Saturday, April 10, 2021

Just Desserts

Just Desserts

Trump’s betrayal of the white working class that propelled his 2016 victory now delivers him the deliciously rich denouement such treachery deserves

By Mark Cromer

At the end of the campaign trail in the middle of a cold November night and with only hours left before polling centers around the nation would open, Donald J. Trump stood in front of a crowd of thousands at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and in making his final plea for another four years in the White House unintentionally digressed into a rambling summation of why his reelection bid was in fact doomed.

Despite the late hour and the frigid air temperature as the disastrous year of 2020 rolled to a close, Trump still burned with all his patented self-enthusiasm—actually telling the crowd “You’re so lucky I agreed to be your President”—and blathered on about his ‘never seen before’ accomplishments as he regaled his flock with his boilerplate bravado: “We’re going to win the state of Michigan so easily.”

But as with so much of Trump: he was just fantasizing about himself out loud again.

By the time the dust had settled Michigan voters gave Joe Biden a close but clear victory, providing a margin of about 2.7-percent, a spread of about 150,000 ballots that was large enough that even if Trump had been allotted every third-party vote in the state—Libertarian, Green and Constitution Party combined—Biden would still have won and with tens of thousands of votes to spare. While thousands showed up that night in Kent County to watch Trump perform his last campaign show, Trump lost the county less than 24-hours later to Biden by a decisive 6-percent margin.

Knock Knock. Who’s there? The fate of the GOP.

Considering that Michigan remains roughly 75-percent ‘white non-Hispanic’ (the U.S. Census Bureau has two designations for whites: ‘white’ and ‘white non-Hispanic’; which apparently is Uncle Sam’s bizarre way of saying ‘sorta white’ and ‘really white’) and since a large percentage of those are working class whites of the proverbial ‘non-college educated’ variety that had turned out to make the difference for Trump in 2016, it begs the question of what went wrong for him four years later?

That question might be best answered most effectively in just two words Trump shouted from the stage on that last night at his last rally in Michigan: ‘Little Pimp.’

That’s right, Little Pimp.

Trump rambled to the crowd: “And speaking of sound, music and other things, one of the big superstars of the world, Little Pimp [emphasis Trump’s]…and there he is!” It was classic stock Trump in the worst way, digressing mid-blather even further incomprehensibly into a rather Biden-esque jag of confused elder-speak about “sound, music and other things” before evoking a “big superstar” on the planet dubbed ‘Little Pimp’ and then summoning him to the stage in his patented carnival act-turned-political freak show.

Trump’s 2020 Onstage Closer: Meet Lil’ Pimp.

It’s fair to say few if any among the throng surrounding Trump on the tarmac at Ford International knew virtually anything about 20-year-old Gazzy Garcia, the face-tatted rapper from Miami, Florida, whose actual nom de rhyme is ‘Lil Pump,’ not Little Pimp, and that Trump himself almost certainly had no idea of who Garcia was—only that Ivanka and Jared had insisted the president give him a shout-out from the stage at that final rally.

Garcia managed to comport himself rather well as he briefly took the stage to thank Trump and declare his support for ‘MAGA 2020’, but the introduction and the optics were indeed very instructive.

As America continues to buckle and burn in violently chaotic city centers even as it surrenders its suburban streets to a breed of nihilistic criminal now fearlessly operating in the bright light of day and at a meth-fueled pace, a president who has done absolutely nothing to stop the escalating mob terror attacks, the waves of mass arson and the convulsions of frenzied looting that have ripped across the nation as effectively as that iceberg laid open the belly of the Titanic, decided the cherry atop his last appeal for reelection was to bring a face-tatted thug onstage with him.

In spite of all of Trump’s previous bellicose buffoonery, he really did outdo himself with his beaming celebration of ‘Little Pimp.’

It’s just a wonder that Ivanka didn’t start spinning some of Garcia’s signature raps, blasting them from the speakers as Jared shouted “Ahhh, hells yeah! Grand Rapids get ya hands in the air! Playa’s in da house!” while Trump tossed off his coat, lost his belt, dropped his pants off the back of his ass in a display of prison-cum-ghetto ‘saggin’ and then prowled the edge of the stage ‘mad-doggin’ the audience and throwing gang signs as Garcia’s raps like ‘Gang Shit’ and ‘Ignorant’ swallowed the crowd in frenetic rhymes about thievery, assault, dope and, of course, the ‘bitches and ho’s’ that populate the comic book world rappers share with Trump.

For a presidency that has long since dissolved into something out of Tim Burton’s Batman, the display of ‘Little Pimp’ during Trump’s closing argument was simply another slug of his passive-aggressive contempt for the working and middle class white Americans who elected him, a final smiling middle finger in their face as he bellows that he is the law and order president before introducing a street urchin who had been expelled from multiple public school districts for violence and, in at least one case, inciting a riot at the continuation school where he had been shipped off to in a last-ditch effort to educate him on the taxpayer’s dime.

Trump’s repeated shanking of the white working class is, of course, old hat for the GOP ‘s leadership at large, as the Republican Party has spent the past four decades harnessing white voters to realize their corporate agenda and globalist aims all while delivering them a cultural death by a thousand cuts. But Trump’s latest iteration of political bait n’ switch is qualitatively more perverse than the Bush clan’s well-established history of high treason or such stalwart saboteurs as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney and their current political road dogs as well as their legacy cadre of accomplices.

And that’s because Trump, during his 2016 run, spoke more directly with working white Americans and at least momentarily echoed their cultural and political concerns and desires more than any major party presidential candidate since the trifecta of good ol’ Southern Democrat George Wallace, California Republican Richard Nixon and that scholar, ink-slinger and happy renegade extraordinaire Patrick J. Buchanan, who would prove to be, educationally and philosophically speaking, something akin to best-in-class. Buchanan was born in Washington D.C. and cut his academic teeth at Georgetown University before earning a Master’s Degree in journalism at Columbia University that carried him first into the newspapers and then into the White House during the administrations of Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

The Man With The Golden Dud

Yet the difference between Buchanan and Trump extend far beyond the understandable baseline metric that Trump won in 2016 and Buchanan didn’t in 1992 or 1996—and the fundamental difference has proved to be demonstrably more profound than the vast intellectual chasm that separates the two men: Buchanan; the scholar, writer and nationalistic culture warrior actually ran a devout campaign authentically rooted in a call to figurative arms to save the nation, lest a literal call to arms befall America in the years ahead. Trump; the carpet-bagging shady real estate developer, reality television performer and perennial pro wrestling-grade braggadocious goon, did not utter a single major campaign vow with even a modicum of genuine sincerity or one he could backstop with any intellectual heft.

The Real McCoy: Pat Buchanan

As the wasteland years of Trump’s one-term pony ride rolled off the calendar month after month and year after year the opportunities this revelation presented was not lost only on the Democrats’ core base of violently progressive cultists, who despite their professional hysteria were clearly delighted that Trump was either a buffoon or a fraud or both, for it also lit the lanterns of hope once more among neocon globalist circles like Bill Kristol and his hop along sidekicks like Jonah Goldberg—who remarked with a sigh of relief during an appearance on Conversations With Bill Kristol early in the Trump administration that he was so very thankful that Trump possessed absolutely none of the intellectual prowess or ideological conviction of Buchanan.

For all the weak impressions and in some instances political plagiarism that Trump has indulged over the past four years, it is clear he is not only no Wallace, Nixon or Buchanan but rather abundantly clear that he is a shylock relentlessly performing a schtick that proved to be the graveside ritual for the Republican Party.

Over the last critical months of the campaign Trump doubled-down on turning his back on the white working class that put him into office and went all-in on promoting issues that were virtually 180-degrees away from the platform he vowed to carry out during his 2015-2016 run for the White House. In between his boasts of being the champion of ‘criminal justice reform’ (i.e. releasing criminals back on the street) and completing that most urgent American national security interest of moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump dedicated much of the remaining time—which was slipping like precious sand through an hourglass—bragging how much he had accomplished for black Americans and Latino Americans while in office. Crowing over what he claimed were record low unemployment rates for black Americans and Latinos, Trump declared with his hubris that is impervious to actual facts that he had done more for black Americans than any president save perhaps, and only ‘perhaps,’ Abraham Lincoln.

He repeated that stomach-churning, nauseating delusion for the cameras on multiple occasions.

For someone who is pathologically self-absorbed, Trump has no self-awareness whatsoever, and thus he marched through the fall heralding himself and trumpeting all things Trump, and with increasing fervor his accomplishments for black and Latino Americans all while consistently assigning the vast swath of working white Americans into the ‘leftovers’ category to whom he only made vague and passing allusions.

Trump never dared utter a direct defense of white Americans as a people, he never thoroughly and effectively confronted the slew of damnable lies that they have been subjected to through a poisonous long-running narrative that paints them as tribe of racist troglodytes who are living off stolen goods when they aren’t out sport hunting black and brown Americans to pass their leisure time.

To the extent that Trump actually did improve various quality of life metrics for black Americans and Latinos and every other racial strata in the country, he is entitled to some political bragging rights—though considering it is his job he probably shouldn’t act like he did the country a favor—but his focus on black and Latino Americans to the effective exclusion of the working white Americans that put him in office indeed spelled his total political destruction.

But in the waning days of the campaign you wouldn’t have guessed that from the cadre of inner-circle sycophants-on-retainer around Trump that were dutifully beer-bonging the ideological Kool-Aid and burping fatally forth the campaign’s ‘criminal justice reform’ and ‘Platinum Plan’ talking points in a chorus for the cameras and crowds. As signs of the brewing electoral catastrophe grew with the long shadows of the fall, campaign assets like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham slipped into a state of pure hallucination, holding forth nightly that Trump was assembling a multiracial coalition that marked the dawn of a new Republican Party and heralded its emerging hegemony at the ballot box. FNC talking head Jesse Watters elaborated on that collective psychotic break by declaring that Trump was going to roll up a large enough swath of the black vote that it would carry him to a landslide not seen since Reagan’s 1984 rout of the Walter Mondale. As the protégé of Bill O’Reilly who has since blossomed into a Mini-Bill on FNC’s all-panel show The Five, Watters plays up an O’Reilly-esque schtick as he blusters, browbeats and bullies the show’s token black liberal Juan Williams.

Heir to Bill O’Reilly: Jesse Watters spent the fall of 2020 shouting death bed hallucinations into the camera at Fox News, declaring Trump was going to win an unprecedented percentage of the black vote and roll to a landslide victory. His psychiatrist could not be reached for comment.

And just as O’Reilly spent much of his final years at Fox News lost in an on-air fantasy world where he was president; shouting commands at guests and assembling armies of mercenaries in his mind (during one late-stage episode of The O’Reilly Factor he actually called for the creation of a 50,000-man army of ‘contractors’ to be deployed in Iraq once American combat troops had been withdrawn to ensure the Washington-approved government in Baghdad held on to power), Watters has carried O’Reilly’s torch of delusion as he barks into the camera such reality-defying declarations as Trump has built the wall and secured the border, Trump has ended the wars and brought the troops home, Trump has saved America’s heritage and restored safety to its streets and other feverish cries of fantasy.

Trump did it all, Watters routinely insisted with his perpetual smirk, and was simply now dedicating the final months of the fall campaign to building a powerhouse populist coalition of working white Americans allied with large blocs of the black electorate and even greater shares of the Latino vote.

Thus Ivanka and Kushner’s bringing black rappers Kanye West or ‘Lil Wayne’ into the White House to pose with Trump as he touted his mercurial accomplishments for black Americans, it must have appeared to Hannity, Ingraham and Watters to be moments on par with LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act in 1965. Undoubtedly, Candace Owens and the three other black guests who regularly appear on Fox News Channel also assured them that appearances of ‘Ye’ and ‘Weezy’ and ‘Lil Pump-Pimp’ with Trump indeed signaled a massive demographic realignment in party loyalties not seen for more than a half-century.

DJT keeping it real with Weezy at commencement. Weezy graduated Magna cum Laude from the Ivanka Trump School of Law at Trump University’s gemstone campus in Fontana, California, which was later bulldozed as the strip-mall it occupied had been sold in foreclosure.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth and in America during the fall of 2020, tens of millions of working white Americans were looking back upon the previous four years with the seething sense that they had been sold out and sold down the river once again. Many of those voters certainly focused their fury on the establishment GOP and bought at least partially into Trump’s widely peddled excuse that he had been stymied by Republican intramural sabotage throughout much of his presidency (in actual fact, he happily worked with the GOP leadership to kill his most fundamental campaign vows while delivering on their corporatist agenda), but still many others saw Trump’s presidency for what it had proved to be by the spring of 2018: a carnival act helmed by a garish shill that produced virtually none of the keystone pledges Trump had vowed to accomplish.

Considering the razor-thin margins of his 2016 victories across the industrial Midwest and Pennsylvania that served as the linchpin of his electoral victory, his failure to deliver for and subsequent abandonment of the white working class produced the only outcome it possibly could: political suicide. Working white Americans are the sole racial demographic that has been the electoral lifeblood of the entire GOP for the past 50-years, period. This is not a state secret or proprietary polling data. And it’s as simple as it is obvious: without the working class white vote, there is no Republican Party outside of the political fantasy leagues that Fox News Channel broadcasts. Period.

That doesn’t suggest that Trump and the GOP shouldn’t have played hard for every black and Latino and Asian vote that they could win—but to prioritize specific appeals to those racial voting blocs virtually to the exclusion of the white working class and particularly in the closing months of the campaign was and will remain what it could only be: insane.

And a mistake the Democrats would not make.

Imagine Sen. Kamala Harris out on the stump in the fall of 2020 and appearing at a rally that drew 15,000 or 20,000 fired-up supporters of the Biden/Harris ticket (more accurately: ‘Biden but really Harris’) and she held-forth from the dais at length and in explicit candor about all the positive policy initiatives that the Democratic ticket of 2020 had in store for working white Americans? Imagine Harris calling up to the stage Ted Nugent, Kid Rock or Hank Williams Jr. and in front of an audience that was overwhelmingly comprised of black Americans and Latinos and proclaiming:

“To our white brothers and sisters across America, let me just say that we hear you, we see you, we understand your concerns and we respect your rich history in our national story! We acknowledge the struggles you’ve faced and we admire your perseverance and we honor the dignity of your lives along with all others in our rich American mosaic. Let me be loud and clear about it: in a Biden/Harris administration working white America will always have a welcome seat at the table and a respected voice in the conversation of where our nation stands and where it should be heading.”

Yeah, imagine how that would have gone over.

Because you can’t starve us out and you can’t make us run ’cause we’re them old boys raised on shotguns We say grace, and we say ma’am and if you ain’t into that, we don’t give a damn…

Visualize, if you even can, the crowd’s reaction, the networks’ responses, The New York Times headlines and, naturally, the riots that would have ignited in cities across the country over just such a benign and obviously appropriate statement in today’s polluted political atmosphere. Swap out the word ‘white’ for any other racial group and that statement would be lauded. But put ‘white’ into and it is suddenly nitroglycerin to the power centers that now have decades invested into diminishing, dissolving and ultimately the disappearing of working white Americans. A Democrat of no less national stature than President Barack Obama would be met with a withering rebuke from his own party if he dared say something akin to that today in a forum for mass public consumption and absolute banishment if he persisted. Such a statement today would, in fact, be the political death knell of any Democratic hopeful during the party’s primaries, as the Democratic Party has assembled a racial polyglot of a coalition that’s held tenuously together at its joints by a single unifying sinew and one that can only last as long as there is enough visceral anti-white animus to feed it.

The GOP’s lifetime as a viable national party is coming to an end, but the Democratic coalition as currently constructed is also largely living on borrowed time.

Of course, Harris and Biden have had no shortage of things to say about white Americans, but nothing that would even remotely resemble an appeal to them, an outreach to them, a friendly or reassuring request for their consideration.

Trump’s abandonment of the only voting bloc that has kept the GOP alive for decades was seen in even greater relief just two weeks before that final campaign stop in Michigan during the second and final presidential debate on October 22, where Trump managed to contain himself in contrast to his unhinged performance in the first debate where he unraveled into a 90-minute tantrum onstage meant to prevent Biden from speaking (a terrible mistake) and keep all eyes on him.

When moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News steered the second debate into the topic of race relations in America 2020, Trump neither confronted or challenged the false but radioactive narrative that the country is brimming with racist white Americans who are the beneficiaries of a systemically racist nation that has made them inheritors of everything and earners of nothing. Trump didn’t call out this modern blood libel currently being waged against working white Americans for what it truly is: a toxic smear campaign that left unchecked much longer can only lead to the violent racial balkanization among the smoldering remnants of the American construct.

No, Trump did not defend working white America whatsoever.

Instead, Trump kept talking about—wait for it—himself. And he did so in his usual parlance of a 5th grader rolling on a sugar high.

“Well, you have to understand the first time I ever heard of ‘Black Lives Matter’ they were chanting ‘pigs in a blanket,’ talking about ‘pigs, pigs, pigs,’” Trump said. “I thought it was a terrible thing. As far as my relationships with all people, I think I have great relationships with all people. I am the least racist person in this room.”

Calling police officers ‘pigs,’ the men and women that Americans charge every day and night with keeping civil society safe from the violent miscreants that prowl as opportunistic thugs waiting for the chance to strike, is indeed an obscene yet intentional mischaracterization of what our men and women in blue do on their shifts standing a post to protect the American people.

But Trump should have nailed that fact home instead of digressing into a useless ramble about how he’s the least racist person in the room. Instead of prattling on yet again and for the millionth time about his ‘great relationships with all people,’ he should have pounced with cold, hard facts about the actual crime rate in America and how many black Americans are killed by police of any racial or ethnic stripe each year versus how many black Americans are killed each year by black criminals.

He should have, as the president, confronted narrative fiction with actual facts.

Yet in order to do so, he would have to acquaint himself with the facts, learn them and possess them for use in just such occasions. So no, Trump couldn’t challenge a false narrative with actual facts. He has none.

Instead, Trump kept talking about himself and spewed forth the policy positions that were absolutely antithetical to his campaign vows, betrayals that his daughter and son-in-law had diligently rehearsed him on: “I got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform. And Opportunity Zones! I took care of black colleges and universities. I don’t know what to say. They can say anything…it makes me sad, because I am the least racist person…I am the least racist person in this room.”

“I don’t understand! Ivanka said that Jared told her that if I throw working white America under the bus while insisting that I am the best President for black Americans since Abe Lincoln I would win. I don’t understand!”

What’s actually sad is that America, on that night at least, didn’t have a sitting president who had enough command of historical and present-day facts to stand up for the record of this nation instead of retreating into pathetic bleating about his own mythology. What’s sad is America didn’t have a president onstage that night who could fearlessly but calmly describe a nation that is by virtually any meaningful metric the best place on the planet for not only black people to live—or anyone of any race, ethnicity, religion or creed—a fact not lost on the hundreds of millions of people from all corners of the globe who dream of coming here and the millions more who attempt to with or without a legal right to do so.

What’s sad is that America didn’t have a president onstage that night who was unafraid to say the obvious: all lives matter and the ongoing and organized efforts to diminish and demonize white Americans is a high-speed rail line that can only end in violent catastrophe for all Americans.

What’s sad is that America had Trump onstage that night instead of a president.

Yet from his pathetic self-promoting sellout on the debate stage to his final campaign appearance at the Michigan airport named for another one-term Republican president where he called someone he thought was a pimp onstage to bizarrely cavort with him, what did the betrayal of the white working class ultimately pay Trump in the end?

Total defeat.

An electoral ass-whipping anchored in the loss of six states Trump almost certainly would have carried had he but delivered on his core campaign promises from Day One and focused on meaningful deeds versus a blizzard of Tweets; but Georgia, Arizona and Nevada slipped away as did the fatal electoral blows of losing Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Had Trump actually built a real wall appropriate for the task—a 60-foot-tall reinforced concrete blast barrier (that’s 60-feet above earth, but with another concrete pour 40-feet below ground to deter tunneling) topped with a garden of razor wire and observation posts every mile or so across America’s southern frontier within the first two years, he would have likely cruised to reelection. Had he insisted that the GOP controlled Congress immediately make E-Verify mandatory for all employers nationwide in order to ensure only those with a legal right to work in the United States were on the job or competing for jobs in the United States, he might well have coasted to reelection, in spite of the pandemic.

Had Trump ordered the Pentagon on January 21, 2017, to immediately and completely pull all combat troops and associated military personnel out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and likewise pull all American military forces completely out of Germany, Japan and Italy (70-years after the end of World War II) but to be careful to leave Berlin, Tokyo and Rome a handsome bill for services rendered on our way out the door, he would likely have waltzed to reelection.

Had Trump dedicated his weekends to the resurrection of Detroit, immersing himself in the ruins of what once was an American gemstone and harnessing the full spectrum of the federal government’s resources as well cajoling private enterprise to the table in an all-out, all-hands-on-deck, at-all-cost effort to restore Detroit as a one of America’s Great Cities, then perhaps he would have indeed earned a much larger share of black America’s vote—and the working white vote—than he actually did.

Instead, he chose to vamp with comic book rappers and spend almost every weekend in Mar-a-Lago golfing.

So how did Trump do among black voters in 2020?

Just how many votes exactly did all that posing with ‘Ye,’ ‘Weezy’ and ‘Lil Pimp’ earn him? Well, Trump garnered somewhere between 8% to 10% of the black vote in 2020, with a higher percentage of that vote total coming from younger black men than black women or overall black voters.

But more aptly put another way: somewhere between 90 and 92 out of every 100 black voters cast their ballots for Joe Biden.

Only in the dead-party-walking of the GOP today, as it now stands in the grave its leadership has been digging for decades, could losing 9 of every 10 voters of any racial group or bloc be considered a head-turning breakout success. Yet that in fact is what Fox News and what few other fragments of the media that reliably program Republican talking points are indeed continuing to herald Trump’s performance with black voters as: the dawn of a new multiracial day in the Grand Old Party.

In similar terms, the Republican’s down-ballot performance in 2020 was widely hailed as a stunning victory—never mind that the GOP lost the House, lost the Senate and lost the Presidency.

Strike one! Strike two! Strike three! It’s a homerun!

In California, where the political extermination of the GOP as a going concern has effectively been a done deal for the better part of two decades and its statewide seats of power almost certainly lost to the Democrats forever, the Republicans bumping their Congressional caucus from single digits out of the 52 seats the Golden State is allotted to 11 seats as of 2021 was likewise held up as a beacon of hope for the party, illuminating the way forward.

Again, that’s how delirious the GOP has become; where a score of 41 for the Democrats and 11 for the Republicans is seen as a pivotal win.

Donald J. Trump ran in 2016 as an alleged anti-politician who didn’t balk at giving voice to a vast swath of the American people and its electorate—white working Americans—and vowed to stand with them. Not against any other American, but with them. In 2016, white Americans without a college education constituted the single largest voting demographic in the United States and it remained the single largest voting demographic in the United States in 2020.

Yet almost from the day he was elected by their ballots alone, Trump broke his vow and betrayed their faith—over and over again. The white riot that rampaged through the Capitol was most surely a portent of more dire days ahead, but for every one of those politically-abused sister-wives-turned-Manson Family-girls that Trump inspired to grotesquely run amok in his name, his serial betrayals over four years inspired far many more working white Americans to either stay home on election day last November or write in a simple candidate’s initials as a succinct message for him: ‘F.U.’ (or ‘Ann Coulter’)

There are protest votes and then there are protest votes…

Analysts at the Council of Foreign Relations have determined that Trump effectively lost the election by a margin of about 60,000 votes spread across Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona as well as Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. The margins of other formulas in Pennsylvania and Michigan were equally within an eyelash. But the real key to Trump’s loss is likely better discovered in the Brookings Institution analysis, which determined that while Trump’s overall popular vote performance in 2020 was significantly larger than it was in 2016, the overall total of white voters casting ballots for Trump dropped by 3% in 2020. It may not seem like much, but consider that if his 2016 share of the white turnout had held and Trump added a mere 1% more of it in but a handful of states—which he most surely could have done had he not proven himself a narcissistic buffoon and a totally incompetent fraud—the election would have been called on election night for Trump.

The share of the American electorate comprised of white men without a college education (the GOP and Trump’s bedrock vote) retracted by something on the order of 6% between 2016 and 2020. And despite the pandemic, the mass unemployment, the Fentanyl, the alcoholism and the suicide rate, those tens of millions of working white male voters have not all died—the media-entertainment complex’s wish-dreams aside.

And as the Pew Research Center’s analysis of the American electorate demonstrates, working white Americans without college degrees remain the single largest voting bloc in the divided and dissolving nation.

Trump simply could not return them to the polls in the numbers he so desperately needed to in order to clinch another upset victory. The vast majority of white Americans who did cast their ballots for Trump did so out of an understandable fear of what the Democratic Party has become versus any commitment or political affection at this stage for Trump.

The vast majority of white Americans who voted for Trump in 2020 felt they had no other choice—a desperation that Trump and the GOP had banked on.

But see, they did have a choice and they made it on Election Day.

By the time ‘Little Pimp’ took the stage with him in Michigan, enough working white Americans had made up their minds that the only fraud in the campaign of 2020 was Donald J. Trump. They understood to vote for him again would be more than just pointless, but rather would once more reward another bitter betrayal and result in nothing more than four more years of a freak show.

They’d rather see Biden elected president and face what comes head-on.

So on January 20, 2021, as Joseph R. Biden is duly sworn in as the rightful 46th President of the United States, working white America will at least have the satisfaction of telling Trump ‘Thanks for Nothing’ as he is shown the door and served his just desserts.

OK, Doomer

OK, Doomer

A Boomer reflects on this collapsing House of Credit Cards and the cadaver of a planet that the Zoomers are poised to inherit

By Mark Cromer

For us Malthusians, this moment of when a Corona gets its lime is merely a mile-marker on humankind’s long jog into oblivion; a population parade route that has seen for the better part of two centuries the oceans strip-mined, the forests clear-cut, the Amazon set ablaze and vast, ancient aquifers sucked dry as thousands of species are dutifully checked into the Extinction Suite each and every year even as the warheads of the human womb explode like massed artillery fire across the globe. The long con of globalization has only sped humanity’s date with destiny even as the band plays on ever louder. Legendary Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich (who I had the good fortune to speak with over the years at various conferences) was not ‘wrong’ when he published his seminal work The Population Bomb—just a tad early. Thirty years ago Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson (and famed Capt. of the Sea Shepherd Society) told me the Earth’s sustainable human population as a viable species was around 2 billion people, and we’re now on track to hit 8 billion souls but hey, who’s counting? Well, turns out, Mother Nature is—and thus this appetizer for what ultimately befalls any herd that breeds itself past its viability. As Winston Churchill once remarked: “Now this is not the end. It’s not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Oh yes, this indeed is just the beginning of what Mother is sending over to our table, compliments of the house.

~ From a note to an old friend, early March 2020

All things considered, it began unremarkably enough, with a few scattered headlines and news briefs and bleeps across the print, digital and cable universes as 2019 came to a close: a viral outbreak was underway in a Chinese province called Wuhan. Details seemed obscure or conflicting, perhaps unsurprisingly so for an opaque nation like China.

But one fact was coming into focus: Far across the Pacific something had emerged from the gory horror of the country’s street-side slaughter houses where every manner of agricultural staple to so-called ‘exotic’ animals (think bats, primates and snakes, for starters) and domestic pets (ol’ Rover & Friends) are jammed into cages still alive to await their sale and on-the-spot butchering that had been cheerfully christened ‘wet markets’ in the West either as a grim goof or in the pathetic parlance of cultural equivalence and the acceptance-at-any-cost it is meant to facilitate.

The initial minimalistic news coverage seemed to suggest there was nothing much to worry about, at least certainly nothing to panic over, and yet even in those early days of the outbreak an undercurrent of apprehension began to creep across the land, at least among what remains of the thinking class, versus the iPhone-clutching consumer hordes that now populate the American casino believing they are ‘getting cash back’ and ‘earning rewards’ by rolling up five-figure balances on credit cards that charge them an APR of 16% or possibly more. Most of those hominids were lost on Amazon, foraging for new toys, selecting shipping methods and writing reviews—as everything in this era must be reviewed, rated and ranked.

But a few keen observers did sense that the proverbial canary in the coalmine had just stopped chirping.

What followed the dawn of 2020 will likely prove to be less of a story about a viral pandemic’s rampage across the globe and more of another Kodak moment that captured the cascading collapse of the American enterprise into the ocean’s of chaos that now rage around it. As January slouches toward February and the first ‘anniversary’ of the pandemic passes, the COVID-19 global body count has surpassed 2 million, with the United States on track to reach more than 24 million cases identified and 400,000 COVID-19-related deaths before month’s end. But it is still worth contrasting this death toll against historical outbreaks for at least some filter of reasonable perspective, as the Bubonic plague that swept across Europe in the Middle Ages (and consequently helped christen them the ‘Dark Ages’) killed off fully one-third of the continent’s population and sent somewhere on the order of 50 million people to mass graves in several long waves.

As COVID-19 made a low-key but auspicious landfall in the United States, it was at first greeted with something of a collective shrug before triggering a manic reaction among much of the populace that swiveled from spring break revelry to a bar-the-bunker-door mentality as the government descended into a borderline schizophrenic response at virtually every level from Washington D.C. to City Hall.

It was a collective breakdown that has once more revealed in the starkest of terms the absolute corruption-fed rot that has hollowed out the nation well beyond just ‘critical infrastructure’ and again exposed the true nature of the governing ‘elites’ of every partisan feather.

The American house of credit cards has come tumbling down with breathtaking speed and amidst the resulting vast fields of plastic debris can be seen the gnarled reality of the economic boom years—the glimmering mirage that had long fed the fantasy that an expanding economy was the ultimate diagnostic of a healthy nation, one built on a solid and sustainable foundation. The old axiom ‘What’s good for General Motors is good for the country’ had effectively been refined by the dawn of 2020 to simply: ‘Whatever profits the shareholders is good.’ The notion of a nation state had devolved into merely a geographic market of mass consumerism.

City of Angels: Los Angeles, January 2021.

But the dizzying buzz that the economic ‘rebound’ that ostensibly heralded a nation that was once again truly thriving across all sectors was in actual fact simply illusory and the pandemic has ended the hypnotic lightshow.

At the cusp of the COVID-19 onset, unemployment had been declared to be effectively at an end (the government considers a 3-percent unemployment rate to be in practical terms a state of ‘full-employment’) but in fact the government simply continued to apply its age-old cooked-books formula of only counting workers who applied for or continued to receive unemployment benefits. The millions of working age men and women for whom unemployment benefits had expired were simply pushed off the books and into the grimly nebulous category of ‘no longer participating in the workforce.’

It’s the same cynical numbers game the government and the media have long played with illegal immigration, maintaining the masquerade that there are approximately 11 million people of every strata in the United States who have no legal right to be in the country. That figure of 11 million illegal immigrants, which has remained on the national marquee since at least the mid-2000s, is as accurate as the 3-percent unemployment figure, in that it’s accurate as long as you don’t count the other 25 million illegal immigrants currently in United States. It’s a cheap but deadly demographic hat trick that Uncle Sam is deathly afraid of revealing, which is why any and all real efforts to ascertain through legitimate but definitive means the true figure of foreigners illegally present in the United States are immediately killed in the crib by both parties.

And there is a reason for that.

In an era where the slogan ‘We believe in science!’ has taken on the desired religious tone its shouters intend, as an article of politically interpreted faith rather than a deliberative establishment of fact and a fearless exploration of meaning, the actual factual hard data of illegal immigrants in the United States—just determining the number—is simply verboten.

In the distant past and deeper still in antiquity such unallowable facts and proscribed lines of inquiry were known simply as ‘Forbidden Knowledge’ and were whispered of only among heretical intellectuals, artists and other malcontents and misanthropes who were intent to neither mildly submit nor blindly obey, however clandestine their resistance may have been.

And so it is today as the true numbers of both the American unemployed and foreign nationals illegally present in the United States have been feverishly obfuscated for decades—a bipartisan endeavor and perhaps the only consensus between the two parties in the Beltway that has held since the Reagan era.

But then came the pandemic.

And within just about six months time—or approximately the lifespan of a toaster warranty—the Great Lies have been laid bare, the neon veneer has been torn away and the facts of our situation have been irrevocably revealed.

Remember the joys of the ‘gig economy’ that were programmed round-the-clock as America struggled out of the Great Recession and remained on high volume right up to the moment the virus fires began? Who could forget the casual glory of ‘the side hustle’ that was trumpeted, pitched and sold to American workers as a viable means to earn a wage—and just a wage, one sans any of the employee protections or benefits to say nothing of the equity that once came with the traditional employment that built the middleclass in America—with all of its supposed flexibility and the sugar high of allegedly working-for-yourself, albeit under a corporate umbrella of Uber or Lyft or DoorDash or among the legions of ‘contracting vendors’ that pumped non-employee workers by the millions into warehouses and behind the wheel for companies like FedEx and Amazon? The $35-an-hour union trade jobs had long been shipped down the Wuhan Ways of the world, but America had a side hustle just waiting for those eager to self-motivate across the overnight shift for an easy net of $172 or so a week—which is more than enough to cover the rent on a shared room in a three-bedroom single-family home rented to a revolving cast of eight or nine people every month (depending if you counted the people living in the living room and the garage).

Remember all that? Sure you do, those commercials weren’t pulled until the nation was well into the pandemic. Well, it was a hustle to be sure, but there wasn’t much sideways about it at all. The so-called ‘gig economy’ was pretty much a straightforward con job.

And so the America of 2020 began just as Washington intended it to, with most Americans working harder and longer for ever-shrinking slices of the meaningful wage pie while the spread of the indentured class rebranded as ‘independent contractors’ made millionaires by the bushel on the publicly-traded markets even though nothing close to a material improvement in the life of the average American was truly being achieved. It sure looked like another banner year and decade-in-the-making for the corporate robber barons as the assembly lines of ‘human capital’ continued to be fed into the vast sausage-maker of product storage and order-fulfillment/delivery systems that have come to define the job market landscape, men and women who invariably emerge on the other side as gutted husks stumbling through habitual unemployment and succored by a government safety net that offers little more than some drinking money and a small paper cup each morning with the blue magic of Alprazolam in it to help numb Americans horrifying spiritual death that is merely prelude to their impending literal demise.

But remember, Jeff Bezos is so very grateful for everything his nearly 1 million Amazonians have delivered to him and his company’s shareholders. Well, actually, not really, in fact, not at all, but if it helps to pretend that Bezos & Co. are filled with gratitude and are focused by it, then go right ahead and think so.

At Amazon, it’s hard to believe the memo line on the paychecks doesn’t read: ‘Be thankful for even this, ye loathsome little worm. Now get back to work!’

With the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO and the rest of organized labor long knocked out and sold out as relevant advocates for working and middleclass Americans, the living wage careers those unions once embodied were shuttered and shipped overseas courtesy of the bipartisan blitz in the mid-1990s that delivered NAFTA and a host of other ‘free trade’ initiatives and all while the floodgates of mass immigration were opened ever wider still to more quickly facilitate the replacement of the American worker at what remained of the American jobsite.

According to an Economic Policy Institute brief published in August 2015, more than 5 million skilled labor jobs in the United States were gutted, fileted and delivered to tables overseas between 2000 and 2014 alone, a figure which doesn’t really come close as an accurate casualty count for the corporate looting that became a Washington & Wall Street, Inc., trademarked brand dating back to the Reagan Administration as the wolves howled their approval of the merge-gut-close-repeat formula that gave rise to real life monsters like Al ‘Chainsaw’ Dunlap, nor the ongoing bleed-out of those jobs that continued through the final years of the Obama Administration.

Eliminated along with the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in America’s estate sale was the nation’s pharmaceutical production infrastructure, which was also shutdown and offshored to increase shareholder profits and ensure the American people—to the extent and as long as they still existed in any relevant capacity—were even more deeply leveraged in and reliant upon a global economy. It’s a bitter betrayal that again speaks directly to the intent of those that carried it out: removing the capacity of the United States to manufacture its own critical medicine supply was to make its people quite literally hostage to the demands of foreign governments.

It’s an insurance policy of sorts for the shareholder-class whose imperial-grade profit margins reside solely in the pirates’ chest of globalism.

Shortly before the pandemic erupted and then arrived on American shores a few sharp pens had indeed had been sounding the alarm of what was inevitably going to happen in such situations. On July 22, 2019, The Seattle Times published an op-ed penned by Rosemary Gibson of the Hasting’s Center and author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, in which Gibson spelled out in detail the depth of America’s reliance on overseas suppliers of critical medicine and particularly that of an increasingly hostile China.

Gibson ticked off a grim list of hard facts surrounding the current state of America’s pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity, noting that by the summer of 2019 “The U.S. has virtually no capacity to make generic antibiotics to treat ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, Lyme disease and other illnesses.” Twenty years earlier, Gibson reported, the anthrax attacks on Washington forced the U.S. to buy 20 million doses of Doxycycline—an emergency order it had to place with European suppliers who promptly sourced the job to China. Birth control, chemotherapy, HIV treatments, Parkinson’s, diabetes, Alzheimers and many others are all sourced out to overseas producers and primarily those operating under the instruction of Beijing.

In her op-ed, Gibson projected that by 2030 at the latest the United States will have lost virtually all of its capacity to produce generic drugs of any stripe on any relevant scale—transformed into a vast sea of medical cases utterly reliant on the prerogatives of a foreign adversary. She closed her piece with a series of recommendations that Washington undertake with urgency.

Within a matter of months, Gibson’s warning proved prophetic and Americans for perhaps the fist time since its manufacturing lab infrastructure was shutdown and sold off began to become aware that the nation that was once the ‘arsenal for democracy’ was in no condition to even be a medical manufacturer for itself during a national emergency.

That sort of collective awareness could not be left to fester unchallenged.

In response, the globalist publication Reason attacked Gibson’s critical analysis and compelling account of the extremely vulnerable position the U.S. now finds itself with relation to its medicinal manufacturing base, or lack thereof, with Reason’s Eric Boehm dismissing Gibson’s assertion that 80% of key active pharmaceutical ingredients are produced in China as essentially a false alarm.

Not to worry, Reason’s Boehm insists, 80% of key active pharmaceutical ingredients aren’t actually made in China, just overseas, and perhaps with a plurality of that in China, just not all of it. Feel better?

The response from Reason should not have come as much of a surprise, considering editors from the publication have openly called for vastly accelerated mass immigration into the United States to spike America’s population to more than 1 billion people as a means of economic expansion, a libertarian Jonestown prescription in its own right and a double-shot of Kool-Aid not surprisingly cheered by no less a veteran schizophrenic showman as Glenn Beck who gleefully declared that the United States needed to add 700-million people to remain competitive with China.

When theoretical libertarians, rodeo clowns like Glenn Beck, the Democratic Party’s armband-wearing goose-steppers and the corporate whores of the GOP are all singing harmony on a chorus of mass immigration then, mass immigration now and mass immigration forever, well…as they say in the medical community: it’s time to get your affairs in order.

But it’s a little late for that now, isn’t it. Our collective affairs cannot be arranged into any semblance of order, for this is the era of absolute chaos, an end-stage global panic attack.

As continents across the globe buckle under the sheer weight of human masses that are watching their fate unfold in front of them and live-streamed in real time, the reality of precious fresh water supplies that are vanishing as fast as sustainable living space that provides for something more promising than a life amid an SRO human cattle car has finally reached critical mass and thus the great human herds are on the march in a desperate effort to migrate to somewhere else. Anywhere else.

But alas, the geopolitical lifeboats of Western civilization are not only sinking, the boats are burning on their way down.

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic spread like fire around the world last year, the limits of government innovation and intervention had been dramatically exceeded and were on prominent display everywhere but in the United States none more so than its Great Cities where in places like Los Angeles and Seattle tens of thousands of men and women stumble around the glittering towers of debauched corruption and financial wet market gang bangs to empty their bowels on the same streets where they sleep even as the government issues ever more ringing declarations announcing a new age of equity, justice and, uh, whatever, while waiting for refreshers of its member’s only bottle service.

If humankind in the modern age hasn’t figured out effective and socially successful birth control by now, if we can’t empower women and educate men on the global scale that is necessary to decelerate our speeding breeding rush into oblivion, do you really think our species ‘leaders’ can get their arms around the viruses yet to come? Can they end the shortages that are already at hand? Can they staunch the violent chaos that’s fanning faster with every passing day?

Yeah, me either.

An honest assessment of the global response to this pandemic can only arrive at one clear conclusion: governments in the main have no idea what they are doing and are making it up as they go along—out of an abundance of not knowing what else to do.

As vaccines for COVID-19 have arrived, wild rumors abound in various circles across all points along the political spectrum that they are actually part of a shadowy last-ditch effort at population control. Ha! The planet should be so lucky. No, there is nothing so hopefully sinister or usefully diabolical about the vaccines against COVID-19, for they are indeed as advertised and another testament to humankind’s resilient resourcefulness, an admirable trait but one that will not save us this far down the line.

As for the Zoomers, well, evidently Gen Z seems to believe if they can write enough code, play enough games, add enough tattoos and piercings and dye their hair a bright enough turquoise then maybe the unfolding calamity will not consume them as well. Or maybe they haven’t given it that much thought at all, what with all the coding, gaming, tatting, piercing and hair dye signaling in-between the fist-raising social justice afternoon prayer services before dinner back at mom’s house.

In which case, even better.

The United States in 2021 is well on its way to becoming the Cocoanut Grove on that fateful night of November 28, 1942, a swinging joint that had swelled beyond its capacity with people from all over the place just looking for a break away from a world at war. A fire found officially to be of ‘unknown origin’ swept through the fronds of the artificial palms inside the Boston club and leapt into its gaudy cloth-covered false ceilings, quickly exploding into an inferno that would devour nearly 500 people as they stampeded toward exits that were locked or blocked. The official inquest would reveal that some guests were overcome with the billowing smoke and fireballs so quickly that firefighters picking through the wreckage found their charred carcasses still in their chairs, drinks literally still in hand.

The lesson the Cocoanut Grove ostensibly taught civic officials nearly a century ago was that it’s generally ill-advised to allow a glimmering oasis of freedom, music and swinging good times to be filled by nearly triple the amount of people it could actually accommodate not only comfortably but safely—the Cocoanut Grove fire actually killed more people than the club’s maximum capacity. While the club had been given an official clean bill of health by officials only days before catastrophe broiled its patrons alive, it would later be disclosed that the club hadn’t been properly inspected, licensed or permitted in years.

As 2021 gets underway, it’s not hard to imagine bombshell Goody Goodelle tickling the ivory and singing in the Grove’s Melody Lounge where the fire began that fall night in 1942, and envisioning one of those cats sitting up front near the stage and dressed to the nines, sporting a cigarette holder cocked in one hand and a dry martini fearlessly in the other, and as the flames exploded, as the smoke billowed and as the crowd ran shrieking like damned banshees desperate for an exit, looking over at his honey for the night and remarking with a grin and a wink just as her hair burst into flames: “Well, I guess we won’t be taking a cab after all.”

So perhaps eons from now, as alien archeologists brush the sediment off our Pompeii, they will marvel at the futile mass rush for the door and the Boomers who just stayed in their seats, smiling.

Drinks in hand.








The Enemy Within

Celebrating America should mean defending her in public schools

[As so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ that was cooked up and presented as a field of legitimate study in academia long ago has since metastasized and aggressively spread into the workplaces, corporate offices and now government agencies—which was always the underlying intent of its creators—I am reminded of this column I penned during the twilight of George W. Bush’s presidency and for which I interviewed a former high school history teacher from Tucson Unified School District and his crystal-clear description of the insidious nature of the Left’s cultural reassignment surgery and the blistering reality of how far along it was even then. The teacher had been assigned a Mexican-American ethnic studies course at a magnet high school in the district, but was immediately informed by district administrators that his only real responsibility was to issue grades—the curriculum would be imparted in class primarily by non-credentialed ‘community organizers’ appearing as guest speakers and through coursework material they had curated. The educator quickly learned he was basically a cutout that was tapped to present the veneer of legitimacy and meet Arizona’s professional requirements in the classroom if only on paper. The actual class, he explained, provided little more than a steady flow of racially-focused agitprop from the community organizers: “They declared students were living in an occupied, colonized land,” he said, “with the central tenet of the instruction being that white Americans oppress Latinos, and that the education system was a tool of white oppression.”

 Sound familiar?

 First published by The Washington Times on July 4, 2008, the column closed by noting: “If Americans are unwilling to defend their national heritage to the emerging generation in its classrooms, then the fireworks this Fourth of July will really have been just flares illuminating a mighty nation that is sleepwalking to its own demise.”

 I’d say we’re in our jammies and standing on the precipice now.]

By Mark Cromer

For most of America, celebrating the 232nd anniversary of our republic’s declaration of independence from the British Empire inspires at least a moment of reflection of what brought our nation to greatness.

If the national revelry indeed has any deeper purpose at all beyond binging on hotdogs and beer, it must be that we acknowledge our ancestors strong work ethic, their bloody sacrifice, our unique national sense of exceptionalism and our bedrock respect for the rule of law.

But once the fireworks are over, Americans would be wise to take note that our national holiday is not seen as something to celebrate by significant and growing numbers of students at public high schools across the Southwest. In school districts from Tucson to Los Angeles, advocates of a radically ethnocentric agenda are expanding their reach into the student body and the curriculum, teaching a core message that holds the United States is a racist police-state that is bent on the oppression of Latinos and other ethnic minorities.

Students at Jordan High School in Watts launched a series of protests in June after the Los Angeles Unified School District refused to renew the contract of Karen Salazar, an untenured English teacher at the campus. The LAUSD determined that Salazar was engaged in blatant ethno-political indoctrination of her students.

Salazar recently went on PBS’s Democracy Now! to offer a reasoned defense of her teaching; noting that she used district-approved textbooks and taught them in compliance with state-mandated standards.

In the vacuum of a PBS studio, her explanation sounded like she was indeed the victim of an overly cautious administration.

But then there’s the footage of Salazar standing in front of the school clutching a bullhorn and declaring “Historically the school system has been used as a project of colonization to rob students of their identity.”

And judging from Salazar’s students outrage over her firing—which was captured on video and posted on YouTube—just how much fundamental grammar or writing skills was being taught in her classroom is questionable.

One female student, with a penchant for calling her classmates “comrades,” seems to confirm the basic premise of LAUSD officials decision to fire her.

“She goes out of the curriculum and teaches us our history,” the student says. “Instead of that [expletive deleted] U.S.-centrism they teach us in our history class.” In another video clip the same student declares students are being “hunted down and treated like terrorists” at schools that are really prisons.

One of her ‘comrades’ chimes in that Salazar “teaches us how to be strong and not let nobody oppress us.” Well, so much for English standards.

Ethnic studies courses used as academic cover to brazenly indoctrinate students with a racially-based, anti-American perspective comes as no surprise to John Ward, a former magnet school history teacher in the Tucson Unified School District.

Ward, who is of Latino heritage, said he was comfortable that the course featured a Mexican-American perspective—but what he didn’t know was he was expected to only assign grades, a bureaucratic loophole that allowed the students to be lectured by advocates without teaching credentials.

The coursework was steeped in hard-edged anti-American rhetoric.

“They declared students were living in an occupied, colonized land,” Ward recalled. A central tenet of the instruction was that white Americans oppress Latinos, and that the education system was a tool of white oppression.

The impact on students, Ward said, was dramatic.

“By the end of the class, they were very pessimistic and angry about America,” he said. “They were convinced that anyone who isn’t brown is out to get them, to oppress them.”

When Ward challenged the angry, one-dimensional instruction students were receiving through the class, he said his own Latino heritage offered no protection. “They called me a racist, a tool of the oppressor, a ‘Vendido’ which means ‘sellout,’” he said. “They replied that all education is politically-charged and that they must combat the dominant culture’s view of history. They believe non-white kids need an anti-white curriculum.”

If Ward was hoping that administrators from TUSD would intervene, he quickly learned otherwise. “They didn’t want to pick this battle,” Ward said. “They were white administrators that could see the writing on the wall if they tried to defend me. They’d immediately be tarred as “racists.’”

Ward eventually resigned his position and now works for the Arizona state auditor. He said the radicals who lectured his class now have their credentials and are teaching ‘Raza Studies’ at TUSD. The program is set to be expanded throughout the district.

In Los Angeles, Salazar’s students and activists continue their efforts to pressure the school district into renewing her contract and it’s almost certain she will find herself back in a classroom somewhere.

If Americans are unwilling to defend their national heritage to the emerging generation in its classrooms, then the fireworks this Fourth of July will really have been just flares illuminating a mighty nation that is sleepwalking to its own demise.


The Freak, The Fraud & The Fallout

The opening and perhaps only 2020 Presidential debate was a debacle that damningly frames the fate of the nation

By Mark Cromer

Once upon a time in American politics, the vast sea of voters were for the most part a relatively middle-of-the-road bunch that presented on a spectrum of ‘liberal’ to ‘conservative’ but who were actually stitched somewhat close together through the common bonds of cultural cohesiveness and a broad stroke of general consensus that the United States was indeed a land of opportunity that made it an enviable place to live.

Sure, there were caveats and qualifiers to the popular mythology of America, but there was a fundamental underlying truth to it and Americans in virtually every station of life sensed the possibilities the nation held.

With the working class looking for some upward mobility into more comfortable environs and the middle class primarily interested in safeguarding what they had achieved, the rich were first and foremost wary of any candidate or policy from either major party that might result in some sort of sociopolitical explosion that could trigger a chain-reaction and unleash the pitchforks and torches marching upon their many fine castles and countryside estates. For the wealthy in America, the social stability provided by a broad middle class was its best defense, and likewise the beacon of possibility that middle class America provided the working class was its best hope.

And once upon a time in America wasn’t really all that long ago at all.

But the opening and quite possibly only 2020 Presidential debate highlighted in the starkest of terms just how far gone America now is and how fast her descent into the cold grave of history is occurring. For just 90 frenetic minutes the debate played like an infomercial for impending doom — and an hour and a half was all that was needed.

From the opening moments onstage in the heartland city of Cleveland, Ohio, it was a freak show—with the chief freak standing there onstage all aglow as he veered into a manic blur of surreal petulance that as the night wore on suggested perhaps Hunter Biden wasn’t really the only corrupt crackhead voters need to worry about come November. With his carnival act of a presidency buffeted by a pandemic and shaken by an orgy of organized riots replete with mass arson and wanton mob violence that has exposed Donald J. Trump’s inability or unwillingness to effectively lead an administration let alone a badly fractured nation facing disintegration, Trump used the debate to recast all of his chronic disabilities as bold strategy.

Faced with the weakest Democratic contender since George McGovern, Trump sought to conceal his own lack of preparation and the purely transactional nature of his character with high-volume bombast played in heavy rotation and supplemented by a parade of petty insults and incessant interruptions he hoped would accomplish either knocking Joe Biden into a fresh bout of incomprehensible word salad or at least keep the stage production so dysfunctional and chaotic that serious consideration of the critical issues was impossible.

Trump did manage to accomplish the latter, as more than 73 million viewing Americans were not provided with even a moment’s worth of thoughtful discourse of where the nation stands, what it is facing and specifically what either candidate seriously proposes to do about it.

Given the composition of Trump’s inner-circle, there’s little doubt that after he stepped offstage he was greeted by glowing reports of his most magnificent debate victory, though perhaps they distilled it for him to a familiar parlance that’s easier for him to understand: “No one has ever seen anything like it, to be quite honest with you, Mr. President. People from everywhere are saying you’re the best they’ve ever seen, if you want to know the truth. It’s so beautiful. So beautiful. Really, really beautiful. Very strongly so.”

But the cold, hard truth is that Trump simply blew it once again and squandered what may well have been his last best opportunity to directly connect with and convince the voters he needs if he is to be reelected. If you’re campaigning to ostensibly ‘save the suburbs’ its generally not a good idea to come across as a fast-talking flimflam man from the boroughs hopped up into a highly agitated state. No, a far more prudent course of action on the debate stage would have been to show up prepared and in a reassuringly calm and linear manner paint the very sobering picture of the future America now faces and why his leadership, however flawed it has proven to be in the past (just a dash of genuine public humility still goes a long way with most Americans) is far more desirable than the grim alternative that a Biden Administration will mean.

Engaging Biden with civility and common courtesy would have been not only very appropriate, but it also would have been the curve ball Team Joe didn’t see coming.

Letting Biden attempt to explain his positions would have resulted in only one of two outcomes: he either would have revealed that he had little to actually offer beyond platitudes and homey proverbs that were sugared with calorie-free reminders of ‘I am not Trump’ or, in the very possible alternative, he would have become lost in the fog of time that increasingly clouds his mind, leaving him to stumble and stammer as he chases his thoughts that flutter as wildly as a butterfly eluding the net. And that could well have spelled political catastrophe for Biden’s third run for the White House.

A disciplined debater working off even a mediocre moderator could have focused the audience on the true stalking horse nature of Biden/Harris 2020, challenging Biden to explain precisely why he has repeatedly denounced the very popular crime bill that he himself ushered through the Senate in the summer of 1994 and that passed with 61 bi-partisan ‘ayes’ before it was signed by President Bill Clinton? For the devil is indeed in the details and Biden would have been hard-pressed to offer any detailed analysis of what was wrong with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — other than perhaps it came way too late for the Americans that had been victimized by vicious street predators as crime spiked and spread in the 1980s and early 1990s.

No, Biden would have been reduced to some fabricated deflection about how the watershed legislation that supplemented state-based efforts at locking down habitual criminals—such as California’s popular ‘Three Strikes’ law that played an immense role of putting recidivist violent criminals behind bars for good—had resulted in that most dubious of phrases: ‘mass incarceration.’ The specter of mass incarceration has become a key slogan among the progressive Left’s compliance squads, but like so much else that’s shouted in the streets and preached from the pulpit of Hollywood, it’s little more than agitprop served hot to the hungry mouths of the Professional Victim Inc. crowd.

So a disciplined and prepared debater could have blown that dodge to smithereens and in doing so added some vital factual nuance to the issue of so-called criminal justice reform. If one believes in science, then one also must believe in empirical data, and the data simply does not support the premise that America is effectively a prison state that hunts, kills and incarcerates ethnic and racial minorities for the sport of it.

As of spring 2020 there were approximately 2.3 million inmates serving time across the United States; from local jails to state prisons to federal penitentiaries. This figure, which also includes involuntary mental health confinements, immigration detentions and juvenile halls (or ‘Gladiator School’ as they’re more popularly known among their frequent guests), amounts to roughly .07% of the 320 million people that are living in the United States—a total population statistic that may be an undercount of 20 million or more people since a comprehensive effort to identify and quantify people that are illegally present in the United States has never been undertaken by the government.

Simply put, for a First World nation that also has the third largest population on the planet, a statistic of 2.3 million convicted criminals behind bars is nothing more odious than a benchmark of a country that was at least momentarily serious about protecting its law-abiding citizens. It’s nothing more ominous than the sign of a real national commitment to the ideal that when a jury convicts some bipedal oxygen thief with a rap sheet that could be used as a yardstick of yet again shoving a .38 into the neck of the night clerk at the corner market to terrorize his way into the cash register that such miscreants deserve to be caged to protect society and punish the criminal, not to rehabilitate anyone.

It’s rather revealing that proponents advocating for even greater levels of mass immigration into the United States and particularly in support for the caravans snaking out of the shanty towns across Central America like infantry divisions on a forced march to the frontlines under orders from their commissars cite the virtual non-existence of a functioning legal system in these states as grounds enough for entry to be granted without challenge.

The argument is that Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala have become too dangerous for people to live in and are so fundamentally broken, in fact, that they cannot be changed. As such, that argument is effectively a concession that these former countries cannot emerge from a primitive state of existence and evolve back into functioning nation-states that provide a baseline level of services, opportunities and legal protections for their citizens.

In essence, Central America has been declared a complete write-off.

And by that standard, since more than 90% of violent crimes in Mexico go unsolved and the country has collapsed into a narco-confederation replete with mass graves and public beheadings as the cartels vie for preeminence along the contraband transit routes—in July 2015 Frontline reported that between 2007 and 2014 alone the narco-cartels had slaughtered more than 164,000 Mexicans in their war to control production centers, routes and markets, a death toll higher than both Afghan and Iraqi civilian casualties following the American invasion of those nations—the vast majority of Mexican citizens should also be able to walk freely into the United States and into the constellation of social services that were once the province of American citizens alone but increasingly open to all-comers which further erases the very meaning of citizenship.

A disciplined debater could have quickly cornered Biden and revealed the real issue at hand in 2020 is that clearly visible behind Biden is a demolition team ready to detonate the base charges that will take the entire legal system down.

If Biden sputtered something about it was time to ‘reimagine’ law enforcement and the legal system in the United States, if he had blathered something about the supposed promise of ‘restorative justice,’ a disciplined and focused debater could have pounced and pointed out the actual reality in Democratic-led states and cities where tens of thousands of hardened criminals are being poured back onto the streets to effectively victimize today at will and without the nuisance of real consequence looming over their heads. A disciplined debater would have eviscerated the canard that ‘property crimes’ are essentially victimless affairs by pointing out the devastating impact home burglaries take on the residents and the deep-bleeding businesses suffer as a result of rampant shoplifting, commercial burglaries and looting that the states now effectively aid and abet.

On the issue of crime, Biden is at his most vulnerable.

But alas, letting Biden speak at any length, however plainly appropriate and politically prudent for Trump to do, would mean in Trump’s mind that people weren’t paying attention to him—and he can’t have that. He viewed the debate as just another episode of The Trump Show and he is the star. So it’s no small wonder that Trump didn’t start making fart noises and shooting rubber bands at Biden every time the former vice president tried to answer a question.

His boorish antics aside, however, Trump’s refusal to come prepared to wage a serious debate and offer thoughtful estimations of the issues that confront the nation and the best way to address them was yet another brazen betrayal of not only the Americans who cast ballots for him in 2016 but for every American citizen who should expect as much from their sitting president whether they voted for him or not. That Trump is impervious to embarrassment and possesses no self-awareness is cold comfort to Americans who were looking for substantive answers on issues such as race-relations, rising crime, the economic viability of the nation amid the patchwork of state-led responses to the pandemic and the prospects for ending American involvement in wars on foreign shores, both secret and well known.

In lieu of this, Trump decided to double-down once more and taunt Biden for signing the 1994 crime bill while boasting that he was letting convicted criminals out of jail. Trump apparently considers his disastrous embrace of the Democrats criminal justice reform narrative, along with moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognizing Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, to be among his peak first term accomplishments. But even more grotesque was Trump’s declaration from the debate stage—and for the umpteenth time—that he could immediately halt the carnage that has unfolded on a near nightly basis across American cities but only if the Democratic governors and mayors ask him to do so.

Trump bragged “If they called us in Portland, we could put out that fire in half an hour” and then digressed further into puerile fantasy by declaring: “If you look at Chicago, if you look at any place you want to look, Seattle, they heard we were coming in the following day and they put up their hands and we got back Seattle. Minneapolis, we got it back.”

As American citizens all over the nation are attacked on the streets, swarmed on the highways and pulled from their cars and beaten by frenzied mobs of radical Left terror squads and the criminal savages that the progressives herd in human cattle drives like so much realpolitik livestock and as American citizens’ businesses are burned to the ground and their homes ransacked, Trump stood on that stage in Cleveland and offered a rather sadistic spoken word rendition of James Taylor’s classic You’ve Got A Friend: just call out his name and you know wherever he is (Mar a Lago, Ninth Hole) he’ll come running.

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all Americans have to do is call…eh, not really.

Consider that more than 63 million Americans dialed Trump’s 900-line from the polling booths nearly four years ago and went to bed on election night feeling exhausted yet exhilarated. The hangover preceded the inauguration but less than a hundred days after Trump was sworn in the ugly truth was growing ever more clear: Trump really was just a political phone sex operator who talked a good game but expecting him to actually show up in Washington and deliver the goods he had promised on the campaign trail quickly degraded from fantasy to hallucinatory.

Still, perhaps the greatest betrayal witnessed on that Cleveland stage was Trump’s bumbling response to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace’s question about so-called Critical Race Theory that could have been a walk-off home run for the president. You could almost hear Wallace doing his best Bugs Bunny impression in the windup on the mound: “Ehhh, I think I’ll perplex him with my slow-ball.”

Instead of waiting for it and then sending it over the centerfield wall, Trump infuriatingly but unsurprisingly flailed frantically at Wallace’s changeup as it floated across the plate in front of him.

“This month, your administration directed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that addresses ‘white privilege’ or Critical Race Theory. Why did you decide to do that, to end racial sensitivity training?” Wallace asked. “And do you believe there is systemic racism in this country, sir?”

Trump’s answer out of the gate wasn’t so much wrong as it was a simplistic retort devoid of any of the power the question actually provided him with a chance to unload with, beginning with quick explanation of what Critical Race Theory is rooted in and then ticking off why it explains a nation that’s about as real as Wakanda.

A prepared and disciplined debater would have answered that Critical Race Theory was formulated in academia decades ago by radical racialists that worked in a fashion not unlike biochemists cooking up a deadly virus in a bioweapons lab would; with an eye on creating a social pathogen that maximizes its vector potential by turning K-12 education and post-secondary education into Hot Zones all over the nation and, left uncontained, spreads rapidly into virtually every cultural institution across the nation, mutating as necessary to gain a foothold in its host organism, survive any immune response and then overwhelming its victim.

With Critical Race Theory, the virus is engineered to kill not only the construct of the nation but the very concept of the country by reprogramming the collective memory of its inhabitants to process the present through a thoroughly malevolent lens of perspective in viewing its past. Thus the advent of ‘micro-aggressions,’ an indispensable psychoactive ingredient of the virus that convinces some and confuses many others into believing that real oppression against all racial minorities—but none more so than blacks—is so innate in America’s society and culture that as Trevor Noah has become fond of saying: “Racism is the corn syrup of America. It is in everything.

Everything. As in the smile from the young white couple who say ‘good morning’ to their black neighbors to the white grandmother who offers a friendly ‘goodnight’ to her Latino in-laws. Critical Race Theory holds that literally everything whites do is informed and inspired by a nuclear core of racism.

A prepared and disciplined debater would have answered Wallace that among the psych-warfare techniques being employed through ‘racial sensitivity training’ based on Critical Race Theory is an exercise where white employees in federal government agencies are being coerced into writing personal letters of apology to black Americans as well as other ethnic and racial minorities. The specific confessions of the apology letters is apparently left somewhat up to each of the white employees convicted of being white while at work—hell, actually being white while breathing—but one has to assume letters deemed to have been insufficiently remorseful make their way into the employee’s personnel file for further review and action as needed at a later date.

A prepared and disciplined debater would have looked into the camera and in a calm and cool fashion reminded America that in 2008 she voted into the most powerful position on planet earth a black American who struggled and worked his way up from a single mother household and did so in a nation that as flawed as she is, made that possible. And that same nation approved of President Barack Obama’s choice of Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States.

A black president and a black attorney general, twin facts that simply don’t align with the relentless narrative of Critical Race Theory that America is an inherently racist nation.

But Trump doesn’t possess either the intellectual depth or mental dexterity to effectively address the core components of the racial issues that Critical Race Theory has distorted into a cultural pandemic, he doesn’t possess enough command of the facts to calmly but vigorously employ the real-world data that reveals more unarmed white Americans are killed each year by police than blacks and that more white Americans are victims of violent crime perpetrated by black criminals each year than blacks who are victimized by white perpetrators, according to Department of Justice and FBI crime statistics.

No, Trump didn’t go there during the debate because he simply doesn’t know how to, all while Biden is happy to mumble some more slogans he has been taught to memorize and recite when he hears certain trigger words.

Trump’s response to Wallace’s Critical Race Theory query was typically truncated, somewhat blurred into half-thoughts and utterly devoid of the vital detail that would help him clinch the case against it: “I ended it because it is racist. I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane. That it’s a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools, all over the place. And you know it and so does everybody else,” Trump replied.

But see, that’s the rub and that’s where Trump comes out sounding like the rube. No, not everybody else knows it and in fact tens of millions of Americans are still somewhat in the dark as to what actually has been occurring across academia and the media but also corporate America and throughout the government as well under the auspices of Critical Race Theory. No, most Americans were not—and are still not—aware that white government employees were being forced to write apology letters for being white.

So Wallace’s question was a perfect opportunity to lay that out for them. To get right down to it and call Critical Race Theory out for exactly what it is and indeed what it was always meant to be: relentless warfare against white Americans across virtually every aspect of American life; from white Americans history to their very own homes, from their workplaces to their recreational pursuits. Critical Race Theory is a declaration, blueprint and playbook for Total War against working white America.

But Trump couldn’t even bring himself to call white Americans by their name as he spoke ostensibly in their defense.

“If you were a certain person,” he told Wallace on the debate stage, “you had no status in life. It was sort of a reversal. And if you look at the people, we were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and, frankly, very sick ideas. And really, they were teaching people to hate our country. And I am not going to do that. I am not going to allow that to happen. We have to go back to the core values of this country. They were teaching people this country is a horrible place. It’s a racist place. And they were teaching people to hate our country. And I am not going to allow that to happen.”

If you were a certain person…

That restraint or calibration actually required an amount of forethought and self-control by Trump he rarely displays and it surely attests to those around him effectively drilling into him these past four years: ‘You can stand up for white people, but whatever you do don’t say their name. Don’t call them white people. Call them ‘certain people’ or ‘some people,’ but never ever mention their name in an affirmatively positive manner or defend them by name. Never, ever-ever.’

So the progressive Left has no problem mentioning white Americans by name three times in practically every sentence as they pass judgment and sentence upon them daily, but the man for whom white Americans in overwhelming numbers put in the White House couldn’t say it even once in their defense and on the national stage as much of the nation looked on. Ivanka and Jared must be so proud of Trump.

It’s just a shame Wallace didn’t follow up by factually noting: “In fact, Mr. President, that’s exactly what you have been allowing for virtually the entirety of your presidency to-date. You signed that executive order that applies to federal agencies alone just a few weeks ago, and Critical Race Theory has been coursing through the veins of the federal government for more than a decade, so why did you wait until about a month out of the election to act? And why haven’t you acted to confront it in public schools and private workplaces all over the nation?”

But it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference even if he had asked such a question.

Trump has declared he has secured the border and ended illegal immigration, all while the border remains effectively open and millions of immigrants have crossed illegally into the nation during his watch.

Trump has declared that he will never allow America’s heritage and history to be destroyed while he is in the White House, all while cultural Maoists and the nihilistic mobs the progressive death cultists in the Democratic Party have unleashed tear down, deface, defile and destroy any and all manner of American history and heritage that they have stumbled upon.

Trump has declared that he will not allow Big Tech companies to wage a reign of mass censorship targeting political opponents and heretical viewpoints, all while Big Tech has turned their platforms into publishing houses and enthusiastically undertaken the elimination of their opponents from the digital public square and harnessed their platforms to optimum performance for the destruction of opponents in an act they’ve hygienically termed ‘cancelled’ and all from a government provided safe-zone that protects them from the litigation or sanction traditional publishers would otherwise face.

Trump has declared that he will never allow the safety of Americans to be threatened or the nation’s streets to be overrun with crime, all while highly organized bands of street terror squads descend at will upon their victims of choice while freelance urban berserkers prowl and poach victims that they film for entertainment and Internet infamy. Trump declares himself a law and order president all while overseeing one of the largest crime waves in modern American history, with District Attorneys freeing criminals and targeting civilians seeking to protect themselves and what is theirs since the government charged with protecting them has become unwilling to do so.

And now Trump has angrily declared he will not allow the infection of Critical Race Theory to run its fatal course throughout American institutions, all while Critical Race Theory has advanced completely unchallenged and utterly unimpeded from the boardroom to the basketball court, from academia to the Academy Awards.

Trump’s bizarre performance on that Cleveland stage—cloaked as it was beneath all the bellicose bravado and bitter bickering—perhaps betrayed that he may well sense the electoral boom is about to drop and his presidency cancelled by voters as a failed mid-season replacement.

Biden’s faux friendly posing as something of a political rerun of I Love Lucy, something that can bring the whole family around the table again as long as Americans pay no never mind to the Night of the Living Dead that lurks right behind him, is looking increasingly like that programming deal may be close to closing.

Given the magnitude of the calamity now facing the nation, maybe it would have been a bit of good fun if Wallace would have closed that first presidential debate with a wink and tip of the ol’ hat to doomsday by coyly asking the candidates:

“In closing gentlemen, a question to each of you. Mr. President, if come November voters reject your reelection bid, have you given any thought as to what country you and your extended family will immediately be seeking political asylum in? For all the chatter about Russia, a plurality of the Vegas book seems to split between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, or maybe both? And to you, Mr. Vice President, if you do actually manage to prevail in November, can you share with viewers your own best guess as to just how long it will be after your inauguration that the country awakes one morning to find President Kamala Harris mournfully informing the nation that you had passed peacefully away in your sleep but the very night before? Do you think we’re talking months or perhaps even weeks? And how long do you think she’ll be able to suppress that gorgeously radiant smile of hers during the announcement that you’ve gone to heaven? What about her happy dance, will she be able to refrain?”

Considering the freak show Cleveland was and the accelerating national shit-show it surely precedes, such a question may not have been as out of line as much as it would have provided some desperately needed comic relief, as both Trump and Biden would have surely taken the bait and answered it in another argument—and that would have been worth the price of the previous 86-minutes.















The Sustainable Revolution

Never ending economic growth and a mass consumer culture is not the solution

By Mark Cromer and Warren Johnson


As the subprime mortgage-fueled crisis drove the country into the Great Recession more than a decade ago, I collaborated with Warren Johnson on this column that posited Americans could either decisively turn away from a culture of mass consumerism—or be consumed by it. A Professor Emeritus of Geography at San Diego State University and a Fulbright research scholar, Johnson authored the groundbreaking work Muddling Toward Frugality in 1978 and followed it in 1985 with The Future Is Not What It Used To Be: Returning To Traditional Values In The Age Of Scarcity. Warren observed in 1978 that “There is still a long way to go before ultimate stability is achieved—the kind of stability that is based on long experience in using the land without undermining its productivity. This has been made impossible, at least for the time being, by a vast new kind of instability on a scale never before seen on the earth.”

Edward Abbey, the legendary author and seminal environmental activist, opined at the time that “Johnson shows in what I find a persuasive argument that if we have enough time, and if we begin to change our ways now, voluntarily, with patience, good humor and good will, we can not only avoid calamity but even regain a saner, easier more rewarding way of life.”

Amid the financial battering of the Great Recession, Johnson and I concurred that the era of peak oil’s collision with a relentless appetite for consumption and a dominant religious order heralding the glory of eternal growth had finally hit the tipping point and would soon prove to be humankind’s suicide note if not slowed, stopped and dialed back as quickly as possible.

 So we decided to write something about it together.

Now, on the doorstep of another new decade and as an even more profound economic disaster rolls across the land, amplified by a dizzying array of factors ranging from population densities to plundered resources to violent social upheaval—I am struck by what Johnson and I got wrong, temporarily at any rate—and yet not surprised in the least that our fundamental assertions proved to be prescient. We were indeed mistaken that the surge of ‘peak oil’ would not abate but only grow more pronounced as crude exporting nations tapped out their dwindling stocks and the international brokerages leveraged in extremis the desperate thirst for petro in developed and developing nations, squeezing them as dry as the known oil fields were becoming. We foresaw an inevitable nexus of $300 or $400-a-barrel sweet crude and civilizations both established and emerging that had indulged a junkie’s addiction to unsustainable growth face a thundering collapse as the spigots finally dripped their last drop.

We did not foresee, even as so unlikely as to be surreal potentialities, a window in which circumstances would develop courtesy of a pandemic that would result in the complete collapse of the energy market that led petro producers to actually pay countries to take their inventory at hand. It was a through the looking glass moment—but only for a moment.

While the world market ostensibly faces a surplus of oil, for now anyway, the Cult of Consumption has only grown more deeply entrenched as a dominant religion, one celebrated with lavish spectacles and socially reinforced by marketing slogans-turned-mystical truisms like ‘Growth is Good’ and ‘What’s In Your Wallet?’ At the dawn of 2020, Holy Communion for most Americans was held in the checkout line and administered by the cashier. We may be momentarily swimming in oil, but we can’t drink it and the warming planet’s fresh water supplies—that most fundamental element to life on earth—are being sucked drier than the Sahara even as the last of the ancient rainforests are put to the torch and the staggering churn of human waste pours unabated into the oceans.

We correctly made the case for the United States to begin a sociocultural seashift toward smaller, balanced and sustainable communities that featured viable economies for residents of those communities, and to reestablish an equilibrium not only between people and the environment, but a much healthier life-to-work ratio—one that is removed from the chronic sense of incompleteness that mass consumerism demands.

And yet here we are more than a decade later, with at least 25 million more people in America in 2020 than there were in 2010 (effectively a net-gain of another New York or Florida) living in ever denser population centers and the livelihoods of even millions more Americans dependent on global tradewinds and government largess.

If the chaos surrounding this pandemic has demonstrated anything, it is that while the cure for the virus may be elsuive for now, the palliative for so much of what ails our nation has been within our grasp for decades—but one which we chose not to take.

In 2009, Warren and I agreed that the hour had grown quite late for modern humankind, but we felt another inky shout of warning from California was worth it. We penned this relatively quickly as a newspaper column opener of what we thought would be a much longer essay or perhaps something more. And it was a real treat to kick it all around over drinks with a serious writer I had read in college and deeply respected. But Warren was working on a new book and I was still in a senior writing fellowship at a Santa Barbara think tank and, as such things are in life, our obligations, time and focus was to slowly carry us down river. So it was a fine experience for me, but revisiting it now it reads less dated as much as too late and “the towering mountains of waste and an abyss of fiscal debt” is indeed what the beneficiaries of the 20th Century are set to inherit. 

America will survive the financial crisis, but the real question as it emerges from it is whether it will stubbornly cling to an economy based on unsustainable mass consumption; or will it be daring enough to forge a new paradigm that secures both our future and our environment.

Amid all the fluctuations that are roiling the economy, one thing is certain: the end of cheap energy supplies indisputably confronts our nation, even as global and domestic demand continues apace.

One key piece of information in this regard is one our society has yet to consider: since 2005 world oil production has stabilized around 85 million barrels a day. (See World Oil Balance.) Even when oil prices topped $140 a barrel there was no commensurate increase in production.

How we respond to these challenges will in fact determine not only what kind of way of life our children and grandchildren will inherit, but also what kind of country we will be living in just a decade from now.

Americans are clearly not comfortable spending trillions of dollars from an already hemorrhaging treasury trying to get the economy back on track. But they will be even more uncomfortable when they learn that success will drive oil prices back up and eventually derail the economy yet again.

The niche of urban industrial society is filling up as more countries join the global economy, adding their demands to the Earth’s resources and waste absorbing capacities. More disturbing yet is that we are consuming this niche as we use the fossil fuels that gave the urban industrial way of life its power from its beginning some two centuries ago.

Fortunately, another path remains open for us; that of the sustainable niche that supported the human experience prior to the industrial era, including the great traditional cultures around the world. Modern technology will make the most of the renewable energy available, which will become progressively less than fossil fuels provide now.

The best thing about moving in this direction again is that it can be done by offering assistance to those who would like to build a simpler way of life that is sustainable with renewable forms of energy. Our younger generation would be in the vanguard responding to this opportunity, but many others across all socio-cultural demographics no longer thrive on the consumption-driven way of life and are ready for a change as long as it is more viable than experimental. Many Americans would be attracted to the security that comes with creating family enterprises that will support their descendants, regardless of what happens to the global economy.

An orderly transition period would occur over years as more people move into smaller, more rural communities and create their own economies of scale. Urban cores and suburban areas that support residents with jobs and housing will also emerge as the corrosive practice of commuting as much as 150 miles a day between home and work for millions of Americans is brought to an end.

The transition to smaller, sustainable communities would take pressure off the ‘mainstream economy’ by making general unemployment less of an issue over time. As energy supplies dwindle, the parallel economy created by these communities would make the shock of the coming shortages much less chaotic and dangerous.

The relationship between the two economies would be symbiotic, with both benefiting from the transition. The creation of work in the sustainable economy would protect the mainstream from the grinding down feared now, while the mainstream economy would have access to the tools and materials needed to rebuild in sustainable ways.

At its essence this transition is really a matter of rediscovering our way of life when our society was largely sustainable and our population was more widely dispersed across the landscape to take advantage of local production with less transportation, and more dependent on a local economy than a global one. Americans would be resuming the pioneering process undertaken when this continent was first settled.

The result would be a Sustainable Revolution that is the counterpoint of the Industrial Revolution and could take about as long to accomplish. Such a fundamental shift may sound like too much to hope for, but it has better prospects for success than the current struggle that we ultimately cannot win—between a growing economy and vanishing resources.

The test will be if this nation can recover the pioneering spirit that sustained it in the beginning. The bleak alternative is to leave our descendents with little other than depleted oil fields, towering mountains of waste and an abyss of fiscal debt.

What would they think of us then?