Warmongering, It Can’t Happen Here, and Lying to Pollsters

Remember when, in 2016, President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden spent the last year of their murderous regime bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen? Well, I’m reminding you. It wasn’t the only year Obama and Biden bombed people. Obama and Biden bombed people in every year. And they weren’t all bad people. 

Remember when, in 2010, President Obama joked about sending a predator drone after the Jonas Brothers? “Sasha and Malia are huge fans,” he said during the May Day White House Correspondents Association Dinner. “But boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming.” He then added, with a serious look, “You think I am joking.” A year later he killed 16-year-old American Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki, along with the boy’s 17-year-old cousin and several other innocent Yemenis. Deadly funny, that Obama. 

President Obama threatens the Jonas Brothers with Predator drones.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in on the killing, too. Remember her cackling over the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi? “We came. We saw. He died.” I can’t forget it.

* * *

Those pushing Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 It Can’t Happen Here as capturing our current moment fail to acknowledge that Trump—if we agree he resembles in some fashion the main character of that book Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip—refutes the author’s thesis. The past four years prove the comparison wrong. 

To be sure, Trump did run on a platform of patriotism and populism to restore national greatness. Lewis thinks there’s something wrong with that, so he associates it with fascism. But where are Mussolini’s Blackshirts? Where are Hitler’s Brownshirts? We see instead black-clad anarchists and other leftwing extremists attacking American cities and American citizens and progressive politicians are doing very little to stop it. Where are the concentration camps? (No, immigration detention facilities don’t fit the description. But you know what does, don’t you?) How is it that Congress is still here? Didn’t Windrip eliminate Congress in Sinclair’s work of satire? Where are Windrip’s kangaroo courts? They’re just on the other side of the aisle. It was the very Congress Trump was supposed to have eliminated that impeached him over his desire to expose what Facebook and Twitter have been trying to suppress: the fact that Trump’s opponent is a corrupt politician. Why do minorities and women still have rights under Trump? Windrip took those away, as I recall.

The irony is that Windrip’s corporatist philosophy is emanating not from the Trump administration but from his establishment opposition. They’re the ones mounting a revolution-from-above—the usurpation of democratic-republicanism by a powerful elite. Again, in his work, it is clear that Lewis believes populism and patriotism are bad things, so he links them to a fictitious outcome in an attempt to warn people away from politicians expressing such sentiments. That’s because Lewis was a progressive. Progressives have always held in contempt the desires of ordinary Americans. The “deplorables,” Hillary Clinton called them. 

Elites want to tell a story about how the people choose wrongly. It is best, therefore, to leave decision-making to the academics, administrators, bankers, corporate executives, cultural managers, experts, and media elites. This philosophy runs through the professional classes of Sinclair’s day. The same is true today. The technocrat believes he is entitled to power because he knows better.

Speaking of Biden, it’s telling that is took a few days before the Democratic presidential nominee was finally asked about the New York Post report alleging that emails show his son, Hunter, made millions trading on his father’s influence (New York Post Drops a Bombshell on the Biden Campaign). An avalanche of questions should have landed on him, the answers dominating the news cycle. All week this should have been all we heard. Biden didn’t even get a question about it during the town hall.

“I know you’d ask it,” Biden fired back at CBS reporter Bo Erickson. “I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.” As if the establishment news media has been tough on Biden.

Imagine had this been Trump. We would have heard about it nonstop. Unverified and leaked sources flying. Instead, the media effort to get to the bottom of things has been more about smearing Steve Bannon and Miles Guo than about addressing the substance of the contents of what is almost certain to be Hunter Biden’s hard drive.

What goes largely unreported is the fact that, in one of the biggest scandal of our lifetimes, the Tech Giants have interfered in the 2020 election (America at a Crossroads: Corporations Poised to Take Control of the Republic). This is a very great danger to everything we stand for as a country. Corporate power has intervened on behalf of the Democrats to further its goals of world domination. Where goes America goes the world.

If you truly care about democratic republicanism you need to speak out. The republic is in serious jeopardy from the fascist impulse of corporatism. The Democrats have teamed up with the tyrants.

* * *

Finally, every once in a while, Trump will let you in on how much he truly understands the public mind. He may not sound like the most intelligent person on the planet, but he is high in emotional intelligence and astutely reads people and situations.

I learned about a poll from Trump. It concerns lying to pollsters. Not only did he know about the poll in detail, but he also understood the direction in which people are likely to lie about their intentions.

The brilliant economist (Brown University) Glenn Loury crystalizes the dynamic the poll captures. He identifies two possible worlds. In one, he is voting for Joe Biden. In the other, he is voting for Donald Trump. In the first world, he votes for Biden and tells you he voted for Biden. Because of the political character of the moment, for an academic of Loury’s stature, there is no world in which he votes for Biden and tells you he voted for Trump. In the second world, he votes for Donald Trump and tells you he voted for Biden. There is no world in which he votes for Trump and tells you he voted for Trump. He is a professor at a university. He can’t openly declare his vote for Trump because the consequences are too great. He would not only lose out on opportunities for career progression, but would also lose a lot of friends. Moreover, the vilification that would ensue would be potentially emotionally and psychologically devastating. We are all human beings, and the mob can get to us in a damaging way. Loury is no masochist. At the same time, he is a public figure and makes political arguments so he will expect this question. If he meets the question with silence, then this will be interpreted to mean he voted for Trump. Under the principle that one has no obligation to tell the truth in a situation where the questioner has no right to know the answer (it is a secret ballot, after all), to be as honest as he can, Loury states the problem this way: “I am voting for Biden. But you should not believe me.”

To wit: if people lie, they are lying about voting for Trump because the hegemonic sensibility makes a person reluctant to proclaim their Trump vote. They will suffer too much for telling the truth. So they lie. This is what happened in 2016. The polls were wrong because people were lying. They have even more reason to lie this time around. The establishment has made a vote for Trump out to be a vote for Hitler. The Trump question is destroying marriages.

The establishment knows this. That’s why they are trying to steal the election. It’s why they are portraying the Republican Party as in meltdown. They know that Trump is likely ahead really. Or at least even. The lying is somewhere between 10 and 15 points, I’d estimate. That’s pretty much Biden’s lead on paper. The Biden campaign just released a bulletin: Trump could win this thing.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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