by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
The US economy is in such a dire state (if we may temporarily put down the newly-discovered problem of racism in the Western hemisphere (except for Cuba)) that US voters are going to be happy to sell themselves to the highest bidder come November. It’s not like anyone could get genuinely excited by Joe Biden, after all.
Trump has a huge advantage over Biden in that he can distribute money to voters today and until October – but does he realise that’s the only way to win re-election during this economic catastrophe?
The idea that the US economy has somehow stabilised – or even yet seen the worst – from the shock of three months (and counting) of corona overreaction is totally irrational. You can’t even put it into a single headline: Over 44 million unemployed people doesn’t include the absurd new stock market bubble, the “we’re done holding on” looming wave of bankruptcies in small businesses, the demand shock which is still omnipresent and solidifying with each passing day, the total lack of a corona exit strategy after the West rushed into the Great Lockdown out of a competitive idiocy that “whatever China’s system can do, we can do better”, and on and on and on.
It is thus little wonder that Americans have recently latched on to the far easier to grasp issues of colour-based racism and police brutality (which are also neutered of economics & class). But US cops murder Blacks all the time and that isn’t going away soon, sadly, and neither is the corona economic catastrophe.
So unlike other re-election campaigns this isn’t going to be just another referendum on the incumbent, as Democrats desperately wanted: amid such economic devastation the past will remain in the past until the issue of paying the bills at the end of this month gets sorted first. Fin du mois (end of the month) is the battle cry of the Yellow Vests, after all….
In late May I wrote August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin to stress how the US 1% made a huge tactical error amid the corona hysteria by granting $1,000 per week in unemployment benefits: that is better wages for half of America’s incredibly hard-working, zero-benefit receiving labor force. The 1% foolishly showed their hand: they are flush – absolutely flush with decades of productivity-produced profits, QE, compound interest, unearned rents, etc. – and now it’s crystal clear to all that they have been holding out. Anyone who says that the US “can’t afford” to extend unemployment past August 1 obviously has no idea what they are talking about economically – only 30% of the 2020 CARES package went to individuals, whereas 45% went to bosses big (corporate) and small (the Small Business Administration). More importantly: that 30% was the first “people’s QE” ever, so the percentage of “bailout money” gone to individuals since 2008 is roughly just a few percent.
This, and not racism, is the actual psychological basis for the recent US rebellions and prolonged anger: Americans are instructed to first “think race”, so that is what they ran to protest first, but they will eventually reach this higher level of economic understanding. The cultural reality is that the average American has been denied economic understanding; that their media is forbidden to discuss it – how could they ever immediately talk about I discussed in that article? They can’t – not without some violent rebellion first.
When the economic reality of America’s hoarded wealth does get discussed in an election context it portends a sea change in US politics, and not just labor battles.
The corona overreaction has created a situation where socialist “reverse patronage” is finally coming to America, and I say “good”: the power to hold a political seat should absolutely be based on how much you give back to the people – what else are Westerners paying so much taxes for? (In Western capitalism they are paying so much to keep the 1% in butter brickle, of course.)
Is Donald the man of the moment? After 3.5 years the answer has been: LOL, no
Maybe the problem all along has been this: Donald J. Trump actually does have principles, but they are bad ones?
We were right to pose the question: Considering his many bankruptcies, TV reality idiocies, sexual assault boasts, philandering and pandering racism (this list was not in any particular order nor exhaustive) I think we all were quite fair to assume that Trump was always only in it for Trump, and therefore he could maybe be a malleable instrument of the people’s will as the egomaniac would want to remain in the limelight via re-election.
Isn’t that why the Deep State went after him so quickly – because he dared to echo the common American’s call to reverse in free trade and foreign militarism? They were worried that the American people would finally have an idiot puppet to enforce their will, whereas the Deep State was used to having their own idiot puppets like Barack Obama, Dubya Bush and Ronald Reagan.
That assumed malleability gave two genuine reasons Trump truly was the “hope candidate” in the pathetic 2016 election: 1) Hillary Clinton was a proven warmonger and Deep State cheerleader, and 2) Trump was the first genuinely outsider politician since Andrew Jackson (I imagine it has been 3.5+ years since you were reminded of this comparison). It’s critical to always recall that Trump was emphatically rejected by the Republican Party until the very last moment, only six months before the November 2016 vote. Trump is not a “Republican”, and it’s only to keep a firm grip of party duopoly (and their need for a target for their American rage) that Democrats play along with this Republican-aiding fiction of Trump’s “mainstream-ness”.
I don’t think it’s appreciated enough that all bets are off: due to corona I am literally not accepting any more bets on the presidential election, because who knows what on earth is going to happen as a result of enforcing a multi-month pause to the capitalism-imperialism machine?! Could be World War III, could be a new era of peace and brotherhood.
But what appears certain is that working people (and that obviously includes the temporarily unemployed) deserve free lunches. Finally getting them some money back from a tax system which they have paid into is such a radical idea in neoliberal America that whoever proposes it will surely sweep into the White House. It’s amazing Biden hasn’t jumped all over this already – if only to make sure Trump does not – but then we remember that he is the senior senator from Delaware, one of the world’s biggest tax havens.
Can Trump put aside his conservative fiscal principles (if he we now believe that he has actual “principles” other than self-interest) to realise that extending unemployment is a sure-fire way to win votes?
To reformulate more accurately: Will we see a revival of the Trump who was willing to buck the Republican Party, a stance which got him elected in the first place?
In my second article on the corona crisis I seized upon this very idea – Trump as Huey Long: Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? Of course I did: as a socialist I cling to the very un-radical but very un-American belief that government leaders can actually design their policies with the lower classes in mind. Of course as someone who does not believe in Western liberal (aristocratic) democracy I am not a Trump supporter, I was and am merely a journalist commenting on the news and musing as to how history could maybe turn out.
The PR campaign for Trump writes itself: Vote for the man who kept you off the street after corona, and now let’s really drain the swamp.
The perhaps fatal flaw in my Long comparison is this: Trump has never been the outsider economic populist his anti-free trade stance indicated. Hopes that Trump is a real populist – which fake-leftist Democrats, the 1% and the MSM fear with such horror – have certainly not been redeemed. After 3.5 years we still have no proof that Trump is going to use his bloated executive powers (normal in the 21st century Western “liberal strongman” balance of power conception) to aid the lower classes.
I have read of Chinese analysts who say, “Well, maybe if Trump can get re-elected then he can finally shed the war hawks – forced on him via the Russophobia campaign – and get back to the art of the political deal.” That’s half-based on the same premise: that somewhere a populist, patriotic, non-warmongering Trump is hiding.
However, the other half of this analysis is based around the same “hope” of 2016: it’s better to have a wild and crazy hope like Trump than to continue with the depressing certainty of what a “mainstream” US president will surely wreak. Militarist “pivots to China” after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, bombing many Muslim countries and other such phoniness….
If Trump wants to win re-election – which seems impossible for an incumbent amid such Herbert Hoover-like devastation – Trump has to do a 180 and finally embrace his inner FDR… if there is one? It’s too bad a Hail Mary miracle pass is all you can hope for in the hopelessly reactionary American system.
But that’s really true of all Western liberal (aristocratic) democracy: if Marine Le Pen wins in 2022 we’ll likely be hoping for a very same political-deathbed conversion in 2026.
Corona is ruining Trump, yes, but he’s forgetting two key things: 1) it’s ruining absolutely everyone else, and 2) no citizen of the US has more power to act as a saviour than he does, as he is still the president.
If Trump can’t see that a simple (and equitable, and democratic) way to win re-election is by pacifying a rightly panicked populace with a continued good dole then… maybe he really is just an idiot? Or he’s just another American politician whose secret/subconscious economic ideology is the mainstream corporate fascism.
You can’t blame anyone anywhere for hoping against hope that’s not true.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.
Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020
Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020
– March 25, 2020
Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? –
March 26, 2020
If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30,
Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020
Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020
(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020
Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020
Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020
‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020
Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020
No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020
Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020
We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020
The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020
ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020
Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020
The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020
May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020
Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020
Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020
Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020
France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020
Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020
‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021
The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021
I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021
August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021
Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021
Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021
Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021
Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020
The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020
The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 2020
Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship – June 14, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.
I don’t think it matters what Trump does or does not do. The ball is rolling and gathering momentum. He has a good chunk of the Pentagon against, and of course he never had the deep state. The real fight is not fought in the streets, nor are “the people” calling the shots in the streets. His base (Sal’s Pizzeria owners) are well armed but currently quiet, and IMO are the only people who can have real agency.
I don’t want to live in a country without pizza like Sal’s.
In 2016 the elections were interesting because with trump we had a chance to see something new. Almost 4 years have passed since trump came in power and he has been a complete failure.
Now in 2020 trump vs biden is basically more of the same nonsense (trump style) vs more of the same nonsense (biden style). It s really depressing. When you think that the only choice us electors have is trump or biden it is laughable. There are no better candidats available in a country of 320 millions people? This makes you realise how blocked is the us political system. It s a shame for a country which calls itself the “biggest democracy in the world”.
That’s no secret, sure. But do countries in continental Europe fare any better, to the best of your knowledge? Do they suffer from the same duopolistic system as the US?
Had to chuckle when I read the title of this one, Ramin. You’re presuming that any of this electioneering nonsense is actually on the up and up, of course, which is by no means in evidence at this point. Still not sure who’s fixing it at this point, although the early returns point strongly at the Clintonistas, but I seriously doubt it matters at all who gets elected. I’m not buying the idea that Trump poses a legitimate alternative to the war party – that’s proven to be nothing but theater for the past four years, much as Obama was going to present a legitimate alternative before him. The fact that we Americans keep buying into this tripe at all speaks much louder than which side of the Janus face we prefer to look at. Globalist corporate financial fascism is our ongoing reality no matter which way we turn now. It’s their world now and we’re just existing in it (for now at least).
So this is not only about race. This is not only about class. Both parties are really only one party. We all see the cheese only some of us see the trap. The problem with using duck tape to achieve economic justice is the feathers keep sticking.
Yep. Countless volumes have been written on this by very learned insiders (Quigley, Mills, et al.). Heads they win, tails we lose. Now step right on up folks and lay your money down!
What we are seeing today with police reform will soon come to lawmakers, after Trumps next term is over it wont matter who wins, if you are a politician, you will lose.
With Trump there is no such thing a rock bottom. To quote TS Elliot:”We are the hollow men . . . Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass or rats’ feet over broken glass . . .” And I write: Who love they know not why, and hate upon a barren field.
“For now at least”, for now will be around only until Gates’s toxic injection has completed its earthly purifying work.
Well it may have ruined everyone but the 1% as their wealth increased by 16.1 % running into the billions, and as Trump dumped some $6.1 trillion into the financial system to protect the wealth of the 1%,which means that Trump took care of his class including himself…
The US economy is on the road to nowhere, and the only way to prevent a real crash has been to reduce taxes and save the “tbtf” institutions. Trump doesn’t want a real crash, as it would extinguish his chances to be elected again. In order, maybe, to really act this time.
You cannot at the same time fight the deep state (CIA, FBI etc), the Pentagon, the neo-cons, the MSM and Wall Street.
It really is spinning its wheels on a greased roadway, major corporations are withholding dividends and the shareholders are bewildered as to what to do about it. The cost of raising a stink is greater than the loss of dividends.
Don’t know if anyone saw this – super great discussion of under the radar work of Trump –
Joseph Farrall discusses the indictment of Charles Lieber – in connection with devil Fauci and B&M ‘gates of hell-
Super important Trump wins the election for this to go to trial.
Trump is nearly alone, and has been harrassed for 3 years with those russian/ukrainian set-up stories.
The simple fact that he managed to resist that (and therefore defend Democracy) without triggering a new war is in itself a real accomplishment.
He tried to protect the american people against Covid by preaching the use of Chloroquine.
And I think that he has a big advantage against Biden: he clearly disavowed the BLM/Antifa/kneeling/lootings madness.
He has to have the fed keep printing money till November, and many things may/will still happen during the campaign that could prove to benefit him.
Gee, Ramin, how about the now $7 trillion heist that Treasury’s Mnuchin and the Fed’s Powell pulled off starting way back in March? Where were the cops when we really needed them? Instead they’re out hassling demonstrators and watching agents provocateurs engaging in looting and pillaging. That heist was done with Trump’s full knowledge and consent. No wonder everyone’s pissed off at him.
Trump’s most convincing achievements are his friends internationally: Zionazis, Ukronazis, and Hindunazis! Scum the whole lot.
Trump, as bad as he is, has the great good fortune of having Joe Biden as his opponent.
Biden is so bad and his faculties so diminished that he has said he would be only a placeholder president. He could only be counted on for one term
…. at most. He is also committed to having a woman running mate (likely a minority woman).
What undecided voters must do is look past Biden to his running mate and decide if they want that person as POTUS.
This election season is very fluid and Trump has a lot of strikes against him, but still, he’s running against Biden.
The White House is sending signals that a second round of checks will be coming. I’ll take the money but it won’t change my opinions.
While a people’s stimulus won’t hurt him electorally, it won’t buy the election, either. Trump’s poll numbers are down, but ….. he’s running against Biden. Trump (in)competence is a known factor. The limits to Biden’s is not, but is feared to be greater. This (who is the least unqualified) is the conundrum that the truly undecided find themselves facing.
Never underestimate the gullibility of the American sheeple nor the ability of the UniParty’s neo-liberal division to fix an election. Biden’s cognitive limitations aren’t really germane to his ability to hold office, since he won’t be making any actual decisions anyway. After the election all bets will be off, but watch for those most reliable of servants the Clintons and Obamas to be right in the mix again.
Everywhere I go in public its all about Trump, only in the media circles does biden get noticed. Its part of the new political civil war requirements.
An excellent analysis, thank you. Do you think Biden would fire Pompeo and the other regime trash? That might secure Biden some real support. Though honestly it seems to matter little to the Deep State who’s president.
Biden is a known vile warmonger from the 1990’s. Certainly with him he will be like Clinton, Bush, and Obama that each started wars and each killed about a million or more. Trump goes up to the wire for war then backs off not once but several times. Biden will not back off. If elected he will probably not survive his first term so the US ends up with the VP that will be as bad or worse (think another Hillary warmonger).
The US is a ship of fools where the outlook is grim. If Trump combines passing out checks to the public with a law and order platform he will probably win in November. No matter who wins the chaos in the US marches on.
FYI ; in the US the ‘President’ isn’t in charge and those who are don’t want to die. And if they wanted WW3 it would not matter who was in office. IMO Trump’s just as much of a risk or more because he’s a moron. As for which party’s ‘better’ Trump and the conservatards are united on their ignorant destruction of the environment which accelerates the Anthropocene Extinction. So I’d be okay with the Dems for a while if they reversed Trump’s environmental. *Unless it includes any Clinton but I believe that will not happen. The final FYI is that though I agree both parties are shyte it is a historical fact that the Repubs have started most of the US’s wars of choice. Which party was pushing for war with Syria/Russia and which party stopped it?
we will have to wait until we get closer to the November election before you will begin to see what desperation looks like up close. But if there was a list it might look like this:
Announcement of a trillion dollar infrastructure project to commence immediately
Paycheck Protection Program to never end, thanks to the Fed
Extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for all
Another round of stimulus checks to be received no later than October 2020
Forbearance of mortgage and rent payments extended.
and why not? Economist John Williams says, “The system is bankrupt, and they are just spending the money to prevent an immediate collapse as opposed to having it collapse right now.
and then there is this Hail Mary Pass
Announcement of 8,600 troops still in Afghanistan to return home
a short list but you get the idea.
The idea and reality on the ground are two different animals. The Fed and congress held a meeting yesterday where the Fed admitted the ability to create endless money was limited and though they wouldnt put an exact time table to the generosity, it was approaching its end.
It’s not hard to understand that the violence we see in America is an inheritance of its economic creation. Shipping millions of jobs to Asia and frozen real wages at 1970s level has now created a poverty level not seen since the 30s. I read somewhere that the vast majority of Americans can not come up with $400 cash in an emergency. People are living from paycheck to paycheck.
The 1% have done a masterful job at dividing people and keeping them ignorant. Instead of rallying around a class warfare banner, people are too busy fighting one another with race, gender, religion and environmental issues. A white labourer has much more in common with a black labourer than he has with a white millionaire. Same is true the other way around. Capitalism is the enemy for the majority of people in the US as it is everywhere. Until enough people unite around that fact, nothing will change.
Thank you Ramin for so many exellent articles. I have learned a great deal. May the Lord God bless you richly.
Racism in America is not color-based, it is behavior based. Black peolple are discriminated against because they so frequently are incapable of behaving themselves. Anyone who has actually lived in America and interacted with Black people knows this.
Are you referring to the Black Panthers and/or people like MLK, MalcolmX, Fred Hampton and Louis Farakhan ?
Well that is what you do at a casino = COMPS. Trump is going to COMP the entire country of deplorables and he is going to win. How else do you run a casino state than like a casino. Putin plays the long game and so does Trump. Putin KGB bureaucrat style and Trump rolling the rubes gambler showman style. The house always wins and Trump knows that – Trump is the house. When Trump won in 2016 – i cried…I was actually happy. The biggest true fxxk in America had beaten not only his own RP of morons but dumped the entire fake left globalist child molesting occultist gang of frauds straight into the gutter. And when he wins in 2020 all true communist revolutionaries will go FXXK YOU oligarchy – our gangster is coming for you.
Trump’s best approach is to address the wealth gap that is the root cause of all this trouble, and that means trade deals have to be fairer and big commercial interests who have been bleeding everyone must be squashed (Drug companies, Banks & Credit Providers etc..) and tax code changes.