Election 2020: Trump Tropes

Trump and company would have us ponder two fallacies in next week’s Republican ‘whatever’:

  1. Trump is ‘good for business.’

To dissuade GOP regulars that they have not sold their party to Trump, the President will intone typical incumbent-speak: ‘you elected me, I delivered on promises made, and the stock market has recovered under my watch.’ And then will come the partisan smears with Trump’s signature sadism.

The Trump Tropes — ‘good for business’ and ‘defender of law and order’ — are revelatory in their insidious-ness. Expect the Republican traditional “what we stand for” chorus.

Let’s unpack them.

I

‘Good for business’

Translation: Trump is “good” for business privilege and profiteers’ interference in governing. And so he complains with the Republican rank and file about “big government,” just not HIS “big government.” Republicans bought in to thie big government fallacy post-Reagan. Trump is just adding his name like he does to other people’s real estate assets.

Bankruptcy in America, something Trump can claim to be an expert at filing for, carries a heavy social cost which is what we find when we drill down our collective balance sheets. Yes, people fail at things: that’s the idea behind bankruptcy protection. But the social cost is what we ALL share — the unemployed, the destitute, the evicted and dislocated — collateral damage to business re-organization. If you happen to be an “unsecured creditor,” life is not pretty post-bankruptcy filing.

When we have multiple bankruptcies and repetitive attempts to defraud, we say, ‘whoa, wait a minute, let’s tell government to step in and prevent future occurrences,’ we have… yes, “big government” on the wrong side of our profit statement. We have regulations. We have Sherman Anti-Trust and Dodd-Frank. These are not “unintended consequences.” This is responsible social policy. A proficient civics high school student can tell you that.

II

Be prepared to see a lot of so-called business owners testify as to how their business has thrived during the last 4 years at next week’s Republican Party Convention. And how COVID 19 White House “governing” helped their businesses “make a difference.” Think Boeing making PPE.

And stock market performance under Trump? We’ll get that, too. No head scratcher here: the stock market was doing well under Hoover aka “Roaring Twenties,” until over-speculation, relentless unemployment and an evaporating credit market created a panicky sell-off. Instant Hoovervilles aka “shantytowns.” The stock market, last I looked, is 1) not a government institution and 2) has many wagging tongues, mostly traders and their colleagues. Not exactly social, economic policy or humanitarian “experts.”

Data show that the US economy can be summed up at this moment as being in “hiatus mode” with the marginalized feeling the pain of marginalization on steroids. Think “Make America Poor Again.”

The major fallacy of adopting ‘Trump is good for business,’ is to echo ‘what’s good for business is good for the country.’ (1) Saying it, doesn’t make it so.

Trump Trope number one.

III

“The only candidate who defends law and order.”

Republicans have consistently and unsuccessfully peddled this bromide over the past three generations, as long as current residents can remember (2).

Democrats exhibit their public safety governing on paper with institutional change in check. Think Obama’s 2016 consent decree. Republicans by contrast exhibit their public safety governing by fiat at the end of a gun barrel. Think NRA and 2nd Amendment hokum. Yes, there are exceptions. There are always “exceptions” to a non-argument.

This is why owning “law and order” is like threatening the listener with un-asked-for ambiguity, fueled by living daily in divergent social landscapes.

The second dimension of this fallacy is that “law and order” begs the question, who’s reporting, who’s talking? As we embark on social media segmentation, multiple voices have access to minds and voices. Yet, at the end of the day, we ALL are supposed to look out our windows and see chaos through the SAME eyes. The “law and order” fallacy is the nonsense of the solipsistic con: ‘it happened to me, it can(will) happen to you.’

Trump trope number two.

August 20–22, 2020

1- “What’s good for GM is good for the country,” Charles E. Wilson, Chairman of General Motors and Secretary of Defense under Eisenhower, 1953–1957

2- The first recent use of “law and order” as a political strategy/slogan originated with Barry Goldwater during the 1964 Presidential campaign. Apparently it didn’t work: Lyndon Johnson swamped Goldwater at the polls.

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