Jon Stewart Would Be An Ideal Presidential Candidate At This Point

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

This is just an idle daydream, but it seems to me that the ideal person to run against Donald Trump in 2020, should last that long, would be Jon Stewart. I say this because Stewart is everything Trump isn’t — funny, smart and self-aware.

Of course, Stewart, at least at this point, has zero political experience outside of his interest in 9/11 first responder rights and a little bit about veterans affairs. And, of course, there is the obvious issue that he appears to have zero interest in actually doing anything beyond running his petting zoo.

But the match up between Trump and Stewart would be one for the ages. And regardless, I think we would need someone like Stewart to take down Trump. Yet I honestly don’t know. The nation is so divided at this point that there’s no perfect person to do the job.

Trump is so powerful with 40% of the electorate and the economy is doing so well that it will be a difficult fight no matter what. Add to this the continuing struggle that The Resistance has with trying to find some sort of messaging beyond simply being against Trump and you have the makings of a pretty bad situation.

This doesn’t begin to address the issue of what happens if Trump wags the dog using Iran or the DPRk.

We’re going to have to just wait and see, I guess.

Some Thoughts On How America Gets Out Of This Trump Mess #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The existential question of the day is whether or not Donald Trump is a fluke or the dawn of a new, dystopian era in American history. One thing is fore sure, Trump’s rise to power is the culmination of structural, systemic issues in the American body politic. Not to invoke his name too lightly, but Trump, in a sense, is an American Hitler if you think of history but as the biography of great men.

It is possible that the United States will bounce back, at least momentarily, from this Bad King. I mean, Caligula in all his insanity didn’t manage to bring down the Roman Empire. But I do think Trump is endemic of the end of the American Republic. The entire system is so broken, so built to squash leadership in any meaningful way, that there’s a real chance the United States is fucked.

And, yet, it is at least possible to put a positive spin on things. But it would require some pretty astonishing things to happen. The crux of the issue is — has Trump so fundamentally warped American politics that we can’t go back to traditional politicians? Have we reached Idiotracy at last and from now one, our politicians have to be establish celebrities and our celebrities have to be politicians? The answer to that kind of question will come, probably about November 2018.

When people begin to throw their hats into the presidential ring in earnest in late 2018, that will determine the tempo of things. A lot, unfortunately, depends on one Donald J. Trump. If Trump manages to survive past 2020 and have a second term, it’s really likely that there really will be no turning back. It’s very possible that we will have entered a new era in American political life that really is dark and uncharted. A lot depends who Trump is going to be up against in 2020.

I have long suggested that the only type of person who could defeat Trump, who is nothing more than overgrown middle-school bully, would be the adult equivalent of a middle-school class clown. It seems readily apparent that someone like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or even Chelsea Handler might be the silver bullet that might be able to slay the political monster that is Trump. Handler, in particular is, in a weird way, perfectly suited to the task at hand. She’s got just the right acerbic wit combined with a tough as nails sensibility that she could effectively deal with whatever horrific vitriol the Right wing managed to throw at her. There is the issue of a sex tape released by a vengeful ex-boyfriend, but I would like to think in this bizarre political world we now live in that wouldn’t be held against her too much, at least by most voters.

Meanwhile, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would be great candidates as well, but it’s highly unlikely that Stewart would leave his petting zoo in New Jersey or that Colbert would leave a successful late night talk show to run for president.

One thing we have to take seriously is how the Russians might try to meddle in the election again. The American political system is so fucked up in a structural way, that it’s very well possible they could throw the election to Trump AGAIN and nothing would happen. Trump really has a near mystical hold on his followers that is difficult to explain or break. It is very well possible that he will not only survive, but thrive and prosper in the coming days and that there really will be nothing to stop him from finishing two complete terms.

That, of course, would leave the issue of where will America be once he finally has to step down. I would, again, suggest that that will be settled by who his successor is. If Trump’s successor, after eight years in office, is another celebrity, then that would be a definitely different spin on things than if it was a career politician. At this point, it’s too early to tell which it will be. Right now, it seems as though Trump is going to plow his way through the American political system, doing as much damage as possible.

And, yet, if, say, someone like James Comey were to succeed Trump at some point in the future, the American Republic might bounce back a lot quicker than you might think. But that is being really optimistic. It is difficult for me to say in good faith that the United States is even a Republic at all anymore. We are careening towards a theocratic, autocratic plutocracy of sorts. No amount of leadership will fix such long term trends. Effective leadership might manage it, mitigate it or ameliorate it but it won’t eliminate it altogether.

Having said all that, I would also like to say that as an American, I have hope that American exceptionalism still burns in the hearts and minds of its citizens and we ultimately will reject the “managed democracy” of Russia. I’d like to think that at some point people power will kick in and we’ll take back our government from the kleptocracy that it’s succumb to for the time being. But I don’t know, I just don’t know. I can’t predict the future and it could go either way, it really could.

At this point, we’re just going to have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune until November 2018. If the “Blue Wave” really does wash down on the shores of Washington, then we can talk. Then there is a real chance that this Trumpian nightmare will end sooner rather than later and we can put it behind us. But every day Trump is in office, we risk bigger and worse disasters.

A real chance exists that Trump will try to save his sorry ass politically by pulling the biggest “wag the dog” in American history by initiating a “preemptive war” against the DPRK. I could totally see him doing it by, say July 2018, so in about November 2018 his approval rating will be in the high 80s as TV and social media are awash with the spectacular images of the long-oppressed people of North Korea at last being liberated. We could all wake up in 2021 to a truly distopian future.

One fear I have is Trump is, really, the only thing keeping the United States away from a civil war. The peace of mind that Trump gives the insane Right wing may be a weird firebreak that we won’t realize we enjoy until it’s gone. The United States is, right now, effectively two different nations and it could tear itself apart if we don’t find some effective leadership in years ahead. But sometimes you don’t get leadership until there’s a reason for people to rise to the occasion, so who knows what will happen.

Foresight Is 20/20 – The 2020 Election & Trump: Will Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart Save Us?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I have to agree with Roger Stone that there is a real risk of political violence in the next four to eight years. I suspect what is going to happen is that 2020 will be the most consequential presidential election since 1860 and just as messy. I have a feeling that the two parties are going to split into four for similar reasons. The Trump base of the Republican Party will force the Romney establishment of the Republican Party out of the party altogether. Meanwhile, the Zuckerburg center-left of the Democratic Party will split from the progressive base of that party.

I still think that that someone like Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart will throw their hat into the ring change everything. But that’s just me daydreaming. The video below goes into great length about what I’m talking about.

Progressives, Trumplandia & Jon Stewart As A Leader Of The Resistance

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Since dirt, there has been a struggle for the heart of America when it comes to the Progressive movement. Just about twice century or so, the stars align just right and the Progressive movement pops out of a long-dormant state and pushes through a huge amount of much needed change.

The weird thing is, you could make the case that the rise of Trumplandia is a sign that maybe the Progressive movement may be about to have it’s time in the sun again. The issue is Donald Trump obvious tapped into a populist rage. A smart politician, one with some vision, could use the populist rage of Trumplandia as a stepping off point to energize the Populist movement.

Of course, it there wouldn’t be a straight line. You would need leadership and vision. Right now, you have the Democratic Establishment, which is pretty much the bastion of the “Third Way” vision of Hillary Clinton and the base The Resistance which is much more in tune with the social democratic vision of Bernie Sanders.

But it’s pretty obvious that there’s a close correlation between the populist rage of Trumplandia and the near constant Progressive outrage of The Resistance. There is a possible opportunity to transform Trumplandia from its current bigoted, racist, misogynist decaying corpse and turn it into a vibrant Progressive base.

It would take leadership to do that because there are so many wedge issues that Trump uses to divide the populace that might otherwise have things in common that don’t fit the obvious Left-Right divide. The issue is, The Resistance has to stop simply being outraged all the time and figure out a way to engage Trumplandia in a constructive manner.

All of this is very complex and fraught with peril because you might tear the Democratic Party asunder in such a way that Trump easily walks to reelection in 2020. One problem is we have to deal with Trump’s surreal Being There ability to succeed politically despite himself.

While it is very much likely that we’ll reach a moment of outrage burn out, but if we can find the right leadership then maybe that energy won’t burn out, but rather will grow in power. Of all the leaders I think could maybe ride the nascent growth of a Progressive movement as part of The Resistance, Jon Stewart seems like the perfect person to do it.

Though it seems like a joke, Jon Stewart has the perfect skill set to be a major leader in The Resistance. As anyone can tell you, the only person who stands up to a middle school bully is the class clown. Jon Stewart is great at articulating a vision and we need to take a serious look at him as a candidate. I’d like to think he’d run for governor of New Jersey, but I’d give him a pass and let him run for president right away if that’s what I had to do to get him to stop petting rescue animals at a zoo.

If the rise of Trump and Trumplandia has taught us anything, it’s that the Great Man theory of history is now something we really need to start to think about again. So, maybe Jon Stewart has significantly more power in his hands than he realizes. Of all the Progressive leaders out there such as Al Franken and Elizabeth Warren, it seems only Jon Stewart has just the right touch to, through effective leadership, bring the goals of the Progressive moment to the fore again.

The reason I say this is because though Sen. Franken is an entertainer like Stewart, he doesn’t seem to have the passion for the Progressive movement that the younger Stewart has. Warren faces the same misogyny that Hillary Clinton faced, so the forces against her as an effective Progressive candidate are even stronger than they would be otherwise.

So it seems Jon Stewart might be the person to pull what I suggest off.

But this begs the obvious question — is it actually even possible for even an effective leader to bring Trumplandia to its senses. The power, the sway that Trump seems to have over Trumplandia is so astonishing that something truly extraordinary may have to happen for them to stop seeing him as some sort of Dear Leader figure.

Things like automation and AI could pose a serious threat to the economy of the Western World and as such, if the Progressive movement is ahead of the curve, maybe, just maybe, these titanic forces may cause Trumplandia to evolve into a base not for the bizarre Trump, but for the more logical and reality-based world of the Progressive movement and Jon Stewart.

We live in extraordinary times and it seems as though anything is possible right now. So, it’s possible that in 2020 there could actually be a way for the Progressive faction of The Resistance to gain the upper hand. And, yet, it’s also possible that we’re no longer a democracy but rather a “managed democracy” like is found in Russia. If that’s the case, then no matter of engagement on the part of the Democratic base will make much difference, sorry to say.

Things like “dark money,” gerrymandering and active voter suppression may mean that the will of the people will be stymied to such an extent that we really will be left with only civil society to defend us from autocracy. If that’s the case, may God have mercy on our souls.

Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. You may reach him at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Hindsight Is 2020: Run, Jon Stewart, Run

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Though it is highly unlikely this will ever happen for various reasons — and if it does, we’re probably going to have to wait eight, not four years — I think Jon Stewart should run for office. And do so as quickly as possible.
While Minnesota Sen. Al Franken — an SNL alumn — is probably the person who will actually run, it seems in this weird world of Trumplandia that we live in Jon Stewart would be the perfect guy to bring some level of sanity back to our political process.

Don’t get me wrong, Sen. Franken would be a great guy to be president. He has the political experience and wit to crush someone like Donald Trump in debate. And he’d be a good president. But he’s maybe a little too droll for his own good. He’s funny, but it’s someone like Jon Stewart who could mobilize the center-Left base to the extent needed to win.

But there are lots of problems with this proposal.

First, it seems as if Stewart has no desire to be in the public eye at all. It seems as if he would prefer to pet stray animals in a zoo than change the world. That’s why I think not until we have to suffer through eight years of Donald Trump will Stewart finally decide to change his mind and do something that might help America get back on its rational feet.

Now that the precedent of a celebrity such as Trump becoming president has been set, it doesn’t seem that odd that someone like Stewart might run for president. I keep expecting him to run for governor of New Jersey, but that seems like something of a pipe dream.

And there’s a lot about his state of mind we don’t know. Would he be willing to make the cognitive leap to be taken seriously? Would he actually be willing to stop cracking jokes long enough to be serious about politics? That doesn’t even begin to address the issue of the various personal issues he’d have to deal with when it comes to putting himself in the public eye the way a major political candidate has to.

My guess is he won’t do it — ever. It’s unfortunate, too. He has all the qualities needed to run for office in today’s media environment.

Though, I would note something to keep an eye on. Should Stewart join Twitter, then I think maybe he’s thinking about running for office. Stewart doesn’t use any social media right now as best I can tell and should that change, all bets are off.

It would be really cool if Stewart ran for office, but, alas, it may remain a daydream for the writer of a blog no one reads.