Check out my latest podcast with Robert Stark here.
No, really. While I’m not always very happy with all the podcasts I’m on, I think this one turned out very nicely. Here are the topics we discussed:
- Anatoly’s initial Election Predictions which were fairly accurate
- MAGA Cope, and In Defense of It
- Biden Recognitions from foreign leaders
- Anatoly’s tepid endorsement of Trump and nuanced take on Trump’s Presidency
- Reasons for Trump’s decline in support among White voters
- Expectation of standard neoliberal establishment policies under a Biden/Harris administration
- What Will Happen to “Wokeism” After Bad Orange Man Goes?
- Will the Social Media Purges Accelerate?
- Thoughts on the Future of MAGA and GOP nominee in 2024
- One Billion Americans
- How the Breakup of Chimerica is inevitable despite Biden’s friendlier stance towards China
- The post pandemic economy: expectation of Woke Austerity, which will further energize both left and rightwing populism
Many of these I have either already written about, and some I will try to write about reasonably soon (i.e. before Biden’s inauguration).
That said, one point I wanted to highlight in particular, since I am unlikely to devote a separate post to it, is how Trump didn’t play some of his best cards:
- Trump’s Presidency, until 2020, was a huge economic success story, and one that Trump himself constantly touted (best stonks market in history). What he mentioned far less is that not only did the US see large income growth, but for the first time in a very long while, it was broadly balanced across the socio-economic spectrum, including lower-income workers who have been treading water since the 1970s (and, incidentally, have formed the core of the populist reaction across the West). There was a golden opportunity to connect this not just to protectionism, but to the immigration clampdown. But Trump failed to do that in his debates or propaganda. Feeding back into that, immigration has been reduced to record lows. Promise made – promise delivered. What makes this achievement all the more remarkable is that it happened during a period of vigorous economic growth, which are typically accompanied by a flood of Gastarbeiters. The late 2010s proved to be an exception, and could have been cited as an economics-based vindication of the Trump immigration agenda. But he failed to make this connection in his public rhetoric as well, so all he got from it was the “children in cages” meme (which began under Obama anyway, to compound the irony).
- The Corona crisis: East Asia performed better than well nigh any Western country. That Trump managed to convince most Americans otherwise (at least with respect to China) is, admittedly, an achievement – if one that doesn’t speak well to the intelligence of Americans. Instead it was Europe – the promised land that American libs worship – that came to be seen as a model of how to deal with the epidemic. The reality is that the Americans and Europeans have done about equally badly in terms of the only demographic metric that is rigorously quantifiable – excess deaths. The main difference between them is that the American deaths have been more spread out, including over the summer, whereas the Europeans have seen a much sharper spike this autumn. But, at the end of the day – same area under the graph, plus or minus. This is connected with white people’s voodoo like aversion to modest restrictions on liberty such as mandatory centralized quarantine (which in the end has led to much greater net restrictions on liberty through wide-ranging lockdowns). That said, if you’re fundamentally unserious about suppressing the epidemic – as neither Europe nor the US are – then you might as well ease up on restrictions and allow it to burn through the population more smoothly, blunting seasonal spikes and preserving more of your GDP. Thanks in part to the joint efforts of #BLM and the MAGA rallies over the summer, the American economy will decline less than that of the EU this year. But Trump decided to ramble nonsense about the US having more case numbers because it was doing more testing instead.
- Trump could have been more generous with helicopter money to individuals. Bolsonaro, floomer as he is, did that in Brazil, and his approval ratings have subsequently recovered on account of that – his mishandling of Corona regardless. (Even if you insist on being a floomer ideologue, the evidence from around the world points to it being a losing strategy politically). But two payments of $1,200 are almost irrelevant compared to American incomes and living costs. Nor was the problem in political opposition to such a project – there was broad-based support for generous, regular payments from Romney to AOC. The corporations got three times as much cash this time round as they did in 2008 and with nary a word of discussion, so it couldn’t have been driven by monetary or fiscal caution either. What exactly were they afraid of? “Socialism”? Speaking of that, all too often during the debates, Trump came across as though he was actually arguing with Bernie, not Biden. Unfortunately for Trump, Biden’s platform was in reality more regressive than HRC‘s in 2016. Yes, this might presage bad things for Democratic Party stability under a Biden administration. But it also means that “socialism” herp-derp attacks slid off him like water off a duck’s back.
I expect that adopting at least any two of those three suggestions would have tipped Trump over from a narrow loss (which I predicted) to a narrow victory. But, at the end of the day, Trump is a fat boomer who doesn’t read.