Within the landslide of inanity, insanity, and alternative facts that has gushed from the Trump administration thus far, one true statement has miraculously emerged.
This was when the Minister of Misinformation said that Trump would renege on his campaign promise to release his tax returns because “people don’t care.”
And she is correct. Most Americans don’t give a damn about Trump’s taxes, nor do they care that he is breaking his word. Hey, most Trumpkins don’t even see it as the tiniest bit problematic that the president has myriad conflicts of interest and doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution and that pesky Emoluments Clause.
So it’s clear that Americans are just fine with the executive brand functioning as a get-rich-quick scheme for a select few. Hey, I wouldn’t be surprised if shilling for the Trump brand becomes an overt job duty for administration officials... wait, what? Oh, that has already happened.
This is plutocracy, where the ruling class derives its power from its wealth, with no regard for what’s best for the nation.
But wait a second. I thought we were heading into neo-fascism. That’s where a horde of grotesque political movements — ultranationalism, populism, anti-immigration sentiments, nativism, xenophobia, and so on — coalesce into a situation where an unpredictable strong man runs roughshod over liberal democracy. Good thing, then, that Trump has nothing but respect for our system of checks and balances, such as his adoration for our judicial system... yup. So maybe this is a more accurate indicator of our national predicament.
Now, you might ask, “But what about all this Orwellian nightmare stuff I keep hearing about? Isn’t that what’s going on now?”
Well, it’s true that Trump and his flunkies have mastered doublespeak. For example, they can claim massive voter fraud (despite a complete lack of evidence), while simultaneously insisting Russian hacking is a myth (despite an overwhelming amount of evidence). Hell, they can insist the sun was shining when we know it was raining.
By the way, the president insists that “he has ‘solved’ Latinos’ fears of being under attack by his administration.” That, my friends, is impressive 1984 jamming.
Of course, it’s also possible that we are also living in an autocracy, which is a system of government where one person rules with absolute power.
As some commentators have pointed out, “Trump will try hard during his presidency to create an atmosphere of personal munificence, in which graft does not matter, because rules and institutions do not matter.” And this approach “will create personal constituencies, and implicate other people in his corruption. That, over time, is what truly subverts the institutions of democracy and the rule of law.”
More bluntly, America has handed “power to a man who has spent his whole adult life trying to build a cult of personality around himself,” and that “everything we know suggests that we’re entering an era of epic corruption and contempt for the rule of law, with no restraint whatsoever.”
OK, that’s pretty grim. So let’s try another direction. Maybe all this is just America’s flirtation with kakocracy. You know, that’s rule by the absolute worst.
If so, it will not end well. Many commentators believe that with this group of reckless clowns, impeachment or removal of the president under the 25th Amendment are real possibilities. But even if that happens, Trump “will do much more damage before he departs the scene, to become a subject of horrified wonder in our grandchildren’s history books.”
And even some conservatives are saying that Trump’s presidency “will probably end in calamity — substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars.”
At that point, we will enter a whole new dystopia — maybe even one that doesn’t have a name yet.