Early Trump

I don’t go in for hyperbole much, but Trump genuinely is an existential threat.

This is way past populism. Volatility and pathological narcissism aside, he’s systematically delegitimizing institutions designed to restrain rogue leaders. The press, courts, government departments, statistics, facts, truth and now democracy itself. All these are imperfect and all have been abused in various ways, but this is something new. If institutions are perceived as fundamentally illegitimate – then all politics has left is the strongman.

Republicans are complicit through their silence – power and the chance to enact an ideological agenda is the price of seeing checks and balances burn. His supporters are unpersuadable by objective reality because truth is subjective and facts are an elitist plot.

He’s governing like a child with personality disorder – a degree of self obsession so brazen that no attempt is made to mask it. Everything is binary – glory or disaster. Any setback is a lie or a conspiracy. Every uninformed whim is voiced. Every self proclaimed triumph a desperate fantasy.

For all those who’ve railed against American imperialism, the spectre of Russia and China filling the vacuum shouldn’t be any kind of consolation. Same ambitions – way less transparency and recourse.

And now we have the distinction of seeing our Prime Minister validate him. Can no-one in the British government see that Trump is headed for calamity and our decision to antagonize Europe while appeasing this man is catastrophically short sighted? Even if they eschew the moral ramifications, the strategic idiocy is breathtaking. He’ll be long gone before any trade deal is signed and our role as apologist won’t be swiftly forgotten.

Climate change denial, sabre rattling, radically shrinking society’s safety nets, deregulating like Regan on PCP, advisors as swaggeringly incompetent as Trump himself, torture spoken of in glowing terms, trade wars started, furies stoked, prejudices normalised, justice warped, paranoia intensifed and the very definition of instability at the helm.

The 3 branches of government are set for the perfect storm. The executive branch has gone rogue. The legislative branch is stuffed with Tea Party zealots in gerrymandered districts. And the judicial? One new Supreme Court justice to be nominated in the coming weeks and then – if another vacancy opens – the court will swing so hard to the right that every advance made since the 1960’s will come under sustained assault.

It’s fucking serious.

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