Donald Trump, necromancer

As the president’s men exhaust the patience of a phalanx of federal judges with stupid lawsuits, Fintan O’Toole writes a bleak, often florid, and bracing post-mortem of the Trump presidency, or, rather, “there cannot be a postmortem on Trumpism” because “Trumpism is postmortem.” Trump has forever existed, O’Toole writes, as “an afterlife,” a survivor of bankruptcies and divorce and malicious parenting whose orange hand makes dead things great again.

[Trumpism’s] core appeal is necromantic. It promised to make a buried world rise again: coal mines would reopen in West Virginia, lost car plants would return to Detroit. Good, secure, unionized muscle jobs would come back. The unquestionable privilege of being white and male and native would be restored. Trump did not manage to do any of this, of course. But, in a sense, that very failure keeps the promise pure, unadulterated by the complexities of reality.

This invasion is thrilling for Republicans because it is also a kind of liberation. As the agonized tone of the 2013 autopsy report makes clear, the transformations of gender, class, race, and ethnicity necessary for them to be reborn as the voice of a genuine national majority, even if they had been possible, would have been extremely painful. Trump’s delivery of the death certificate freed the GOP from this torment. There was nothing to revive. What Trump stumbled on was that the solution to the party’s chronic inability to win a majority of voters in presidential elections was to stop trying and instead to embrace and enforce minority rule. This possibility is built into the American system. The electoral college, the massive imbalance in representation in the Senate, the ability to gerrymander congressional districts, voter suppression, and the politicization of the Supreme Court—these methods for imposing on the majority the will of the minority have always been available. Trump transformed them from tactical tools to permanent, strategic necessities.

I’m glad to read a denouncement of the racist anti-democratic anachronism called the Electoral College in the NYROB’s august pages.

Speaking of necromancy, a Miami-Dade church is the place where Trump dead enders gather to spread COVID as they pray to God “to use [his] powers during these investigations and amid this fraud that is being attempted by these evildoers who want to destroy our nation, destroy our faith,” etc.

3 thoughts on “Donald Trump, necromancer

  1. Jukebox

    “[Trumpism’s] core appeal is necromantic. It promised to make a buried world rise again”

    I never in my life thought the American Media would use a word like we use Peronismo. It’s Republicans no more. The cult of personality is a cancer with metastasis. The seed of facism really planted. It might have been there all along but now has a blood conductor. I cannot stress enough how this has to be removed ASAP. You still have better antibodies than ours. Still time. The clown may go away; “their” people, on the other hand…

    How to do it based on my experience here? Well, win both cameras is important. But getting the judicial system as accountable as you refer to Incumbents. Meaning, among many things, allowing voter supression maneuvres end up in justice alleys. Fight against it, legally. But education is key, too. I don’t think those “red states” are versed on the Constitution enough. Otherwise it would be inconceivable their core base accepting this kind of behaviour on his way out. Perhaps redacting a protocol about transfer of power in not such a bad idea (fill in the legal blanks demagogues will take advantage of here)

    We DO need more education. Working class people of all stripes even more. Access to it and held it accountable, too. I’d never forced my ideas into other people. People don’t want to be lectured, but if you give them tools to recognize when to separate the wheat from the chaff will be a step forward. There’s a thin line between education and indoctrination. That can backfire. Especially with the more fundamentalist thinkers. Autocrats knows this and will use any gap, moral or otherwise, to step in. There’s a lot of work to be done. It’s a long battle but it’s worth fighting for.

  2. postpunkmonk

    Education has been under Republican attack for 50 years. Nixon’s Education Policy Advisor said “We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat. That’s dynamite! We have to be selective about who we allow to through higher education.” And thus it ever was. Within 10-15 years the curse of standardized testing was used as a fulcrum to eliminate a liberal education that enriched a thinking mind and produced automatons. When I went to school we still had to take a civics class in middle school that taught how the American government was supposed to work. I can imagine that first on the chopping block by the 90s.

    1. humanizingthevacuum Post author

      You can find complaints in the late seventies and early eighties about the dearth of civics courses. I doubt they were ever universal.


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