If HE hadn’t stepped off blasting away at America’s mainstream media and stable Federal agencies involved with all matters from environment to national security, HE and we might be fine, for BC believes he’s telling some truth these days. However, he has also had his indelible “Helsinki Moment” (above) and his regime (is that too strong a word?) may mirror known authoritarian governments integrated with their own state financial and political elites. The spectacle made by black clad troops herding nonviolent protesters from Lafayette Park (adjacent to the White House) may become a part of the memory of a liberal American generation for whom that kind of White House implemented thuggery — and show and tell with the Bible and Church photo-op — would seem to have been out of step with modern American political norms and values.
For Russia, the term, “A New Nobility” has come to refer to Soldatov and Borogan’s eponymous book.
For the United States with an Administration somewhat mirroring the authoritarianism and white nationalism associated with Moscow, one may wonder if collusion may not be found in aspects of convergence: how different does Trump’s Washington look from Putin’s Moscow?
Authoritarianism x White Christian Nationalism x Association with Criminals (for many onlookers, Russia remains the premier “Mafia State“); America’s Donald Trump, however, appears himself no stranger to less than noble personalities given the several felonious and jailed associates attached to his name. From Bayrock and Felix Sater to the Trump Towers “Laundromat” to impeachment in the House all the way to today’s surreal “Keep America Great” campaign theme, America’s enthusiasm and optimism for the “Drain the Swamp!” President may be waning.
By any sociological or financial measure, it’s good to be us. It’s even better to be our kids. In our health, family life, friendship networks, and level of education, not to mention money, we are crushing the competition below. But we do have a blind spot, and it is located right in the center of the mirror: We seem to be the last to notice just how rapidly we’ve morphed, or what we’ve morphed into.
The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children. We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy. Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club. But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.Stewart, Matthew. “The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy.” The Atlantic, June 2018.
Has the bottom layer of the upper crust, which may be quite Up There in fluff and light, the need for institutionalized nobility even if without title?
For the purposes of cultural and political stability, such a need may be functional, good, and open to entry across America’s colorful quilt, but one may question whether it needs chicanery in the process.
Several EU/NATO states have slid into anti-democratic authoritarian political management, albeit in different ways for different reasons. Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States have created cause for doubting the authenticity of democratic processes in their respective domains. While I’ve cherry picked the above links, one may evaluate each independently. With regard to the United States, Evan Osnos, writing for The New Yorker, notes the following:
The latest edition was published last week, and, as you might expect, it recorded the fourteenth straight year of deteriorating freedom around the world; sixty-four countries have lost liberties in the past year, while only thirty-seven registered improvements. (India, the world’s largest democracy, has seen some of the most alarming declines.) Its assessment of the United States is also disturbing. In 2009, the U.S. had a score of ninety-four, out of a hundred, which ranked it near the top, just behind Germany, Switzerland, and Estonia. In the decade since, it has slipped eight points; it now ranks behind Greece, Slovakia, and Mauritius. Looking at the United States, Freedom House analysts note the types of trends that they more customarily assign to fragile corners of the globe: “pressure on electoral integrity, judicial independence, and safeguards against corruption. Fierce rhetorical attacks on the press, the rule of law, and other pillars of democracy coming from American leaders, including the president himself.”Osnos, Evan. “Why Democracy Is On the Decline in the United States.” The New Yorker, March 10, 2020.
Osnos goes on to more broadly explain the decline of democracy in select states worldwide. For the United States, the broader view takes in Administrations prior to Trump’s.
Nonetheless, the political picture looks grim for Americans facing up to what increasingly looks like the necessity of casting a negative vote in the coming 2020 elections, i.e., voting for a so-so candidate in order to deny the incumbent a longer stay.
Threats posed by Beijing and Moscow to America’s governing principles and way of life should not be dismissed as somehow attached to Mr. Trump who has taken appropriate measures to deal with each, even if ineffectually. The sanctioning of some of Putin’s inner circle, for example, may not have the leveraging effects wanted given the ability to move money and persons around despite the reach of American power, but the status is visible worldwide and unflattering. With Beijing and jousting over trade, there may come the reminder that in a mutually pugnacious negotiation, one’s own side might lose — but that doesn’t make the other side’s position (in this context, Beijing’s) right. In addition to the large maneuvers the public cannot avoid, there are equally large issues involving communication signals and satellites that are more known to specialists than to the public at large.
Such issues will not go away with a Biden win in the coming election and may be exacerbated by it. What may recede are the authoritarian and malign narcissistic bullying, chaos, flailing, and lying — now imagined or real — associated with the incumbent President’s previous actions and current presence, reputation, and style.