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Trump remains America’s dominant politican

Summary:
It’s good that Trump lost, but there’s actually no reason to celebrate. Trumpism has not gone away, and is unlikely to do so.Imagine a good friend that you trust returned from a long visit to Switzerland and told you that the fate of that country rested in next month’s election. A month later you read that the scary candidate lost a close election. How would you react?Here’s how I’d react. I’d think, “Wow, I had always thought that Switzerland was a country that had its act together, where it didn’t much matter who was elected to lead the country. Now I wonder if Switzerland is in danger of becoming another Hungary.”Here’s another analogy. I’m not exactly “relieved” if a sniper shoots a bullet through my bedroom window and narrowly misses me. I’m more nervous than

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It’s good that Trump lost, but there’s actually no reason to celebrate. Trumpism has not gone away, and is unlikely to do so.

Imagine a good friend that you trust returned from a long visit to Switzerland and told you that the fate of that country rested in next month’s election. A month later you read that the scary candidate lost a close election. How would you react?

Here’s how I’d react. I’d think, “Wow, I had always thought that Switzerland was a country that had its act together, where it didn’t much matter who was elected to lead the country. Now I wonder if Switzerland is in danger of becoming another Hungary.”

Here’s another analogy. I’m not exactly “relieved” if a sniper shoots a bullet through my bedroom window and narrowly misses me. I’m more nervous than ever.

Trump remains America’s most powerful politician, by far. He has both GOP politicians and GOP voters at his beck and call. If he takes a position on an issue, the rest of the party (except Mitt) will fall in line. Biden doesn’t have that power. The 2024 nomination is Trump’s if he wants it. If “Jeb!” wants it, Jeb must first get Trump’s approval. Good luck with that! Heck, he could probably deliver the nomination to Ivanka if he wished to.

Polls show that 81% of GOP voters want the next nominee to be like Trump, not like a typical politician. That person might actually be competent, and thus much more dangerous than Trump. Imagine an American version of Viktor Orbán, or Modi, or Erdogan.

When I was young, the Republicans and Democrats were actually pretty similar, except the GOP was more conservative and the Dems were more liberal. Going forward, we will have one basically evil party that is led by a right wing demagogic authoritarian populist politician, and one fairly normal center-left social democratic party.

And that’s the best case. If the racist “woke” people take over the Dems, then we’ll have two evil parties.

I’ve given up on American politics for the rest of my life. I see no hope for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, there’s much more to life than politics, and none of this affects me personally. Life will go on as normal, and America will remain the greatest economy in the world for quite some time, at least decades to come. There’ll be plenty more Japanese classic films and NBA games to watch, more trips like my month in New Zealand earlier this year. More books to read. Life goes on.

PS. During the 1990s, the little man in the picture below was a private citizen, with no official position. He was also the most influential person in the entire world:

Trump remains America’s dominant politican

Totally off topic: Someone in Vermont died of Covid yesterday—first time in more than 3 months.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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