In a recent New Rules segment, HBO’s Bill Maher went on a rant about Trump Fatigue. Maher coined this phrase to represent the idea that people are fed up with Trump and it is this fatigue that will lead the Democrats to victory in 2020. Sigh. No substance, no policy, just Orange Man Bad. Democrats, take heed: Vote Blue No Matter Who and Orange Man Bad are not effective campaign slogans. I want to delve into Maher’s rant and explain why I think he is wrong.
The setup for the Trump Fatigue line was a comparison between the ratings that the President drew for an interview as compared with some game show. Not a good start, but then it got worse. Quote Maher
Fatigue is the best thing we’ve got going for us [Democrats]. The majority of Americans aren’t tired of ‘winning’, they’re tired of looking at his fat f*cking face
In a strange irony, Maher is actually right in terms of fatigue being the best thing the Corporate Democrats have going for them. They sure as hell have no policies so they have to go with ‘aren’t you tired of this impolite and bigoted orange bully?’. This is a terrible approach to election campaigning. People do not wish to be told what (or who) you oppose, they want to know what you are going to do for them! Maher’s strategy (which many Corporate Democrats mirror – see John Delaney and others) is to essentially continue the status quo (with maybe some very minor reforms) as if Trump is the problem. If you remove Trump then everything returns to normal. Out of touch, elitist w*nkers.
Maher’s Elitism and Dig at The Left
Maher continued with this gem
The voters that Democrats need to win: moderates who have Trump fatigue will vote against the good economy I think just to get back to normalcy. But they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism
76% of Americans live paycheque to paycheque. Half of American workers make $30,000 a year or less. Wages have been stagnant for nearly forty years! What good economy? The ‘good economy’ to which he refers is the unemployment rate (under 4%) and the stock market. Those figures are deeply misleading, since unemployment does not measure the type of jobs being taken, nor does it take into account those who have stopped looking. In addition, the stock market is only an indicator of how the shareholder class are doing. This is not a useful indicator for the wider economy. In other words, Bill Maher and his cocktail circuit friends are doing just fine.
As for getting back to normalcy, this was a term coined in 1920 by Republican Presidential candidate Warren G Harding, and it referenced a return to life as it had been prior to the Great War. Intentional or otherwise, in Maher’s comparison, Trump is the equivalent of WW1. You may think that a stretch, but Maher, as a history major, is informed enough to know the full context for that line.
Maher’s dig at ‘left-wing extremism’ is a reference to the policies that are now popular among the Democratic base (and even, in many cases, the wider electorate). He went on to say that to implement policies ‘you have to get elected first’. What he does not know, or willingly ignores, is the fact that, in a democracy, advocacy of popular policies gets you elected! It is remarkable how conservative this once liberal firebrand has become.
Maher’s Election ‘Analysis’
The crap continues
This election is about two things: fatigue and fear. We have fatigue, he [Trump] has fear: fear of socialism, fear of open borders, fear of getting rid of private health insurance, fear of higher taxes. He’s running on ‘the communists are coming! Sh*t yourself!’ We should run on ‘elect me and we can stop talking about him!’ All the Democrats have to do to win is come off less crazy than Trump!
These alleged ‘fears’ are all nonsense. Which of the Democrats has said an-ny-thing about socialism? Bernie calls himself a Democratic Socialist, but the order of the words there is important – Democracy first. Open borders? Once again, none of the Democrats said that! Maher is quite literally reading GOP talking points! As for getting rid of private health insurance (another Republican talking point), what Medicare4All actually does (and Sanders would know since he wrote the damn bill) is allow for supplemental private care to cover elective procedures. So no, private health insurance is not vanishing entirely. Fear of higher taxes is next. Sanders does plan to forgive student loan debt through a speculation tax on wall st. Extreme behaviour, is it not, Bill? Taxing wall st to forgive the debt of the majority?
Perhaps the greatest crime here is the last line: to win, all the Democrats have to do is come off less crazy than Trump. As I said above, no policy, no substance just ‘we are not him’. One of the reasons Mrs Clinton lost in 2016 was that she came across as entitled to the Presidency, as though the election were a mere formality. Trump was obviously such a clown that her victory was a foregone conclusion. This arrogance led to the election blowing up in her face. Learn from history or repeat it.
Maher and the ‘Unserious People’
Maher then accuses the Democrats whose policies lean more to the left of being ‘unserious’. Sanders and Warren have the simple intention of having America catch up to the rest of the developed world in having a single-payer healthcare system, to end the wars and the rest of their popular policies. It is, in no small irony, Maher himself who is unserious. He is violating the first rule of politics: do not abandon your base.
Speaking of the base, Maher then adds this gem
I’m sick of hearing how Democrats need to ‘excite the base’ – TRUMP EXCITES THE BASE!
Indeed – the Republican base. He is a constant source of red meat for those poor, dumb manipulated bastards as Keith Olbermann once said. But while Trump may inspire those poor rubes to vote for him, the policy-driven Democratic base is not excited to simply Vote Blue No Matter Who because Orange Man Bad. Trump might excite contempt and hatred from the elites because he rips the mask off, but the Democratic base wants to vote for policies. The last election demonstrated what happens when politicians take their base for granted. Hint.
Conclusion: Policy over Politics
It is a fact that the policies of the progressive left are popular with the electorate. The Democrats can run on them and win, or they can run another corporatist PC outrage campaign and hand this dangerous criminal another four years of power. The choice is theirs.
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