From the Times
(of London) Literary Supplement
Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen yearsEDWARD N. LUTTWAK
Luttwak is one of these titanically self-confident foreign-born national security intellectuals in the Kissinger / Brzezinski mode. Here’s
David Samuels’ fun 2011 interview with him.
Could a Trump dynasty in the White House survive for three more elections?… the major cause of last November’s electoral outcome has remained mostly unexplored, even undiscovered. That is not due to intellectual laziness, but rather reflects the refusal of almost all commentators to contend with the political economy that determined the outcome of the election. Long-term processes of income redistribution from working people to everyone else, non-working welfare recipients as well as the very rich, had been evident for at least two decades. (I explored the phenomenon in my book The Endangered American Dream, 1993.) Those changes called for a painful party realignment (which would have cost the Democrats their ample Wall Street funding) that never happened – not even when Bernie Sanders arrived to be its instrument. The Democratic Party officials and leading lights of the media elite who helped to deny the nomination to Sanders, and thus very likely the White House, understandably have a guilty conscience, because they truly did everything possible to stop him, including ever so discreet anti-Semitic messaging very precisely aimed at black voters wavering in their pre-ordained fealty to Hillary Clinton.As it was, of course, the victory of the Democratic establishment merely ensured the victory of the only Sanders counterpart on the Republican side with whom Sanders differed sharply on almost everything – except for the only thing that really mattered to both: the urgent need to mobilize government policies to increase American jobs and wages, in firm opposition to all the competing international and planetary priorities continuously proffered by elite Americans and their core institutions, along with Pope Francis and other leading figures.In the dramatic crescendo of the 2016 elections that gave Trump to the United States and the world, very possibly for sixteen years (the President’s re-election committee is already hard at work, while his daughter Ivanka Trump is duly apprenticed in the White House that, according to my sources, she means to occupy as America’s first female President), none of the countless campaign reporters and commentators is on record as having noticed the car “affordability” statistics distributed in June 2016 via www.thecarconnection.com . Derived from very reliable Federal Reserve data, they depicted the awful predicament of almost half of all American households. Had journalists studied the numbers and pondered even briefly their implications, they could have determined a priori that only two candidates could win the Presidential election – Sanders and Trump – because none of the others even recognized that there was problem if median American households had been impoverished to the point that they could no longer afford a new car.This itself was remarkable because four wheels and an engine might as well be grafted to Homo americanus, who rarely lives within walking distance of his or her job, or even a proper food shop, who rarely has access to useful public transport, and for whom a recalcitrant ignition or anything else that prevents driving often means the loss of a day’s earnings, as well as possibly crippling repair costs. But even that greatly understates the role of automobiles in the lives of the many Americans who do not have private jets and do not live in New York City or San Francisco, for whom a car provides not only truly essential transport, but also the intensely reassuring sense of freedom depicted in countless writings and films, which reflect the hard realities of labour-mobility imperatives even more than the romance of the open road.
Personally, I haven’t had a car for the last year, at least not when my wife is at work. I probably lost a little weight from all the walking to do errands. My son has the 1998 Infiniti with 250,000 plus miles, but I hope to get it back within a month.
Instead of recognizing that the political implications of the income redistribution of globalized capitalism made Sanders and Trump the only two valid candidates, the leading commentators did the very opposite: they asserted in tones of unassailable certainty that both men were irremediably unelectable. That was, admittedly, a perfectly reasonable conclusion, given that neither happened to have a party to support them, which was then still considered the presumed prerequisite of electoral victories. And it was also true enough that Sanders could not hope for party support because of the professional contempt of with-it Democratic officials for the ageing socialist, who stubbornly failed to recognize the absolute centrality of identity politics in the third millennium, and who therefore persisted in talking of rich and poor, instead of African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Aleuts, Asian-Americans, LGBT Americans, even white ones, if quietly.That rejection was perfectly matched by the class contempt of respectable Republicans for the ageing Don Juan with his hopelessly vulgar blue-collar tastes, in everything from his hairstyle to his food.
Luttwak has lots
more to say, much of it interesting.