Politics

Pax Trumplandia

Hannah GaisFebruary 15, 2017
Conference photos are tremendously exciting! / European External Action Service
Conference photos are tremendously exciting! / European External Action Service

Welcome to This American Carnage, your weekly slice of life from the country of Trump.

Another February, another Munich Security Conference, a.k.a. the “world’s most prestigious geopolitical gathering.” This time, though, the conference will take place as a resurgent, anti-globalist far right threatens to throw a wrench in the usual workings of international affairs.

Is Trump a Populist?

Max B. SawickyFebruary 15, 2017
When the election is over, what is left of "rightwing populism"? / Jamelle Bouie
When the election is over, what is left of "rightwing populism"? / Jamelle Bouie

People relate “rightwing populism” to the excoriation of immigrants, demonization of the poor, and railing about high finance on the campaign trail. That criticism never amounts to any actual policies when the candidate is in office. What’s left is simply xenophobia and bigotry, which can be drawn out in all sectors of the population, including the working class.

Running Riot

Rick PaulasFebruary 13, 2017
David Goehring
David Goehring

In Psychology 101 you learn of those “false binary” or “false dichotomy” situations that crop up where two viewpoints are so powerful they tend to pull all other options into their orbit. If you’re not capitalist, you’re socialist. In Chicago if you’re not a White Sox fan, you’re a Cubs fan.

Suits and Ties

Nick OltmannFebruary 10, 2017
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5587396714_a58c8d7d74_b

The alt-right has been going through some growing pains these last few weeks. On inauguration day, the now-notorious Richard Spencer got socked in the face on camera. The assailant is still at large, the celebrations of his getting attacked are viral, and there’s a video game about it now.

It’s Already Happened Here

Sarah KendziorFebruary 09, 2017
Teakwood
Teakwood

At the center of all this executive-assured destruction, there is Trump, both a hater and a loser. Desperate for applause and enthusiastic about abusing executive power, he is driven by narcissism and need. His paranoia and megalomania is typical in foreign authoritarian leaders, yet Trump is a native archetype: he is the conman, the showman, the “Confidence Man” of Herman Melville, the President Stillson of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.

Freedom for Me, Not Thee

Hannah GaisFebruary 08, 2017
Donald Trump and Mike Pence. / Gage Skidmore
Donald Trump and Mike Pence. / Gage Skidmore

Welcome to This American Carnage, your weekly slice of life from the country of Trump.

Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office may be a disaster for the country, but for that pocket of conservative Christians worried about the ease of religiously motivated discrimination, it’s proving to be a breath of fresh air.

Marriage Visas and Travel Bans

Rafia ZakariaFebruary 08, 2017
Lorie Shaull
Lorie Shaull

It was two years ago, on a Monday in February 2015, that the Supreme Court held arguments in the case of Kerry v. Din. The case had come up from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the same Court now reviewing the appeal on the nationwide stay on President Trump’s Executive Order banning nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The Origins of Anger

Pankaj MishraFebruary 07, 2017
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Escape from the stultifying dualisms of East and West, religion and reason, requires us to train fresh eyes on the most fateful event of human history: the rise of an industrial and materialist civilization, which, emerging in Britain and France, spread itself over the old world of Asia and Africa and the new world of America and Oceania, creating the original conditions of our current state of negative solidarity.

You’re Fired

Liza FeatherstoneFebruary 06, 2017
Shane Gorsky
Shane Gorsky

Only in a society with almost no safety nets, in which few people have the job security afforded by union protections or tenure, could random bullies on the internet terrify us by tagging our bosses. People who do this are not serving any kind of progressive movement; indeed they are working hard at strengthening neoliberalism in all its ruthlessness and anxiety.

Holy Warriors Against the Welfare State

Jennifer C. BerkshireFebruary 06, 2017
Grand Rapids, the locus of  DeVos Family power. /
Doug Chayka
Grand Rapids, the locus of  DeVos Family power. /
Doug Chayka

I’d traveled to this western Michigan hub of sanctified commerce to learn more about Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s pick to be the top education official in the land. DeVos, the name of the family that founded the multi-level marketing behemoth known as Amway, is almost universally recognized in the Mitten state, where Betsy and Dick DeVos, heirs to a $5.1 billion fortune, have increasingly come to dominate state politics.

Fog Over Foggy Bottom

Hannah GaisFebruary 01, 2017
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Welcome to This American Carnage, your weekly slice of life from the country of Trump

On Monday, news broke of a fresh bureaucratic uprising—this time through a memo posted to the State Department’s Dissent Channel expressing the dissatisfaction of nearly 1000 employees with Donald Trump’s executive order implementing a de facto Muslim ban.

Originalism Is Dumb

Andrew HartmanFebruary 01, 2017
Remember Robert Bork? / Wikimedia Commons
Remember Robert Bork? / Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Gorsuch will replace Antonin Scalia, whose death a year ago has left a vacancy that Republicans refused to allow Barack Obama to fill.

In the minds of conservatives, Gorsuch is a worthy heir to Scalia’s seat—far more so than the Obama White House’s centrist nominee Merrick Garland was.