Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen years

Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen years, by Edward Luttwark. Well it’s possible I suppose. More interesting are Luttwark’s insights into the impact of the decline in real wages

… the major cause of last November’s electoral outcome has remained mostly unexplored, even un­discovered. That is not due to intellectual laziness, but rather reflects the refusal of almost all commentators to contend with the political economy that determined the outcome of the election.

Long-term processes of income redistribution from working people to everyone else, non-working welfare recipients as well as the very rich, had been evident for at least two decades. (I explored the phenomenon in my book The Endangered American Dream, 1993.) Those changes called for a painful party realignment (which would have cost the Democrats their ample Wall Street funding) that never happened — not even when Bernie Sanders arrived to be its instrument. The Democratic Party officials and leading lights of the media elite who helped to deny the nomination to Sanders, and thus very likely the White House, understandably have a guilty conscience, because they truly did everything possible to stop him …

As it was, of course, the victory of the Democratic establishment merely ensured the victory of the only Sanders counterpart on the Repub­lican side with whom Sanders differed sharply on almost everything — except for the only thing that really mattered to both: the urgent need to mobilize government policies to increase American jobs and wages, in firm opposition to all the competing international and planetary priorities continuously proffered by elite Americans and their core institutions, along with Pope Francis and other leading figures.

In the dramatic crescendo of the 2016 elections that gave Trump to the United States and the world, very possibly for sixteen years (the President’s re-election committee is already hard at work, while his daughter Ivanka Trump is duly apprenticed in the White House that, according to my sources, she means to occupy as America’s first female President), none of the countless campaign reporters and commentators is on record as having noticed the car “affordability” statistics distributed in June 2016 via http://www.thecarconnection.com.

Derived from very reliable Federal Reserve data, they depicted the awful predicament of almost half of all American households. Had journalists studied the numbers and pondered even briefly their implications, they could have determined a priori that only two candidates could win the Presidential election — Sanders and Trump — because none of the others even recognized that there was problem if median American households had been impoverished to the point that they could no longer afford a new car.

Instead of recognizing that the political implications of the income redistribution of globalized capitalism made Sanders and Trump the only two valid candidates, the leading commentators did the very opposite: they asserted in tones of unassailable certainty that both men were irremediably unelectable. That was, admittedly, a perfectly reasonable conclusion, given that neither happened to have a party to support them, which was then still considered the presumed prerequisite of electoral victories. And it was also true enough that Sanders could not hope for party support because of the professional contempt of with-it Democratic officials for the ageing socialist, who stubbornly failed to recognize the absolute centrality of identity politics in the third millennium, and who therefore persisted in talking of rich and poor, instead of African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Aleuts, Asian-Americans, LGBT Americans, even white ones, if quietly.

That rejection was perfectly matched by the class contempt of respectable Republicans for the ageing Don Juan with his hopelessly vulgar blue-collar tastes, in everything from his hairstyle to his food. …

… Clinton did not understand in what country she was running for election: not one populated by black women (they dominated her convention), environmental activists, patriotic Muslims, vegans, committed free-traders and social engineers, but chiefly a country of car owners and bitterly frustrated would-be new car owners, a far better categorization than Clinton’s own “deplorables”. …

Why new cars are now out of reach for most Americans:

The mass exclusion of Americans from new car ownership is the result of two converging phenomena, only one of which was recognized by Hillary Clinton, though scarcely emphasized in her identity-focused campaign: wage stag­nation. …

It was the other phenomenon, the other blade of the scissors that cut off the possibility of new car ownership for more and more Americans that Trump squarely attacked as Sanders did not and could not: the regulatory regime that has been relentlessly forcing up new car prices from the 1977 average of $4,317, equivalent to $17,544 in 2016, to an actual average price today that exceeds $30,000. Those regulations prescribe that American cars must be very, very safe, and steadily more demanding safety requirements have been forcing up manufacturing costs: the latest addition is the provision of rear-view cameras in all cars that will be mandatory in 2018, the result of an Obama decree prompted by the campaign started by a wealthy driver who had suffered the tragedy of killing his own young daughter while reversing. Because of his suffering, and his energetic lobbying, and because of Barack Obama’s enthusiasm for promulgating more regulatory decrees, in 2018 the additional cost of those rear-view cameras – only a few hundred dollars – will deprive thousands more households of the chance to buy a new car. …

Also costly are the ever-more stringent fuel conservation norms and pollution restrictions that mandate pricy engine ancillaries, and that strongly favour inherently more expensive hybrid cars, as well as drastically more expensive all-electric cars.