Trump’s Corruption Mandate

At TRI, my short article “Trump’s Corruption Mandate” begins this way:

“Donald Trump’s astonishing election victory was in part a backlash against increasingly corrupt American politics.

“Transparency International publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking all nations from most to least clean in their political conduct. The United States entered the twenty-first century by falling out of the top ten. Scandinavian nations such as Finland, Denmark, and Sweden along with Commonwealth nations such as New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom dominated the top spots, while the USA was ranked fourteenth.

“Since then the USA has declined further in the Index’s rankings. …”

Read more here.

3 thoughts on “Trump’s Corruption Mandate

  • February 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    At worst I’ve feared Trump will facilitate the nation’s return to a new Dark Age, at least a relative one; at best I’ve hoped he will he will prove to be a kind of Martin Luther, also a repulsive figure, and hammer in the wedge to break the chokehold of Washington as Luther did the chokehold of the Catholic Church.

    My two greatest concerns are that Roe vs. Wade might be overturned and woman once again slaughtered in the dens of back alley abortionists, and his nationalist protectionism which always ends up hurting all sides. In 1930, for readers not in the know, the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act was passed to insulate American industry and workers from the ravages of the depression. It is now recognized by economists across the board to have been the nail in the coffin of America and the world’s faltering economy at the time.

  • February 11, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I disagree with feminists who think the election results were a vote against women. It was a vote against the rotted, incredibly venal and increasingly totalitarian system Hillary and hubby were thoroughly ensconced in. But as Hannah Arendt noted, most revolutions are failures. Revolutionaries are so focused on what they’re against they fail to see clearly what they’re fighting for until it’s too late e.g. Russia in 1917 and Iran in 1979. Arendt considered the original American a truly successful revolution.

  • February 19, 2017 at 3:43 am

    I enjoyed your essay on “Trump’s Corruption Mandate,” and agree with many of your points. To employ Walter Mead’s terminology of “American archetypes,” I believe Trump is a Hamiltonian-styled Jacksonian. Jacksonians, as per Mead, value national honor and believe the government should strive to improve the security and well being of its citizens. They are slow to engage in wars, unless the nation and its honor are threatened, in which case they seek to completely defeat the enemy. (One notes this in Trump’s intention to “destroy” ISIS or “eliminate” international drug cartels operating inside the US.) Stating that Jacksonians are slow to engage in wars implies that they are loathe to embark upon what used to be called “foreign adventurism.” In Mead’s taxonomy, a Jacksonian assumes much of the world is evil and corrupt, and only seeks to prevent Americans from being corrupted by outside influence. (As opposed to, say, Jimmy Carter’s Wilsonian desire to advance an idealistic foreign policy based on defending human rights globally.)

    If not unduly encumbered, Trump may transform the USA from a “sunset economy”–where international debt, public entitlements, and regulatory bureaucracy induce lowering GDP until the inevitable banana republic nadir–into a “sunrise economy,” where positive manufacturing conditions, renewed social and familial cohesion, decreased power of lobbyists, and strategic trade decisions allow the government to continue to defend the people’s inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of eudaemonia. However, there seems to be no small intent to encumber Trump.

    Trump’s intention to “drain the swamp” is an expression of national honor. But that “swamp” is powerful, dynastic, and determined to survive any water shortages. The DNC paid billions of dollars to persuade Americans to revile Trump and vote for Hillary. Though Hillary was undone by her career of problematic ethics, those who supported her are still persuaded to revile Trump. The media-savvy swamp will undoubtedly seek to feed that revulsion in an attempt to hobble reform. Imagine a domineering Friedrich Hayek versus super-wealthy factions disguised as Antonio Gramsci.

    Thus the tangled contradiction: a narcissistic (or alpha-male) president, driven by high self-esteem and a sense of national honor will clash with an entrenched, condescending, and entitled elite “swamp” of (Mead again) pure Hamiltonians employing Wilsonian agitprop. I wish Trump success for eight years.

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