William Graham Sumner was a libertarian sociologist who enjoyed a brief notoriety before the turn of the 19th century – he championed the Forgotten Man, “For whom there is no provision in the Great Scramble and Big Divide” ( people wrote and talked funny back then)….
You don’t need me to tell you about all the dumb and horrible things Donald Trump has done since he made the Great Descent on the Golden Escalator to Power – the rest of the world is doing a pretty good job of that – Donald Trump himself is doing an even better job of it, come to think of it.
But let me tell you something Donald Trump has done right – he REMEMBERED the Forgotten Man…..
There are about 40 million voters on this country who have somehow excused Trump’s missteps, looked the other way, or just plain not cared about his lack of character and lack of experience….why? Because he remembered them.
The working stiff who comes home, cracks a frosty, puts his legs up, and watches the news, only to find that it isn’t about him. It isn’t ever about him. It’s about all those other people who somehow got overlooked for the previous couple of centuries – the blacks, the latinos, the immigrants, the refugees, the disadvantaged, the millions of needy minorities, the millions of gays ( yes, millions), the millions of people who have suffered from gender discrimination. It’s their turn, and The Forgotten Man doesn’t like it.
‘Black Lives Matter.’ Recently, anyhow. But can you blame the white guy who never shot anybody on the street, who never missed a day of work, or a Sunday at church, who never used the ‘N’ word, and suddenly he looks at that slogan, and thinks, ‘What the Hell, MY LIFE doesn’t?’
Hillary has made her fair share of goofs, and once again, you don’t need me to point them all out, but her crack about ‘basket of deplorables’ was pathetic – as pathetic as Mitt Romney’s candid remark about the 47% who leech off the rest of us. The vast majority of folks who intend to vote for Trump aren’t deplorable – they’re despondent. They think that if Hillary gets elected, she won’t remember all the good they have done for their society. They watch the unbelievable number of vitriolic ads floating around the airwaves that are intended to scare them…..and they get scared.
You can thank Citizens United for that one – it’s the Supreme Court case a few years back that decided that some sort of interpretation of the 1st amendment made it okay to buy elections. And don’t think for one second that it benefits one party more than the other – this horse race has been about money from the git-go. I don’t know who is going to win, but I’m pretty sure all of us are going to lose.
Tom Davis is a retired Republican Congressman from Fairfax Virginia who just plain got disgusted with the whole shooting match and decided to stop running several years ago. I saw him speak recently on the subject of how we got into this mess, and his theory boils down to one thing: gerrymandering. That’s the political practice (invented here in Massachusetts, of course) of state governments drawing up bizarre borders for congressional districts. About 80% of these strangely drawn districts are now a lock for either Democrats or Republicans, so the real race is in the primaries, meaning each candidate has to lean WAY right or WAY left to get into the general election. The result is a loss of centrists, elected representatives who are eager to get things done by working with the general congress……in other words, we have handed ourselves a system doomed to conflict and gridlock.
What can make this change? Seeing as how it’s unlikely those that profit from this will change it (read: the present congress ), our only shot is the Supreme Court.
Now, about that court: remember when Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a guy so seemingly wise and just, nobody could find anyone in the Beltway to say anything negative about him? The Republicans dug up a tape of Joe Biden mouthing off about a similar situation, stating there shouldn’t be a nomination in an election season – the Biden Rule. You know what? Joe Biden was wrong, too. Now there are all sorts of pronouncements floating around Washington about how there simply won’t be any confirmations, repeat, ANY confirmations if Hillary gets elected.
This is where I think all of us will be the Forgotten People – we won’t stand for it. These people took an oath, and they draw a salary. If they’re not going to do the job, they should forgo their salary. I think if Hillary wins the election, we will get a new, but still balanced court (say what you will, she’s pretty smart about these things), and I can only hope we will see the end of buying elections and gerrymandering.
I’m as worried as you are about what will happen if Hillary wins and Trump becomes the first presidential candidate in history to refuse to concede……I can only hope the Forgotten Man will remember this really IS the Greatest Country in the World, right now, today.