In the words of the poet, there’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear. At least not to the ossified bureaucracies that control public policy in the Western Hemisphere. Outdated and unscientific concepts of democracy—rule by majority—are interfering with the best laid plans of smart people.
The European Union was the crowning achievement of governance by the childish naiveties of the college term paper. The free people who defied Hitler’s blitz were supposed to accept rule by bookish twits who didn’t even bother to land troops to achieve their outsized authority over all things British.
Then Brexit happened. Brits voted to throw off the European Union and get on with life. At precisely the same moment, Donald Trump was happening in America.
It was probably credulous to believe that elections would instantly depose the meddlesome throngs who think they know better. Bureaucracies in the West have risen to protect themselves against the surge of self-governance.
Brexit stalled upon the failure to reach an agreement with the EU—as if the vote to leave conditioned departure upon terms set in Brussels. To the Brexiteers, the bad-faith negotiation proved their wisdom in removing power from the political class.
In the United States, bureaucracies have done what they always do to preserve power: launch investigations with the assistance of sham muckrakers in the media. “Putin did it,” though, turned out to be a criminal without a crime. How he went about rigging the election was never explained.
At first it was something about the Democratic National Committee’s emails being hacked. But in the endless investigation that ensued, no federal law enforcement professional ever examined the computer servers, which would have shown, at a minimum, whether there really was a hack.
The final futile attempt to make a connection—the ballyhooed charge that Putin purchased Facebook ads to sway the election—was revealed to be a mere $46,000 in advertising click bait that mostly had nothing to do with the candidates. A federal judge has admonished Special Counsel Robert Mueller for saying the Russian government was behind even that, because there is no evidence of it.
One benefit of the Russia probe is that everyone now realizes the fix is in, a cultural epiphany that will have dramatic consequences in the future. It is suddenly obvious that just as bureaucracies are sustained by their power to investigate, they also pick winners by what they do not investigate. The Clinton Foundation, the Iran deal, Jeffrey Epstein, the DNC computers, etc.—move along, nothing to see here.
The next epochal date in this winter of discontent is October 31, the day the United Kingdom, under a democratic referendum, must withdraw from the EU. In typical Orwellian fashion, the bleating bureaucrats are opposed to doing so on “democratic” grounds.
Sharpiegate is important because it reveals a shift in strategy: use control of electronic media to kill with a thousand cuts.
In truth, though, provincial ministers are maneuvering to thwart the clearly expressed will of the people. Elizabeth II has intervened to vindicate the principles her forebears agreed to in the Magna Carta. She has suspended Parliament.
Apparently, the queen is permitted to move in any direction to counter a stratagem that would displace the sovereign, just like in chess. Who knew? There is no similar piece in the American system that can move vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Instead, the Founders chose to arm the citizenry.
No matter the outcome of Brexit, the election of 2020 will crystallize the struggle between bureaucracy and democracy. Having lost their big attempt at impeachment, the bad guys now seem prepared to play small ball.
For two weeks, every time someone in the middle of Ohio looked at a cell phone screen, he or she saw a headline mocking Trump for a hurricane. It was an entire news cycle over whether the president correctly predicted the progress of the cone.
Sharpiegate is important because it reveals a shift in strategy: use control of electronic media to kill with a thousand cuts. An unaffiliated expert, Dr. Robert Epstein, has concluded that Google swayed at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016 using these sorts of tactics.
There will be nothing but similar madness between now and the election. If the president ignores charges that he misrepresented the path of a hurricane, he stands convicted of alchemy; if he responds, they say he is easily distracted and prone to superficialities.
How balance can be struck against a deliberate social media campaign of constant pestering is uncharted territory. Notable pundits have expressed concern that by responding to each petty charge, Trump risks exhausting the electorate.
Trump won the last election, though, by never letting the biased media set its hook too deeply. He challenged every phony assertion, and he is not likely to change tack now. The ability to beam agitprop into the pockets of voters is a huge advantage in electoral politics. How effectively Trump responds will go a long way toward deciding the outcome in 2020.
If the bureaucrats can use Google to consolidate power, then what? A class of academic, business and government elites run the world, and everyone else is just a deplorable subject to their control.
Brexit in October and Trump in 2020: the stakes could not be higher.