Election 2020

Democratic Dystopias

Donald Trump's opponents are aping his apocalyptic style

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From his opening campaign declaration that "the American dream is dead," to his creatively capitalized warning just last month that "without strong Borders we don't have a Country," Donald Trump has proven again and again that an apocalyptic style works in contemporary American politics.

The president's 2020 challengers, alas, have followed Trump's lead.

"We are at an inflection point in in the history of our world," Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pronounced when kicking off her candidacy in January. "We are here because the American dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before."

Voters in the 1864 primaries might beg to differ, but that's not stopping the presidential primary field from serial declarations of catastrophe.

"Today, millions and millions and millions of American families are … struggling to survive in a system that has been rigged by the wealthy and the well-connected," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said last month when announcing her presidential bid. "Millions of families can barely breathe."

Imagine the tracheal stress if unemployment was above 4%!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been hurling paranoiac thunderbolts at the "oligarchy" for as long as he's been in politics. "We have created a system which is basically out of control," he lamented in February to CBS' John Dickerson, which is why "Now it's time to complete that revolution."

We have grown accustomed to politicians of both parties, especially those not in power, drastically overselling what Barack Obama (channeling Martin Luther King) was fond of calling the "fierce urgency of now" — calls to action that need immediate attention — usually in the form of voting for the politician sounding the alarm. Republicans heading into the 2016 election breathed a manic new energy into the tradition, beginning with Trump's first rant about Mexican "rapists," which set off a bidding war to see who could bring the most crazy to the visa-policy debate. (My favorite came from first generation Indian American Bobby Jindal: "Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.")

With his bottomless reservoir of hellscape hyperbole, Trump demonstrated daily that the apocalyptic style was a ticket in alienated America for leapfrogging more staid establishment politicians.

Those conservative intellectuals who didn't leap off the Trump train learned by the time of his nomination to love the hyperbole, including most notably in the Claremont Review of Books' "Flight 93 Election." That article, written under a pseudonym by Michael Anton, who later joined and then left the Trump administration, analogized a Hillary Clinton presidency to a plane hijacked by suicidal terrorists. "Charge the cockpit or you die," Anton counseled. "You may die anyway. … [But] if you don't try, death is certain."

Since every winning strategy in America's two-party political system ends up being copied by the losing side, the Democrats' march toward a paranoid dystopia should not surprise.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) has been amply rewarded in the media ecosystem for making casual suggestions that the president of the United States is working for another team. Fellow committee member Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) told Vanity Fair in January that "over the last six months, there has only been more evidence that the president has been acting on Russia's behalf."

And if early response to the Mueller report summary is any guide, don't expect much left-of-center walkback from the past two years of increasingly conspiratorial speculation about Trump/Russia.

Heading into 2020, we should expect more and louder howling into the wind, even from the most professionally upbeat 2020 Democrats.

"Society does not value work anymore," Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) warned in South Carolina on Saturday. "We have a real crisis in this country over financial stability."

Even Beto O'Rourke, in between countertop jumps and motivational rah-rah, is accessing the dark side. "The civil war in Syria, the wildfires in California — we literally are making it happen," the toothsome Texan said in New Hampshire last week. "And unless we act in the next 12 years … there will be a hell visited upon our kids and grandkids and the generations that follow."

Why do people talk like this? Because it speaks to our species. Humans are hardwired to believe that the sky will fall, no matter how much cleaner, healthier and richer our environs become over time. Our evolutionary parents and grandparents, after all, survived precisely because they suspected that that rattle in the bushes might well be a sabertooth tiger.

But the moral of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is not that there is no wolf, but rather that warnings should be saved for when the beast actually arrives. The president's apocalyptic fantasia is disreputable on its face, and leads to bad policies. Democrats should resist the temptation to emulate what they despise.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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  1. These campaign pronouncements of doom are categorically wrong. If anything, they UNDERSELL the precipice upon which we find ourselves, for if everyone does not wake up and understand that the upcoming presidential election is the single most important event of this world’s existence, we could find ourselves with MS-13 imposing Sharia Law on the country for the 12 years Earth has left until an under-regulated market pollutes us into oblivion for below a living wage.

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  2. “Society does not value work anymore,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) warned in South Carolina on Saturday. “We have a real crisis in this country over financial stability.”

    *** wrings hands ***

    If only *someone* would work toward achieving financial stability for the country!

  3. “We are here because the American dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before.”

    And in 1935, Adolf Hitler was warning people that the Jews were on the brink of being exterminated in Europe unless something were done to save them.

    I heard one of them the other day complaining about Trump being a threat to our institutions and our Constitution – this was somebody from the party that wants a “hate speech” exemption to the First and to abolish the Second, wants to re-apportion the Senate and abolish the Electoral College, favors socialism over capitalism, wants the government to nationalize industries and expropriate the wealth of the kulaks, and insists that everybody’s equal but that some people are more equal than others. And Trump is a threat to them getting their way. It’s all projection ith these folks.

    1. Don’t forget the Supreme Court packing thingy.

      1. Or the legislation to gut the 1st Amendment a few years ago.

  4. Yes a lot of candidates are talking in apocalyptic style, but not all are following that lead. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been talking about the future and giving his generation a chance to lead. Maybe age is the difference and we need to let young people who are not yet jaded take the lead.

    1. “we need to let young people who are not yet jaded take the lead.”

      You want a week-old baby to be president?

      1. Shit, I’m down to try it.

    2. The reason we wait until people are jaded to let them lead, is that the downside to them screwing up is enormous, so you want leaders who are old enough to have screwed up majorly at least once or twice when they were absolutely convinced that they were right. Who won’t just barge in absolutely blind to any indications that what they’re doing isn’t working, because they know in their guts that they can be wrong.

      That’s kind of what’s scary about the upcoming generation of Democrats: They’re absolutely convinced things are going to work that have failed miserably every time they’ve been tried. That they’re historically ignorant is the optimistic take on it. The less optimistic take is that they know it’s going to fail, and don’t care.

      1. I rather have a young person with goals, than a narcissist who doesn’t care. What about President Trump screwing up enormous because he trusts his gut and not what his advisors tell him. Young people sometimes succeed because they have not yet bought into the idea of failure. I like that.

        1. Stupid kids who don’t know history and want to do something that has already been done is a waste of everyone’s time.

          Socialism has been tried and failed over and over and over and over….

        2. I’d rather have a young person with goals in charge of things where failure isn’t a disaster for the whole country. If they succeed, great. If they fail, the damage is contained.

          But when somebody’s failure can bring down the whole ball of wax, give me somebody old and cynical every time. Rather than somebody stupid enough to look at socialism, and think, “This time we’ll make it work!”

          Yes, Trump has screwed up through not listening to advisors. And learned from it, which is more than you can say about a lot of people.

          1. “But when somebody’s failure can bring down the whole ball of wax, give me somebody old and cynical every time.”

            That requires wisdom, not cynicism, and age does not guarantee wisdom.

            See, for example, Bernie Sanders.

            1. Good point. Most of the best inventions were created by men not young adults.

              On the flip side, some of the worst human tragedies were perpetrated by adult men.

              A bit of life experience does seem to be a net positive though.

            2. Bernie is more an example of age not guaranteeing moral integrity, I think. He’s an aging Stalin wannabe who knows it’s too late for him to establish a communist state here, so he’s buckled down to getting enough political influence to enjoy the multiple houses and private jets for his remaining time.

              That requires that he remain relevant, but not that he actually win.

              He’s still pretty canny about how he goes about it, though; If the email whitewash had failed, he’d positioned himself to be the only feasible replacement for Hillary, and did it without becoming threatening enough that they’d see a need to destroy him.

              1. Bernie is a complete and utter douche bag and that’s his good quality…

        3. “What about President Trump screwing up enormous”

          Source fell off

          1. Oh, he’s screwed some things up big time, but that was earlier in his career.

        4. So long as their goals are of the “get government to leave people alone” and ‘less government” variety that would be ok.

          But, I’m figuring those are not the sorts of ‘goals’ you have in mind.

        5. “Young people sometimes succeed because they have not yet bought into the idea of failure.”

          Not believing in failure will prevent failure? What kind of magical thinking is that? And what’s wrong with failure? You learn more from your mistakes than your successes.

    3. Children should be seen and not heard.

      1. Milford Men are neither seen nor heard.

    4. you mean those folks with the not completely formed brains? yeah, good idea…can’t send them to prison, or let them drink but let’s give them a turn at running the country…just fucking brilliant!

  5. Fuck off with your “both sides (but really just the right)” rhetoric, Welch.
    Address the Trump comments in context. Let’s argue that “the American dream is dead” because of government regulation and a culture that no longer values independence and self-sufficiency. He is right that without a controlled border that we do not have a country. Importing sufficient numbers from a differing culture into a democratic society will change that society and essentially dissolve the sovereign state. Look to the eurozone and how the individual governments of each member nation are rendered pointless as the EU usurps more undemocratic power over citizens.
    Wake up, Welch. Your bias has ruined your journalistic credibility (something for which I used to commend you.)

    1. “Importing sufficient numbers from a differing culture into a democratic society will change that society and essentially dissolve the sovereign state.”

      I’m sure you were saying that during the slave trade and when Eastern Europeans and Irish we’re “invading” US shores.

      1. I’m sure you were saying that during the slave trade and when Eastern Europeans and Irish we’re “invading” US shores.

        If he’s old enough to have done that, he’s likely accumulated more wisdom than the rest of us here combined.

        Joking aside, it’s hardly a coincidence that radical left-wing movements flourished following the migration of refugees from the 1848 revolutions, pogroms of the late 1800s, and other anarchist/Marxist revolutionary movements in Europe.

        1. So Woodrow Wilson and his ilk were immigrants from Europe?

          1. Nope. Just self important academics who believed they were smarter than everyone else.

            1. just like academics everywhere…

          2. Not Wilson, but many others in the movement… And, IMPORTANTLY, it is a known fact that fresh immigrants overwhelmingly voted for Progs including FDR. This is NOT a secret. It is known from the time.

            IMO we can convert, AKA correct, the views of immigrants with time… At least a good number of them. However allowing in a huge flood at once, when they DO according to every poll in existence, hold anti-American, big government loving views, WILL push the country to the left. Look at voting trends the last few decades. NO Democrat president would have won without the fresh immigrant vote. NOT ONE. What this means is without those people the whole spectrum would have been far to the right of where it is today. We’d still be having Bill Clinton in the 90s types running, not Bernie Sanders.

            Don’t be such a utopian fool. It’s all in the polling data dude. Even if we can “fix” immigrants views over time, you have to admit it TAKES TIME to do so.

  6. Restrained rhetoric from Democrats might be appropriate if, say, Jeb Bush had become President. But Drumpf is infinitely worse, having colluded with a hostile foreign power to “win” a hacked election. Harsh language is a natural response to the biggest scandal in world history.

    That’s why Shikha Dalmia is the greatest living libertarian writer. Instead of offering weak commentary like “I disagree with this Administration’s immigration policies,” she writes pieces like Turning America Into a Fortress Will Usher in, Not Repel, Fascism. Or the piece I link in my username, in which she convincingly argues that enforcing a national border is morally comparable to enforcing fugitive slave laws.

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  8. Us dumb voters keep teaching politicans and the press that sensational nonsense works.

    Don’t expect any less of it.

    1. +1

  9. LMAO about a guy who’s been in politics since before the Dodgers left Brooklyn complaining that entrenched oligarchs are running things and they need to be dislodged. Look in the mirror to see one of those oligarchs, Bernie!

    The lack of self-awareness in some people is stunning.

    1. His plan is to replace those entrenched oligarchs with an entrenched dictator.

  10. Has the Democrats rhetoric changed in the last twenty some years? I think they have been that the current state of the country Is “hopeless” without them in charge.

    I really don’t think that started as a reaction to Trump except to maybe to go harder on it.

    1. What’s weird is that there is no need to look back to genuine dark periods like the Dustbowl/Depression it the last world war to see that things are better now.

      When I was a little kid (in a middle class household mind you) there were about 4 TV channels to choose from, with no programming for kids outside of Saturday mornings. Most of my friends’ parents drove 10-15 year old Olds station wagons or Plymouth Satellits with 8-track tape players added as “luxury” features. The closet thing to fun stuff online was discovering the public library had nearly twice the amount of Heinlein and Asimov books as the school library. My dad was lucky enough to have a steady job that paid pretty well, so he consented to letting me subscribe to 6 different comic book titles per month: 3 from Marvel and 3 from DC. That was something, because comics were 40 cents each.

      I suspect even a welfare kid today would feel bad for me these days if he took a moment to tear himself away from his iPhone X or the latest Steam games on his ultra fast gaming laptop.

      1. +10

        1. second that!

          +10 x 2 = 20

          1. ooooh maths!

      2. My counter to that though is this:

        Internet porn is cool… But is any of that small shit MORE important than being able to own a home? The national debt? Our freedom being taken? The total breakdown of the family unit? Destruction of social cohesion in general? Etc.

        My personal take is we have more bread and circuses, which are COOL… But we ARE more fucked up on many of the big things that really matter. I’d rather not have insane national debt vs more TV channels. If you don’t have the big shit on lock down, no amount of small shit can make up for it.

        1. Who is stopping you from owning a home? Why is your family breaking down? Can you define what “social cohesion” means to you and explain exactly where and how it’s breaking down? Can you prove we have less freedom now than, let’s say, the 1950’s? The 1850’s? What freedoms have we lost? Are there any that we’ve gained? What role exactly is the national debt playing in your general general unhappiness besides just existing?

          Basically, your post is a “sky is falling” post and is completely meaningless. I own a home. My adult kids own homes. My family is pretty strong and fairly functional as are most of the families that I know. The neighborhood that I lived in before moving overseas as well the city functioned pretty well socially. Everyone I know has friends, support groups through church, hobbies, interests etc. unless they don’t want to. My gay friends can marry. My stoner friends can smoke pot. My weird friends can homeschool and unschool. I can go on and one but, really, life in the US is pretty incredibly wonderful compared to anywhere else or any other time in the world. I’m sorry you’re not enjoying it but that’s got everything to do with you and nothing to do with reality.

          1. You’re trolling right?

            I’m doing okay, on basically all fronts. But there are these things called statistics. They’re NOT GOOD on a lot of things. You know this, and are just talking a bunch of stupid nonsense. See divorce rates, single parent households, home ownership rates (especially for younger people at the same age vs Gen X and Boomers), on and on and on.

            Lots of things are fucked up. Anybody who ISN’T worried about the national debt, or how unstable and contentious politics have got in this country is a moron.

            What rights have we lost? LOL Hundreds of thousands of laws and taxes have been passed since I was born… We lost a LOT of things. Our tax burden has risen, government spending has gone up sharply (mostly on things that are outright BAD for the country), gun rights have gone to shit. Hell, you could buy a full auto machine gun when I was born, in California none the less!

            So don’t give me all that bullshit dude. EVERYBODY knows what I mean. Legal dope and The Gays being able to get married are both fine by me, but many other things have gone the wrong direction in this country. Don’t play dumb.

            1. I never troll, I’m not a dude and I’m not playing dumb. Americans have incredible lives and if they’re making choices that aren’t leading to stable marriages, home ownership, a healthy social life, more accountability in government etc. that’s on them. Can things change for the better? Of course but the whole point of this discussion is that if we just sit around thinking we’re losers, we aren’t going to do the things that really matter. So don’t be dumb.

            2. I never troll, I’m not a dude and I’m not playing dumb. Americans have incredible lives and if they’re making choices that aren’t leading to stable marriages, home ownership, a healthy social life, more accountability in government etc. that’s on them. Can things change for the better? Of course but the whole point of this discussion is that if we just sit around thinking we’re losers, we aren’t going to do the things that really matter. So don’t be dumb.

              1. Here’s the thing:

                A lot of the biggest problems we face today are systemic problems, often created or exacerbated by government policies, things pushed by the media, etc.

                You cannot separate something like divorce rates from the intentional destruction of traditional moral values by the media, left wing academia, etc. They are directly related. Keep in mind I’m not even religious OR a prude… But the pushing of degeneracy has been HARDCORE in my lifetime. And if we’re being honest, propaganda works on a good chunk of the population.

                I’m not saying people shouldn’t accept personal responsibility for these things… But at the same time, the world overall directly effects your life too. There is a 110% chance I would have been married with 3 kids by my age in 1965. The only reason I’m not is because finding a marriageable woman is a HARD thing to do nowadays, especially if you’re “woke” on how scammy divorce laws are with respect to the treatment of men, female psychology and how this relates to relationships in an unconstrained by social mores world etc.

                I’m sure I WILL eventually find one worth marrying, but on the margins the world at large has dramatically altered by life options through little fault of my own.

    2. Just 20 years? Even longer. Couple examples spring to mind: Teddy Kennedy’s 1987 diatribe on “Robert Bork’s America”. Truman’s 1948 warning of imminent American fascism if Dewey (Dewey!) were to win.

  11. From his opening campaign declaration that “the American dream is dead,” to his creatively capitalized warning just last month that “without strong Borders we don’t have a Country,” Donald Trump has proven again and again that an apocalyptic style works in contemporary American politics.

    Without strong borders, Americans wont have a country. America would have explosions on a regular basis from terrorist groups that send Muslims to blow stuff up. Over a half a billion people would flood into the USA, vote to pillage everything that we have under Socialism.

    Trump says things where one can project your own personal truth onto them but the they resonate because the basic statements have a ring of truth to them.

    If the media was no good terms with Trump, they could ask him to clarify his statements. Instead its Grand Statements by Trump, lies by Democrats, and TDS from the media.

    1. *vote to pillage everything that we have, using Socialism.

    2. “Without strong borders, Americans wont have a country. America would have explosions on a regular basis from terrorist groups that send Muslims to blow stuff up. Over a half a billion people would flood into the USA, vote to pillage everything that we have under Socialism.”

      Do you have a citation for any of this vomit or are you running for office?

      Poor LC is still a triggered little bitch looking to “purge” society with a bloody civil war.

      Way to channel your inner Stalin, cunt.

      1. Poor troll. You demand citations yet never provide anything to back up your Lefty nonsense.

        Fuck you.

        1. Lefty???

          Show me I any of my comments where I’ve embraced anything “Lefty.”

          You are the Totalitarian, bitch! The tribelist Republican on a libertarian website who on more than one occasion has lusted for bloody purges. That makes YOU the troll, you braindead statist!

          I don’t vote for politicians, idiot.

          1. When did the new troll get here, or is it a sock?

      2. “Without strong borders, Americans wont have a country. America would have explosions on a regular basis from terrorist groups that send Muslims to blow stuff up. Over a half a billion people would flood into the USA, vote to pillage everything that we have under Socialism.”

        Do you have a citation for any of this vomit or are you running for office?

        Without strong borders, Americans wont have a country. America would have explosions on a regular basis from terrorist groups that send Muslims to blow stuff up

        See 9/11. Strong borders gutted in the 60s then ruined in the 80s via the Reagan Amnesty that never got the security side promised by Democrats.

        Over a half a billion people would flood into the USA,

        See the migrant caravans at our borders.

        vote to pillage everything that we have under Socialism.

        See La Raza, See MeCHA

        Thank you for playing.

        1. So, who are they voting for that would usher in this dystopian future you wet the bed about?

          Where did those people they are voting for come from?

          Are they native born?

          Were the Brits invaded by immigrants following WW2 that led to them becoming socialists?

          So, where were you when there were far more illegals entering the country 20 years ago? We’re you just as paranoid back then?

          1. God you’re so stupid.

            As I said above, even if we ASSUME we can convert every single immigrant to believing in American ideals, if you let in too many too quick it shifts the political spectrum to the left.

            This HAS HAPPENED. Look at polling, look at election results. Nobody is saying no native born Americans are idiot commies… There are plenty. But if you look at Americans that have been here for a couple generations, their views overwhelmingly support ideas like freedom of speech, gun rights, smaller government. Every poll of EVERY immigrant group shows the exact opposite.

            So even if they can be fixed, it will take generations, and in the meantime our country will be turned to shit. Which is why I advocate low and slow levels, and only skilled people who have no personal need for welfare.

            How anybody can be so willfully ignorant of KNOWN FACTS is unbelievable.

  12. It’s just Acquiring Power 101. Politicians, cult leaders, etc., know that the first step in amassing power over others is to present a SUPER DUPER URGENT CRISIS that needs your action NOW. The easily duped then become frightened and latch on to said “leader” to feel like they’re really “making a difference”.

  13. Super Urgent Crises let you know when they are here. Sept. 11th was kinda like that. How to react? Well, do a lot of things, let God sort it out.

  14. “And if early response to the Mueller report summary is any guide, don’t expect much left-of-center walkback from the past two years of increasingly conspiratorial speculation about Trump/Russia”

    No shit, Suderman proved that on the podcast

  15. Every time I think Reason has reached the bottom of the “both sides” hole they’ve dug along comes Welch.

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  18. The difference is the shit the Dems are rambling about is all BS… Whereas most of the problems the right points out are actually real. Americas sharp lurch to the left is 100% because of the scale of recent immigration, as per their voting patterns. We’d still be having JFK and Bill Clinton in the 90s style Democrats if we’d taken in half the number of immigrants.

    “Bobby Jindal: “Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.”

    Soooo an actual non white immigrant is more intelligent on the subject than you are? If 300 million Chinese moved here tomorrow, and didn’t change any of their opinions/habits/etc, how would that NOT be an invasion, even if they weren’t carrying AK47s? It would be. Don’t be a fucking moron.

    A nation IS its people, their culture, their views. If those get washed away by immigration, the nation ceases to be. Frankly the foolishness of the 1965 immigration act has probably already destroyed the America that used to be. It will never return. The only question is how much worse this new America will be compared to the old one… And a lot of that hinges on how we handle future immigration. Americans are the most conservative/libertarian people on earth, so every immigrant (on average) is just shitting on that one little bit at a time.

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  20. “The president’s 2020 challengers, alas, have followed Trump’s lead.”
    i.e.
    “Nothing bad ever happened until Trump came along. Orange Man Bad!”

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