The State of What Union?

January 31, 2018


President Trump’s first State of the Union address was successful by all conventional metrics. Trump crammed every single major national issue into his speech, going through them faster than an auctioneer through a minimalist’s estate. He applied his Hollywood showmanship to appear larger than life, and his opposition in the chamber appeared very small, petty, and …divisive.

One of the reasons I bet bitcoin on Trump way back in the fall of 2015 is because I believe that presidential politics are more about image and presentation–branding–than about policy line items. Trump knows how to command a room, and the media’s relentless effort to frame him as literally demented, literally stupid, and literally incompetent were all set back. Hillary can sarcastically read from liberal fan fiction describing how stupid and unprofessional Trump is, but she’s the one who’s proven the more stupid and unprofessional of the two, hysterically ranting about “feminist bitches helping bitches” and raving about hidden Russian spies lurking in the shadows.

Trump’s America is one where we’ve all set aside our racial, religious, and political differences to rally around “the flag,” while rescuing puppies from storm drains, with patriotic Latinos fist-fighting MS13 gangbangers one street at a time in defense of “freedom.” Iranians, Venezuelans, and North Koreans want to be Americans, too, and our brave troops are eager to mangle and maim themselves to guarantee that American values prevail absolutely everywhere.

As a performer, Trump exceeds even the accomplished actor and icon Ronald Reagan himself in eloquently presenting and promoting the Boomer mentality. Trump may not be delivering on every promise he made to the far right, but to his core of aging middle-class uncles who “aren’t racist,” but are actually sort of low-key kinda racist a little bit, he’s right on point. Those folks still control American politics, and they’ll continue believing that all these young brown people are totally patriotic until one of those patriotic young brown people pulls the plug on them in the coming decade or two.

This struggle for our right to exist is generational, and we’ll drive ourselves mad if we keep imposing false timelines and raising up false hopes for a true breakthrough within the conventional political system. Only if some major cascade failure in public bonds or one of the other percolating financial bubbles drives the American government into full-blown austerity is there any real near-term hope for the kind of mass paradigm shift we would need to meaningfully reverse this circumstances.

Short of that, …the best thing that could happen was Trump. And in a way, he’s sort of the worst thing that could happen. His half-measures and firehose of implicit whiteness will continue to split the movement pretty much in half between those who believe he’s secretly “our guys” and those who wish to keep our eyes on the actual prize. I try to be conciliatory about this, and I even dutifully follow NumbersUSA’s mailing list and make the calls I’m supposed to make for pragmatic immigration reform within the system.

The two sides don’t actually need to be fighting. But they will.

But Internet politics is primarily an infotainment game, and the Bill Mitchells of the world who are pumping Trump will enjoy three more years of first-rate infotainment. Like a camwhore, Trump will continue keeping them on the edge of their seats and building their excitement while taking the money they’re throwing at him and his surrogates. I’m not even mad, and I accept that our work to build a strong network of local organizers trained and prepared to actually help and defend White working families simply won’t get as many clicks.

We’ll keep it entertaining and productive, and we have many exciting things in store for 2018 and beyond. But what we can’t promise you is that we’re able to infiltrate this system and repair it from the inside. We can’t promise that because we refuse to lie. Until folks realize that they’re being strung along, or Trump wraps it up (likely after one term–under budget, and ahead of schedule!), the GOP-affiliated neocon-friendly altlite dog whistlers will have the floor. For the dedicated national socialist who realizes this is a generational struggle, this is acceptable.

Imma let Trump be Trump, and stay in my lane. AltLite types will continue to insist that the Hard Right are “ruining everything” by not smiling and clapping along with what’s clearly a civic nationalist distraction with nothing to offer for our long-term goals. He may reform and reduce immigration enough to improve our national security and even raise citizen wages a bit. He may pass a massive Trump Amnesty larger than anything Obama dreamed of. He may do both. Even his biggest promises most ruthlessly executed won’t change the underlying demographic trends.

The thesis of Trump’s SOTU speech was patriotic unity. There is no unity and no union left to unite. Half of the congress remained seated, and they remained seated even when he aggressively pandered to them about black employment. There is nothing United about the United States anymore. The firehose of post-1965 immigration killed the system, a system which categorically cannot recover.

There’s no “Union” to address, just a clamoring circus of mutually antagonistic ethnic groups and polarized factions out to get their share from the Federal Reserve and its downstream affiliates (the government). The facade can only carry on while the money’s pouring in and the voting pool remains dominated by a large pool of White people who are committed to guaranteeing that the facade holds up. Forward-thinking nationalists need to skate to where the puck is going to be, and bet against Trump’s two biggest promises: to bring us all together and make America great again.

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