Feel the Bern? That Might Just Be Trump…

In Arthur Schlesinger’s “The Crisis of the Old Order” one finds the following passage rather near the book’s beginning:

“And so, as the third summer of the depression began to move into the fourth winter, the time of patience was running out. Virgil Jordan, the conservative economist of McGraw-Hill and the National Industrial Conference Board, reported after the 1931 meeting of the United States Chamber of Commerce that businessmen had lost faith in their leaders; they were ready to shoot the works. “An economic Mussolini, before many months have passed,” said Jordan, “could have them parading in red, white and blue shirts, and saluting some new symbol.”

An economic Mussolini! Well ahem, yes, that’s always been the fantasy of the Chamber of Commerce. Donald J Trump has a long cape.

“The time of patience” is an interesting phrase. It’s understandable contextually. By the third summer of the great depression America was a country of homeless wanderers and beggars.

Trump’s advantage this election cycle is his canny understanding that Chamber of Commerce types and long disadvantaged Red State whites have never had a time of patience. While that’s not a coalition that can carry him to the White House it gets him half way there. It will certainly get him the GOP presidential nomination.

In the general election he will talk about the dark predators and terrorists and shout that only he can fix the American economy. That will be enough to get elected. He knows it.

Democrats should fear him. Moreover, Dems who say, “I’m not going to vote for anyone if I can’t have my candidate…” will most certainly put Trump in office. Feel the Trump.

The Donald knows it.

He also knows he has the media in his back pocket. There’s nothing NBC would like more than a reality show where average Americans parade in red, white and blue shirts, saluting outside the newly decorated Trump White House.

“What about Bernie Sanders?” you say. “Isn’t he the second coming of FDR?”

FDR had charm my friends. And enough backers from the financial world to get over the transom.

Bernie, not so much.

As Irene Colthurst writes over at Quora:

“He (Sanders) needs to acknowledge that coalition-building is the way forward, and that that’s hard.   It was hard to assemble the New Deal coalition. But the way forward is to square the circle and build its 21st century equivalent, which means young black activists sharing space and being in solidarity with working class white men on an agenda that calls for both wholesale reworking of American law enforcement and greater social democracy.   He needs to quit calling for general movements and say that.”

If Hillary Clinton falls to Bernie Sanders there’s an outside shot Bernie can take Trump in the Fall.

If Hillary Clinton beats Sanders, and his supporters sulk, stay home and give up, then Trump’s Chamber of Commerce coalition with its disaffected white anger will likely be enough to carry the day.

Sanders needs to square the circle, as Colthurts puts it. He needs to do so now.



Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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