Is it time to get serious about Trump? What to do?

For the most part, I avoid ever listening to Trump, reading news about him, or engaging in discussions about him.  After living through his Presidency and watching the catalog of his false or misleading claims reach a total 30,5731, I have not felt the need to add to my knowledge of what is obvious, he is a pathological fascist narcissist.

But a recent opinion piece in the NYTimes has changed my mind. Thomas Edsall provided a comprehensive review of professional opinions of Trump’s mental condition(s). “The Roots of Trump’s Rage2 is a tour through various diagnoses of deep psychopathies. There is a general note that his public behavior indicates a deepening rage. Here are a few of the descriptions:

  • racist
  • megalomaniac
  • narcissist
  • problems with disinhibition (impulsivity, failure to delay gratification, irresponsibility, etc.) 
  • aging malignant narcissist
  • grandiose narcissism plus poor impulse control.
  • cognitive deterioration
  • psychopaths are far more concerned with their own power than preserving truth, democracy, or even lives

Given the glacial progress on bringing him to trial and then off to jail, and the complete Trumpification of the Republican Party, the notion that he will appear on the ballot a year from now is present and truly horrifying. Remember,  74 million Americans voted for him in 2020 after having four years to observe his character and behavior.

Whatever your non-fascist political views may be, Libertarian, old-fashioned Republican, Democratic of any variety, or socialist, the threat of Trump’s return to the White House must be taken with great seriousness. He is talking out loud about how he would impose a dictatorship.

My problem now is what should I do to combat Trump and his fascist Republican supporters? Which horse to back?

Biden and the centrist Democrats are not exactly inspiring. In a country where “735 billionaires collectively hold more wealth (with a total of $4.5 trillion) than the bottom 50% of American households (with a total of $4.1 trillion)”3 and where the incomes of the bottom 50% of the population have only seen a 13% increase in real pay over 45 years, the Democrats seem still way too in the thrall and pockets of Wall St and corporate America. If the Democrats could speak a little truth about the vast enrichment of the rich and corporations while the rest of us just scraped by, they might find some traction.

One thing is for sure: we need to talk much more frequently and louder about the fact that the rich and corporations have been conducting class warfare for the last 50 years. They have won. The top 1% have won all of the battles. We need to point out how they used Libertarian-style thinking about free markets and small government to re-arrange the rules and transfer income and wealth to their pockets on a grand scale.

Earlier, I suggested some policy positions that would get at what really ails us:

(from $47 Trillion – the ripoff by the rich and corporations – in two charts – maybe a few more…..)

What to do?

Make the political system more democratic:

  • End anonymous money in politics.
  • Outlaw politicians taking money from corporations.
  • Publicly fund national and state-level elections.

Change corporate governance:

  • End anonymous shell corporations. Make the real owners and managers of every business immediately visible.
  • Put employees and taxpayers on the Board of Directors of public and private companies with sales of more than $100 million.
  • Change corporate management incentive packages to reward real value creation (products and services) not financial engineering. Promote value creation over value extraction.

Change government laws, regulations, and oversight:

  • Three strikes and you are dissolved. Impose the death sentence on corporations that repeatedly violate laws and regulations. Add penalties applied to senior managers for corporate criminality.
  • Break up the monopolies – any market where three or fewer corporations control more than 50% of sales is monopolized.
  • Get tough on corporations illegally harassing unions.
  • Institute a maximum compensation package for corporate managers, say $1 million.
  • Re-instate the separation between commercial banking and investment banking – bring back the Glass Steagal Act.
  • Regulate financial speculation, end high-frequency trading in stock and financial markets
  • End tax subsidies to corporations. Establish a minimum corporate tax.
  • End tax support and favoritism for financial extraction schemes like private equity, e.g. carried interest loophole.
  • Enforce US labor and environmental standards on products and services imported into the US.
  • Make labor conditions in factories around the world visible – live video feeds accessible via QR code links printed on all packaging. If people knew the conditions under which these blue jeans are produced, they might think otherwise about buying them.

I can already hear my real politik friends saying, “Oh, Mark, this is way too radical. Nothing will come of this.” Given our situation, moderation is not going to carry the day.

Combine our economic malaise with white supremacist thinking for a large segment of the US population, you have what appears to be very fertile ground for fascism.