Sheepdogging season

The Never Trump lectures intensify. Many of these lectures come from exactly the same hyper-arrogant subset of yuppies who show the least concern with the ruination visited upon the less successful (including me) by the current regime of credentialism, regulatory capture, tacit public and private corruption, and bootstrap agitprop. They benefit from this regime, after all, and they are excellently represented by this year’s Democratic presidential ticket. All their pleas for qualification, interest in policy, temperament, and decency aside, I have to wonder how much of their opposition to Trump is driven by discomfort over his promises to blow up the credentialist racket that they’ve spent their entire adolescent and adult lives mastering, to their own financial benefit. The US now has a major-party presidential candidate who insists that, yes, a person absolutely should be able to make a good living on a factory floor without having to slash throats for a decade or more in school and thirty or forty years in some corporate office. Great costs have been sunk into the yuppie project, financial and personal both, and the cutthroat strivers may wonder what the point of it all was if Americans start making middle-class salaries literally cutting throats in slaughterhouses again.

One of my most abundant sources for these yuppie screeds is a casual college acquaintance who grew up in Clinton country, specifically, in the affluent northern suburbs of Philadelphia (think train fires). This was one of his more magnanimous and down-to-earth recent political commentaries on Facebook:

A “protest” vote for a Libertarian or Green Party candidate is exceedingly dangerous. While voters are free to vote for whomever they wish, recognize that Donald Trump can and will be the next President of the the United States if those who are opposed to Trump vote for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. The only practical way to stop Trump, is a vote for Hillary. ‪#‎ImWithHer‬

Katie door the bar, this fellow is a practicing attorney. One of the two major-party nominees will probably win this election? Wow Much insights Very explain.  How do I explain to him and his kind that some of us consider Trump either no more objectionable than Clinton or unambiguously less objectionable? Anyone with a strong preference for a specific candidate will vote for that candidate because, you know, that’s how elections are supposed to work. This year, there are a great many Americans who are wise to Trump’s high-frequency monkeyshines but still do not consider him significantly worse than Clinton–who, if I may borrow the whip and punish that horse’s corpse again, is an exceptionally troubled, vulnerable, scandal-plagued candidate.

As voters, we might be young, but we ain’t stupid. Not all of us, anyway. Most of us are realistic enough to admit that we’ll get Trump if we don’t get Hillary, but we have reasons to want to stop Hillary, too. One of these is her running mate. One way to look at the race is that it’s between a 100% neoliberal gobshite ticket and a 50% #TCOT gobshite ticket, and that there probably isn’t as much daylight between Kaine, Clinton, and Pence on policy as appears at first blush. In any event, no shit we could end up with the TP ticket in the White House. So? The Democratic Party didn’t have to scorch the path clear for Clinton in the primary, and Clinton didn’t have to pick a fellow neoliberal social climber for her running mate. The party could have made a credible effort to appeal to labor interests instead of shading the Sanders campaign to death and then doubling down on the neoliberal smarm offensive by elevating Tim Kaine. They’re the ones who have made every effort to mold the Democratic Party into a party of the Brahmin managerial class and leave the representation of labor interests to a clownish Republican whose running mate is a starve-the-beast zealot.

I was surprised to see my college acquaintance above even concede the right of the individual elector to make independent, individual voting decisions instead of being coerced by one’s betters. There is, however, maybe something not quite sincere about the tone. It sounds like a pained or annoyed relative conceding that, yes, you have the right to waste your life in a Camden opium den and risk it by chasing bad dope sets, but you oughtn’t. It seems overwrought in reference to active voters making imperfect decisions, since we’re the ones who actually register and show up at the polls (or, in my case, go to Starbucks and mail that shit in to Eureka). It’s reasonable, too, to wonder whether a noisy Clinton partisan can be trusted on matters pertaining to Green and Libertarian candidates. Third parties would look much more viable, and hence attractive, with ten or twenty percent of the popular vote than they do with the two or three percent they currently achieve in a strong year. Dude sounds like he’s concern-trolling.

There has been a spate of commentary online in the past few weeks about how “we” don’t have the “luxury” of a “protest vote.” The idea here seems to be that you need to adult-vote your Brussels sprouts before you’re allowed to protest-vote your ice cream. Again, there wouldn’t be so many Americans interested in voting for third-party or write-in candidates if Clinton and her campaign weren’t such dogshit. And it takes some real naivety, or maybe just arrogance, to treat grown-ass voters like petulant, spoiled children for refusing to swallow their bitter bitch medicine and vote for Hillary this fall. How do these scolds expect other adults to react to being badgered to vote for an extremely scandalous and unpopular candidate whose main selling point is that she is allegedly less deranged and belligerent than her opponent? The longer and louder this scolding continues, the more fuck-you-auntie votes Trump will receive in the general election, on top of the millions of fuck-you votes he probably received in the primaries. The message is out: voting for Trump or threatening to vote for Trump is one of the easiest ways to get supercilious technocratic yuppie dipshits and policy shop waterboys publicly butthurt. Unionization drives are so 2014; it’s literally 2016 now, and in the current year you’ll much more reliably reduce the same assholes to sputtering gibberish by writing to your county recorder’s office for a ballot.

What’s happening here is that all these yuppies who are used to getting their way are not getting their way with Trump, and so they’re throwing a months-long fit. Tens of millions of Americans have been offered their first opportunity in a lifetime to talk back to their betters without fear that they’ll be fired and blacklisted. The managerial class’s reaction is not to try to listen to these disaffected, but to express scandalized shock that they had the nerve to talk back in the first place. This explains the Trumpenproletariat-as-Klansmen meme, the insistence that Trump’s supporters are all racist bigots. Race-baiting allows the managerial class to signal their own virtue and education, distract the gullible from Trump’s outflanking of Clinton to the left on economic policy, and change the subject whenever anyone in Trump’s camp airs socioeconomic grievances. They did the same thing to the Sanders campaign. The Clinton machine’s campaign against Sanders was little more than hippie-punching, race-baiting, and outbursts of unrequited misandry.

The latest #NeverTrump meme seems to be that Trump can’t be trusted with the nuclear missile codes. I’ve been hearing this from sources whom I know to think independently, but I’d be surprised if the WaPo et al. aren’t using their columnist harems to place this idea in readers’ minds. (I can hardly be bothered to read anything so unoriginal and propagandistic, so I don’t.) Trump doesn’t strike me as a missile bae. His temperament looks closer to the Kim family standard than to that of most recent US presidents. On the other hand, the missile shield allows US politicians and generals to rattle sabers that even the Kims would be too scared to touch. It isn’t nuclear aggression when we do it because, uh, reasons and stuff. #PowerOfPride #USAUSAUSA. Worse, Clinton is one of the most notoriously belligerent living US government officials, and she has the likes of Victoria Nuland in her pocket. She, not Trump, is the obvious interventionist wacko here. She, not Trump, is the one angling for war with Russia, the world’s second-place nuclear power.

The idea with this Trump and the Bomb meme is that Trump would use the missile arsenal as sandbox toys to get even with foreign leaders who offended him. Trump has certainly abused lesser powers before, but I’m not convinced that he would be so narcissistic or idiotic as to think that the nuclear arsenal is just another tool that can be waved in everyone’s face–that is, no more narcissistic or idiotic than his frankly dangerous predecessors in various positions of nuclear authority in the US government. He’s no JFK, but neither is Clinton, who evokes Curtis LeMay far too strongly for comfort. Honestly, I have more confidence that military commanders would refuse first-strike orders from Trump than I had with any previous president following John Brennan’s public announcement that he would refuse orders to resume waterboarding. At this point, there are probably decent people in the armed forces and the Secret Service who would reluctantly but successfully Stauffenberg Trump if they believed that he posed an imminent threat to civilization or national security. Trump is too openly unhinged not to put people on alert. He’s presumably already a high-value target for the sorts of deep state and corporate operatives who usually arrange assassinations, while Clinton, duly captured by Wall Street, is not. Clinton is definitely more dangerous than Trump, assuming equal belligerence, precisely because she makes a show of playing by the rules some of the time and Trump does not.

My gut feeling is that Trump is much more likely to be targeted for assassination by rogue deep state elements than by anyone with reluctant civic motives. In the former case, the Secret Service will most likely keep him safe. The threshold for taking a leader out in order to protect the nation, as opposed to whacking a reformer for breaking some fascist rice bowls, is sky-high. If Trump doesn’t affirmatively convince military or law enforcement officials that he’s an uncontrollable threat, not just a rude bloviator, he won’t come close to the Stauffenberg threshold. He’s already at the Whack Jack threshold. And though time goes by, I will always be/in a car with you in 1963/singing, here we go again.

The disgusting thing about the Trump nuclear trigger finger meme is that it’s probably been advanced by Democratic Party operatives with utter insincerity. If the party were genuinely worried about Trump’s discretion before nuclear weapons, it would not be running such a weak, compromised candidate against him. Party enforcers would pressure Hillary, first privately, then publicly, to fall on her sword. They’d work to install someone with a cleaner record and strong favorability ratings, such as Bernie Sanders. They’ve done the opposite because they’re on Hillary’s side. They were eager to do whatever it took to force Sanders out of the way, legally and illegally.


They aren’t motivated by love of country. They’re motivated by love of Clinton. So are the Clintons.

There are good reasons to punish the Democratic Party for being so sleazy. Its record of screwing over its nominal allies in the working class is long-established. Now we get to add threats that its opponent will blow up the world if its heir apparent is not duly installed by the electorate, as instructed. Give them what they want, or they’ll have someone unaffiliated with them turn two or three continents into ashtrays.

Remember, all you have to do to piss off these shitheads is refuse to capitulate to their good cop-bad cop act and vote for anyone but Hillary. It may not be possible to tame a shrew, but there’s no need to invite her into your nation’s presidential palace. Remember, you have the right to vote as you wish, and that includes the right not to vote for the peddlers of armchair brinksmanship.


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