One of the pseudonymous hotheads in the Gin and Tacos comment threads, who goes by Democommie, wants me to eat my gun already and end my own misery because I have the nerve to partially defend Donald Trump. LOL. I have no idea who Democommie is in real life, so after the very brief sting of realizing that some stranger wants me specifically to off myself (because I’m not totally insensate and public wishes for my suicide are a first), I realized that he (?) is just another angry Hillbot asswipe whose rash rhetoric won’t do the Democratic Party any good. He’s free to pursue his own (un)happiness as a Michelle Carter wannabe to his heart’s (dis)content; I definitely ain’t offing myself because some Never-Trumper is flaming me on a third-party platform.
Neither is anyone from the hardcore shitlord army; those guys (and a few girls) have a solid enough track record as street fighters to show that they won’t be directing their own anger inward. They aren’t terminally despondent hikikomori dorks; neither am I, for that matter, regardless of what BasenjiBrian, aka Brian M (whose identity I do know), thinks of my mental state based exclusively on my writing.
There’s a lot to unpack here. As the internet’s apparent sole caretaker of the sexy male nurse Lynn Majors meme, I’ve never thought that I came across as taking myself awfully seriously in these pages. On that subject, I must take the opportunity to wish Elizabeth Wettlaufer the happiest of Canada Days and recommend that all in her home and native land look up Meatless Muscle on Instagram for vegetarian grilling ideas, electric and otherwise, or whatever the fuck else that erstwhile horse friend is entrepreneuring these days. God, him again? You betcha. As Robert Dziekanski said, you’re literally killing me, biggie! I’m literally dying over here!
If you really expected that to have anything to do with anything else here, you’re free to go find something else to read. This shit can be hard enough to write, so I’m definitely not energetic enough to edit it for anything more than obvious typos. Canada has made it to 150, mostly without my input, and I’m still best known on the internet for a sloppy hot take on international rent girls being beshat for money by psychopathic oil failsons, so comparisons of Northside Juice and Hitler as fellow vegetarian health cult hoteps are actually an improvement. As they say about sex in Maine, it’s all relative. And no, Vermonters aren’t that refined; that isn’t something I learned from my New Yorkers.
One of the things that I find sympathetic about Donald Trump is that he keeps getting diagnosed by politically motivated strangers as a malignant narcissist unique to modern American politics based solely on his public obnoxiousness. We’ve got a president here who came up through reality television and other trashy entertainment platform easily shocking the hell out of those sheltered elements of the electorate, and more importantly the Beltway newsie hive, who basically go to church on C-SPAN and are totally ignorant of kayfabe. Trump is the holy roller who shows up at High Anglican Eucharist speaking in tongues and lifting his arms haphazardly in various directions for reasons known only to himself.
The disanalogy in this analogy, as one of my cradle Southern Baptist friends in college liked to explain these things, is that the liturgical forms of the Anglican Church are ordered to the defense of defensible virtues, while the liturgical forms of Congress, the White House, and the mainstream media are ordered towards the defense of indefensible crookedness, idolatry, psychopathy, hypocrisy, and other vice and all-around happy horseshit. I had several college friends who left the Southern Baptist Church and ended up either Catholic or Orthodox because the latter churches seemed more grounded and less crazypants. I don’t doubt their sincerity at all. I very much doubt the sincerity of the political class in its outrage over Trump’s desecration of their holy institutions. That’s classic, pure idolatry. Tricky Dick wandering around the White House in an alcoholic haze muttering “Christ” all night was never so profane.
The political class is upset with Trump because he doesn’t participate in their conceit that they’re all in their business for holy and worthy ends. Fundamentally, they’re angry with him because he’s too honest. How the hell can it be argued that Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi are public-spirited, or even decent? The only way to do that is to set the terms of debate so narrowly and to cherry-pick deemed fit for polite society so painstakingly that no one orbiting them has the courage to cry foul. Trump got through by publicly calling their gatekeepers a bunch of phonies, and now the gatekeepers and the old guard behind the gates are mightily butthurt, not to mention more than a bit scared. They’re all worked up because they aren’t able to enforce their usual rules anymore. They don’t like being bypassed by a president who used alternate channels to successfully steamroll a bunch of allegedly serious establishment Republicans and then a Very Serious establishment Democrat. They’re furious that a rabble they didn’t invite to the party crashed it anyway. Even the Democrats in this incestuous world would rather defend the honor of an insidious dipshit like Jeb! Bush (please clap), who plays nicely in their little sandbox, than be aboveboard in their dealings with Donald Trump, or with Bernie Sanders, for that matter. They can’t fucking stand politicians who pipe up impertinently on behalf of ordinary Americans.
I’m sure I’ll stir up more bitching about how Trump is obviously a charlatan and an opportunist and a fraud and I’m a fool to think otherwise and to impute any common sense to his working-class voters. BFD. Hillbots gonna Hillbot. I can’t stop that bullshit. Many of them are really salty over the swing voters who decided that Trump, not Clinton, was the lesser of two evils last year. These voters were a small part of Trump’s base but enough to swing an adequate swath of Appalachia and the Midwest in his favor. The Chrisley Country McMansion reactionaries, MAGA hat shitlord meatheads, Bannonite creeps, and the like weren’t enough to overcome Hillary’s national popular vote advantage on their own. The butthurt over the Electoral College is ridiculous this time around; we’ve been dealing with it for our entire national history, and in this case it flipped the election from the candidate who doubled down on the megalopolitan majority to the one who didn’t alienate the forsaken provincial interior.
The Democrats have only had since, what, 1789 to work out a strategy to overcome this federal hurdle, but wouldn’t you know it, they goofed. They just had to run the Seven Sisters Yalie feminazi from the Clurb who inflicted her political marriage to the Arkansas cryptodirtbag on the nation and now can’t help herself when a disparaging thought about Appalachians flits into her mind. The Democrats just don’t get it. They’ve got Illinois locked down because they’ve got Chicagoland. They’ve got New England locked down; the worst Paul LePage and his peeps can do is flip the Second Congressional District of Maine. Virginia is yuppified enough on account of Washington’s ongoing metastasis to be safely blue or the next thing to it, North Carolina is a swing state on account of Charlotte and the Research Triangle, and enough of a yuppie flood into the Atlanta Metroplex (combined with enough horse sense not to drive the black working class into Republican arms, which is plausible but not at all a given) may break the Republican stranglehold on Georgia before long.
The problem is, well, everything else. The Dems turned the Georgia Sixth into a consultant feeding frenzy after leaving their House nominee in Montana to fend for himself; if their goal is to win races, they were morons to abandon a swing state like Montana and double down on Chrisleyan bougies in Alpharetta, but if the goal was to fin-dom working stiffs on the High Plains, depriving native High Liner Rob Quist of the money and the cash and the signal boost makes all too much sense. The big push to win over Pennsylvania’s Main Line Republicans made sense for anyone totally ignorant of those parts of Pennsylvania lying between Exton and the Pittsburgh city limits. In 2016, MAGA Chads driving Erasmus and Rebecca to the polls in Intercourse ended up making an ass out of Ed Rendell. The Amish didn’t just pray Republican last year. Oops. Also, Hazleton and shit. Another oops. You guys do realize that Dunder Mifflin is made up and that there are Scrantonians who are out of work and trying to figure out how the hell Steamtown and Montage Mountain are going to make up for an anthracite industry that isn’t doing so well, right? Nah, who’m I kidding?
I’m not pulling it all out of my ass here. Say what you will, but I spent my teens and early twenties in Pennsylvania, and at least two of my lifelong Pennsylvania Republican friends voted against Trump last year. One is a Main Line type who very reluctantly voted for Clinton as the lesser of two evils (“I voted for Clinton and immediately felt bad about it”). The other is a scion of minor rural elites in flyover country who regularly bow-hunts for deer; he voted for Marco Rubio in the primary, as best he can remember (no, he isn’t fogging me; again, speculate however the fuck floridly you like if you think I’m full of shit), and then for Gary Johnson in the general, in spite of Johnson’s goofiness (he was most dismayed by “What is Aleppo?”). Neither of these guys cared for Trump; the Main Liner told me over the summer that his only hope was for the Republican Party to rescind Trump’s nomination, and the flyover hunter called Trump a fraud upon the Party, by which he meant a usurper who had hacked the process to shut out the movement and religious conservative parts of the base.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was relieved when Trump won the presidency, and I’m still unapologetically relieved because I still think Clinton–nay, the Clintons and Clintonworld, the whole sordid machine–had some nasty surprises in store for us. Flaming me as a mentally ill idiot won’t win me over, but it’s the done thing in Clintonworld these days, so surely that cup will continue to run over. That said, I was especially impressed that Trump carried Pennsylvania, even before I learned that either of these Republican friends of mine had voted against him. There are plenty of ugly, scary reactionaries salted around more places than you’d have the energy to look in the Midstate (a constituency that I decisively do NOT romanticize, having grown up in its midst), quite a few farmers and other rural entrepreneurial types with strong libertarian leanings (usually right-libertarian, making this group MUCH more pleasant and less scary than the reactionaries), and working stiffs in towns for whom Trump’s message cut across the usual political divides. Clinton didn’t have a prayer with any of these constituencies. Her chance to win Pennsylvania was by boosting turnout in a few key areas: Philadelphia and nearby counties, Pittsburgh and a few heavily Democratic nearby mill towns, Erie, and, less obviously to most outsiders, in urbanized parts of Lancaster and Dauphin Counties. York and Centre Counties might have been viable places to solidify a win, too, although I don’t have a good enough sense to say for sure.
This was a difficult environment for both Clinton and Trump, but feasible for whichever of them ran the more competent campaign. The Hillbots were the ones who flipped their shit over a SEPTA strike on the eve of the general election, failed to get Philadelphians out to the polls even after the strike ended, and choked across Pennsyltucky. MAGA Nation were the ones who won over hundreds of thousands of union Democrats and their descendants in both coal countries and got the Stoltzfuses over to the polling place if the horses weren’t up to it, even getting an occasional Amishman to pose, beaming ear to ear, for a commemorative portrait.
Did the Amish vote against Clinton because they’re patriarchal sexists? Maybe. I’ve never grokked the Amish, and I see no reason to start trying now just because they may have provided the electoral margin that sank a presidential candidate who scared the hell out of me. They live peaceably in their enclaves and get along with us English just fine when they visit us. The more pertinent point is that they were another traditionally low-turnout constituency that Trump motivated to actually show up and vote, and in an overall low-turnout election, Trump didn’t have to turn out very many voters to flip a critical mass of forsaken, troubled interior states in his favor.
I don’t feel like reiterating everything that frightened me about Hillary Clinton, but the prospect of her starting a nuclear war with Russia seemed frightening enough. For that reason alone, my lesser-of-two-evils vote would have been for Trump. If you don’t like it, suck on it. James Howard Kunstler is on to something when he describes Hillary as “demonic, and I mean that pretty literally.” One of the striking things about 2016-17 has been hearing angry, desperate, raging slurs directed at Trump that seem at least as apt about Clinton. Trump was not being contrasted to a normal opponent. He’s a kayfabe schmuck, so, as with Ronald Reagan, there may be some blurring of the lines between person and persona. She repeatedly came across as genuinely, no-joke deranged and nuts, and she was known to be surrounded by bellicose aides who had a recent history of helping her stir up trouble overseas. The Democrats had trouble convincing voters that they were the party of normality and stability because they insisted on running a candidate who appeared extremely abnormal and unstable.
It’s hard to put it any more bluntly. If the Democrats wanted my vote, they should have run a different candidate. Full stop. That woman is not hated and distrusted just because some assholes like Rush Limbaugh pursued a radio beef with her. I’ve never cared for Rush. I got to Clintonphobia on my damn own. While I’m at it, I should mention that the bloom is off Bill and Chelsea’s roses as far as I’m concerned, too. It’s past time for that entire lineage to do the decent thing for once and retire permanently from public life. Nevertheless, they persist (TM), so it’s up to us to retire them.
So, yes, I regarded and still regard Trump as the less belligerent, less crazy, less scary of these two candidates. The idea that he’s bonkers because he made fun of Mika Brzezinski for supposedly having looked like shit after a face lift is ridiculous, and the idea that his Twitter attack on her, an influence-peddling public figure of no particular use to society, is insulting. It’s disgusting that our political class has gotten to the point at which it finds the behurtment of Mika and Joe’s feels more unconscionable than the drone assassination of US citizens and their US citizen minor children for international Wahhabi trash talk. If that’s us, we hardly have a moral compass left to defend.
In the end, I was #WithHer last year, although, as He would have put it, it depended on what the meaning of “her” was. My meaning of “her,” of course, was Jill Stein. That this provokes Never-Trumpers either to apoplexy or to condescension of me as a Californian who could afford to throw his vote away is fucking pathetic. Again, my California residency spared them yet another vote for Trump, a civic truth upon which they are cordially invited to suck.
I realize that I’m a broken record about how none of us who couldn’t countenance Hillary were under any obligation to vote for her, but Hillz and her bots started spinning around on that tray table first. It gets hard to imagine that we’ll ever hear the end of it.
There’s a real myopia that has set in on the Hillbots concerning the nature of the presidency. A lot of the furor at Trump and his voters (and, in my case, his not awfully enthusiastic defenders) amounts to OMG you can’t possibly support him he’s a fucking prick. In total isolation from context this makes some sense, but I do context, so let’s have some. The Clintons, and Hillary in particular, are reputed to be much, much worse to the help, and I fucking despise the idea of Secret Service agents’ jobs being any tougher than they must be by their very nature, so if the stories about the yelling fits and the refuges behind the curtains are true, yeah, she’s a cunt. That certainly sounds in character just looking at her and listening to her. The Donald, by contrast, seems like one to treat the help fairly well for a rich guy and in particular to respect the Secret Service for being all hotep and shit.
To the extent that temperament and private morals are relevant considerations in picking a president, these are valid considerations (and a matter of individual voters’ personal judgment, except for the furious, meddlesome scolds that Hillary so attracts, for whom it’s a matter of their own superior judgment overriding everyone else’s). But I wasn’t voting on the basis of whom I’d most like to have over to my shore house, and not just because I don’t have a shore house. I was voting for a president. I didn’t buy the freakout out about how King Bigly was going to get us into WWIII just because he’s so vain, he probably thinks this song is about him, but We Came, We Saw, He Died wasn’t. We’ve had psychopathic presidents in the nuclear age (many such cases, including Cheney with his boy-king George II), narcissists (Obama, Bill Clinton), an alt-factual (Reagan), and at least one paranoid drunk (Nixon), but we’ve had only two nuclear strikes, and they were unreciprocated because they were irreciprocable. As far as competency is concerned, we’ve survived His Vigor’s secret lack of that Kennedyesque vigga, with media and medical assistance in the coverup, and Reagan’s open-secret failure to look like he knew where the fuck he was from minute to minute on national television, no less assisted by a media class that either couldn’t or wouldn’t recognize that he was sundowning during a reelection debate and likely was mentally incompetent.
The federal government’s continuity through all that horseshit and the extended Nixon agonistes stuff tells me that it isn’t about to go down in a ball of fire just because the current president is a huge (yuge!) television blowhard. Ronald Reagan had a much broader range as an actor than Donald Trump has, so he was probably more skilled at hiding his minor episodes of dementia than Trump is at hiding anything. The insistence that his rudeness is evidence of disinhibition is politically motivated bullshit: he has deliberately been like that for his entire public life. Undignified? Sure, but dignity was never the Donald’s thang.
It’s conceivable that he’ll turn into the sort of dementia ward patient who throws his feces at staff in fits of distress while he’s still in office, but let’s recall the first lady who is reputed to have thrown a lamp at her husband in a fit of rage when she wasn’t yet fifty: one Hillary Rodham Clinton. The behind-the-scenes stories from the help that circulate about that woman are as credible as anything I’ve heard about Trump being a dementing nutter fit for a home. She appears to have a worse bill of physical health, too: Trump looks like he could flop over from an MI because he’s such a fat old bastard, but Clinton is the one who fainted in public and looks fit for a diaper.
Bernie Sanders is as physically fit as both of those fuckers combined.
Another reason why I get beyond the narrow is this fucker a national binch analysis is that presidents have to deal with Congress. I overpredicted the amount of split-ticket voting last year and hence the makeup of Congress, but I did not exaggerate the amount of pushback that Trump has gotten. This is one of the reasons that I still prefer him to Clinton: because he won’t abide by Washington norms, he keeps getting dissed and sandbagged by other politicians who would feel rude to behave similarly towards just about any other president, no matter how richly that president would deserve a smackdown. I was especially worried about some fresh neoliberal hell being imposed by a Democratic Congress under a second President Clinton. During the election season, the Republicans seemed divided against themselves; the extent to which they’ve reunited, at least for public show, was beyond my ability to predict until it happened. The Republican establishment certainly didn’t look like it was doing kayfabe on Trump last year; it looked truly rattled. The denunciations of his incivility this year look more ritualistic and insincere, although shitheels like Paul Ryan are still uncomfortable with Trump’s refusal to play by their fake-ass rules of discourse.
My general assessment of 2016 was that whichever party won the presidency would win a Pyrrhic victory. If Trump won, he’d either reform the GOP from its nutbar Randroid extremism and religious establishmentarian preoccupations or provoke it into a terminal feud. If Clinton won, she’d forthrightly take the Democratic Party down with her in flames. I didn’t expect Trump to pursue a third way of reconciliation with the establishment Nutter Butters and double-crossing of the populists, but as I said, the rest of his party did not look like it was bullshitting anyone about what a menace it considered him during his campaign. He may have been lying about his intentions, but there’s no way in hell he was the only one who was lying; just look at his main opponent.
Whatever Trump’s intentions, my guess is that the Democrats, and probably Berniecrats at that, will sweep the 2018 Congressional midterms. The Obamacare repeal bills are pissing off a shitload of constituents because they’re being pushed through by unabashed psychopaths. The aggrieved include a great many pro-life religious right voters who usually vote straight Republican, a community that adopts more than its fair share of children with special needs. The constituent services that they’re used to getting from their governments, Republican, Democratic, and mixed, are dramatically better than the throw-the-gimps-out-on-the-street psychopathy that the GOP has been trying to ram through Congress this year. There’s already been enough constituent outrage to stall the Senate bill, and the likes of Dean Heller have enough support back home to hold the line regardless of what poison Sheldon Adelson breathes into the telephone.
How does this compare to Bill Clinton’s scheme with Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security shortly prior to Monica donning the blue dress? It’s mainly a different kind of shit. If I’m mentally ill or whatever, it’s not because I insist on making my own decisions about when to vote for one of these dogshit parties. Bitch please.