Donald Trump is a neoliberal. But since performance is more deeply valued than policy, he continues to masquerade to his supporters as a populist rebel, a force for human resurgence against the globalists. This mythic narrative is as false as could possibly be.
It is 20XX. The people of America, resurrecting the great spirit of the founding, have elected a titanic force of a man to go to war with the deep state, Wall Street, and the elite interests of the decayed and human-hating ruling class. The antidote to the decline of America, this candidate has come to resist neoliberalism…by being neoliberal.
Note that this describes both Barack Obama and Donald Trump. What Obama was in 2008 to progressives, Donald Trump is in 2017 to anti-globalist figures on the right. It is obvious that Trump rode a wave of anti-neoliberal populism into office. For a desperate population, he was the nuclear option, the red button to GET OUT of the cycle of polished public relations corporate-owned Presidents. But it was a sham. Anyone who understands the mechanisms of power would have seen that it was a sham – Trump, as an individual, is irrelevant. He could agree with Noam Chomsky on 80% of policy and still end up a neoliberal. It is the donors that talk, and the donors rallied to fill in the vacuum in Trump’s heart after his stunning victory.
In office, he has continued to hollow out the remnants of the New Deal, embodying the Thatcherite spirit of absolute establishment preference for the wealthy over the rest. He has been bloated by millions of dollars of ancient right-wing oligarch money since the election, becoming a behemoth of fragmented elite interests, the very same right-wingers who would have backed Hillary Clinton as a centrist hero if Trump really was as anti-globalist as he claimed.
Trump did a number of stunts early on to appease this anti-globalist base. He dropped the TPP, even though it is now being rewritten in the shadows, and will likely pass in new, buried forms. Like all things with Trump, the action was symbolic. It was not real. He saved 1,000 jobs at Carrier, a band-aid on a gout-infected gunshot wound, and now that same Carrier plant is bleeding jobs by the hundreds. Little surprise.
He wants to lower taxes on the rich while dramatically increasing military spending, a $700 billion military budget, the very shining image of globalism if there ever was one. What anti-globalist rebel builds up the empire? The contradictions cannot be ignored. They are so obvious that they merge into the absurd.
Trump is a militarist to his core, desiring an increase in drone strikes, and of course, thickening the flow of blood money into Saudi Arabia. Perhaps there is no deeper indictment of the ‘anti-globalist’ right than their utter refusal to hold Trump accountable on militarism in Saudi Arabia. He shakes hands and is cucked by the mullahs. Silence falls upon the alt-right. He continues virtually every aspect of the Obama foreign policy establishment, seeking only to blow up the budget, creating a twisted, ruddy-faced Leviathan.
What of his ‘nationalism’? He is, once again, neoliberal to the core. Puerto Rico is still destroyed, as he retracts resources, allows the Jones Act to close, and accuses them of “throwing the budget out of whack”. In raising the budget of the military and worrying about wasteful spending only when it comes to his own citizens, Trump demonstrates the very core of neoliberalism: military and profits over people.
Trump is a bore, a conservative culture warrior who will waste our entire collective December fighting with liberals about the ‘War on Christmas’. He has wasted our time with the NFL. He wastes our time with most of his actions, stealing our energy from us, as defenses of his erratic narrow-mindedness grow more and more arcane.
The Question of Globalism
‘Anti-Globalism’ is the right idea, but its current definition is too shallow to yield any returns. Is it simply limiting immigration? In that case, it is worthless. Anti-globalism is not about making your own country more white. It is about declining to accept the rule of centralized technological financial enterprises like Facebook, Google and Amazon. You can have your own ethnostate, and pay fealty to Zuck all the same.
Identity has poisoned Trump and his opponents. The true goal of anti-globalism must be self-determination and fragmentation. Infinite fragmentation, a world of communities controlling their own destiny, with no false universal of elite financial power leveled over them. Donald Trump does not desire this. He desires the same, and he will give Lloyd Blankfein what he wants, and cast his shadow over the fields, if it means power for him.
If we cannot have globalism without capitalism, then we reject globalism, to reject the depersonalizing power of capital. But right now, as since the seventies, the United States is ruled by a capitalist who has profited immensely off the slavery of the Information Age as well as global channels of profit and power, conduits of self-determination for one man and one man only. The fact that those who declare themselves ‘anti-globalist’ see anything but ruthless global power in Donald Trump is deeply troubling.