By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She now spends much of her time in Asia and is currently working on a book about textile artisans.
Now, far be it for me to suggest that Donald J. Trump compares as a world historical figure to Jesus Christ. (And for those of who skipped Sunday school, the Tip Jar is to your right.)
But hear me out. Who honestly gave Trump any chance of being elected President at the time he announced his candidacy. I mean, really?
And can you deny, seeing the crowds at a MAGA event, Trump doesn’t see himself as channeling this passage:
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…
Three Trumpitudes: The Policy Gospel According to Trump
Great is the Trump executive order, for it represents meaningful, legally enforceable policy change.
Great is the typical Trump policy, for it is sui generis, and directs the righteous onto a new, correct policy path.
Great is the Trump policy vision, which shall make America once again the promised land.
Now, I know my humble musings on these Trumpitudes lack the stylistic brilliance of the Sermon on the Mount’s beatitudes. For starters, there are eight beatitudes – and I’ve only managed to come up with three Trumpitudes (and to that, you may very well say, thank God for that!)
In my defense, I’ll concede I’m no St. Matthew – the original source of the beatitudes for those who’ve forgotten (or never knew in the first place). Nor, for that matter, am I fit to trim the quill of any of the 47 scholars who labored on the Bible’s King James version and produced some of the English language’s most beautiful poetry – whatever you might think about the religious sentiments these mellifluous phrases convey.
And finally, nor, for that matter, is Trump any Jesus– although if you asked him, I’m not entirely sure he’d necessarily reject that comparison out of hand.
Turning from the Sublime to the Quotidian
Now, some of you appreciate my occasional attempts to coin new words more than others. But whether or not this one catches on, let me move to the matter at hand.
Whatever you choose to call these Trump’s policy fallacies: They’re real, they’re dangerous, and the mainstream media is often preoccupied with chasing the latest clickbait distractions, rather than questioning, debunking, explaining, and analyzing them.
That’s where Naked Capitalism comes in. We don’t go down that rabbit hole. Yves, Lambert, and other regular and occasional site contributors continue to set the highest of standards, and in the little over a year I’ve been regularly contributing to the site, I hope I’ve helped debunk a canard or two. And if you agree, you should stop here and make your way to the Tip Jar.
How does that apply to the Trumpitudes – the basic policy fallacies?
Well, Yves has emphasized consistently that executive orders have little legal effect. Trump didn’t originate this strategy to govern using executive orders – his predecessor employed similar tactics in several policy areas – such as immigration. The approach rests on the view that any political problem could be solved by better messaging and more effective PR.
But the mainstream media doesn’t do much of that sort of rigorous analysis anymore. Or if it does, the lede is often buried, and the money insight withheld until the end of the article – that part almost nobody reads (including the author’s mother).
That same MSM –alongside the Democrats who just cannot grasp that Trump defeated Hillary, their chosen one – also swallows the second Trumpitude: That the Donald’s policies represent a decisive break with those of his predecessors. Whereas one of the key themes Naked Capitalism has developed in the years I’ve regularly read the site is the consensus the two parties share on many major policy issues, as a result of the American system of campaign finance where money buys results.
On domestic policy, that consensus endorses neoliberalism – TINA. And that in turn leads to concrete policy fails – at least for those who aren’t members of the 1%. These include the failure to prosecute banksters, reform health care, enact policies that would create solid middle class jobs, or provide Americans with nice things people in other rich countries take for granted.
On foreign policy, we’ve seen factions of both parties embrace the even more dangerous– in terms of planetary survival– belief in neoconservatism, in out-of-control war-mongering, extending even to crazypants theories such as winnable nuclear war
By contrast, Naked Capitalism consistently shines a light on dark corners of our political economy, explaining who wins and who loses, by maintaining or changing the rules of the game.
And finally, on the third Trumpitude – those are areas where Trump really is making a decisive break with the past – and either through regulatory action or with the connivance of Congress, -the mainstream media is failing to keep us informed. To be fair, some of these areas are highly technical, and are not easy to explain. One area I’ve covered springs to mind– judicial appointments. Federal judges are appointed for life and will be deciding cases long after Trump’s 5 a.m. tweets are forgotten. But you wouldn’t know that from the relative space the MSM devotes to such concerns.
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