February 9, 2021
Donald Trump has of course left the White House, although you wouldn’t know it by the fact that he’s still so prominently reported on in the news… seemingly more than current President Joe Biden.
Trump has even already opened his official business address, The Office of the Former President in Florida, and recently endorsed his first political candidate, Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the Governorship of Arkansas.
But what of the MAGA Movement? The media may be desperate to have their perennial punch-ball back, and perhaps Trump may be back in action as an outside actor, but can the “America First” movement survive even two years with a radicalized Democratic Party in control of both houses of Congress… and a Democratic president who signed 40 executive actions in just the first nine days of his being in office, more than any Chief Executive ever before?
Before we try and answer that crucial question, we first have to be clear on how it came to be that in 2016, for the first time ever in the history of our Republic, we chose someone who had never served in public office, or as a senior military officer, for our Commander-in-Chief.
It wasn’t solely a function of who Trump was… Yes, his brash demeanor, anti-Swamp message, and decades-long celebrity status were all crucial ingredients in his success. But his rise to the Oval Office was really a consequence of negative and deep-seated trends in our nation’s prosperity, and the willingly chosen “managed decline” both sides of the political elite had surrendered us to without our acquiescence.
Recommended Reading: Prepare for a ‘Cash Panic’
We’re at the very beginning of a mass financial panic – but not the kind most people expect. The words “mania,” “euphoria,” and “frenzy” are all over the press… while fund managers are STAMPEDING out of cash at record levels – and pumping billions of dollars into a specific corner of the markets. A dramatic financial event over 20 years in the making has finally begun. Here’s what it means for YOUR money.
For some terrific insight into what I mean by “willful managed decline,” read J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (don’t bother watching the watered-down Oscar-bait Netflix version).
This autobiography, written by a former Marine who was not a Trump supporter (at least not when he wrote it), provides the clearest explanation of how a slogan of “America First!” turned a real-estate tycoon and reality-TV star into our 45th President.
It details the story of how the working and middle classes of America were systematically betrayed by both the Republican and Democratic parties, as Big Business and Wall Street bought themselves ironclad access to D.C. decisionmakers, while good manufacturing jobs – ones that resulted in actual physical products – were shipped to Asia, and ultimately opioids were used to dull the pain of the unemployed, exporting jobs and importing fentanyl.
So when a man came to the stage who rejected the message of the inevitable rise of China, India, and our other rivals, a man who said, we can Make America Great Again, the Establishment just laughed. Until he won…
But what now? The Empire has struck back and Biden is in office. Is that it? Last week’s news indicates that the MAGA movement, which propelled a non-politician to the highest office in the land, is still very much alive and may in fact be stronger than ever.
What if I had told you a year ago that one sub-Reddit comment page of nostalgic gamers would crush several hedge funds to the tune of more than $7 billion, with their trades on the free trading Robinhood app resulting in $1.6 billion worth of losses for the “big boys” in just one day? You probably would have laughed.
But if you had believed the prediction, you probably would have made out like a bandit, even as well as the infamous Robin Hood of yore. Yes, I know Robin of Locksley is (mostly) fictional! But if you read Vance’s work, put his socio-political observations into the broader political and geopolitical context of the last four years, and then the last 40 years, the recent GameStop story that has shaken Wall Street to the core becomes oh so clear.
So what really happened? (Here, I must give full credit to the person who helped me have a competitive advantage in all this… When your 21-year-old son is an avid Robinhood trader and an OG Reddit user who gives you almost daily updates, it gives you an edge!)
In a nutshell, the hedge funds, like Melvin Capital and Citron, short stocks in companies they believe are vulnerable, mismanaged, fraudulent, or obsolete… GameStop was one such company, a brick-and-mortar videogame retailer that the big boys believed was incapable of transforming into the Internet age (like Netflix when it moved from mailing out DVDs to streaming movies).
However, their intentions became transparent and the WallStreetBets sub-Reddit community – made up of regular guys and gals who like GameStop and have faith in it – said that was just wrong. So they started buying GameStop shares like crazy and encouraging others to do the same via non-commission-based trading apps like Robinhood. What resulted was amazing, a modern David-versus-Goliath tale, as GameStop shares rallied 700% and Wall Street funds like Melvin and Citron lost their collective shirts.
Anyone who likes free markets should love this story… Plus, it’s the quintessence of MAGA. The “Establishment” decides to tank a venture that has given pleasure to so many Americans for so long and the small guys say “No!” And they organize themselves and save a real, actual American company from the cartel-like predators.
If there was any question that it was a case of the small guy versus corporate interests skewing the playing field, just look at the public reaction when Robinhood was forced to cave to the Wall Street companies (who really act as the app’s back-office) when they ordered a close on GameStop trades via the massively popular app. David Portnoy of the highly influential Barstool franchise even called for Robinhood executives to be jailed.
Bottom line, not even I know whether my old boss Donald Trump intends to run again in 2024, but I can tell you with 100% certitude, the political and economic realities, and personal grievances and hopes that made him president once, are already still alive and well across America – maybe even stronger than ever.
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Sebastian Gorka, PhD
Contributor, American Consequences
February 9, 2021