Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Failed State

The term "failed state" or "hollow state" generally refers to a nation whose institutions do not or cannot govern anymore, due to collapse by a number of different means -- economic, resource depletion, natural catastrophe, war, internal strife, maniacal despot, etc. The wrong circumstances and the wrong people converge, and structures that were seemingly in place just a month or a year prior are suddenly no longer evident.

The same dynamic can happen to any sort of entity, of course, even (perhaps especially) a political party. So it is appearing more and more to be the case with the Republicans. Antonin Scalia's death over the weekend cast this into sharp relief, not just with McConnell's comically quick urge to show his entire hand when he had no need to, to the bizarre conspiracy theories suddenly surrounding Scalia's death.

No, whatever you do, don't consider the likelihood that a fat eighty-year-old man who kept his health concerns to himself, and whose enjoyment of wine and rich food was well-known, might have, you know, had a heart attack in his sleep. I know, try to contain your surprise. But the Michael Savage types out there pull the "that's what they want you to think, man!" card.

Kudos to Trump for falling for that one, by the way. Jesus, what a fuckin' maroon. He seems like he might just be dumb enough to, say, use junk bonds to fund an overpriced casino in a dying resort community, and have it go bankrupt in just three years.

It seems that observers from across the political spectrum are coming to the same conclusion about Trump's rise, and it's the exact opposite conclusion that the party wise men seem to have reached.

See, the "establishment" folks are still trying to convince themselves and everyone else that Trump's doofy bluster and bombast have caused the disarray in the GOP. But the fact is that Trump's rise is a symptom of everything that's gone wrong for the Goopers. Having twenty candidates to start with, all of them terrible, was another symptom.

It's really both parties that have held large swaths of their natural constituents in contempt for quite some time, it's just that the divisions have become more exposed on the right. Again, the comically large number of candidates enabled a clown like Trump -- who probably ticks less than half the "principle" boxes for true movement conservatives -- to jump out in front early on, quickly smack down anyone who tried to ankle-bite him, and bullshit his way through adoring audiences of morons.

On the Democratic side, the clearest indication of this is Bernie Sanders's ability to quickly catch up with Hillary Clinton, despite the HRC's early-and-often attempts to dismiss Sanders as a well-meaning insurgent who just didn't understand what country he was trying to lead.

But it's essentially the same thing on both sides of the coin -- people who have been burned once too often by cynical lies and false promises, versus entrenched interests who are suddenly surprised to find that their bullshit doesn't work anymore. Of course they're going to be attracted to candidates who break balls and point out how corrupt and incompetent the bosses are. After a while, enough of them will figure that that doesn't necessarily translate into giving a dyspeptic buffoon like Donald Trump the codes to the nuclear football.

You know who's really gotta be kicking himself by now for declining to run? Joe Biden. He would have been an immediate front-runner for his party, and probably beaten any of the Republican candidates -- including Trump -- like rented mules. And he knows it.

The real question becomes whether the parties being failed states are symptomatic of an impending slow-mo collapse of the actual state. For now, we hang in there, propped up by our bellies, but slowly sinking. This can't just be about the figurehead imperial custodian -- we have to start weeding out the obstructionist idiots in Congress, in state legislatures, right down to the school boards. It's a long road down otherwise.


Brian M said...

New Zealand is sounding better and better all the time. All I need is six magic numbers (LOL)

Heywood J. said...

LOL, yep. I vacillate between the 3 C's -- Canada, Costa Rica, and Croatia. C'mon magic numbers!