By Said E. Dawlabani Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Published in Medium January 25, 2020 Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Photo credit: Foreign PolicyÂ
I had several chances to nap in the middle of the day this week. Not because I needed the rest, but because I was bored to death listening to the Democrats make their case in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The Democratic Party remains under the delusion that the law matters to the GOP in its current state. They and one half of the US population have made the case of â€śhe broke the lawâ€ť a million times since Trump was elected in 2016. Three years have passed and still, the Dems and their supporters refuse to accept the new reality that we live in a Post-Truth world where very little matters and truth is no longer the domain of the virtuous. This is a new era where the law, just like many of the abstract concepts entrusted to a democracy, has become just another alternative narrative to those who support Trump. Based on what has happened since Trumpâ€™s election, the GOP under his rein is on the fast track to have the entire US government and its Constitution subverted and its responsibilities handed over to the Russians, to thugs, and to bankers and the private sector.
The disappearance of the pillars that upheld the ethos of human decency werenâ€™t just limited to truth. Today, the Digital Age has given the world a million alternative narratives for every virtue we had taken for granted. What chances does a 233-year old paper called the US Constitution have in the face of this deluge of insolence that has tribalized and polarized the world? Neither Plato nor the founding fathers ever anticipated these existential challenges to a fragile construct called democracy. To see this drastic change in the collective values of the US, one only needs to go back 47 years. Just think of Nixonâ€™s impeachment when he famously defended himself with the phrase â€śIâ€™m not a crookâ€ť and when evidence began to pile up against that argument, he resigned. Compare that to Trumpâ€™s actions that challenge the very foundation of a constitutional republic. It is as if heâ€™s saying â€śIâ€™m the biggest crook. What are you going to do about it?â€ť So far, no one has been able to do anything about it. Today, Trump remains the most powerful corrupt man in the world.
Trump is not presidential; he is a transactional narcissist with evil intentions. In 2016 his base of support included people whose values are dominated by a free market narrative. To them nothing else mattered other than the virtues of making money, and Trump delivered on his promise to them. He passed a tax reform law that punished liberal states by taking away many of the tax deductions they enjoyed and rewarded real estate developers like himself with new tax saving incentives. This is transactional narcissism at itâ€™s best with the added bonus of punishing his enemies, half of the American people. He lowered corporate tax rates and, just like a thug ignoring established rules, he intimidated the Fed into lowering interest rates. Today with low unemployment and a stock market that has gone up more than 10,000 points, Trump by virtue of his adolescent economic policies has ensnared a far greater segment of the US population into his net of insolence.
Today, as the Democrats continue to pursue the noble virtues of enforcing the law of the land, they continue to miss the big picture, the one that is blinking in bright neon lights 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and itâ€™s blinking the words â€śOnly Money Matters.â€ť They still think that they can offset the appeal of money and a good economy by exalting the virtues of decency and responsible citizenship. To an increasing number of people the idea that Trump broke laws no longer wins against the argument that â€śmy stock portfolio has doubled in value since he became president.â€ť Money has subversed virtue. The so-called swing voter who was on the fence on the morality issue with Trump is no longer there. He has fallen into the Trump camp fully intoxicated with the spoils of the free market. He had overcome the moral conundrum of right and wrong. Today, more and more American believe that their net worth is far more important than their moral worth. It is a place of depraved decay for which we will all pay a high price. It is also a place where the Trump administration is hard at work luring more Americans into its dark and evil web that will surely affect the outcome of the 2020 election. Today the Trump Administration is preparing to roll out another tax cut. This one will target the middle class and will probably be passed into law as early as when the Senate exonerates him, but no later than a few weeks after the Democrats pick their presidential nominee.
While the Democrats proclaim to be progressive politicians, they havenâ€™t progressed beyond traditional remedies for problems that are existential in nature. Yes, Trump is an existential threat to democracy and that means the Democrats must look beyond the impeachment, call it a distraction, and find different tactics to save the republic. What will matter in this election is money, and if the democrats are going to have a chance at the presidency in 2020, they must hit Trump and the GOP where it counts. This is not an issue of which candidate raises the most funds for the presidential campaign. Trump will win that competition hands down. The Democrats will not win on moral appeal alone. What they need to do is to start thinking in structural terms in order to pull this existential threat to democracy from its roots. They must think of the economy. No Republican or swing voter is going to vote for a democrat who will surely roll back Â tax cuts and introduce new taxes and regulations that will bring an end to a record bull market. The majority of voters who have a reasonable net worth or those who are approaching retirement and have concerns about their 401K are not going to vote for either Sanders or Warren. These are the two candidates who know what structural reforms the capitalist system needs, and Trump knows exactly how to spread fear about them being in power.
The stock market gave legitimacy to Trump and it must be the stock market that takes that legitimacy away. I will argue that if democracy is going to be saved, then the Democrats must do everything in their power to cause the stock market to collapse. It is long overdue for a correction, and the Democrats must see to it that the correction happens before the 2020 elections. They, of course donâ€™t have the power to do that themselves, but they can call on their liberal Billionaire investor friends to begin to systemically short all markets beginning in the summer of 2020. Yes, it might be immoral or even illegal, but illegal and immoral, thanks to Donald J. Trump have been legitimized, optimized, monetized and glorified. These are desperate times, and desperate times call for desperate measures. Remember the bright neon sign shining on the hill. If we want other things to matter, then money is the narcotic that preventing those other things, including the US Constitution from mattering.
This will be the ultimate test of Progressive values under this historic existential threat. It will test the likes of George Soros and Jeff Bezos and the thousand other CEOs and hedge fund managers who claim to be Progressives. I doubt that this level of courage even exists anymore, but it is what has become necessary. What the Democrats and their supporters must understand is that this is no longer a fight between the left and the right side of the political spectrum. It is a fight for the very soul of democracy without which no stock markets and no amount of money matter.