Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Trump Presidency: Part V - The Cappo

So many uncomfortable questions. So many fears captured on paper. This is the last of the major themes that I found after I had spent a frantic post-election morning mapping all the fears that were running through my mind. As a trained political analyst who suffers from anxiety and a very active imagination the map was huge, and none of the options were optimistic.
This last scenario of a Trump presidency returns to examine how his own driving emotional forces may form an administration that resembles the ‘Cappo’. In this scenario Trump is no longer the manipulated but is instead the manipulator. This scenario is all about being the single source of power, good to his friends, ruthless to his enemies, the Don, as it were.

As in the ‘Dictator’ and the ‘King’ the Supreme Court would need to somehow be nullified as an obstacle to power. The fear here is that Trump would so stack the court against the interests of the nation that he would be able to pervert the government. The more I contemplate the possibility, the further removed from reality I think it is. Even appointing a conservative justice could do little to sway the court in the immediate sense. Only if Justices started to meet with an alarming number of ‘accidents’ might Trump have enough opportunity to significantly sway the court.

But let’s say that somehow, despite Congress, despite the conscience of the justices themselves, within four years Trump manages to stack the Supreme Court in such a way that he has it firmly in his back pocket. To become the ‘Cappo’ he would also need Congress to support his policies. Or maybe not.

The ‘Cappo’ is a shady character, more likely to establish a personal network of opportunists willing to move his agenda along, than to work through established channels. The ‘Cappo’ might attempt to extend term limits to consolidate power, but without moving through established channels, this becomes nigh impossible.

Acts of bigotry or racism, or any -ism of -obia you like, would be tolerated, as long as they did not impact on his plans. Civil unrest would be likely ignored, except to blame the opposition while dismissing the actions of allies as - pranks, or defensive in nature. In a way, discord, impotent and ineffectual, is another form of adulation for the ‘Cappo’. It allows him to see that he has power over people, and this feeds his ego.

The reign of the ‘Cappo’ would also see greater voting restrictions. It would be a conscious effort to remain in power at the expense of the poor and the vulnerable. There might be a poll tax, literally a fee to vote. Fewer and fewer polling stations in urban areas, and strict polling hours would do irreparable damage to the ability of minorities to vote.

The fate of immigrants under the ‘Cappo’ changes, but is still in jeopardy. Groups and minorities might find themselves limited to specific economic roles. To be allowed to move out of these roles might involve payments or additional fees. It would, in short, be a type of extortion on non-native or non-naturalized residents.

The other major social circle to feel his impact would be the very rich. Here the ‘Cappo’ could broker deals, influence taxation or legislation, or help smooth international connections, provided there was a benefit for himself, a small honorarium, perhaps. These actions would result in the formalization of an inner circle of business men and the elite.

Another facet of the ‘Cappo’ and a reason this scenario seems likely, is Trumps repeated admiration for Putin. If you want to be the ruler of an oligarchy, Putin’s example is the premiere model to follow.

To other levels of society the ‘Cappo’ might seem distant or even benign. His influence among the shrinking middle class would be minimal. But, general population would not be immune from the reach of the ‘Cappo.’ In this scenario, the ‘Cappo’ requires respect, from all levels of society. There would be increased surveillance, not only in reality, but on-line.

Newspapers and media that stood up or dared to report on the Trump misdeeds and the corruption that would surely accompany an administration of the ‘Cappo’ would be silenced. But, at the moment I don’t think the media has anything to worry about. They have already proved themselves amenable to Trump’s agenda.

Trump is proved as litigious, thin-skinned and petty. He uses the terror suit flagrantly to stifle opponents and people with legitimate grievances. The threat of economic ruin will follow every word that is written or printed about him. Individual bloggers might need to go silent, or underground.

And all of this brings me to a new scenario that I hadn’t see in my initial thought mapping. What if Trump wants to follow the path of the ‘Cappo’ while Putin, his role-model, does the same in Russia? This reveals the possibility of the ‘Accomplice’. A scenario where Putin and Trump would divide the world into respective realms of influence. It would certainly give more weight to the Trump statement of leaving NATO.

This wouldn’t be the first time two entities have thought to divide up the map. The idea is reminiscent of the Hitler/Stalin pact prior to WWII, and the Treaty of Tordesillas in the 15th century when Spain and Portugal divided the “New World”. Both of those cases turned out to be detrimental to one party in the end. And somehow, I just can’t see Trump getting the better of Putin.

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