The Enablers of Trump’s Rise to Power

Presently it is very likely that Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican Party. Joe Biden will represent the Democrats as the DNC had refused to groom over the last four years or so a much more appealing candidate. This blunder is just one in a series of even more significant failures of past democratic presidents and their powerful associates to avoid the rise of Mr. Trump and his cultish appointees.

While it is very easy, based on documents, to declare Mr. Trump to be a neo-fascist and/or a criminal, historical events indicate that the Democratic Party failed over the last five decades to protect and support, and then expand, the middle class. DP presidents accomplished occasionally some improvements that benefitted workers; however, only token changes were attempted in key areas. Overall, the goals were and are to look good in the public eye without upsetting the elites in the economic and financial sectors.

As a result, large blocks of blue-collar white workers and disenfranchised low-income employees were and are voting for Mr. Trump. Quite surprisingly, Mr. Trump managed to attract evangelists and college-educated conservatives as well.

How did such abysmal changes happen? One has to recall the Lewis Powell Memo of 1971 that had triggered a major shift by large corporations from producing affordable and useful goods towards policies of excessive market control and profit maximization. The other major change was the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in 2010 legalizing political bribery. Effectively right-wing billionaires could block anything most Americans wanted to see implemented, eg, basic health care, public education, living wages, job security, and affordable housing. Clearly, enormous money accumulation begets power which yields influence. Practically, the new money-power-influence (MPI) class became very active in banishing unions, buying off politicians and judges, manipulating the media, and using their endowments to direct policies at think tanks and universities. New laws and policies were introduced with the assistance of lobbyists to achieve deregulation and major tax cuts. Audit firms failed to prevent every major financial crisis of the last 40 years and the IRS was underfunded to avert collecting huge revenues from the very rich. Other money-generators were private equity firms and hedge funds. Under the disguise of improving ailing companies, they acquired such companies and managed to accumulate real wealth for a few by dismissing workers, cutting services, and reducing product quality. The new era of neo-economics had descended.

A wide public acceptance of the new MPI class and their actions was attained via propaganda emanating from think tanks and manipulated media. Instead of fighting the new class of MPIs and the drawbacks of globalization and neo-capitalism, top Democrats embraced the rich and famous to be part of the elite, to attract donations, and to collect kudos. As a result, the establishment of the Democratic Party stopped serving the common good, leaving room for investment firms and companies to privatize key sections of the public domain for profit, ranging from military weapons production/distribution, health care, the housing market, the prison system, and education. In order to gain high monetary returns from such privatized entities, the work force had to be reduced, services cut, and enrollments increased. New corporate-favored laws and deregulations as well as immunity of large corporations in case of their meltdowns solidified the new developments.

For example, the military-industrial-congressional complex, under the umbrella of “national security” is annually close to a one-trillion-dollar enterprise. Such amazing multi-departmental expenditures are justified by propagating fear of foreign aggressions and the necessity to maintain or regain the global Number One status in all economic, military and public categories. As a result, major arms contractors greatly influence foreign policies; constantly pushing for wars and conflicts. Expenditures for the broader health care system comes in second for two main reasons. The obvious one is the refusal to introduce universal health care. The second one is the lack of payback to the public from pharmaceutical (and high-tech) companies which sell costly drugs (and devices) that were initially invented and developed with taxpayers money at universities and departments of the U.S. government. At the end, taxpayers and consumers foot the bills generated by those who game the system and hence contribute to the wacky income inequality between CEO and the average of wages workers of their company.

So, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that those suffering from economic hardships and miserable working conditions voted in 2016 for an entertaining celebrity who had promised to return the country back to greater times. While President Trump’s four years in office proved that he is a con-artist when dealing with domestic issues and an embarrassment on the international stage, he still has a chance to beat Biden this November. Why? Because none of the fundamental goals of the working class, eg, universal health care, affordable housing, free education, living wages and job security, have been addressed  —  let alone reached.

And why are college-educated conservatives potential voters for Mr. Trump? They feel that the Democrats are mishandling cultural issues, foreign affairs, and immigration. They still worry about an ever-increasing national debt and possible taxation of the wealthy. In order to justify the support of a dubious character like Mr. Trump, they have to dismiss all criminal charges as being unfair or not worse than misdeeds of predecessors. And those evangelists who support Mr. Trump? They should take time out and reread Christian scripture on what is right and what is wrong.

Will there be by November 2024 an alert and knowledgeable citizenry who will save us from new disasters?

Clement Kleinstreuer is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University. Read other articles by Clement.