Disestablishmentarianism

At least eighty years ago someone asked me to name the longest word in the English language. ‘I don’t know, what is it?’ The answer was, ‘disestablishmentarianism.’ “Oh’, I replied, and filed the information away under the category of useless knowledge. But first I ascertained that it referred to a long-forgotten religious movement buried in English history.

I haven’t thought about that word until last night when the idiot tube graphically displayed the Indiana primary results: Bernie beat Hillary and Trump crushed the eminently crushable Ted Cruz. Hillary still supremely confident she can beat Bernie, which seems likely, and then clobber Trump, which also seems likely though perhaps a bit less so.

But the that ancient word disestablishmentmentarianism, so long buried in my mind, popped up. Weren’t Bernie and Donald both blazing opponents of the “Establishment?” Weren’t they both fighting the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, international trade agreements that benefited the few while taking away jobs from the many, and foreign wars that kept the whole charade bubbling merrily along? What if they pooled forces in the coming general election? Sure, their styles were a lot different, and so were a lot of specific planks in their policies, but if they could get together they ought to be able to wipe Hillary off the map and pull down the establishment with it. It would be a real revolution.

It would not require any constitutional changes. If a new deal for the working classes, more funds for infrastructure, public education, health and welfare, and reduction of our overseas bases and military commitments are unconstitutional, that is news to me, and will be to many of our citizens.

Who will be the President? Probably Trump, if he gets the most votes, but if the coalition is victorious then Bernie should have real power, both in appointments to key positions and in subsequent exercise of presidential power. (Actually history abounds with stories of mad kings backed up by clever advisers. If the Donald wants to strut around the world stage let’s give him the exclusive task of taking care of Bibi, they’d be good for each other).

What about Congress? Actually it might be a bit different after an election with Trump and Sanders on the same ticket. If the two of them can glom onto their respective party’s files they’d have the goods on most everyone in congress. Presumably the party hacks most skilled in manipulating such files are also among those with flexible loyalties, and would try as usual to stick with the winners.

Enough of the details. This essay is about the big picture. It is about hybrid vigor. After all, mate a mare with a donkey and you get a mule, a useful beast. It doesn’t replicate itself, which in the present instance is probably a good thing, but another mule can be generated any time you need one. Chances are we’ll never again want to replicate some creature with The Donald’s DNA but who knows? And Bernie’s is worth saving, many of those who are likely to read this will agree.

PS: A lot of my associates will say I’m bonkers for even suggesting Bernie explore the possibility of working with Trump. Maybe so, but look at it this way: Bernie’s ideas are important and if Hillary wins, they should get incorporated in the Democratic platform, at least to some significant extent, if the whole Sanders enterprise is not to be a waste of time for all concerned, at least for today and probably the next four years at least. If Hillary is looking over her shoulder at the possibility of a Sanders-Trump deal, maybe that will encourage her to be a bit more forthcoming. I can’t see how talking it up at this point can hurt.

Carl Coon
May 4, 2016

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