Monday, August 22, 2016

Dullest American election ever?

Has there ever been an American election with so little to watch?

I know, there is the constant undertone of horror at how a great nation got itself so thoroughly infested with Republicans.  And always there is the grim possibility that somehow there could emerge President Trump.

But beyond that, nothing. There are no policy issues in the air, no programs or promises to analyze. Nothing at all to, you know, think about.  Just endless atrocity stories and endless polling data on how far the insane candidate remains behind the sane candidate. It matters who wins the horserace, sure, but what is everyone supposed to for the next two months and more while these horses stagger down the track?  We don't even have the Olympics anymore.

There is, however, something striking about the political history of inequality in a recent New Yorker profile of Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. They are the "presentable" side of their families most of the time, Lizzie Widdicombe observes: stylish, well-spoken, oddly liberal and tolerant in their public statements, friendly with gays and supportive of women and so on, frequent donors to the Democratic Party and progressive causes.  Yet they are all in for Trump, and the only people he listens to most of the time.

Just family loyalty? Widdicombe make it more likely that it is really about class and inequality. The Kushers, like the Trumps, made billions in real estate machinations that don't bear much examination, and with a vicious take-no-prisoners to partners as much as to investors and suppliers.
Kushner became furious with his younger sister, Esther Schulder, who he believed was coöperating with Christie, and, in retaliation, he set a trap for her husband, Billy Schulder, a former Kushner Companies employee whom he resented for having had an affair at the office. He hired a prostitute, who, posing as a stranded motorist, approached Schulder at the Time to Eat Diner, in Bridgewater. Schulder then met her at the Red Bull Inn, on Route 22, where a camera installed in an alarm clock captured them in a sex act. Kushner mailed images from the tape to his sister, who promptly shared them with federal authorities.
Nice family, huh?

Having become rich, the next generation of Kushners and Trumps seek to bury the vicious and quasi-criminal rise of their clans beneath that veneer of Manhattan sophistication.  Kushner graduated from all the best schools -- but his family donated vast sums to each of them about the time he was applying.  They have always been able to buy things, and they expect to be able to buy authority. They can act nice, sure, but only if they are left in charge.

And hint at any threat to the hegemony of the One Percent, and they revert to type very fast. That is really the essence of their politics.  They may know Donald Trump is a throwback and an embarrassment to their pretensions.  But he will never threaten the tax privileges of their class, so they know what side they are on. So if they can buy an election for Dad in the Citizens United world in which money is speech... Worth a read
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