Elite Cynicism – The Most Valid (And Worrying) Brexit/Trump Parallel

I still think Hillary wins, but I’m incrementally more worried.  Its not the latest polling.  Its the absence of rational, principled opposition to Trump from people who should (and privately do) know better.  This is the most worrying parallel to the BREXIT debacle.

There was a lot of ink spilled over parallels between the BREXIT vote and Trump’s support – rage of the underclass, xenophobia, racism, etc…  There was remarkably little said about a more direct, valid connection.  The cynicism and cowardice of the elites who started that ball rolling, egged it on, lost control, and ultimately ran their country in the ditch.

The BREXIT vote might have been take over by an angry mob, but the campaign was begun by a cynical, self-serving, gaggle of self-aggrandizing politicians.  Most notably Boris Johnson pursuing his dreams of becoming Prime Minister.

The monster got away from them.  Their (deeply cynical) plan was for “noble failure.” Counting on the sensible center to hold while they postured and pandered on the right.  But there was no-one left in that “sensible center.” So Boris found himself facing the poisoned chalice of becoming PM only to negotiate an actual BREXIT.  A chalice he wiggled his way out of taking – proof of the cynicism underlying it all.

The monster got away from them.  This is worrying me more as the weeks go by.  Anyone with a claim to rationality knows Trump would be a dangerous, potentially disastrous president.  And they also know that Hillary would be, at worst, merely objectionable.   Yet they keep lying in public to avoid saying what they know in private…

  • Why hasn’t John McCain renounced Trump?  The excuse was he was waiting to win his primary.  But he’s won it!  So where’s the promised pivot to the center?  This goes for almost all elected “country club” Republicans.  Paul Ryan where are you?  Are they waiting for one last, epic Trump provocation?  I’m less convinced now.  They are clearly cowards (or they would have stepped up months ago).  But they are quite possibly too cynical to step up.  Deserting their posts in that “sensible center” they pretend to uphold.
  • Why haven’t more business leaders stepped up?  Where is the Chamber of Commerce?  Where are John Chambers, Jack Welch, and Jamie Dimon?  They know Trump would be a disaster.  They also know he’s a sociopath.  Can they really believe a sociopath is a better alternative to Clinton?  Or are they just hoping someone else does the heavy lifting?
  • Why is the media elite not weighing in more heavily?  I don’t expect Fox News to step up, but CNBC?  They totally rolled over during a Trump interview on Monday.  WTF?   Is it just muscle memory reflex support for “their team?”  Are they just that brain damaged by years of soft news?
  • Is this just the end game of politics-as-team-sports?  The equivalent of Penn State fans sticking up for a convicted child abuser and his (proven) enablers out of some sick tribal loyalty?

The dynamic of that cowardice are clear if indefensible.  No-one wants to step up to the bully.  To step up to the mob.  Hoping that “someone else” will do the heavy lifting.  While we all slide toward what “everyone” agrees will be disaster.  And “no-one” steps up.

What is most worrying is that the parallels echo back beyond BREXIT to a whole string of recent “Elite” failures.  Facing tough choices, “everyone” looks for “someone else” to step up to what “no-one” ultimately does.  And disaster ensues…

  • The housing crisis
  • The 2008 financial crisis, bailouts, and subsequent flubbed response.
  • The Euro Crisis.
  • The absence of meaningful fiscal stimulus.
  • The Fed’s flounderings
  • etc….

I am still mostly hopeful.  I don’t see America actually electing a madman.  But I am dismayed that so many with claims to respectability are just standing aside in the face of such clear and obvious danger.  Is it cowardice?  Cynicism?  Just pig-headed magical thinking in service of tribal loyalty?  Does it matter?  They are just colored different shades of shameful.

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