Trump’s election alarmed those who already had their antennae up for fascism and kakistocratic idiotic governing, it also awakened many slumbering people going about their business of being apathetic towards whether government even mattered. It even nudged some of the media to actually reexamine what their mission is in the world and move away from the muck of bothsidesism and horse race politics.
But not nearly fucking enough.
And when the people in power get really motivated to do long term damage to institutions and norms there’s damn few trusted voices to sound the klaxon and say “hey lookie over here! This ain’t right!”
So we all know about how Trump turned our elections on its head by not releasing taxes, or any legitimate medical information, ignoring all norms on conflicts of interest and making the emoluments clause and the 25th Amendment the most searched phrases on Google for months.
With no legislative victories the GOP is even more desperate to enact a tax bill that is a major boon for their donors at the expense of most of the country and potentially the entire economy. Only 1 of 42 economists thinks the GOP plan will help the economy.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is just the latest government agency designed to protect the citizenry, being twisted to protecting the foxes as they rampage through the henhouse. This derangement is fixable when sane people get control of government again, and should be stopped if at all possible, but some of the attacks on democracy and effective government are even more disturbing because they may not be easily reversible. Some even reinforce and entrench themselves so that they self-perpetuate anti-democratic norms.
Trump’s worst “accomplishment” should actually be credited to Mitch McConnell in installing a younger, less collegial Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch is no less of a conservative ideologue than his predecessor, and much more disliked, already. But they’ve rammed through the system and into the judiciary an entire array of new judges that are religio-conservative ideologues, at best, and completely unqualified at worst.
Conservatives have long seen the judiciary as the real trenches where laws are made and values are protected. Politics may move back and forth like a pendulum, but if you have the Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts you can continue to push a pro-corporate, anti-consumer, anti-worker, anti-democratic ideology that continues the societal inequality they believe is proper governance.
But they also figured out the lessons of Goebbels and Goering that whoever has control of the means of distribution of ideas and news can dominate a society, even though they are a minority. They can even get people to vote against their own best interest by being blinkered by bullshit. And though they have Fox News and talk radio they’ve sought to take control of more media outlets by consolidating ownership of media and buying up outlets. So conservative media moguls like Sinclair Broadcasting expand their propaganda into more and more markets. The Koch Brothers get into media by buying Time, Inc. The Trump administration tries to force a sale of CNN. No doubt if it comes to it, a conservative friendly buyer will emerge wearing sheep’s clothing, saying they have great respect for a democratic media.
Russian bot farms demented the 2016 election by infecting the internet with their agit-prop misinformation, but that wasn’t enough so now a full attack on net neutrality rules threatens to change the one truly democratic information distribution medium. It’s not even a slippers slope, if ISPs can control which sites can flow and how fast, and which can be buried, or just cost more, then we are irreparably fucked.
Combine that control over the dissemination of information and the ability to control the voting rolls and you can kiss the republic promised to us in 1776 goodbye.
No kidding, this is how a group of people who hold a viewpoint only accepted by and benefiting a few can dominate a society.