I’m facing a new challenge intellectually.
It’s Trumpism and Bannionism.
I don’t think I would have spent time trying to understand this kind of thinking were it not for some family members, whom I trust, supporting Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential race.
From my reading, I believe this intellectual movement is based on the following tenets.
1. America has a defined culture with defined borders, which are being threatened and overrun.
2. Political Islam is a clear and present enemy with whom we are at war.
3. The federal bureaucracy of the United States of America serves its own interests. Bannon calls it “the administrative state.”
4. The administrative state has served the interests of globalism to the serious detriment of America’s middle and working class, and must be dismantled.
5. The traditional print and tv media have been corrupted by liberals and commercialism, and is responsible for creating fake news.
6. Capitalism has been corrupted by Wall Street, serving the interests of financiers and global corporate elites.
7. America’s economic strength has been weakened by being taken advantage of by allowing China and Mexico to export more goods into America, than America has been allowed to export to them.
8. Climate change is a natural cycle and is not man made.
9. America’s infrastructure needs repair and upgrading. The additional benefit of upgrading infrastructure is the creation of jobs and a boost to economic growth.
10. Outsourced manufacturing jobs need to be returned to American soil.
11. North Korea is an existential threat to America; and its allies Japan, and South Korea; and its territory, Guam.
These tenets have found a coalition of partners who have supported and elected Donald Trump. They are: the working class, conservative whites, the middle class, the Christian Right, conservative Zionists, the Tea Party, and the “birther” movement.
This coalition is not overtly racist, but finds elements of racism in its ranks. This is why Trump can stand and say he rejects neo-nazists, white supremacists, and the KKK, while continuing to support the wider coalition from which these niche players emerge.
After some thought, here are a few reactions I have about Trump, Trumpism, and Bannionism.
One, I do not want Donald Trump impeached. I want the concerns of the constituency he represents to have a full hearing and addressed to the extent of improving working conditions for the working and middle class. I agree with Trump on border security needing to continue to improve. I also agree with him that Political Islam needs to be destroyed.
Two, I do not support aggressive measures to remove immigrants who have been here for years, raised children, payed taxes, and upheld the law. We need to bring them forward and give them a chance to gain full citizenship.
Three, Trump is right in wanting to create a twenty first century infrastructure. This needs to take into account our changing climate. Climate change is an overriding concern for a prosperous twenty first century.
Four, instinctively I’m certain Trump is a Main Street business person, and not a Wall Street business person. With that, I’m sure he understands that on the one hand, capitalism is about the most efficient distribution of capital. On the other hand, capitalism is about the creation of new capital by means of aggressively creating new products and services.
Bankers and financiers are efficiently managing capital in favor of themselves. Trump understands this and knows that the growth of capital by intense stimulation of entrepreneurial activity is far more important than the efficient distribution of capital at this time in history.
Five, Trump is too ambiguous on race and ethnicity. This is his Achilles heel. With the Civil War and World War 2 behind it, race and ethnicity is a settled issue in America. Let us be clear: American values reject in strongest terms racist groups like the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis. It also rejects the violent actions of neo-Marxist groups such as Antifa.
Six, agreements on worldwide trade are complicated issues. Japan found this out when they exported huge amounts of manufactured goods, but failed to import sufficient amounts of goods and services from the US during the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Eventually, inflation rose to the point of creating an economic collapse in Japan. It has yet to fully recover from that severe recession/depression.
It’s always wise to periodically review these agreements, but world trade operates operates on free market principles. One decade you might be up, but the next decade you may pay crater if you operate on anything other than upfront capitalist rules. America is good at this, and Trump needs to tread lightly in this area, lest he creates a bigger problem than he solves.
Seven, the inflow of new emigrants is the backbone of the American experience. Because the world is now experiencing a global flow of human population from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere, regulations need to be enforced in on the number of new emigrants entering the country. I agree with Trump’s tough stand that global population migration cannot get out of control in America.
Eight, the administrative state needs to be challenged in order to see if it indeed maintains the integrity it claims to have. The last thing President Bush said to President Obama in their transitional meeting was not get at cross purposes with the Intelligence Community. Wow, what a statement. Have we gotten to the point where these agencies are serving their own interests above those of our democratic processes? Well, we shall see. Trump is putting plenty of pressure on them, and they on him. Clarity and cleansing will hopefully be the result.
Nine, I can only guess why North Korea is such a concern to Trump: the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is running out of options. His people are starving. He is ratcheting up pressure on America to cut a deal. It looks like the dictator will use the nuclear option to save his rule.
On their transitional meeting at the White House, the last bit of advice President Obama gave to President Trump was to keep an eye on North Korea. Danger warning. President Trump’s moment of crisis will be North Korea. So might the lives of millions of lives on the Korean Peninsula.