2016-05-05 – Andrew Sullivan has a disturbing article in New York magazine entitled “Democracies End When They Are Too Democratic—And Right Now, America Is a Breeding Ground for Tyranny.” In it, Sullivan explores the inexorable platonic forces behind Donald Trump’s march to the White House.
Don’t laugh at platonic forces! Sullivan read Plato when he was young and was scared then and is scared now. I read Plato when I was young, too. I wasn’t scared. And I don’t remember much about it.
But I am scared now. Donald Trump is going to be the Republican Party’s nominee for President. Plato or no Plato.
Now, the Plato part doesn’t move me. When someone says that a current event is predicted in the Bible, I don’t give it much thought. So why would I be very impressed that Donald Trump’s rise is supposedly predicted by Plato. It’s pretty much the same thing.
But his analysis of current events themselves . . .
There is a feeling in this country that the elites of this country are not delivering for the people. You see this in the tax party movement. You see this in the occupy movement. Politicians are scum. And so The Donald has beaten the politicians of the Republican Party. And Bernie Sanders has given Hillary Clinton a good run for her money.
And Sullivan thinks this could end up putting Trump in the White House. Who knows? Other folks think that this splits the Republican Party and that Trump will have no chance in the general election.
It’s a perilous moment. I’m hoping that Sullivan is wrong and that Trump has insulted enough people that he’ll have little chance when he faces an electorate that is not already pre-selected to vote this way. The GOP may scream that they have Trump as a candidate, but they’ve been narrowing their base for years. What did they expect? If you exclude everyone from voting except angry white men . . .
Now here’s the tricky part.
The GOP has become the angry-white-man party, but that doesn’t mean that angry white men don’t have some legitimate grievances. For 30 years and more (since the Reagan revolution?), white men have been getting a smaller and smaller piece of the pie. But did it go to black and brown people? Not really. Whites and blacks and browns are all waiting for it to trickle down from the 1%. It hasn’t happened and politicians on the left and right have stood by.
Or actively abetted the 1%.
The Democratic Party once was the party for working Americans. It needs to be that again more than ever, this time for all Americans. That is the path to beating Trump in November.