Before Donald Trump was elected the next POTUS, I and some others said that his coming means the death of the GOP, whether he wins or loses.
But I never meant real death, as if there would no longer be an entity called the Republican Party; what I meant was that fundamental shifts are about to take place in the Republican Party.
Did I think Republicans were in a position of weakness then? Sure. Are they now in a position of power? Sure. I completely underestimated the appeal of one Donald J. Trump, as did much of the free world.
I am here to remind everyone that the original premise - that huge fundamental shifts are going to take place in the Republican Party - is still 100% correct.
The degradation of our institutions in the public consciousness due to events like the Iraq War, not to mention the continuous thrums of doom from Fox News and the RNC, has provided cynics about government with enough ammunition to have perhaps understandably given up hope in our current government and elected a complete opposite like Trump. The exposure of the facts has powerfully reinforced the negative perceptions people have been purposefully fed and lapping up about the many failures of their corrupt government. Indeed, even the most progressive personalities have to concede that George W. Bush vividly presents a failure of our best institutions. It is easy to see how people might become cynical when the truth about Iraq is coming to light. Cheney and Bush told a lot of lies and lost a lot of lives.
Disagree with Obama if you must, but in comparative terms he lost very few lives in his long 8 years. That is a distinguished record in this dangerous world we inhabit.
I bet Republicans will become less hawkish in the future. One thing which seemed absent from Trump's rhetoric - something which distinguished him from some of his primary competitors - was the willingness to send our soldiers into war. I happen to like that - I want military war to be absent from our lips whenever that is possible. We are smarter as doves.
That would be a big shift. Obama is behind that.
Then there is this matter of the class war.
What if Trump does have the good sense to enrich everybody else in the country, in addition to himself, his family, and his cronies? What if he spreads the wealth in meaningful ways, so that the middle class literally gets their hands on some money ... and happily spends it? That would be great again.
If he does that ... all will be forgiven.
But also, and just as important, if he doesn't do that, the masses will continue to have little to spend and those members of his society - along with their spending power - will deteriorate. We all will suffer that, including people like Trump.
And then we all will vote again.
History, now more than ever, has a say and a voice. Doom by repeating history is becoming harder and harder to again accomplish. Can Trump rob us blind, as oligarchs have historically done? Perhaps. Can he negate the pain of our having been robbed with propaganda and bullshit? For a while ... but not forever. Lincoln was correct about fooling the people.
What an interesting character is Trump - full of bluster and entertaining, yet never laughing. He makes me nervous. But he could do great things - I have to admit it. And change is almost certain now that he will be president. We wanted change ... and it is surely coming.
If Trump goes against the usual Republican tide ... the party will tend to fall into line. Which means exactly this: Almost anything progressive Trump sets out to accomplish will happen.
If Trump decides that interest rates are now low, but are rising, so that means we should prime the pump as much as possible right now while it is least expensive, he may think, "How high can we go with an infrastructure investment? How many people can we put to work? Let's invest to the hilt now! Because interest rates will not be this low again for a long time."
And Trump understands that demand is everything. He is a very smart person. Only dollars in the hands of people makes demand. How can people spend what they don't have?
If Trump said that, there are many Tea Party conservatives who would squeal. But most people can't stand Tea Party conservatives, and Trump knows it.
The Republican Party as we have recently witnessed it is gone, never to return. The new one will emerge; either it will govern competently, or it will not.
Trump is the ... trump card. Seriously. I even hate that that is the most accurate way to put it. We have no idea what he will do. We know nothing - all of us.
And maybe Trump will dig in and decide to do the right thing and govern. Maybe he will turn out like Teddy Roosevelt. Who is to say?
But the Grand Old Party will never be the same. Trump has the power to make all of Paul Ryan's Randian fantasies come true, and maybe Trump will fall into line and commit to Republican fiscal orthodoxy as has been lately presented by austerity conservatives, but I doubt he will do any of that. I think Trump will do whatever he wants. If he impoverishes the masses who vote, his party - and the GOP is Trump's party - will suffer at the polls, sooner or later.
People will vote their suffering. People will also vote their prosperity.
We do not yet know which side of the class war Trump will decide to inhabit as president. We have clues, it is true, and he does not feel yet like a champion of the middle class. But that is his mandate.
We'll see. And we will vote again.
What a preternatural country this is! We make ourselves over - over and over again. We are already great! And if Trump fucks the masses, take stock that we will vote again.