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Forty Short Post-Election Theses: Where We Stand Now and Where We Go From Here

By       Message Anis Shivani       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Reprinted from www.counterpunch.org

1/ Do not underestimate Trump's executive ability. He ran at least five different campaigns during this one cycle, showing himself swift-footed and quickly able to change staff and ideas depending on the needs of the moment. He will move blindingly fast to enact his repressive agenda, every word of which he meant seriously.

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2/ Trump's marketing strategy was to formulate a message based on anxieties that already existed, instead of shoving a preexisting ideology down people's throats. As important as the economic anxiety was the populace's resistance to liberal political correctness.

3/ The monopoly of political correctness over the media and the intellectual apparatus has had dire results, it has reached its end point in the fascistic reaction. Political correctness diverts attention from the kinds of material issues that propel this kind of election result. How can this monopoly by broken?

4/ When democracy on the left is suppressed--i.e., someone like Bernie Sanders is cheated out of the nomination that should have been his--the result is an extreme reaction from the right, and the victory of the opposite of the suppressed message. This has been true for nearly forty years of neoliberalism.

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5/ Fascism arises only when liberalism fails. How has liberalism failed us? The cultural liberalism of the elites doesn't allow room for economic liberalism, which has been sidelined during the course of the neoliberal ascendancy.

6/ Trump has rewritten all the rules of politics. Those in the elite bubble, both Republicans and Democrats, have been made to look like fools. Trump made a direct appeal to the people, converting American politics into a reality show. Politics is reality TV now, and will remain so. How does a rational message of economic redistribution and justice get through this screen?

7/ The Democratic party insisted on nominating a scandalous candidate not because they are stupid but because they wanted to preserve neoliberalism at all costs. This is why the entire party establishment fell in line, it was more important to protect neoliberalism than stop fascism. They deliberately gambled with the future of the country and lost.

8/ The demographic wall has been shattered. Trump's only chance of success was to break through in the Rust Belt, as the Democrats' weakest point of exposure. Ted Cruz or any conventional Republican would not have won, the demographic wall would have stood. The only way was to scramble the map. Has the Rust Belt been breached for good? Yes, if fortune favors Trump and he can deliver even a small amount of what he promised.

9/ Just as the neoliberal elites were gambling, the electorate took a massive gamble too, they chose to end unbearable stagnation under neoliberalism, even at the risk of bringing on something apocalyptic. They knew the risks, but they could not bear neoliberal precariousness anymore.

10/ The elites had a chance to figure out an amiable solution to inequality, to share the fruits of the biggest economy in the world. They didn't, and now it's de facto civil war. Things cannot go back to the status quo ante, the elite consensus has collapsed for good.

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11/ The Democratic party has been completely hollowed out at every level after a quarter century of Clinton/Obama neoliberalism. The house, senate, governorships, and state legislatures are all gone. The presidential firewall at last collapsed, because in the end you cannot lose offices at every other level yet keep just the presidency.

12/ Why didn't Hillary select Bernie for vice president? This would have guaranteed a win. Even choosing Elizabeth Warren would have guaranteed support from economic liberals. Sticking to neoliberalism down to the last point of contention was more important than securing a win. Was she planning to keep her word on anything she promised Bernie on policy? Why would millennials believe her or anyone in the corporate wing of the party in the future?

13/ The millennials are up for grabs. The discredited Democrats don't have them. African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are also up for grabs, if Trump does something magnanimous in their interest, which is highly unlikely--but potentially the Democrats can lose them in a new realignment.

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Anis Shivani is a fiction writer, poet, and critic in Houston, Texas. His debut book, a short fiction collection called Anatolia and Other Stories, which included a Pushcart Special Mention story, was published in October 2009 by Black Lawrence (more...)
 

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