When I say we may have passed peak trumper, of course I know that it’s still early days for the Trump administration and he may get a second term. At the risk of being overpessimistic, it’s tough to beat incumbent presidents: maybe not as tough as beating incumbent congressmen, but still tough. Likewise the other big extreme right electoral win last year, Britain’s brexit, hasn’t even taken place yet (though the effects showing up so far are pretty much as the excoriated “experts” predicted).
So sure, in policy terms, the worst of the extreme right, alt-right, authoritarian right, nativist right or, to use the euphemism, “populist” right, is yet to happen. The corruption and vandalizing of our democratic institutions is just getting going. Yet, in electoral terms, it seems like the worst has passed. Trump won the GOP nomination and a big minority of the vote riding the same electoral wave that passed brexit, and before that put conservative conspiracy theorists in charge in Poland, and outright proto-fascists in charge of Hungary. Now it appears the fever broke even before it got to France, where a nativist FOP (Friend of Putin) ran a campaign indistinguishable from Trump except in the country she was going to make white, err, great, again.
In mid-October Hillary Clinton was ahead of Donald Trump by 11 points, as of this morning, 11/6/16, most of that lead had dissipated thanks to the latest batch of e-mails, which may have been inappropriately released, many of which may in fact be duplications. That gnawing question about Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness just won’t go away and with it the outcome of the election is no longer a given. Meanwhile the number of woman who have accused Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior has reached double digits. Serial adulterer Newt Gingrich harangued Meygn Kelly about her “obsession with sex” suggesting that her animosity towards Trump, founded on his poor behavior towards her during the presidential debates, impeded her ability to honestly cover his candidacy. Against this backdrop of tawdry and salacious news, Roger Ailes at Fox News is forced off the stage which has been the fountain of truth for America’s conservative rank and file for decades, and that as a result of his own sexual misconduct. Rudy Giuliani told us that Trump was a “genius” for not paying taxes for 18 years, leaving the rest of us to conclude that we’re just suckers.
If you’ve been watching Fox News it’s ironic to see Bill O’Reilly and Bret Baier have to swallow the reality of Trump as the conservative standard bearer even if he’s not even remotely close to being a genuine conservative. Barry Goldwater’s granddaughter, Carolyn Goldwater Ross, said that Trump violates all of her grandfather’s core values. Ironically Miss Ross made that statement while appearing onstage with Michelle Obama at a pro Clinton rally in Phoenix. Mr. O’Reilly went so far as to say that Trump was not “seasoned enough to understand the geopolitical world” while at the same time bemoaning “Clinton is too far to the left.” It’s safe to say that this acceptance of Trump is more a function of a deep seated disdain for all things progressive than it is for a true affinity for Trump himself. Fox News has apparently looked past Trump’s fact free messaging, his dishonest twisting of those facts that he does employ, his foreign policy ignorance and his baseless economic positions, apparently concluding that the election of Hillary Clinton would be the greater of two evils. Some have even suggested, sardonically, that we should return to being ruled by the British. I could go on with the examples but if you’ve been paying any attention to politics over the past year I think you get the point and that point is that this country is on the threshold of a very unsettling immediate future.