Remember in 2013 when under Obama the Republicans managed to get the government shut down over the Affordable Care Act? Well last month Trump pretty much plunged America into a government shutdown for the third time in his presidency, as well as the third one within 2018. This shutdown lasted from December 22nd 2018 until January 25th 2019, making it the longest government shutdown in US history. This meant that US federal workers had to go without pay for over a month in what for them must surely have been the worst holiday season they can remember while Trump and his cronies chowed down on a buffet of fast food.
Within that time Trump downgraded his famous proposal for a wall on the southern border, instead asking Congress for about $5 billion to pay for a “steel barrier” – a barrier that it turns out is so weak that you can cut through it with a saw. Effectively, Trump turned his “big, beautiful wall”, an already wasteful vanity project good only for show, into an even more useless barrier that whatever wave of immigrants he’s trying to keep can probably just smash through just to be able to pay for anything close to a wall.
Finally, after air traffic controllers and flight attendance threatened to not go to work until they got their pay check, the shutdown officially ended and Trump backed down. However, technically speaking, the shutdown doesn’t appear to be over yet. Trump only seems to be suspending the shutdown for 21 days, and in that time he is still going to try to push the wall through and get it funded, and if he doesn’t get his way he will either shut down the government again or invoke emergency powers. But that wall is probably never going to be paid for anyway. In suspending the government shutdown, Trump did not receive any of the $5.7 billion he demanded to pay for his border wall, and in fact the government shutdown seems to have cost the US government $6 billion minimum, which exceeds the budget Trump wanted for his steel barrier proposal.
Nonetheless, the concession to the Democrats has led to many of Trump’s supporters being outraged at Trump, and in many ways you could say rightfully so, for backing down. This to me is a realization on the part of the MAGA movement that they’ve been swindled, that Trump is not the politician they thought he was, and that he in all likelihood will not give them the wall. With roughly a year to go before the next presidential election, it remains interesting to see where his supporters are going to go from here, though I imagine they will only really stick with Trump over inane conservative culture wars and generally the desire to desperately avoid a Democrat winning the presidency – and, keep in mind, this is his base I’m talking about, most of the moderates or orbiters who still supported Trump before will likely desert him if they haven’t already because he can’t get anything done. Or perhaps the MAGA movement will be kept alive by the kind of insufferable zoomers who still believe GamerGate was a success after Gawker announced its resurrection the auspices of Bryan Goldberg.
You know, between this entire development and everything else we’ve seen of him (his commitment to non/anti-interventionist foreign policy and economic populism having shown themselves to be falsehoods), we could well be looking at one of the biggest political failures in recent memory. Ever since 2015 when Trump began campaigning for the presidency, that “big, beautiful wall” was one of the cornerstones of his campaign, it was dumb but it was also probably he most important promise he made over than the moratorium on Islamic immigration. Since he got elected that wall has not been built and it should now be empirically clear that the wall is never going to be built or paid for, no matter how many autocratic measures he takes he takes to make sure that it does.
And that’s not getting into the other stuff. Trump advanced his campaign on an isolationist and nationalist attitude, particularly on the basis of skepticism towards foreign military interventions carried out by the US and towards free trade deals that have left the average person behind. In reality, however, Trump’s administration last year broke the record for the amount of bombs dropped on Afghanistan, continues to ally with Saudi Arabia even after major international outrage concerning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, backed out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with Russia, scrapped the Iran Deal on behalf of neoconservative interests, is now planning regime change in Venezuela, and is even floating the idea of privatizing the Afghanistan campaign by handing it over to Erik Prince, the former CEO of Blackwater which oversaw the massacre of innocent of Iraqis. He did recently decide to pull US forces out of Syria, but only to eventually backpeddle on that promise and soften the pullout schedule (if such a schedule even exists).
Added to that, despite his commitment to draining the swamp and fighting the deep state and what not, all he’s done is shuffle around his cabinet with more and more neocons and elite cronies each more disgusting than the last. He’s also never done anything to oppose the NSA dragnet, and in fact he’s expanded it as I’ve covered last year. Oh, and you can forget about him being the man of the people because his tax cuts have only really benefitted the rich, real wages haven’t grown at all under Trump, in fact they just might be falling. Not to mention the fact that outsourcing has continued under Trump, and perhaps even been encouraged too, despite his supposed commitment to keeping jobs in America. And I haven’t forgotten when he hinted that the US should reconsider the TPP, after nixing it within his first week! Trump has broken much of the core of his campaign. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he’s done nothing of worth for the people who voted for him.
The only reason Trump had that ounce of credibility necessary for me to begin supporting him after I hated him for most of 2016 is that the establishment that opposed him got caught with their pants down trying to play every sleazy and manipulative card against and every alternative to him had been discredited by their deference to said establishment, and I feel disgusted by the fact that I allowed myself to be blindsided by all of that because, even with all that, Tump’s still just another horrifically dumb, dishonest, mentally degenerated neoliberal/neoconservative, just that he expertly disguised his actual politics in a convincing veneer of paleoconservative populism, semi-truthful hyperbole and the lamentations of his enemies. That there are people who still believe in him is a testament to how there’s no God watching over us and modern civilization is a joke!
I kind of mean it. Seriously. If you still support Trump at this juncture you might most likely be hopelessly gullible and stupid. It’s hopelessly clear by now that Trump has done nothing of worth and in fact betrayed many of his promises. The only reason you have to still believe in Trump at this point is if you’re too stupid for your own good, you just love the idea of getting suckered your whole life, or you’ve built your career on shilling for Trump and get paid to peddle to obvious bullshit for him. – the irony of that being that even hardened dumbasses like Mike Cernovich are starting to turn on him.
Now since 2020 is already being talked about, I’d like to mention that I’ve been told by friends that it’s very likely that Trump won’t win on account of the fact that he’s basically broken his core campaign promises. However, as much as I’d like to believe that, I’d put a qualifier on that: the only way Trump could possibly win in 2020 is if the Democrats find a way to shit the bed even harder than Trump does. And while I’m not making any promises to that effect, I look at what I see of the Democratic candidates and my gut feeling tells me that they just might unless they actually run Bernie Sanders as their nominee. And given that the Democratic establishment looks ready to dismiss Bernie again in favour of Kamala Harris just to get another shot at first female president (who also happens to be non-white) even though (apart from a few of her positions like support for Medicare for All) she is by and large another Clintonite, another moderate Republican dressed up as a Democrat, one who also happens to have a police background which means she’ll likely carry out the interests of the ruling class anyway and has done in many of her prosecutions as the Attorney General of California. You could argue that Tulsi Gabbard would make for an easy win but, I’ve already talked about her.
But on the whole, even though I think Bernie might be the best option Americans have, in my view he’s still not enough. Hell, as far as social democrats go (and I am no social democrat) I consider him inferior to people like Jeremy Corbyn in most respects. In fact, given that Trump’s failure follows sort of the same pattern as Obama’s – that flashy populist formula where a guy promises profound political change and then not only doesn’t change anything but actually makes things somewhat worse – I can’t help but be critical of the idea that Bernie won’t just turn out the same way. It’s past time that Americans realized that their political and economic system doesn’t serve them, and to be honest the same could be said for almost the rest of the world.