If you are born to great privilege you will often find your own interests different than, say, the smelly bum on the subway. In some cases that malodorous layabout can walk into a voting booth (provided he has an address and is registered) and cast his vote for a candidate who may hate your freedom. You can bet the vote such a person casts will go against the liberty interests you cherish — the liberty to be left alone by the government, except in case of fire, crime, sewage, roads, airports, etc.
In the same way America learned that a judicial process (or even a criminal charge) is not always necessary or desirable before executing a fiercely dissenting American citizen, wealthy Libertarians learned that electoral politics is not the best way to accomplish their goal of keeping all of their money. Extrajudicial killings by the American government, once super controversial, are now routine. Extra-democratic means, while taboo in theory, have always been used to protect the privileges of our most privileged persons and their eternal avatars. Extra-democratic means (for passing unpopular laws) are now the preferred method of the ruling oligarchs here and abroad.
In the case of America’s wealthiest, we call them philanthropists and job creators, not oligarchs. Sure they wield disproportionate political power, exert massive, decisive influence on the policies that affect us all (particularly the most vulnerable among us), but that doesn’t make them oligarchs. We reserve the epithet “oligarch” for Russian and Chinese billionaires, or the occasional Ukrainian or Uzbek, who acquired their wealth through suspicious and probably illegal deals with their corrupt, anti-democratic governments.
Which brings us to President Fuckface. Born booted and spurred, entitled to ride the rest of us like the beasts of burden we are, he has never known a desire he needed to resist. His fortune is largely the result of decades of his wealthy father’s fraud, tax cheating and abusing government generosity, as documented by the NY Times, who published the detailed account in the face of toothless threats from Trump’s lawyer. He is the personification of the kind of wanton privilege that has long championed extra-democratic rule by the truly deserving elite. His cabinet, same powerfully smelling ilk. His mandate: fuck you, wasshole.
Mr. Trump always lawyers up, as any good scofflaw with the money does. He hired for the Justice Department the people most supportive of his right to do whatever he likes. He vigorously attacked and resisted the DOJ investigation into his ass-kissing of Vladimir Putin, publicly denied his many public attempts to obstruct the investigation and was shielded from the “perjury trap” the cunning yet uncontrolled man would have walked into had he taken an oath not to lie to the Mueller team. It is universally recognized that he has absolutely no control over his lying. His candid remark to a television interviewer that he tries to tell the truth whenever he can instantly went the way of his dozens of often imbecilic daily tweets.
The famous vanity of the vainglorious self-promoter allows calculating people to openly audition for government positions. Boof Kavanaugh had written a law review article laying out why what any dodgy president might fear need not be feared. Somebody described the article to Trump and the president was very interested in a Supreme Court justice who believes the president is essentially a king. Kavanaugh was his man, went to the top of the list of 25 carefully vetted right-wing zealots selected by the Koch-funded Federalist Society. William Barr sent Trump an unsolicited letter opining that Trump’s excrement has a delectable odor. Barr became Trump’s obvious choice for head of the Justice Department, to succeed a loyal but disappointing supporter too racist to be appointed to the federal bench. Imagine how racist that is!
The thing to remember is that although these liberty loving, government hating privileged few have a vastly louder voice than you or me in our democracy, easy access to their elected officials, direct ways to influence legislation, etc., that we still have elections and the results, though they might sometimes be in question, are binding. Trump won the slaveholder’s Electoral College by less than 80,000 votes while losing the popular vote “bigly” (he has the best words). There was no revolution or even any outbreak of violence when the raging asshole was sworn in, in spite of the horror felt by perhaps 200 million Americans who didn’t vote for him.
Elections still matter to us, whatever extra-electoral shenanigans are always going on behind closed doors in the halls of power. We need to continue organizing, being smart, protesting this administration’s worst excesses, and raising important issues (like slowing catastrophic climate change and protecting safety regulations). We have to keep the pressure on the lawless, lying, compulsively doubling down, prone-to-bankruptcy demagogue.
Most importantly, we need to vote out the world’s most conceited exhibitionist wanker in 2020. In the meantime, there’s a strong, multi-pronged case for impeaching him, too.