Trump does not have absolute power. The US is not a country in the sense that France is a country, or Germany. It is more akin to a federalisation of areas the size of countries. It is a country in the way the EU is a country. The President is a figurehead over substantial and complicated machinery. The astroturf that has placed Trump where he is shallow, and relies on the visibility of the fringes of political lunacy in a digital echochamber formed around dying media organisations. It is a mile wide and an inch deep. The key difference between the astroturf generated by Trump, and that generated by Jon Lansman is that what Trump plugged into is deep. Racism and misogyny that runs right to the core of this divided nation and has defined their culture wars and the non development of their welfare state. The license he has given to those defined by these fissures is a danger. But it is still astrotturf. Even when plugged into his wealth and privilege, even when plugged into deep faltlines around race and gender, it is still astroturf. The office he has been elected to is that of a man placed above a vast and complex machinery, machinery it takes politicians years of skill to master before they rise. Steve Bannon, the fat sadsack who knows how to harness the fury of a million racist sexual inadequates, knows how to use that bile to disrupt but he doesn’t know how to operate this machinery. The executive orders Trump has signed may be drafted by Bannon but they are underliverable. His attempt to deliver them may even wake up democracy after a very long sleep. The bigger threat he may pose is in the devaluation of the office he holds. Making the US ridiculous at a time when global power relations are realigning. The creation of space for something else to fill? The devaluation of a nation. We have in essence seen the power of twitter and dissolving media power, place a toddler without connection to reality in the Whitehouse. The consequences of this could be more serious than anything that Trump does or intends to do.
It’s a strange thing to have to consider the unthinkable. Even as I sit at just after midnight, in a warm living room, watching Charlotte’s Web with a sleeping child. It’s a strange thing to be reluctant to let that child see the news, for fear of seeing statesmen behave in way that would terrify her. What is stranger still is knowing the world she was brought into, two years before the financial crisis will certainly not resemble the world she is an adult in. The certainties that defined my first 38 years all gone.