By Wolf Schäfer
NOT LONG AGO – although it seems very long ago – I wrote an essay on Donald Trump and the forces which enabled a TV star and real estate magnate to acquire the White House. Written from January to September 2017, I sought to publish the 200-page manuscript but was turned down repeatedly. “Too early,” was the general verdict.
Back then, the liberal editors of all good publishing houses believed two things. First, and true, a sound analysis of Trump’s victory in 2016 needs a fair bit of hindsight. Second, and wrong, Trump cannot last and will be out of the People’s House in no time. Taking Trump and Trumpism seriously, as I did (and do), was my handicap.
Now, four years after the surprise election of Trump, American democracy approaches the inflection point of re-electing Trump. “The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long,” Joe Biden told a remote audience in his DNC acceptance speech on August 20. I agree. But what if the 2020 election repudiates Biden and the Democrats? Who knows for sure that dark is less powerful than light? Don’t black holes swallow all light? So, what if the model of political scientist Helmut Norpoth scores again?1 — God bless America!
Future history is known to be unknown and not determined by metrics and models. Dark or light, either could win. If light wins, it will heave darkness out of the President’s office. But then what? Will the ills of American history and political culture heal in a flash? Can a Biden-Harris government quickly cure American democracy? I doubt it. The dark forces of Trumpism will not stop; they will survive Trump.
TRUMP IS NOT essential for Trumpism; he never was. Trump is incidental. The intellectual avantgarde of Trumpism made that clear in 2016. “For now,” they said, “the principal vehicle of Trumpism is Trump.” If Trump loses and light wins, Trumpism will still be alive and battle the light of democracy. Therefore, light must fight to make Trumpism small again.
I finished the essay on Trump shortly after Steve Bannon, once the foremost lieutenant of Trumpism, was ousted from the White House on August 18, 2017. A year later and having learned that nobody was interested in publishing my study, I put the manuscript away. Yet now I feel compelled to publish Dark Words and Deadly Winds: Trump & Trumpism.
There’s no need to amend my argumentation or alter the two-part architecture of my essay, but it will take some time to check what I wrote and documented three years ago. So, the twelve chapters of Dark Words and Deadly Winds will be posted on this website in sequence.
Part One – Dark Words – examines Trump’s weaponization of speech in four chapters. The eight chapters of Part Two – Deadly Winds – analyze the force field empowering Trumpism: new social media, strategic allocation of big money, rising inequality, unsettling demographic shifts, corruption of party politics, global authoritarianism, entertainment politics, and the postmodern inability to distinguish beliefs, opinions, lies, facts, and truth.
The forces that supported Trump’s rise and energize his government have never been put together and thus are obscure as a whole. Much of what conspired in 2016 is already forgotten. Bannon is back in the news since late August 2020, indicted on charges of money laundering and fraud. True to form, Trump quickly recast his erstwhile Chief Strategist as barely involved in his first campaign and only “for a small part of our administration.” Hence, light must also fight against Trump’s constant rewriting of history.
Please cite this publication as follows: Wolf Schäfer, Dark Words and Deadly Winds: Trump & Trumpism. Online at https://make-trumpism-small-again.us
TWENTY-TWO YEARS ago, American philosopher Richard Rorty imagined a disastrous future – the very present of the United States today. In Achieving Our Country, he wrote: Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. […]
Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing. Stephen K. Bannon, 18 November 2016 | Source
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to make a major announcement today: I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win. Donald J. […]
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TRY TO ANSWER the question: Is technology per se good, evil, or neutral, and you will quickly get into epistemological trouble. To avoid this trap, I enter this discussion at the usage station, the point from whence technologies are part and parcel of modern societies, embedded in social, natural, cultural, and economic activities, open to […]
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KARL MARX THOUGHT capitalism was destined to die. 150 years ago, he predicted in Das Kapital (1867), “capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation” and “the expropriators are expropriated.” Concentrating outsize wealth in the hands of “a few usurpers” did not look like a sustainable system to Marx, […]
DARK DEMOGRAPHY WARNS “good” people about hordes of “bad” people. A recurring syndrome, it was a hallmark of Trump’s campaign from the beginning, deeply rooted in Trump and his loyal “voters and supporters” as well as large parts of the Republican Party. The fearful theory about masses of bad people overwhelming good people was loudly […]
AMERICA HAS REACHED the point of dark party politics. Party politics is “politics that relate to political parties rather than to the good of the general public.” Dark party politics, however, is politics that neglect the public good, sabotage the nation’s collective interests, and harm the planet’s fitness for humanity’s long-term survival. In a democracy, […]
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- Helmut Norpoth correctly predicted the 2016 election. This was his prediction for 2020: “The PRIMARY MODEL gives President Donald Trump a 91% chance of winning the 2020 presidential election, with Democrat Joe Biden having just a 9% chance. Trump would get 362 electoral votes, Biden 176. This forecast is unconditional and final, hence not subject to any updating. It was first posted March 2, 2020, on Twitter.”