January 19, 2022
Don’t worry, Thomas Edsall is not endorsing Donald Trump’s big lie that he really won the election, but he is pushing a line that is almost as pernicious. In a piece discussing whether Republicans and their elected officials really believe that Trump won the election, Edsall comments:
“Musa al-Gharbi, a sociologist at Columbia, pointed out in an email that acceptance of Trump’s false claims gives Republican politicians a way of bridging the gap between a powerful network of donors and elites who back free trade capitalism and the crucial bloc of white working-class voters seeking trade protectionism and continued government funding of Social Security and Medicare:”
The problem here is that the “powerful network of donors and elites” does not at all back free-trade capitalism, which should be more apparent than ever in the middle of this two-year-long worldwide pandemic. The pandemic has persisted in large part because this “powerful network” has insisted on protecting government-granted patent monopolies on vaccines, tests, and treatments.
These monopolies have hugely slowed the pace of vaccination, allowing new strains like delta and omicron to develop and infect the world. If we instead let vaccines be produced and the technology be freely transferred (no enforcement on non-disclosure agreements), the whole world could have been vaccinated long ago.
This system of protectionism does have the benefit of transferring hundreds of billions of dollars every year from the rest of us to the wealthy. For political purposes, it is very much to the advantage of these powerful elites to pretend that their wealth is just the result of the free market, but it is not true, and it is gaslighting to pretend it is.