I am the captain now

The day after the 2020 election, I suggested that the results were bad news, as now we’d have 12 years of Trump instead of 8 years of Trump. I immediately realized that the closeness of the race meant that Trump would be back—more fascist than ever and seeking revenge against those who oppose him. Flash forward to 2024, and Trump is already the de facto president of the United States.

For the sake of argument, assume the president were Joe Biden. We know that Biden supports more aid for Ukraine, as do the overwhelming majority of representatives in Congress. But President Trump is opposed, so it won’t happen. Ditto for the border control bill. Indeed nothing substantive will happen without Trump’s OK.

Most of our political pundits are stuck in the 20th century, before America became a banana republic. They no longer know how to make sense of our politics, as they are not willing to accept the fact that we are no longer a serious nation. They keep waiting for some positive trends to show up. It won’t happen. There are now only two political parties—the Democrats and the Trump cult. And the Dems are too weak to put up a serious fight. (Trump recently said that all the non-MAGA Republicans should just leave the GOP–he doesn’t need them.)

Unfortunately, while the US richly deserves to pay a price for our dysfunction, our political implosion will initially impact the rest of the world—with the Ukrainian people being the first to suffer. Life is unfair.

PS. The National Review had a couple nice pieces on Trumpism. Here’s Andrew McCarthy:

It’s time to retire “RINO.”

That means “Republican in name only,” of course. It’s a stale epithet. Mildly clever in its origins, it referred mainly to elected Republicans in Washington who posed as conservatives for their home-state constituents (“severely conservative” as the squishy Mitt Romney described himself), but who, at best, mounted little meaningful resistance to the progressive ascendancy and Leviathan’s expansion.

RINO is inapposite with the Republican Party having become the Trump Party. Indeed, it’s the Republican Party that is now “Republican in name only.” No longer are we talking an entity that is substantively the Republican Party — meaning the politically and ideologically conservative major party in the United States. A party wedded to that orthodoxy no longer exists, so it is irrational to speak of RINOs who feign allegiance to the orthodoxy.

And Jim Geraghty:

 Christian Schneider reminds us that this weekend, Ron DeSantis endorsed the man who’d previously shared a photo of him with the caption, “Here is Ron DeSantimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.”

Think about what it would take to endorse a man who said something like that about you.

And you people wonder why I’m so cynical about politics.

Ted Cruz:



18 Responses to “I am the captain now”

  1. Gravatar of Student Student
    4. March 2024 at 11:47

    Yes he’s makin prison wives out of these spineless pansies.

  2. Gravatar of ChrisinVa ChrisinVa
    4. March 2024 at 14:27

    Scott, while I am not as opposed to Trump as you are, I think we can agree that it would be nice if there was another choice in the upcoming election. However, I would like to point out that the day of the inauguration (assuming your prediction is correct), Trump becomes a lame duck. So there is that to look forward to.

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. March 2024 at 15:34

    Chris, Trump himself is not the issue; it’s the fact that America prefers Trump. We don’t suddenly stop being a banana republic when Trump moves on from the scene. There will be other Trumps.

    And look what’s happening in the rest of the world.

  4. Gravatar of Eharding Eharding
    4. March 2024 at 15:47

    Sumner, you have to get better with your criticisms of Trump. “Fascist” has been used for every Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower.

    “our political implosion will initially impact the rest of the world—with the Ukrainian people being the first to suffer.”

    Ukraine isn’t going to get any better with or without the U.S. lighting billions of dollars on fire. I’m not sure what the Kremlin’s plan is at this point, but I do not believe they have an intention to give up further territory.

    “A party wedded to that orthodoxy no longer exists, so it is irrational to speak of RINOs who feign allegiance to the orthodoxy.”

    On the contrary, the two parties have never been more ideologically different. The only reason I might even consider voting for Trump this year is that he is the more conservative candidate (far more so than Romney, McCain, or even George W. Bush).

    “And you people wonder why I’m so cynical about politics.”

    On the contrary, Sumner, you are excessively idealistic. I don’t like Trump, but I don’t think the replacements are a great deal better.

  5. Gravatar of Peter Peter
    4. March 2024 at 16:30

    @Eharding: I’m voting for him purely as a FU but you are speaking the truth in that Trump actually was the most conservative of everyone running on the Republican ticket. My only hope now prior to election is he picks T. Gabbard as his VP; now she’s someone I’d happily vote for President.

  6. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    4. March 2024 at 20:10


    Of course the Russians have no plans to give up territory. They’re trying to gain more. We can change their plans by cutting supplies to Ukraine and destroying their forces there.

  7. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    4. March 2024 at 21:00

    I think that one thing that’s happened is that we’ve exited the golden age of electronic media and entered a high tech media dystopia that’s more akin to the era of yellow journalism. I feel privileged to have lived during the end of the golden era, so that I at least experienced it.

    Society in general is regressing, as if we’re heading back to the late 19th century culturally, in many ways. Bigotry of all kinds is becoming the accepted norm again, with tribalism more generally dominating many issues, spurred on by media that is much more interested in sensationalism than the truth. Anarchists were the bogeymen of the late 19th century, but even their numbers vastly exceeded those of actual socialists or communists in America today, despite the rhetoric on the right.

    We are also back in a sort of gilded age, with behemoth companies that most fear, few understand, and almost no one trusts. Monopoly has been allowed to run amok, with political corruption vastly popularly overrated, yet severe enough to prevent progress on many issues driving extremism. Why shouldn’t people be upset when housing, healthcare, and higher education costs have been rising faster than inflation for decades? They don’t understand the nature of the problems, but they know government isn’t fixing them. An increasing number of Americans are at a breaking point, with the American dream no longer attainable.

    We are also in the midst of the AI revolution, which promises even more sudden and sweeping changes than the industrial revolutions. Economic anxiety is growing, and government is in no position to help soften the blows, since there are few people even serious enough about policy to try to understand the problems in DC and state capitols. It’s much easier to fuel tribal rivalries to collect donations, sell books, and promote supplements and VPNs on podcasts.

    I’m not the first to say it, but it seems that the second half of the 20th century and first decade or so of the 21st was a special period generally, and the exception, rather than the rule.

  8. Gravatar of BC BC
    5. March 2024 at 01:37

    On Ukraine, beyond Trump’s affection for Putin, Trump has a deep personal conflict. Remember, as President, Trump withheld $400M of congressionally-mandated Ukraine funding because Ukraine wouldn’t investigate the Bidens for him. That led to Trump’s first impeachment. As far as I know, Ukraine has still not investigated the Bidens and, sure enough, Trump still opposes more Ukraine funding. If you were selected for jury duty but had a personal conflict with one of the parties in the case, you would be dismissed from the panel.

    It’s surprising that even pro-Ukraine Trump critics don’t bring up Trump’s first impeachment when discussing his opposition to Ukraine funding. I guess Trump’s second impeachment, for trying to overturn the 2020 election, has overshadowed his first impeachment.

  9. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    5. March 2024 at 03:21

    Ted Cruz did the right thing.
    The rest of your post is incoherent.

  10. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    5. March 2024 at 04:31

    You’re the fascist.


    Sumner and his democrats tried to remove a political candidate from the ballot. And not just Trump. They also threatened states with lawsuits to keep RFK jr off the ballot. Courts shut down both attempts.

    The democrats want to ban speech under the umbrella of disinformation, which is anything they disagree with.

    Yesterday, the democrats said the Supreme Court should be dismantled because their 9-0 ruling prohibits states from removing candidates from the ballot. Dismantling the judicial branch because they didn’t get their way.

    That, my friends, is totalitarian.

    Fascism is alive and well. And Trump is trying to stop it.

  11. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    5. March 2024 at 05:05

    It’s rather revealing that the Trump supporters who support the Trump argument that a President can have political rivals murdered aren’t concerned that Biden will simply have Trump killed if the Supreme Court rules in their favor.

  12. Gravatar of Student Student
    5. March 2024 at 07:31

    Yes there are tyrants on both the left and right… but “Trump is trying to stop it.” Lol right. He’s not trying to stop it, he is taking advantage of the populace’s mood for it… he is sowing discords among the people and fostering any that have arisen (as Aquinas warns)… in an effort become the captain.

    I think you proving Scott’s point. We are becoming a banana republic… and to thunderous applause from the public.

  13. Gravatar of Student Student
    5. March 2024 at 07:37

    Consider further, Aquinas’ warning… “ few virtuous men are found under the rule of tyrants. For, according to Aristotle’s sentence [ Eth. III, 11: 1116a 20], brave men are found where brave men are honoured.” I said it before and I’ll say it again… Mike Pence was one of those brave virtuous men… like him or not. Cruz and Desantis… they’d rather succumb than go down with the ship. They are not being brave men.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2024 at 09:43

    BC, “It’s surprising that even pro-Ukraine Trump critics don’t bring up Trump’s first impeachment”

    With Trump, there’s so much bad stuff that one simply doesn’t have time to cover it all. And it’s sort of pointless, as his supporters would stick with him if he murdered someone in the middle of Times Square.

    Ricardo, “Sumner and his democrats tried to remove a political candidate from the ballot.”

    One characteristic of a fascist is that they like to engage in the big lie. Take a look in the mirror.

  15. Gravatar of Eharding Eharding
    5. March 2024 at 13:29

    I don’t think Sumner’s a fascist, but I do wonder why he so often recalls his youth in the most German state in the country. You know who else in the past century was a rabid Russophobe…

  16. Gravatar of Eharding Eharding
    5. March 2024 at 13:50

    BTW, Sumner, I think your claims “He won’t enact the tax cut he promised me. He won’t assassinate family members of terrorists.” turned out to be wrong -though you were more right than wrong; Trump was a terrible president (though in my view mostly because he didn’t fulfil his campaign promises -his hawkish stance on Russia resulted in the Ukrainian war). His COVID response was a true disgrace, far worse than that George W. Bush might have done. Even Putin (who was also a disaster here) didn’t fan the fires of pro-COVID nihilism.

  17. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    6. March 2024 at 07:39

    Seems dishonest to say the economy is doing well. Its doing wel for some people and worse for others. Maybe the average is doing well but the outliers due to the inflation are quite high.

    And Bidenomics have really crushed home buyers. High interest rates are restricting new building and hurting affordability. High inflation earlier in the cycle from Bidenomics hurt people with fixed incoe investments or who lacked pricing power.

    Its a great environment if you are a big tech employee and honestly if your a laborer but a lot of people in between are not doing great.

  18. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. March 2024 at 12:11

    Sean, You said:

    “Seems dishonest to say the economy is doing well. Its doing well for some people and worse for others. Maybe the average is doing well”

    LOL, that literally makes no sense. Any appraisal of the economy is a generalization. I’m saying the average is doing well. And you think inflation wasn’t an issue in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s?

    It’s zoning and other regs that is limiting home construction, not interest rates.

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