Michael Maiello's picture

    The Revolution of the 1%

    I know that I'm supposed to fear that the political ascendancy of Donald Trump is just evidence of our society sliding, like Weimar Germany, into unrepentant fascism, but I still think his campaign is a lot of fun because he is a very powerful man bent on speaking truth to power.

    Take, for example, his "sorry, not sorry," apology to Republican power brokers:

    "Look, I understand what they're going through. I wasn't supposed to be here. I was a member of the establishment seven months ago," Trump said. "I’m not supposed to be doing this. You see I’m supposed to be on the other side writing checks and having people do whatever I want, puppets, like puppets."

    Yes, the Republicans who are now angry at their own core supporters for supporting the impossible candidate were, seven months ago, more than happy to cash the guys checks. They enjoyed throwing a party with Trump paying the tab,  Now Trump can enjoy pointing out that were he not in the race, he would probably have been behind the scenes, buying the loyalty of whoever seemed likely to win and, perhaps, even stacking the deck in order to choose the likely victor.

    It has to be tough to be a Trump opponent on the right.  He's great on TV.  Most of the people in public office running against him or speaking against him have asked him for money in the past (or taken money from him) and many of the surrogates who have attacked him have asked him for jobs, somewhat recently.

    That the Republican establishment (such as it is) has even floated the idea of a brokered convention that would deny Trump the nomination even if he wins a plurality of the primary votes just serves the Trump story.

    This is the rebellion of the 1%. Trump is tired of playing behind the scenes, he doesn't like being told to shut up and he hates it when he thinks people are looking down on him.  It's a petulant, childish free for all, but it's also quite revealing about how politics works.



    Thank you for putting this into the right words for me, this gets a +1000 from me.

    This man is fascinating to me, Mike!


    Rachel feels that Donald is too too lazy to really reach this political height.

    But I believe that Donald has no idea what he is reaching for.

    Not that Cruz or Marco or a BUNCH of these idiots understand the prize they are all groping for. hahahhaahha

    Supposedly Donald has lost all these financial contacts per his own mouth. 

    But I could care less about the leaders at this point.

    IT IS THE CONSTITUENT that scares the hell out of me!




    Supposedly Donald has lost all these financial contacts per his own mouth. 

    The problem at his level of wealth, even if he overstates it serially, is that he can't really lose enough to feel a sting.

    You certainly have more than a point Mike.

    Just please, please put your goddAMN shirt back on.

    I mean I still like girls; at least I hope so...


    Mutatis mutandi Trump reminds me of Huey Long: smart mouth, many ideas that actually make sense, shameless pandering to Joe Lunchpail .Trump's disgraceful attempt to imply  pervasive disloyalty by US  Muslims is analogous  to Long's  shifting   allegiance from FDR to Fr..Coughlin.

    Irresponsible over simplifiers almost always do well during Recessions when the poor ( understandably) are  searching for a target for their unfocussed hate. The fun of watching Trump infuriate the Establishment is more than offset by the damage-potential of his calculated attempt to rise to power by stirring up inter group hatred.


    Flavius, I kept thinking of Huey too. Unlike Caughlin, Huey wished for real power.

    Still, I am more afraid of Cruz.

    If Cruz gets any stronger I am going to sue for his birth certificate. ha

    I wonder if there's a certain personality type-probably there's a  better term- which Trump and Huey fit into.

    This is an obscure reference but indulge me. Boston in the  40s and  50s was home to a renegade Jesuit called Father  Feeney. He was vitriolic in his treatment  of all non Catholics. The official position of the Church was that he should shut up - which he didn't.

    Of course there've been other Catholics whom the Church tried to shut up -like the Berrigans in the 60s - whom liberal Catholics supported. In the case of Fr. Feeney they were in a cleft stick. Simple opposition to censorship were grounds for sympathy but his opposition to any and all  things  non Catholic was particularly detestable since , like Father Coughlin's it included anti semitism.

    He held forth in the Boston Commons and  I once listened for 15 minutes. There'd  been a lightening strike which hit the church of a locally well known Protestant  vicar Feeney commemorated it in this way

    Hickory, Vicarry Peck

    His steeple fell down on his neck

    But Saint Paul Revere

    Will Pray for you dear .


            which had a certain appeal  for Catholics whose parents still remembered the signs   saying 'No Irish Should Apply".And was still around in the tasteless joke that the Vatican had just installed the 22nd John.

    The phrase" The devil has all the good tunes" fits rogues like Coughlin, Long , Feeney and , Trump., (And Bill Buckley at times).If you deny they're clever , you'll lose your audience .So admit it , then treat their nonsense seriously..

    It is interesting.  I do find demagogues fascinating.  I think it's their lack of embarrassment that most gets me.

    Boston's James Michael Curley- first elected Alderman in jail- titled his autobiography" I'd do it again"

    I always think of Trump as a combination of Willie Stark, the character from "All the King's Men" based on Huey Long, and Lonesome Rhodes, the Andy Griffith character from "A Face in the Crowd."  Trump just replaced the Southern drawl with a New York accent.



    I do not see it as a revolution of the one percent but as a clear manifestation of a one percent-er who is a would-be emperor whose clever act is to go naked in public. But, for would be emperors; Little man, little prick; big man, all prick is a fair descriptor.

    I have had my share of laughs at Trump the Thunderbigot and expect to have many more.  A significant part of his shtick is comedy that could be played out by reading from a stack of right-wing bumper stickers and making faces as he did so, much like Letterman’s Top Ten nightly routines. But the comedian is not the joke. The fact that so many take his shtick seriously does in fact say something significant about our country, IMO. I would not be surprised to see his followers adapt a symbolic salute or gesture [I first made the ironic error of writing “jesture”] of some sort that would let them say everything about themselves and their beliefs as applied to Trump but which would be used reflexively and not stimulate any reflective thought at all while strengthening the animal-pack psychological response to what they see as a strong leader at a time when they think his type of leadership is needed.

    So, what does “Fascism” mean today and what’s in a name? Sometimes a lot and sometimes different things to different people. Names can either  identify or misidentify the object they are attached to. A friend who was like me an agnostic who would bet that atheists are correct was very serious about a woman who was a strongly committed Christian. When they discussed their beliefs she would say that he was a Christian because of his values and that he was a Christian was very important to her. She insisted that because his values were so much the same as those of a good Christian, as she saw it, that he was one even if he rejected the name. She was correct in identifying his nature but wrong about him being a Christian. He did not believe in a deity and did not accept Jesus as his savior so he certainly wasn’t a Christian.  At some points in time in some places that might have been sufficient cause for him to be tortured or killed by people who certainly were Christians.  For a people to call themselves “Muslim” is enough for many Christians to justify killing them right now.  Some would call that one of the defining characteristics of Fascism.

    A definition of Fascism is always somewhat ambiguous and most attempts to define it in its modern usage go to the nature of fascistic beliefs in relation to those who originally openly pushed those beliefs as a political ideology and named that ideology Fascism. Nobody in America, or at least damned few, today calls themselves either Fascist or fascistic. “Fascist” is now almost universally a cuss word when leveled at a person or group but it was once a name that millions proudly called themselves. The inclinations in human nature that led entire countries to openly embrace fascism and the characteristics that the word identifies have not evolved out of our nature. In somewhat of a reversal of my friend’s situation, people or groups can deny and ignore the faults of their actual nature even to themselves by denying that they are fascist and in a sense they are correct in the denial so long as they do not accept the name “Fascist”. By calling themselves “Christians”, for instance, they can claim characteristics that are diametrically opposed to their true nature or at least to the nature of the governmental choices they wish to see prevail so as to stay comfortably on top, or maybe just to get there, even though it requires crushing others.  Jesus would have kicked out their stained-glass windows.

    A majority of voters in the South once called themselves “Democrats”. Their politics did not change overnight but in that case they changed their name overnight to one which more closely aligned with how they really believed. We will never have a Fascist party in the USA but we might have a fascist party right now or at least one headed more in that direction. Actually, we may have two.  

    Neocons have been a tremendous force in our government for quite a while now. To the extent that “Neoconism” can be described as an ideology that follows the philosophical teachings of Strauss they probably are not fascists, there being several significant differences in what the espouse, but they have ideas that would certainly appeal to a person who made a studied choice to embrace fascism by name as many once did. By being followers of Strauss neocons acknowledge that they have given themselves both the “‘right” and the obligation to lie for manipulative purposes and then call themselves noble for doing so. Many of their lies are cogs in a machine that pushes things that fascists would vote for. The neocons are at least honest enough, some of them, to come back and reclaim the name after a few years of it being a bit of an embarrassment when it should be considered as much a slur as is the word fascist.

    If we define fascism as did Dr. Lawrence Britt  or maybe Umberto Eco, then I see our country as quite fascistic in its actions beyond its shores and containing a very large and scarily growing element of fascistic thought within its borders. And so I also see Trump as funny and I do laugh at him but while doing so I do not want to let myself ignore the fact that his popularity does in fact signify a more open acceptance of fascism at least in the way I would define it.  So, call it what you will, but being voters in system called a democracy, if we the people are the water so are we a part the wave, whether we want to be or not. The modern fascist just needs a cool name that everyone can embrace and feel good about. Here is one, how about “Exceptional”?

    This is not meant in any way to diss your blog, Michael, but is just thinking with my fingers. It is more of a long ramble than I expected when I began and more disjointed than I would hope but what the hell, it is snowing outside so I might as well sit in cool comfort at my keyboard and rant away, stopping occasionally along the way for a cup of coffee and a chuckle about global warming.




    This link to Britt disappeared with a clock. 


    Thanks for the link.  By the list we have been flirting with it for a couple of decades. 

    Momoe, I am always glad when you pay attention to something I write. Thanks. Hope it wasn't depressing. If it was then stay away from the Republican debate tonight if you still can. 

    This is fascinating, Lulu.  Thanks for it.

    Thanks Michael. Your comment made me swell a little and go back and read mine again. In the first paragraph I see that I screwed up an old saying that I meant to repeat. I meant to say: Big man, big prick; little man, all prick. Trump comes off to me as a little man, metaphorically, who is being successful by convincing a bunch of idiots that he can march through the world leaving three tracks. I really get disgusted. 

    Latest Comments