Once again Thomas Frank cuts to the chase. He starts by praising the Womens’ March, the town hall meetings, and the furious energy directed against our current President.
But opportunism never sleeps, and with the rage and the resistance of recent weeks some far less noble characters have seen a chance to develop a new con. They’re up on the resistance bandwagon right now, rending their garments, shaking their fists and praying that no one holds them responsible for the dead end into which they’ve steered us over the years. Inveighing loudly against Trump has become, for the people I am describing, a means of rescuing an ideology that has proven a disaster.
Applying the now familiar Tea Party comparison, Frank recalls that Partiers called for new leadership but essentially rebranded stale old GOP platitudes with a non-George W. label. Frank suspects something similar will happen with the Democrats this time around, as the section of the party which outside observers might say has been passed by struggles to maintain its hold on power despite the center of energy having clearly passed to the party’s left wing. This doesn’t have to be a fight to the finish, he seems to be saying, but we’re not going down that ole neoliberal road again.
As the often hilarous insights in One Market Under God demonstrated, given his interests and background he’s well positioned to catch the marketing angles political consultants will be looking to monetize.
After all, Donald Trump is a singularly ridiculous person. Every comedian in the world knows how easy it is to mock him. He is the most unpopular new president since polling began, and right now that fact must be flashing the thousand-watt word “opportunity” at anyone familiar with modern marketing techniques. Standing up in pseudo-defiance against this comb-over mountebank is a perfect way to position your brand as a radical sexy youth-rebel freespirit.
Harbingers of this approach are already visible. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has written a nonspecific but distinctly anti-Trump manifesto. Budweiser is running commercials perceived to be critical of Trumpism, as is Coca-Cola. Starbucks has made its antipathy clear. A bunch of tech companies have declared their undying hostility to Trump’s immigration policies. Before long, no doubt, Nike or Reebok will be encouraging you to make a stand against fascism with a specially branded line of resistance sneakers.
What will of course disappear in the thrilling waves of corporate resistance to come, I expect, is that many American companies have a lot to answer for themselves. One possible reason so many corporate types are against immigration reform, for example, is because of corporate America’s epidemic of H-1B visa abuse. It’s not freedom they care for, really, it’s profit squeezed out of desperate human beings.
The entire article is worth your time, I daresay, but in brief he recommends that the Democrats return from their white-collar professionals and Wall Street types to the original base of the party, working people of every gender, skin color, ethnic background, and sexual orientation; everybody, in other words, except those whose income arises from rents of various kinds imposed on workers. Totally doable, but it requires action, not just clicktivism, and that is hard.