Why Trump and the GOP are burning the entire system down
Opinion by Thom Hartmann
Today’s Republican Party is dedicated to destroying what they call the “deep state” and the rest of us call the American government. From Trump followers in MAGA hats at rallies to Republican US Senators, they’ll all tell you this without a moment’s hesitation.
Steve Bannon even proclaimed it as the main goal of the Trump presidency in their first months in the White House, saying Trump’s goal was the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”
In a book published in 2020, Kurt Andersen fills more than 300 pages with clear, concise and frightening documentation of how, starting in the 1970s, a small group of mostly old, old money (names like Koch and Olin) set out to dismantle the New Deal and return America to its founding roots: a few obscenely wealthy and a vast mudsill of compliant, fear ridden and manor house dependent workers.
We used to call that feudalism.
The primary means to achieving that goal as the Second Founders saw it, was to dismantle as much as possible the Government.
Where but from the government came the largess, equity and tendency toward equality that had grown into American Society since 1932?
The means of dismantling that New Deal Nightmare was to dismantle the Government.
So, they formed Heritage Foundations and Federalist Societies and took over or infiltrated major colleges and universities and on and on.
They assembled lists of malleable candidates for the judiciary at all levels.
They lobbied existing, not yet part of the CABAL members of the legislatures, federal and state, and got a gradual commencement of disintegration of all the laws and regulations underpinning the New Deal.
"Framed" issues were promulgated: "keep 'em barefoot and pregnant" became "Pro Life"; Jim Crow became "War On Drugs"; immigration became "Rapists and Drug Addicts"; there were many, many more.
Armed with all the newly "framed" issues they wove a cloth of prejudice, half-truths and lies, and with that cloth thrown over them, state capitol after state capitol became majority red.
They unleashed an abnormally vicious and toxic form of christianity upon the land.
They engulfed and co-opted the NRA and turned it into a heavily, militarily armed leader in resistance to the Government.
They monied up the NRA so that it might create the judicial and legislative infrastructure to arm all of America, at least all Americans who had been told that they were victims.
They began to dismantle the Public Education System of the United States.
To name a few of their activities.
They were a clandestine group for the most part.
And they really didn't expect to get very far with their agenda.
But any retrogression is better than none, they all agreed.
In 1980 the American people picked the perfect useful idiot for the agenda of the few, the rich and the powerful.
Ronald Reagan had eight years in office, and starting with busting the Air Traffic Controllers Union he handed the keys to feudal resurgence to those few, rich and powerful.
As life happens, the 80s became the 90s and then the 00s and so on; and now we are here: 2023.
Some time back in that continuum the few, rich and powerful became increasingly amazed at their continuing success and at the magnitude of their achievement; then they became pensive, and then somewhere in the teens, they became outright alarmed.
Much though they fantasize that vast, docile, fearful, serf-like mudsill they knew there is a soft underbelly of fatal flaw in really achieving that goal: serfs have no buying power.
There is only one way to keep corporations getting bigger, fewer and more powerful.
That way needs to be a way of enhancing and advancing the quarterly growth of profit, enhancing shareholder value ("shareholders" being another term for the few, rich and powerful) using most of that quarterly profit, however, not for distribution to the shareholders, or research and development, or employee income and benefits, but for stock buybacks - fewer shares are more valuable shares and what more enhances shareholder value than more valuable shares; and given the universally assigned corporate CEO mission - stock price enhancement, not silly things like product development or employee well-being, the CEOs prospered; and having your value held in an unsold asset is the finest form of tax avoidance - and increasing size and corporate heft vertically and horizontally gives corporations a choke hold on the existence of unions (oblivion for them, they said) and cost of labor (wages shall serve shareholder value, they said) and of keeping the whole cycle virtuously careening toward Valhalla.
That way (the one way to keep corporations getting bigger, fewer and more powerful) is to keep the mudsill buying and buying and buying causing the economy to grow and to grow and grow, and causing the few, rich and powerful to be richer and richer and richer.
On its face it's a Ponzi.
At its core it's a chimera.
You can't get blood out of a stone, is an old saw that comes to mind.
No value but shareholders' and no wages but permanently low wages are two factors on a collision course the few, the rich and the powerful could see.
But what results from the collision?
Just as the few, rich and powerful were getting nervous about all of that they got taken over by some of the mudsill that they have been prodding back to feudalism: they found out what the results of that collision were.
The inmates took over the asylum.
For all their innate viciousness, meanness and, at times, outright criminality those dismantlers of American Equity and Progress, the few, the rich and the powerful, were and are still men and women of substance: they all went to the right schools, and they all know the difference between a Martini and a Gibson.
So they have some idea of how things work and why they are the way they are.
They just didn't like the way things had become since 1932, and they are beginning to worry about how things are becoming, since 2016, and they are terrified of what might be the shape of things yet to be.
Jim Jordan wouldn't know a Gibson if one crept up behind him and bit him on the ass.
And that pretty well describes the republican party of today.
They want to dismantle the deep state - we call it the Government - not because that is a means to the end envisioned by the few, rich and powerful, but because Q said to do it.
And because it gets clicks and makes them social media influencers.
And what could be better than that?
For the millions of MAGA, they constitute a lofty role model.
They cheer idiots they have elected say predictably idiotic bullshit.
They cheer when a low horsepower wannabe Don - named don - raves about exterminating the vermin.
But not everyone who brought us to this sad state of affairs is MAGA.
For the old money - the few, the wealthy, the powerful and the deeply invested - MAGA is a monster.
Or maybe it not a monster, but instead, Madame Lafarge.
Maybe remembrance of what is now Place de la Concorde sends shivers through whatever passes for spinal cords in the few, the wealthy, the powerful and the deeply invested.
Whatever: this is a big deal.