Saturday, September 28, 2019

Milk and Cookies Politics: Trump's Opposition

Milk and Cookies Politics: Trump’s Opposition
Peter Schultz

            The opposition to Trump has now come to embrace what might be called “milk and cookie politics,” a politics favored by conservatives in the U.S. According to “milk and cookie politics” the United States is and has been a beacon of decency, democracy, and diversity that has lit up the world against the forces of darkness, despair, and dictatorship so prevalent world-wide. The United States is the exceptional nation.

            By this view, Trump is undermining the rule of law, which has allegedly guided American politics since 1789. Further, he has and is undermining American democracy, which has also had an unbroken reign since 1789. And, of course, he has been behaving indecently as no other president has done since, well, since the Clinton administration. But that administration has been absolved of its sins, probably because it gave us mass incarceration, the end of welfare, and the Defense of Marriage Act.

            The interesting thing about all of this is, however, how Trump’s opposition is now embracing some of the most common themes of conservatism and this despite the fact that much of his opposition considers itself liberal. But these liberals are laying or reinforcing the groundwork of a fortified conservatism, a conservatism that thoughtlessly embraces bourgeois decency, law and order, deference to all authority, capitalism, American interventionism (what some call “imperialism”), and most importantly, embracing what is called American exceptionalism.

            But this is where “milk and cookie politics” always ends up, embracing what is, ultimately, a vindictive and punitive politics. Currently, this vindictiveness and punitiveness is directed at Trump and his supporters. But eventually – and maybe even now – these traits, having been reinforced by the hysteria surrounding Trump, will be directed at other targets, e.g., those foolish enough to question “Greta the Great,” Dr. Ford, or the “Me Too” movement.  So, far from offering an alternative to Trump’s vindictiveness, his nastiness, his conservatism, his opponents are actually reinforcing these traits. Which is a rather interesting situation.

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