A lot of people believe to this day that the Tea Party uprising and the subsequent eight years of hysterical, unremitting, norm-violating opposition to Barack Obama was about small-government philosophy and a devotion to low taxes and less regulation, and had nothing to do with social backlash against a black, cosmopolitan, urban law professor and his diverse, rising coalition.
But that kind of credulity can only stretch so far, and Donald Trump has stretched it to the snapping point. He abandoned the Very Serious conservative script entirely and the right ate it up. He pledged not to cut Social Security or Medicare, condemned free trade, and insulted the military and intelligence services, and they ate it up. He is a thrice divorced, self-admitted sexual predator wallowing in the kind of material ostentation that gives David Brooks nightmares, and they ate it up.
There are clear answers if we elect a criminal, or if the president falls into a coma. But what if we just make a hiring mistake, as companies do all the time? What if we elect someone who proves himself or herself unfit for office — impulsive, conspiratorial, undisciplined, destructive, cruel?
They want to blow up the deficit. If the deficit grows, they’ll say we need to cut social spending. If the deficit shrinks, they come up with some other reason to say we need to cut social spending. They don’t care about the economy. If the economy is bad, they’ll say we need more tax cuts and deregulation. If the economy is doing better, they’ll say we need more tax cuts and deregulation.
Democratic health care reform ideas are not being given the attention as the GOP plans. There is no debate, no discussion, nearly zero coverage. And the narrative of how the Dems have nothing to offer working class voters persists.
Owning human chattel — and offering intellectual and political defenses of the institution of American slavery — is an important and dishonorable part of Thomas Jefferson’s legacy. But it’s the entirety of Davis’s legacy.