trump
critics like Senator Ted Cruz and House Speaker Paul Ryan. The latter's
stand-out policy, as economist Paul Krugman points out, is tax cuts for the
But the perfect candidate for new era Republicans may be the junior senator from
Arkansas, 39-year-old Tom Cotton who boasts a dream CV, raised on a family farm
and with combat service as lieutenant in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is an extreme ideologue. He helped torpedo immigration reform to the distress
of then-Republican speaker John Boehner. He sabotaged criminal justice reform
declaring the US suffers not from too many in jail but too few, what he calls
In 2015 he tried to sabotage negotiations between the Obama administration and
Iran by writing to Iran's Ayatollah saying any anti-nuclear agreement would be
dishonoured by a future Republican president, breathtaking in undermining the
foreign policy of his own country. He supported a short, sharp war against Iran.
He wanted to arm Israel with B-52s to help. He received a campaign donation of
nearly $1 million from Bill Kristol's Emergency Committee on Israel in fond
His slogans make good bumper stickers. "Let 'em rot," for example, is
his stand on Guantanamo prisoners.
He was described on Salon as "Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree; Ted Cruz
with a war record."
He has positioned himself to inherit Trump's base, speaking at the nominating
convention and refusing to disown him after recent revelations. Post-election
Trump is expected to launch a communications network to the right of Fox. Expect
Cotton to be its favourite son.
Last week Cotton campaigned for Republicans in Iowa, where caucuses every four
years start the presidential election process. He speaks directly to the base of
the new, emergent Republican Party.
His raw inexperience combined with his relish for war elevates him to a level of
menace that rivals that of 1964 Republican candidate Barry Goldwater.
Trump might be finished. But another playwright, Bertolt Brecht, warned:
"Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up
and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again."
- Bob Carr is a former foreign affairs minister and former NSW premier.
jgoins Report This Comment
Date: October 17, 2016 08:43AM
Does anyone really believe America can survive 4 years of a Hillary presidency
to be able to vote in someone better? Considering that Hillary has stated she
will continue Obama's direction he is taking the country and the fact she wants
to open our borders.
A Trump presidency at worse would basically hold our nation at this point for
the next 4 years while he works to get his plans pushed through congress. There
will be a cooling off period while we learn what he wants to do with the nation.
If we don't like what he wants we will be able vote to replace him in 4 years
but at least in that 4 years our nation will not be destroyed by open borders,
Obamacare and all the crap Obama has brought us into.
Remember it is easier to keep a car moving in one direction than it is to slow
it down and turn it. A nation is much the same, we can stop the movement while
we determine what is the best direction to take it or we can just hit the
accelerator and plow forward and hope we don't hit something.