The tone of most diehard Trump supporters -- from Lou Dobbs to Alex Jones to Mike Cernovich to random white working class voters to yours truly -- has changed over the past several months, away from the triumphalism of the transition and Inauguration period, and back toward insurgency. What gives?
Quite simply, we thought that after we sent the elites the mother of all rude awakenings throughout the campaign, culminating in "Trump wins!" on election night, they would begin to negotiate with us. Given how stinging and unambiguous our rejection of their vision was, the negotiation should have been over the terms of their surrender. But at least some form of reconciliation between the insulated parasitic elites and the alienated and abused citizenry.
And yet while relations should have moved toward repair and harmony, they have instead moved toward further fracture and conflict between the upper and below-the-upper layers of society. That has come from the elites doggedly holding onto their parasitic grasp over the highest levers of power, not from the people who were content to signal the greatest vote of no confidence ever in human history, and then go back to their normal everyday lives.
It is the elites who have reneged on the social contract -- not just silently withdrawing from it and hoping nobody notices, as they had begun to do during the 1970s and '80s, but now actively conspiring to subvert, in plain sight, the loud-and-clear will of the people.
This is most obvious in the escalating Deep State witch hunt against Trump, where Democrats play bad cop and Republicans play good cop against the detained President. This conflict will absolutely not end until one side shuts the other side down. Either the Trump faction within the administration will shut down the witch hunt, or the witch hunt will shut down the Trump faction.
We cannot autistically quibble over what particular forms these two sole outcomes may take. A victory for the Trump faction could conceivably stem from Trump himself firing Mueller, or AG Sessions rescinding his recusal and firing Mueller, or Trump firing Deputy AG Rosenstein and anyone else further down until he finds someone willing to fire Mueller, or or or...
And a victory for the witch hunt could conceivably stem from a formal exit from office by Trump, or by others in his camp, or Trump becoming neutered while remaining nominally in office, or a witch hunt that has no final conclusion but manages to consume so much attention, resources, and political capital, that very little is left over to pursue the Trump agenda. Maybe the GOP Congress would formally voice no confidence, maybe they would only stand idly by. Maybe an element of the military would speak up, or even act up, and maybe they would not. Or or or...
The point is that particulars do not matter -- either our side will shut down their side, or they will shut down our side. As Chuck Schumer warned on primetime, the intelligence agencies "have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you" if you take them on. Just because plan A doesn't succeed, doesn't mean that plan B through plan Z are not also running. Our job is to keep all of those subversions from toppling the democratically elected President.
Although the coup is the most threatening plot against the President's agenda, the elites have sabotaged his efforts on all other major fronts as well. For every step that Trump takes in the right direction, the whole rest of the elites take us ten steps backward. And on issues that were central throughout the campaign, where the elites cannot feign ignorance about what the American people voted for.
At the macro level, they have sidelined the major issues of the campaign -- immigration, global entanglements, re-industrialization, radical Islamic terrorism -- and pursued their own issues that nobody cares about or does not trust them to do the right thing -- re-shaping healthcare in the GOP's mold, revising the entire tax code, and maybe in the distant future something about infrastructure (in America, not Afghanistan).
Those are the standard obsessions of the GOP orthodoxy that were decisively rejected by hardcore Republican voters during the primary. If we wanted the insurance monopolies to re-do Obamacare, or the Koch Brothers to re-write the entire tax code, or the Club for Growth to set our national economic priorities, we would have voted for any of the other dozen GOP candidates. We did not, so we did not.
It is a baldfaced betrayal of the voters that the GOP Congress is acting as though Jeb Bush had won the election, rather than the guy who reminded Americans that "the World Trade Center came down under your brother's reign".
Even on the issues that the elites are pursuing, they are not taking positions that the people want.
Trump did not run on "getting the government out of healthcare" (a failed GOP slogan), has defended single-payer on both moral and cost-efficiency grounds since the 1990s, and said the government will pay the hospital bill of a poor person who gets sick so that they will not be "dying in the streets".
Trump barely put together a tax plan during the campaign, and none of his fans cared one way or the other about it. But certainly the white working class voters in the Rust Belt who delivered him victory do not care about slashing corporate tax rates or abolishing the estate tax that only targets the inheritances of the ultra-wealthy.
In fact, when Trump was planning a campaign in 2000, he not only promoted single-payer healthcare, he also wanted a 14% tax on wealth or total net worth, not just income, which would have paid off the entire federal debt and left enough over for a middle-class tax cut. With the corporate elites preparing the tax reform plans (Cohn, Mnuchin, Brady, Ryan, et al), we can be sure that they are not planning to soak the rich in order to relieve the middle class.
And on foreign entanglements, Trump ran on a clear America-only platform. He did not point to a single alliance that the American people were benefiting from, and repeatedly named all of the parasites who have been "ripping us off big-league" for decades. Those alliances have only been ramped up, with the military-industrial complex sending hundreds of billions worth of arms to Jihadi Arabia, the Pentagon sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan, escalation within Syria, serving as South Korea and Japan's military for free as tensions rise with the North, and the all-out sabotage of Trump's plan to "get along with Russia" -- from the ever-intensifying hysteria over "meddling" in the election, to economic sanctions, to speeches in Warsaw devoted to the theme of containing Russia, to commitment to regime change against their allies (still the official goal in Syria, and maybe next in Iran).
Trump's victories have mostly taken the form of blocking new entanglements that the elites had been hoping to enter us into, where we were not already entangled -- TPP, Paris climate accords, regime change in Venezuela, etc. The one exception may be NAFTA, although the prognosis looks uncertain after the statement of goals barely discusses manufacturing and re-industrialization, but is heavy on agriculture, finance, and media sectors. Trade is the one area that the Trump faction has had the most success in -- at least getting their people into top positions (Ross, Lighthizer). With the rest of the big picture showing concerted elite betrayal, we can no longer just rest assured that the Trump people will prevail over the corporate globalists in the NAFTA re-negotiations.
Also in the big picture -- elite betrayal is not limited to the Trump agenda. The British elites have already signaled their intention to water down or neuter the Brexit victory, against an electoral uprising of the people. And the Democrat Establishment has refused to move in a populist direction, against the wishes of half of its own voters and the wishes of any Trump voter who might consider voting Democrat at the state or local level. They are still the party of Wall Street and identity politics, and have expanded into outright sedition, becoming the most zealous accomplices of the Deep State against the democracy.
So far, then, there is minimal evidence that the elites have decided to relent and compromise with their alienated and increasingly angry populations. The only place where the people can exert leverage is at the ballot box -- but the elites might just ignore the outcome and carry on as before, or even double down in order to punish the people for daring to issue a public vote of no confidence.
There are other ways that the people can use their leverage, which consists entirely in their sheer numbers rather than political connections, favors owed, blackmail, wealth, and so on and so forth. If it comes down to torches and pitchforks, the side with the larger mob will defeat the side with the smaller mob. At a lower level of escalation, it could be a million protesters surrounding the CNN building, or a million marching on the Pentagon, or a million forming a picket line around a plant that is sending its jobs out of the country or that relies on immigrant labor (legal or illegal).
Those mass direct actions, along with mass participation at the ballot box, turned the country around during the Progressive Era, including the closing off of immigration during the 1920s. If the elites refuse to make deals with our good-faith negotiator, Trump, then we will have no alternative but to escalate the type of person we send into the White House, and the kind of actions we take elsewhere -- from complaining on the internet, to occupying the City Halls of sanctuary cities.
So far, the people seem determined not to just go back to alienation mode as the elites sabotage the nascent populist and nationalist revolt. In an earlier time, we would've just said, "Yeah, well politics sucks and you can't change things after all, so let's just go back to our lives and block it all out again." Now the people are getting more and more angry that the government isn't doing what we told them to do, and how the elites are more and more flagrantly treating us like a bunch of peons who will never get a voice in how the society is run.
That smoldering anger is promising -- it means the Trump faction can stoke the embers into a real fire, unlike in the aftermath of most elections where everyone goes back to their own preoccupations. But that means that Trump and his team must shift gears back to the rabble-rousers they were during the campaign, and give the people something concrete they can channel their immense numbers into, something beyond casting the vote that we have already cast.
Most of what the people want is already on the books somewhere -- it's just gone unenforced by the executive and judicial wings of the government for so long. Trump's faction has very little political capital within the DC swamp itself, and will likely continue to be unsuccessful at changing things through legislation or even executive orders (who will enforce the should-be enforcers?).
Trump can take to the bully pulpit, but only if it manages to fire up the people who then take concrete mass action against the elites who refuse to follow and enforce existing laws. Virtually nobody in government respects Trump, so they will not respond to his attempts to shame them or chew them out. The only way for Trump to really light a fire under someone's ass is to sic his mob of rabid supporters on them. No one in the Swamp has that large and that zealous of a mob of their own, and what are they going to do instead -- try to call in favors from the CIA to gun down a mass of citizens protesting their parasitic elites?
Smug and naive triumphalism is no longer tenable. The verdict is in: the elites are hell-bent on not just ignoring the voice of the people but punishing them for daring to speak up, and a President who has only political debt within the DC swamp must mobilize the people into action to counteract the widespread subversion of democracy by the doubling-down elites.