Notes on a World Without Trump

Yves here. I hate disagreeing with Tom, but this “prosecution of Trump” meme is way way overdone. Trump’s tax returns were already being audited, remember? No one has alleged criminal tax fraud. The suits invoking the Emoluments Clause that have been in stop and go mode over standing issue aren’t criminal cases. Russiagate was a two year damp squib. The New York prosecution efforts so far are all hot air and look like an effort to get at his tax returns….which as we’ve pointed out repeatedly, are not Rosetta stones.

New York developers sell real estate to seedy foreigners all the time. Look at the New York Times expose of the Time Warner Center building, developed by Steve Ross’ Related Companies. Unless Trump took cash, his real estate sales could not amount to money laundering. Banks are responsible for the “know your customer” and anti-money laundering checks. His casinos would be a more obvious place to look for money laundering, yet curiously the officials don’t seem to be looking there.

Reporting different valuations for different purposes is also not per se evidence of fraud. Go look at any large public company’s public financial. See the deferred tax items on the balance sheet? That’s because the tax books are different than the GAAP books.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

I’m working on a book-length project that includes a look at our soon-to-be post-Trump world. These are preliminary notes for that part of the project.

1. The World Without Trump won’t be a world without Trump. (For the exception, see below.)

Trump will not go away. He’ll persist as a pest that’s driven from the desk but not from the room he’s in. His most likely course of action is to go loudly into that good night, keep frothing and fomenting his base, selling his products and shtick, cashing his caché as former U.S. president, and roiling the Democrat-controlled government to the greatest extent he can.

Trump will be a thorn in the nation’s side — and a profit center for mainstream media — until he dies, at which point his state funeral will be something indeed to behold.

Trump will always be with us. I would not underestimate his effect. It will pull any Democratic government to the right for as long as his presence persists and the elite media promotes it.

Exception: The only way this won’t be true is if the Democratic Party cuts a no-prosecution deal with Trump that Democratic state attorneys general decide honor — in which case Trump will go tweetless for the rest of his life.

If the Democratic Party doesn’t cut a no-prosecution deal with Trump, yet no prosecutions emerge anyway because Democrats continue to be members of the “elites don’t prosecute elites” club, Trump is home free. As I wrote when George H.W. Bush died:

Those who run the world we merely inhabit have nothing but respect for each other. And why not? They may pick each other off from time to time (both Saddam Hussein and Moamar Khaddafi were once in high favor), but over the long haul, keeping each member of the ruling circle in a reverential spotlight keeps them all — keeps the circle itself — in reverence as well. Since the circle operates as a system, the system is honored each time its members, no matter how deadly, are honored. And the system sees that the system is always honored.

If this is true, Trump may continue to be hated (Trump hate is still the Democratic Party brand and the media’s cash cow), but he won’t be prosecuted, for the same reasons that arguable-mass-murderer George W. Bush, who turned Iraq into a slaughterhouse, was never impeached in office, never indicted for war crimes after leaving it, and was eventually reborn and embraced by Democratic elites as one of their own as soon as his sins were safely “misremembered.”

2. The regime of soft censorship that kept Biden’s reputation afloat during the 2020 general election will continue.

Matt Taibbi has been writing about this subject for a while. For example:


The flow of information in the United States has become so politicized — bottlenecked by an increasingly brazen union of corporate press and tech platforms — that it’s become impossible for American audiences to see news about certain topics absent thickets of propagandistic contextualizing. Try to look up anything about Burisma, Joe Biden, or Hunter Biden in English, and you’re likely to be shown a pile of “fact-checks” and explainers ahead of the raw information:

Other true information has been scrubbed or de-ranked, either by platforms or by a confederation of press outlets whose loyalty to the Democratic Party far now overshadows its obligations to inform.

Obviously, Fox is not much better, in terms of its willingness to report negative information about Trump and Republicans, but Fox doesn’t have the reach that this emerging partnership between mass media, law enforcement, and tech platforms does. That group’s reaction to the New York Post story is formalizing a decision to abandon the media’s old true/untrue standard for a different test that involves other, more politicized questions, like provenance and editorial intent.


The post-Trump media world will not, as I see it now, fundamentally alter the pattern it set in the soon-to-pass Never Trump era. Big tech platforms and media will continue to see that their loyalty to leaders of the Democratic Party trumps (to borrow a phrase) their obligation to inform the public. Having gone down the censorship road, what would cause them to turn back, especially if Trump, the expressed source of their concern, continues to bleat, media-enhanced, in the never-ending background?

The truth about Biden’s history is as “nuanced” and troubling as the truth about Trump’s. Having acquired the habit of burying it, why would they dig it back up?

I would not underestimate the effect of this one either. Obama was protected by being Obama. Biden has been protected by everyone unconnected to Fox News and right-wing media. I expect this to continue — the Biden untouchability effect, if you will — for quite some time.

3. The madness that inflicts both political parties — their use of popular anger around identity and cultural issues to deflect from economic issues — will continue.

Let’s not be confused: The nation desperately needs to have a discussion about identity and cultural issues. Our history of violence, physical and economic, against the (usually impoverished) “other” needs urgent addressing, or the country will simply come apart. But that conversation cannot come as a substitute for addressing the underlying structural economic conditions that maintain our impoverishment. The next Trump rides to power on that wave of silence, just as the last one did.

My cynical self believes that mainstream Democratic power brokers are far less committed to actual identity issues (”Hillary-only feminism” is a prime example; more here and here) than they are committed to keeping their donors happy and thus keeping structural changes off the table. An insincere or semi-sincere commitment to addressing the nation’s real identity and cultural problems serves that purpose perfectly.

The same problem exists on the Republican side. The nation doesneed a serious discussion about immigration policy. For example, should global corporations be allowed to use the H1B visa program to replace well-paid American workers with lower-wage, imported intellectual workers whose visa status often makes them indentured servants of the corporations that employ them?

Mainstream Republican power brokers, however, are using immigration, as well as other identity issues, to keep race-hate and social anger high among their voting base, thus distracting supporters from the party’s fealty to its donor base. This fealty leads to policies similar to the Democratic Party’s policies — both produce more wealth for the global elites who fund them and less wealth for supporters that keep each party in power.

“Free trade” is a perfect example of a policy with bipartisan elite support, yet is never voluntarily discussed by each party’s movers and shakers. It’s not by accident that only Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump made “free trade” a cornerstone of their 2016 campaigns.

4. As we’ve been promised, “nothing will fundamentally change.”

It’s possible that Biden will prove fundamentally different than his 40-plus-year history of corporate allegiance would imply, that Biden will transform himself and “meet the moment.” Some writers certainly think so, and many of my progressive friends have grown quite hopeful.

Yet as I wrote the last time we took a look ahead, “In none of these cases will much of anything change after the election, at least not once Covid has run most of its course. The need for a radical restructured economy will be waved away — by the corporate Republicans as too much ‘government interference’; by corporate Democrats, who control the post-Sanders Party, as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘unaffordable’ given the glut of spending on the virus crisis itself. … Trump, if president, will do what Trump will do, or something worse. The Democrat, if president, will do what the Party always does, serve its donors while trying to placate workers they’ve abandoned. In neither case will workers see relief.”

Will Biden part the wealthy from their wealth? I just don’t see how, even if he’s magically transformed, Biden becomes Sanders or the next FDR — or if he does, how the Party won’t simply block his every move. The Party spent the last 30 years frustrating and defeating progressives at every turn. If Biden becomes one — and though I’d love to see it, I think I’d be a fool to expect it — the Party will simply add him to the list of those whose policies they’ll die trying to defeat.

5. The rebellion against both parties’ corruption will continue as before — or as it would have done had the virus not taken its interrupting course. And as before, the soft censorship mentioned above will consign any real resistance to the crazy bin.

If past is prologue, resistance not grounded in Party-favored identity issues will be painted as eccentric, or worse, a danger to the republic — with all that implies about populist promises broken, billionaire bailouts purchased and passed, and the clash of the newly-desperate against the muscular force of state and judicial machines, all charged with keeping the “peace” at the expense of progress.

6. Finally, the non-electoral portion of the evening (to steal a linefrom My Favorite Year) — of our decade-long, confused revolt against those who know better than the people what the people really need — I think that will begin in earnest.

With Sanders gone, or self-exiled, as an “existential threat” to Party elites, there’s no one of his stature to take that place, which leaves the ravaged with no good choice at all. If they choose to act anyway, the corporate state will do what it will do, what entrenched power always does when faced with a rebellion — bring in the thugs, many of whom wear badges. At some point that may not be enough and the nation will break. At another point, it could be way too much and the nation will break again, but in a different way.

Thus the world without Trump begins to take shape. These are just first thoughts, and they only treat the opening part of the path we’re starting on. The rest of that path may be just as predictable, but it’s going to take some time and thought to discern it.


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  1. everydayjoe

    I have to disagree with Yves that banks have controls and would have caught money laundering. What do we say about Deuche Bank in Germany? They were laundering money for decades and were not caught.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Straw man. The post said no such thing,

      Banks are liable for money laundering controls for funds that go through them, and not real estate sellers who take payments through banks like Trump (unless Trump sold property and took payment in cash or other form entirely outside the banking system, which no one has yet to allege). More generally, money laundering is about getting illicit money into the banking system. Taking money from a bank account and buying property in another country does not do that.

      That is why I specifically mentioned the example of Time Warner Center condos sold by The Related Companies to shell companies that in some cases the New York Times was able to track down to owners who looked very likely to have been laundering tainted funds. No one suggested that The Related Companies was in any way liable. This was the banks’ failure. Same logic applies to Trump.

    2. d

      i think the point was banks are to be held accountable for the funds they accept. some time they fail, some times on purpose, some times by incompetence etc. but they are suppose to do so, and the regulators are suppose to make sure they do. some times they too fail, some times on purpose, some times because of incompetence, and some some times because it goes against their beliefs (which doesnt accept the law) to enforce the law.

  2. JE

    Nothingburger. As Caitlin Johnstone has so aptly been writing for years, the D and R establishment are just the left and right fists of a greedy, intoxicated, abusive father. We need true leadership that will have a grown up discussion with us, and the world, about where we are and what must be done to ensure humanity can continue as a going concern for the long term. Is our global human society even capable of internalizing reality and real talk and acting in opposition to immediate reward at this point? The recent noises about the Pentagon releasing evidence of alien civilization almost gave me hope that a new myth, a new “other” could be ginned up to galvanize the people of Earth to work together towards a shared goal of survival. I fear for my children and even myself as the event horizon shrinks. Biden or Trump is like picking the scent added to the anesthesia of a mortal surgery you may not wake up from.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Won’t happen until the majority are out of the property ownership/401k game. Until then the majority identifies with the abusive father.

      This may happen soon, as the percentage of wealth held by the 40 and under set keeps getting lower and lower in the US

  3. JeffersonianMI

    Excellent analysis, as usual.

    Here in flyover country, Elite power structures feel dominant in narrow fields; media, tech, surveillance, big finance, and global manufacturing. There is an increasing sense of distance between these things and our everyday world. This distance leaves a lot of empty ground, and it seems to be growing in subtle ways.

    My city made moves towards sanctuary status. I see local and state voter initiatives debated at public events. The Bernie kids and militias both act with ascendant vigor (for good or ill)

    I agree that forces from above are unlikely to change in quality or direction, and will probably intensify. Even so, and by virtue of being long overdue any movement from below that manages to archive any consequence will also have outsized impact. Some of them will achieve this. To believe otherwise is the ultimate ‘This Time Is Different’.

    These impacts will have outsized impacts. Second and third order impacts will be increasingly unforeseen. I firmly believe we’re well on our way down Taleb’s ‘Black Swan’ river, towards the dark heart of Extreme-istan.

    May history be kinder to us than others.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        Odds: Didn’t we learn anything from Brexit? Clinton? Bush Jr.? Ventura?

        Potentially 65% of the electorate voting. All these new voters. Polling never touches them. Are they voting for Trump or against Trump cuz I can’t imagine very many of them are voting for Biden since the base / core of his platform seems to be Orange Man Bad. Plus so many points of failure with an election that takes place over so many weeks. I definitely agree with the national voting day, paper ballots counted in public position. But since we don’t do that, just more fuel for the show.

        Unless there’s a blow-out, there’s no post “insert something here” world until at least 2021. Even then I’m sure there’s room for post-“insert something here” negotiations. Note: I’d say post-Trump but I think that minimizes the rot of the US world. Deflects attention from what we should really be worried about. Which is entirely the point, I guess.

        If Trump “wins,” what’s the next level for Russia & Ukraine gate that we’ll be treated to? How bad (or is that so-bad it’s good) could Orange Man Bad get?

        And ha ha ha like any Democratic party needs help being pulled to the right. That’s like saying the Republican party is getting pushed to the right. The labels are a distraction. The author even tells us that with his “nothing but respect for each other” spiel.

        We need to be looking at the end goals, if we can even see them.

          1. d

            maybe. but i guess we would deserve what we get? probably would see the US fall into a dictatorship (T has the signs of wanting that….)

              1. d

                well lets see, a few years back he was commenting that he wanted to see if Congress (it was GOP run at the time) would change it so that he could stay as long as he wanted too. needless to say there are more than a few things that had to change for that to happen. then of course i seem to recall him mentioning that even if he were to loose he would stay in office…never mind that isnt an option. course he does seem to reach out to some of his supporters to …..address his opponents (like maybe the Michigan governor for example??? and others) …he was at one time pushing to have ‘his’ DOJ open an investigation of his election opponent …i am sure i have missed others

                1. jsn

                  And re-election will make him suddenly focused, effective and organized?

                  He wants all the things the oligarchy already has and if he wins they’ll be happy to have him around distracting from them while failing to take it from them.

                  He’s already the best thing that ever happened to the NeoCons, completely disgraced in 08 and now back in the saddle in a different party.

      2. Synoia

        The first presidential elections where I can truly say now of the winner:” Not him!.”

        A pox on both their houses.

    1. LawnDart

      Last I checked, odds give Biden a 66% chance of taking it, vs. 41% for Trump (Vegas odds; factors involved don’t translate to an even 100%).

      I feel that there will be a narrow enough margin between the candidates that there is almost no way that the results will not be challenged by one faction or the other– the economy (Wall Street) will be taking a choppy ride; Main Street nutters will be a-nutting (more rage to be pent-up, because Winter).

      If it goes to the courts, it seems obvious that Trump will win another term. Should Biden somehow prevail, then we should prepare ourselves for a more effective evil in 2024 (providing we haven’t pissed off Russia too badly in the interim).

      1. d

        i have seen things that appear to say that too. but ….we saw some the same signs in 2016 too….so it maybe wrong again. course it may have been right…and many didnt vote thinking it was in the bag. i seem to recall that the actual difference was really around 100K votes…its just where those votes were cast that turned the election to T. and that could happen again.
        course we seem to be having lot more voters here in Texas, much more early voting than any one ever expected. so we may have a lot of new voters that just now are voting and havent before

    2. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, something very interesting is happening. It’s something that I haven’t seen in previous presidential election years.

      In our well-off neighborhoods, there’s a sea of Biden signs. Also, signs for Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, who’s running for the US Senate against the not-very-popular Martha McSally.

      By way of comparison, I didn’t see a similar outpouring of PMC support for Obama in 2008 or 2012. Recall that, during those election years, McCain and Romney carried Arizona.

      2016? Let’s just say that the Hillary signs were not ubiquitous in neighborhoods that are much better off than the area surrounding the Arizona Slim Ranch. Methinks that among our betters, there were quite a few Trump voters.

      Years previous? Like the Bush years? Well, this state went for Bush twice. Clinton? Guy never had a chance in Arizona. During the 1980s, this was Reagan-Bush country to the nth degree.

      1. edmondo

        Same here in SeniorCitizen Land: There are “Biden-Harris” signs where Trump signs used to flower. Trump ran against Jeb Bush in 2016; four years later, he became him, a generic Republican. He’s toast.

        Actually, Slim, Bill Clinton carried AZ in 96 because of Ross Perot.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Thank you, edmondo, for correcting me on the 1996 POTUS election winner in Arizona. I was under the impression that a Democrat hadn’t carried this state in several decades.

          1. edmondo

            If Mark Kelly wins, the record will hold. He’s about as reliable a vote as Sinema. Arizona gave the nation John McCain. We now intend to inflict these two azzhole senators on you next.

            1. Alex Cox

              Slim, you live in Tucson, the most liberal city in the state! If you were to stroll around Scottsdale or Phoenix I wonder what signs you would see…

              1. Arizona Slim

                I don’t know. Do we have any NC readers in Scottsdale and Phoenix who’d like to share their observations?

                I’m just noticing a prevalence of D party candidate signs in our well-off neighborhoods. In other nabes, well, the absence of signs is pretty striking.

                1. Phillip Cross

                  There’s this weird thing up there with someone called Guy Phillips’ signs. Every single one have a huge red “F U” sprayed on them. Since I have never seen an unvandalized sign of his, but seen at least 15 vandalized ones, I wondered whether they were put up in that condition.

                  Scottsdale Councilman Guy Phillips’ Signs Vandalized

                  I also saw a crossroads where the 2 Biden Harris signs were smashed to smithereens, but all the rest were unharmed.

                  Also…Whats with all these photographic signs nowadays? Is that new? Every female candidate’s sign looks like a Realtor ad!

            2. Phillip Cross

              I cant believe i never heard the expression “Azzhole” before. Perfection! *chef’s kiss*

              1. Sue inSoCal

                To Edmondo also: In a similar vein, there’s “yazole” – a good friend of mine from Dallas (RIP) was, uh, displeased with someone and called them the obvious. He cheerfully spelled it:
                “That’s one word! y-a-z-o-l-e.”

                Usually, azz is a southern thing. Pretty funny this geographical slang. I needed a laugh. Thank you!

  4. AnonyMouse

    I find it interesting that in both “post-Trump world” articles you have posted recently, the author seems to assume that Trump continues to be the politically active force in the Republican party.

    Insights like this:

    would suggest, if you believe them, that there are fault-lines within both parties.

    From an outside (UK) perspective it always seemed to me like Trump was able to cannibalise the Republican party because they had long used populism, railing against elites, nationalism etc. as the pudding to get people to eat their Ayn Rand, or at least trickle-down, vegetables. The part of the party that Trump fans call “RINOs” had no hope of preserving their support against someone who was willing to let them have ice cream all the time.

    Yet it seems quite likely that a lot of these folks, especially in the Senate, have been waiting for the day they are no longer terrified that their lucrative re-election may be jeopardised by a Tweet. So it interests me that neither commentator forsees a potential power struggle in the Republican party between a Trumpist and non-Trumpist wing. I imagine even in 2024 the Trumpist wing may well retain enough enthusiasm to win the primaries.

    Perhaps, as with the centrist Dems over the last four years, we will see how likely the party is to “learn its lesson” based on how much of the rhetoric and discourse on the right accepts the election result as legitimate, and how much tries to delegitimise it – if not as being stolen through outright fraud, then a COVID-caused fluke. “No need to actually change our political approach – the Russians did it”

      1. d

        maybe not 100% so, but enough to be able to keep the GOP on side. and not push back against what ever he said/tweeted etc. no matter how much it went against their…..ideas…such as they were

    1. apleb

      Hasn’t there always been a powerstruggle inside the republicans like this since the evangelicals, the tea party, now Trump, etc.
      A populist base, no matter for what goals, vs. elite establishment for the last 100 years, aka business oligarchs?
      Sometimes the populists win but never enough to change the landscape, it’s always an oligarch republic as the Lords of the constitution intended. That’s one reason the democrats are so anemic right now: FDR and JFK are so long ago. And JFK seems to be only a proper version of Obama anyways: hope and change, “what you can do for your country” yadda yadda.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not a fan of JFK, but his speeches weren’t vanilla garbage, and he at least tried to do things. He missed the boat on the scope of the Civil Rights movement and “bungled” on foreign policy for far too long. I largely suspect he tried to do too much instead of appointing “czars” (whatever they called them) to speak/act for him in areas. Not that the Great Society wasn’t part of LBJ’s views, but with a different personality, JFK might have passed ideas he at least voiced support for. To anot extent you can see this with NASA. It’s not like he proposed any changes NASA itself wasn’t asking for, but when JFK focused, JFK made it happen. I think he tried to do too much himself and didn’t embrace the moment with Civil Rights, fearing it would distract from his own platform. We saw with LBJ that if you can do one thing, you can do them all.

        Ask not…wasn’t directed at the poor and lower classes but a demand the new middle class seek out civic engagement. A far cry from Obama got this.

      2. amfortas the hippie

        way i see it, teaparty/base/trumpers are merely the rabid swine that the gop uses to ride into power on(pretty successfully since circa 1972)
        they occasionally get a taste of their intraparty power and run wild(tea), but this is not really what the party bigwigs/skekses want
        the mindf:k employed to enrage this herd of swine, while effective, is a blunt instrument, and sometimes turns on its masters

        on the “other side “, the mind::k is a more simple “… but look at the crazy other guy ”
        but dems/washington generals don’t really need to win

        1. flora

          Sorry, I can’t see half the country as “rabid swine”. Half my neighbors might have voted for T. I don’t know and I don’t care. If someone puts up a T or a B campaign sign, that’s fine. Not a big deal. Free speech, etc. I like my neighbors. We disagree about a lot of things, but we’re good-natured or at least civil in disagreement. Politics is less important than other neighborhood stuff and local town and school stuff. (shocking idea!)

          (I’m not gonna get sucked into reciting the msm-approved catechism. /heh)

          1. flora

            adding: I think the correct term for, er, long-winded and enthusiastic supporters of a candidate is ‘bore’, not ‘swine’. / ;)

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            i like most of the gop voting/supporters i know, personal;ly, too.
            which is practically everyone i know who votes.
            that allegorical flourish is from my vision, circa 2012, of what socmed/faux newts had made so many people into, when they weren’t being themselves….or when the lights flashed in a certain way.
            like some X Files episodes, where townies go to sleep and the alien snake in their head wakes up and goes a wandering around.
            even now, in the midst of the trumpdemic and associated madness, these folks are generally their good old selves…they just avoid talking politics with anyone, unless some signal is given.
            but when that signal is given, look out…the Vision was about a wild hog(tea party) kept in a pen and fed methamphetemine and set loose for political ends…with turtleman attempting to ride that beast. they were supposed to maul “The Left”(team blue, which is ludicrous, of course), but instead turned upon the GOP, forcing them to actually Live the Rhetoric.
            the meth in question is, of course, the entire information silo that the right has so assiduously constructed these past 50 years.(Team Blue has a different set of drugs in their koolaid, closer to qualuuds or bad Xtasy).
            like i mentioned the other day about how different people are online and off, it’s scary how powerful the Mindf&&k Machinery is.
            no offense to swine was intended, as i generally like pigs…at least when they’re somewhat contained and well behaved.
            when they run amok, they can be very destructive.

      3. Kilgore Trout

        James Douglass in “JFK and the Unspeakable” presents a detailed account of his assassination, with persuasive evidence that Kennedy was planning to pull all advisors from SE Asia before his death. Within first two years, he realized his faith/trust in CIA was misplaced. They in turn no longer trusted him to play along with their schemes. Kennedy was also making backdoor overtures to both Castro and Krushchev after Cuban Missile crisis. If Douglass is right, his death was a successful coup by CIA and mafia.

        1. lovevt

          The author Douglass cites existing investigative materials (supplemented by conversations he had with some witnesses). The book was published 2007 so he has materials released in the 90’s.
          I recommend this book but it was evident there was ambiguity in the evidence the author shared about the “unspeakable” as Kennedy’s assassins. There is almost 200 pages of footnotes which seems to help make his case.

    2. Thomas Neuburger

      I find it interesting that in both “post-Trump world” articles you have posted recently, the author seems to assume that Trump continues to be the politically active force in the Republican party.

      Not so, at least in my case. I see Trump as essentially a soloist with a large (but not large enough) army of personal followers. The post-presidential version — the tweeter — won’t be folded into whatever the Republican Party tries to become. Not sure what I wrote implies any different.

      As to the Biden era Republican Party, it will be an interesting mess. I stayed away from that part of the analysis because I just wasn’t sure what would happen.

      I do think Saagar Enjeti is right though: The battle between the Chamber of Commerce Republicans (with the aid of the libertarians) and those who want to represent/benefit from the populist-“burn it down” Trumpian base will be interesting.

      Can the Republican Party rise from the Biden ashes (assuming the likely occurs) with only Chamber-Republican support? Most here — and elsewhere — would say no. Not sure how that will manifest itself though. A Cotton run at the WH? A Carlson run?

      BTW, half of the Supreme Court Republicans are Chamber types, not Trumpist types. I see Roberts as siding with those Republicans who want Trump out (who are many, I think). That makes four votes against Trump in any close election that gets to the Court (Roberts and the three remaining Ds). All he needs is one more from Gorsuch or Kavanaugh to carry the day.

      He could also twist Barrett’s arm if needed, given that she’s the rookie and this will be her first really big decision — and she would have to spend the next few decades living with Roberts’ displeasure if he really wants this one to go his way and she’s sides with Thomas and Alito against him.

      After all, if the SC hands Trump the presidency and it looks as nakedly partisan as the Coney Barrett affair, it could be over for SC legitimacy (and maybe for the next administration as well). That has to matter to Roberts, whose name is on the building.

      (I’ve written in this forum about the last point here: “Civil War? What Civil War?” Folks don’t have to agree, but that’s my thinking.)

      Thanks for all the great replies.


      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i think the Chamber of Commerce Repubs are still joining up with the Clinton Wing of the Demparty, in an attempt, long in the making, to gin up a Big Center Party of Adulting, relegating both the trumpers and the sandernistas to the same round file out on the edge.
        the old dance, since at least Clinton’s sellout, where the 2 republican parties trade power and yell at each other about cultural things, but keep the important stuff(to the donors) rolling along, just isn’t playing with the Mundanes any more.
        so the bipartisan voter suppression will continue, although it will probably recede behind the curtain(or into the Black Box), and be much more subtle.
        a few crumbs(maybe even some substantial crumbs) will be allowed to fall outside of the beltway, but nothing fundamental will change, and the long term, sawtooth decline for regular folks will continue…coviddepression being a somewhat larger tooth on the saw than usual.
        I’m going long on autarky, of course, and mutual aid…seeding such ideas among my neighbors, and preparing for that scenario as best i can.
        one of the things i’m most interested to see how it shakes out, is what happens to the local budgets and the services they support, going forward. the whole “business model” of local gov is in tatters, and neither wing of the gop seems to want to help with that.
        this has huge implications, and isn’t getting near enough attention, save for trump’s blathering about “anarchist cities”.

  5. ChrisFromGeorgia

    I can’t help but observe the aging, sclerotic “leadership” of both parties.

    Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Biden and even Trump are demographically at a point where most are taking it easy and enjoying the fruits of their labor earlier in life. Instead they’re hanging around long past their sell-by date.

    History usually moves forward, so a Biden administration lined with re-treads from the Obama one (including an encore for Hillary in some position, say Sec Defense) will likely be an abject failure. Maybe Biden will surprise us and put newer, fresher faces in. But if not, he looks like a seat-warmer until 2024.

    My personal opinion is that the problems the country faces are too big to allow a “neoliberal greatest hits” type of governing, with no change to make it through the next four years. But that won’t stop them from trying, of course.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I saw Hillary spewing non sense about being born for the Presidency (I can’t imagine how she lost), but she framed it into as a job where one deals with emergencies and crises. I think the idea of the President as the only national elected office holder, party leader, the bully pulpit, and responsible for the bureacracy might not register with these people. For them it’s a PR job and crisis management position for maintaining our “end of history” golden age.

      The neoliberal greatest hits put on by the Biden-Harris cover band will be a disaster. I’m sure we will hear about all the problems Biden “inherited” again.

      1. Off The Street

        When the author mentioned Trump cashing his caché, could that mean opening up what was hidden, like more details about Hillary, for example?

        Cachet didn’t excite the editors, somehow.

  6. The Rev Kev

    A world without Trump? Only if they take his mobile away from him. The media will love it and publish every tweet but it will drive a lot of people crazy. But I think that steps have been taken to ensure that there will never be a Trump again as a wild card. Notice the number of new Democrats that had either a military or intelligence background not long ago? Notice too how not only has the main stream media been subordinated to a narrow view, but that social media is now actively pursuing censorship. All in a good cause that is. For the good of the country.

    Probably there will never again be a Presidential candidate that has not been vetted by the intelligence services. Any person not vetted by them can expect to be destroyed long before they get far. Is this Trump’s fault? No, not really. He merely had the timetable for these changes advanced so that they could go after him. They were going to get around to it sooner or later. So if you want to understand what sort of candidates will be acceptable to the political establishment in the year to come, then think of people like Mike Pompeo and Pete Buttigieg.

    1. Sue inSoCal

      Unfortunately from everything I’ve read, and I’ve read copiously, T could have easily been vetted. For heaven’s sake, we know NY real estate is rough, but this guy had identified Russian backed loans for how long? And we couldn’t have vetted him? This guy, and his family, were involved in so much questionable activity, such as defrauding a charity and more scams, women coming out of the woodwork etc, that he should have been identified as unfit to run from the outset. There was so much. Should have been a flat NO.

      I suppose I admit I’m simply flummoxed by this idea that no one knew how simply awful (and criminal) this nominee and family was – in every way. And here we are.

  7. DJG

    I agree with Neuberger’s points 2, 3, 4, and 5, but I think that Yves Smith’s headnote does in his point 1.

    I am all in favor of indictments and prison terms for white-collar criminals. (I am even reconsidering my stance against capital punishment–or maybe we can adopt the extreme Islamic practice of chopping off hands.)

    Yet Trump, in a very real way, is small potatoes compared to the overwhelmingly destructive looting and sacking that the U.S. banks are engaged in. Let’s note the current “unsettled” daily stock market reports–more looting, pillaging, stock buybacks, of companies led by executives with all the charm of Trump and overseen by boards of incompetents, grifters, and convenient former politicians.

    So if Trump should be indicted, why not several dozen managers at the banks? Why not Gina Haspel (or is involvement in murder somehow not important enough)? Why not DeJoy the Postmesser General? Why not Hunter Biden (come on, there’s enough evidence for an investigation)?

    And as part of the corruption, one of the articles he cites is worth your while:

    Hillary-only feminism. Because nothing is going to change.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > So if Trump should be indicted, why not several dozen managers at the banks? Why not Gina Haspel (or is involvement in murder somehow not important enough)? Why not DeJoy the Postmesser General? Why not Hunter Biden (come on, there’s enough evidence for an investigation)?

      Why not? Because they’re bank managers, that’s why. And so, with various rationalizations for elite impunity; suit the honey to the particular bee. (I mean, if “Bloody Gina” was really a sociopath, who not only had to torture twice as hard as the men, but enjoyed it, Obama would have prosecuted her. Right?)

  8. edmondo

    So the author proposes that if Trump agrees to give up his Twitter account, then all the Democratic Party Attorneys General will agree to not prosecute him for whatever crimes they think they have on him?

    We are going full Third World on this election, huh? (I wonder if they made the same offer to Bernie if he dropped out?)

    Political assassinations coming next?

  9. flora

    …Trump will not go away. He’ll persist as a pest that’s driven from the desk (my emphasis)

    Getting very tired of these ‘mobs and pitchforks’ instead of election framings when opening an article.

    ‘He’ll persist as a pest after losing the election.’ Try that framing. Not clicky enough, not hot take enough? Even Vanity Fair is getting in on the act. (psst. The Nat Enquirer is *that* -> way. /heh)

  10. Sound of the Suburbs

    Trump is a symptom not the cause.

    What’s gone wrong?
    I have been looking at the history of neoliberalism and this reveals the Mont Pelerin Society went round in a circle and got back to where they started.
    Western liberalism failed miserably in the 1930s and new ideas took hold, but those in favour of Western liberalism looked to bring it back in a different form.
    They were initially well aware of past failings and sought to address these problems, but as time went on, they moved further and further to the right and got back to pretty much the old form of Western liberalism, with its old problems.
    As the new Western liberalism and the old Western liberalism are basically the same, they could use 1920’s neoclassical economics to underpin it.
    Milton Freidman rehashed 1920s neoclassical economics, but didn’t fix any of its major problems.

    In the early days of the Mont Pelerin Society, they were acutely aware of the problems of Western liberalism and none more so than the Germans.
    They looked for a form of liberalism that would also provide a stable society, and came up with Ordoliberalism, which they implemented in Germany. It was a huge success.

    The rest of the Mont Pelerin Society gradually forgot the problems of the old Western liberalism, and unintentionally got back to pretty much where they started.

    Oh blimey, this neoliberalism isn’t very new is it?
    What can we do?
    How about bolting on identity politics; that will make it look new.
    Identity politics made it look new, but it wasn’t, so everything played out the same way.

    I have been charting our progress

    1920s/2000s – neoclassical economics, high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase
    1929/2008 – Wall Street crash
    1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, trade wars, austerity, rising nationalism and extremism
    1940s – World war.

    We are approaching the final destination.

    We stepped onto an old path that still leads to the same place.
    Leaders like Trump are what we should expect at this stage.

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