Hail to the Grief (Chief) to Come!?
Donald Trump is now President-elect of the United States.
He was elected by the same rigged system he so vociferously complained about: “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.”
Well, honestly, a rigged election has made Donald Trump president!
On January 20, 2017 at 12 p.m., Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45thPresident of the United States.
When the clock strikes 12 on January 20, 2017, will it be darkness at noon in America?
Trump is elected president but the American people chose Hillary Clinton.
Hillary received 630,877 more votes than Trump. (Clinton- 60,981,118 (47.79%); Trump- 60,350,241 (47.3%) There are a total of 7 million votes left to be counted nationwide!
Only in America is it possible for the winner of the popular vote to lose the election.
How the framers of the American Constitution managed to set up a system of electing president by an “Electoral College” instead of popular vote is a “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”.
Suffice it to say that the Electoral College is to electing an American president as the College of Cardinals is to electing a pope.
But that’s beside the point.
It is an understatement to say Hillary Clinton’s supporters were stunned, shocked and deeply disappointed by her defeat. She did her best and she was best qualified for the job, but she got tripped by the Electoral College system.
I am disappointed she lost, but not shocked.
I read the tea leaves very early on and decided to endorse Bernie Sanders in my February 2016 commentary, “Why I am Supporting Bernie Sanders for President (and Why You Should Too)”.
But after Bernie dropped out, I cast my fate with Hillary; and certainly not because she is St. Hilary of Poiters.
I stated my reasons for supporting her in my November 6, 2016 commentary, “Why I am Voting for Hillary Clinton on November 8 and YOU Should Too!”
I was also not shocked because I had a clear understanding of Trump’s electoral strategy.
In my July 2016 commentary, I argued:
Donald Trump believes he can mobilize disaffected White voters by exploiting their fears and prejudices. Trump’s strategy is to stoke the anger of certain white voters so that they will come out in massive numbers to vote for him and offset the demographic shifts in the United States that have handed Democrats electoral victories in the last two presidential elections. He thinks he can best accomplish that by spreading fear and loathing (Islamophobia) against Muslims and undocumented immigrants (xenophobia) and exploiting the racial fault line.
That’s exactly what Trump did in winning the presidency.
Truth be told, I would rather write-in Ronald McDonald or Donald Duck for president than vote for Donald Trump.
I now understand what the wise Donald Duck meant when he said, “Sometimes, I look at people and think, somewhere out there there’s a village (country?) missing its idiot!”
Donald Duck, don’t you be worried. The village idiot is now in the White House!
Mencken’s prophesy finally came to pass
Mencken, (the “sage of Baltimore”, the “Voltaire of America”) was an iconoclastic commentator with extraordinary insights into the American people and American politics.
In his book Notes on Democracy (1926) [an absolute must read for anyone interested in taking a hard look at American democracy], Mencken warned Americans against the kind of empty-headed demagogue who would preach pseudo-patriotism (“Make America Great Again!”) and become president.
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
Mencken knew American voters and politicians better than most. Sadly, he did not think much about either.
Mencken thought the American political process mainly attracted quacks and charlatans. He lamented for American voters who were easy prey for the demagogue “who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
Mencken observed that demagogues in American politics “not only know how to arouse the fears of the mob; they also know how to awaken its envy, its dislike of privilege, its hatred of its betters.” The aim of the demagogues “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Mencken had an equally cynical view of the American voter whom he believed had little interest in liberty and “is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. He longs for the warm, reassuring smell of the herd, and is willing to take the herdsman with it.”
Exactly 60 years after Mencken died, his prophesy has come to pass!
In Donald Trump, we now have a glimpse into the “inner soul” of some of the people who voted for him because of his racism, xenophobia, misogyny and religious intolerance.
The creature of make-believe reality television who became famous telling actors they are fired and a self-admitted sexual predator who proudly talked about grabbing women by their private parts is now adorning the White House.
We now have a man adorning the White House with no political, diplomatic or military experience.
We now have an apprentice (how ironic!) from a television show playing the real role U.S. President in the West Wing of the White House.
We now have a man whose fingers are trained to shoot off twitter messages holding the nuclear briefcase controlling intercontinental ballistic missiles.
To add insult to injury, we now have in the White House a constitutional ignoramus.
Not long ago, the political pundits said the Republican Party was using Trump “as a clown to attract more voters for GOP.”
Trump was the butt of all jokes. They said, “It is possible to take him seriously and also remember he’s a clown. Yes, he’s a dangerous clown. He’s a clown with a knife, but at the end of the day, he’s still a f–ing clown.”
Seth Meyers at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner said, “Donald Trump said that he was running for president as a Republican. That’s funny, because I thought he was running as a joke.”
That “joke” is now the American president. Meyers said, “I cried when I told my daughters Donald Trump will be President.”
The question now is not who is the clown, but who are all the fools who underestimated the clown.
The same miscalculation and underestimation was made when Nazism was on the rise in the 1920s.
American journalists who met Hitler were saying dismissively, “This guy is a clown. He’s like a caricature of himself.’ And a lot of them went through this whole litany about how even if Hitler got into a position of power, other German politicians would somehow be able to control him. A lot of German politicians believed this themselves.”
I never thought Trump was a “joke” or a “clown”.
As I have argued in my previous commentaries, I have always believed Trump to be a dangerous and demagogic Mencken-style narcissistic moron who preached pseudo-patriotism to get votes.
During his campaign, Trump clothed his racism, sexism, chauvinism and sectarianism with “populism”. He advanced a veiled neo-fascist agenda. He propagated paranoia about an America in crises and decline and a dystopic America ridden by crime, violence and poverty. He fed the American public a constant diet (with the active support of the mindless media) of paranoid conspiracy theories, disinformation and misinformation. He demonized Muslims, criminalized Mexicans, condemned immigrants, dehumanized women, mocked the disabled and scorned the poor.
Trump sought to rise to power from the abyss of American despair riding the white horse of the Apocalypse “out to win many battles and gain the victory”.
Trump’s vision of making America great is by increased militarism globally to vindicate America’s lost honor and glory and restoring American imperial power, cracking down on racial, ethnic and religious minorities and immigrants and flouting civil liberties and constitutional principles.
In his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, Trump promised “all Americans tonight, in all our cities and towns” that “We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again!”
He assured the American people: “I alone can fix it.” I alone can fix the broken and shattered America.
That’s how Trump rode a white horse to the White House to save America from the darkness that envelopes it.
Trump the wizard- “I alone can fix it!”
Trump says he is going to save America from the Apocalypse of domestic decay and international ignominy. He is going to save America by “cutting taxes significantly for businesses” and for the rich, repealing Obamacare which provides health care for the not so rich, overturning environmental regulations and withholding funds for efforts aimed at dealing with climate change, cancelling the North American Free Trade Agreement and other agreements with the World Trade Organization, cutting defense spending, increasing spending to build infrastructure and rebuilding the inner cities while reducing the national debt all with one stroke of the pen.
Of course, when Trump said “I alone can fix it.”, he was speaking metaphorically.
I have it on authority from a highly placed Trump source that Trump, in saving America from itself and the world, will get a lot of help from members of his cabinet consisting of The Wizard of Oz, Merlin the Wizard, Gandalf of the Lord of the Rings, Albus Dumbledore of Harry Potter, Prospero of the Tempest (Shakespeare) and, of course, Yoda who will bless each cabinet meeting with the words, “May the Force be with you!” Or is it farce?
All it takes to save America is to wave a wand and command, “Shazam! I alone can fix it!” It is fixed!
Oh! What have the American people done?
Over the past few days, I have been asked by many overseas, “What have the American people done? What were they thinking?”
I cannot explain what has happened.
But Mencken had an explanation why American voters would one day elect a moron to the White House. “The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is a folly.”
In the end, even Mencken gave up trying to figure out the American voter. He registered his frustration: “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
In other words, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
Donald Trump became president because some of us underestimated the intelligence of some of the American people, and now we have gone broke.
Pro nobis, ut Deus. (May God help us!),
The paradox of some American voters
After observing, studying and teaching American politics and teaching and practicing American constitutional law for decades, I remain fascinated by the robust constitutional process and the resilience of the American people. Few aspects of American politics fascinate me more than the tendency for so many millions of Americans who keep voting against their rational self-interest election after election.
This tendency seems to be particularly true for poor and working class whites who vote for the Republican Party which manifestly represent the interests of the wealthy and corporate interest. It seems they vote more out of “tribal loyalty” than the class and economic interests they share with other racial and ethnic minorities. It seems many poor and working class Republicans seem to get enormous vicarious satisfaction from seeing the financial prosperity and success of the rich and upper classes. They also seem convinced that social issues are more important than economic issues; they spend their efforts railing against abortion, affirmative action, prayer in public schools and limitations on immigration than demanding economic equity.
But poverty and inequality are the least common denominators for more than 40 million Americans today.
According to the September 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report, over 42 million Americans live under the poverty line. Broken down by race, 17.8 million of this population is white, not Hispanic, followed by 10 million Black, 12.1 million Hispanic, any race and 2.1 million Asian.
Acting in rational self-interest would suggest that poverty would trump race and ethnicity. But for many poor and working class whites, race is more important than class. They perceive an existential threat of loss of privilege of being white in America. They see people of color as “enemies” rather than allies in the struggle for economic equality. They view unions with hostility. They feed on the fear, loathing and resentment propagated on the airwaves of conservative media.
But there is a real problem we must all face regardless of race, ethnicity and gender.
The establishment Democrats and Republicans sucking at the teat of the corporate cash cows have forgotten and ignored American working families of all demographic backgrounds.
I enthusiastically endorsed Bernie Sanders out of concern for working families.
For decades, politicians of both parties kept silent and often actively supported the corporate bosses shipping out manufacturing jobs to various low-wage countries.
I confess that I am for free trade, that is trade free of tariffs or other restrictions. But I also believe measures must be taken to mitigate the effects of free trade on poor and working American families who lack the education and skills to compete on the global level. These Americans find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They see their jobs exported and outsourced elsewhere; and they have little opportunity to retool and find alternative trades and professions. They see the rich getting richer and themselves getting poorer. They cannot send their children to college and struggle daily as the top 1 percent of Americans made 25 times as much in income, on average, as the bottom 99 percent. That is a doggone shame. It must change.
Is Trump the one to change it?
What would change look like?
When I supported Bernie, I agreed with him that rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure could create millions of well-paying jobs. I believe what is needed is a living wage not just a minimum wage. I believe wholeheartedly in providing young people afford college. In nearly three decades of university teaching, I have seen my students, first in their families to go to college, start their own business and become local and regional leaders in business and politics.
Nelson Mandela was right on point when he said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Instead of affording young Americans opportunities for affordable higher education, the political bosses in both parties have provided billionaires like Trump loopholes to avoid paying taxes and buy elections with unlimited campaign contributions. The game of “Who pays the piper calls the tune.” must change.
Rise of the Trump-aryans?
In my December 2015 commentary, I voiced my deep consternation over the “Rise of the Trump-aryans!” and Donald Trump’s rhetorical exhortations to “make America great” by creating the Aryan State of Trump or Trump-aryana.
Is America going to be Trump-aryana for the next four years? Trump himself does not know.
Trump said, “When I’m president, I’m a different person. I can be the most politically correct person you’ve ever seen.” Does that mean he will no longer be the race-baiting, Muslim-hating and Mexican-demonizing presidential candidate? Does that mean Trump does not mean what he says and says what he does not mean?
No one knows what Trump will do, including Trump.
To paraphrase the memorable conundrum of Don Rumsfeld, “There are things that we know that we know (known knowns) about Trump. We also know there are known unknowns about what Trump; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know about what Trump wants to do. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know about what Trump wants to do.”
It is a known known that Trump talked his way to the White House talking neo-fascism (a combination of ultra-nationalism, populism, anti-immigrationism, nativism, anti-Muslimism, and total contempt for liberal democracy and civil liberties and rights).
It is a known known that Trump said he will change libel laws in the United States so that people like himself can have an easier time suing news organizations. “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws.”
Thomas Jefferson said, “The only security of all is in a free press.” He added, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” True as that may be, I confess my agreement with Mencken who said, “American journalism (like the journalism of any other country) is predominantly paltry and worthless. Its pretensions are enormous, but its achievements are insignificant.” Touche!
It is a known known that Trump wants to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. Trump proudly declared, “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
It is also a known known the Mexicans will pay for no wall, no fence, no barrier and no blockade.
There are known unknowns about Trump. During the campaign, he said he just can’t wait to shred Obamacare, but it is unknown if he will actually deprive over 20 million Americans without health care with a stroke of the pen. It is known that Trump’s health-care plan is “something terrific” that will take care of everybody at no cost to anybody. It was unknown until a couple of days ago that Trump will keep Obamacare and just make a few amendments.
It is a known that Trump wants tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it is unknown if his pro-free trade Republicans in Congress will let him do that.
It is a known that Trump will insist on throwing out all of the deadbeat NATO members on their rear ends, but it is unknown whether he will make America safe by scaring the hell out of Western Europe and making them anxious, panicky, distrustful and hostile to America. It is an unknown whether Trump will force Western Europe to flee from the protective wings of the American Eagle into the welcoming hands of the Russian Bear.
It is known that Trump will bomb the hell out of ISIS and tear up the Iran Nuclear deal. It is unknown if he will also bomb Iran, along with ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc., out of existence, or seek to reinstitute sanctions against Iran. It is unknown if Iran and ISIS will take it all lying down. It is a known that Trump has refused to state that the U.S. will unconditionally defend allies in Asia against a North Korean nuclear attack. It is unknown whether that will embolden North Korea to undertake a preemptive strike, or spur Japan and South Korea to launch a full-scale nuclear weapons development program.
There are a lot of unknown unknowns about Trump. The fact of the matter is that Trump himself does not know what he does not know. He does not know how he is going to bring back millions of manufacturing jobs from China or anywhere else. He does not know how he is going to provide massive tax cuts, increase defense spending and cut the deficit and national debt at the same time. Trump does not know how he can suddenly change trade policies and impose tariffs and in the process avoid massive job losses. Trump does not know how he will be able to impose retaliatory tariffs on China, Mexico and other countries without risking a trade war and completely upending the international trade rules of the World Trade Organization. Anarchy in the global economy will not only lead to a global recession but also contribute to job losses in America.
Trump don’t know diddley!
No one knows or can be sure what America under Trump will be like.
All we know and can be sure of is, “Everything is negotiable.” So, we don’t need to know anything. Just prepare to negotiate the unknown unknown.
Is it darkness at noon in America? Is America AmeriKKKa now that Trump is president?
I have railed against Trump for a better part of a year.
It is hard for me to respect a man who talks about grabbing women by their private parts. To me that is the ultimate expression of man’s inhumanity to woman. A man who thinks of his mother, wife and sister as a collection of body parts is a contemptible creep.
A man who says it is ok to call his daughter a “nice piece of ass” is a fiendish degenerate, a pervert and a monster.
How can one expect a man who does not honor his own daughter be expected to honor other peoples and nations?
It is hard for me to respect a man who criminalizes an entire ethnic group and says he will build a spite wall to keep Mexicans out.
I never supported Ron Reagan but I appreciate him for calling out Gorbachev on the Berlin Wall. In the summer of 1987 Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate and shouted out, “Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall.”
In 2016, Trump says he will tear up NAFTA and “build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me… I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” Trump will build a spite wall to separate us from our southern neighbors.
I don’t understand the logic of making enemies of 123 million Mexicans on our southern border, especially when they are our third largest trading partner with $531 billion in total goods and services exchanged.
I don’t understand the mental state of a man who literally terrorizes 2 billion followers of the Muslim faith worldwide by telling them that they will all be turned away within view of the Statute of Liberty because they are presumed to be guilty of terrorism until they can prove themselves innocent. I do not know how a total ban on Muslims entering the U.S. is different from those preaching hate against America as the “The Great Satan” or those seeking to establish the “Great Caliphate” to exclude all infidels and Crusaders.
I don’t see how America can win this race to the bottom.
I cannot imagine how a man who lacks basic civility and humanity can serve as a role model for American citizens, particularly young people.
What is equally concerning to me is how the American president is perceived throughout the world. Whether Americans like it or not, America sets the standard for music, culture, science, technology and even politics. The huddled masses throughout the world believe that America is a land of opportunity and a bastion of democracy. Billions of people watched the elections throughout the world than in America.
At the risk of sounding nostalgic, Ronald Reagan said, “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”
Will darkness now descend on the shining city upon the hill as Trump rises?
It is easy to declare that at exactly 12 p.m. on January 20, 2017, there will be darkness at noon in America.
It is easy to imagine the Trump years will be horrific. It is easy to proclaim that in the Trump years the poor will become even poorer; the homeless population will increase; the sick will spend days waiting to get care in the emergency rooms and the environment being destroyed and the world will be a dystopia.
That would be giving into fears.
It would also denigrate the strength of American democracy and disregard the resilience of the American people.
America has undergone trials and tribulations before. Richard Nixon tried to subvert constitutional government and ignominiously left office. Others have plunged the country into a war where 50 thousand Americans died. Eight years ago, the American economy faced total collapse as a result of the actions of a reckless and clueless president. But America is still here.
As a scholar and a gentleman, it is my obligation to see not only the darkness but also the light behind the darkness.
I subscribe strongly to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prescription: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
NO, I do not believe it will be darkness at noon on January 20, 2017 at 12 p.m.
On January 20, 2017 at 12 p.m., America will remain a shining city upon a hill despite a Trump penumbra.
Here are my reasons why I believe there will be no darkness at noon:
Reason #1: What you see and hear is not always what you get.
George Bush Sr. said, “No new taxes. Read my lips.” He got elected and could not keep his promise and his 1992 reelection bid collapsed.
Barack Obama promised to promote human rights in Africa and even went there and lectured the African thugtators that Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men. Five years later, Obama invited the most bloodthirsty African thugtators to the White House and wined and dined them. Exactly a year later, he went to Ethiopia and pronounced a regime that claimed to have been elected by one hundred percent (100%) of the vote as “democratically elected”.
Trump promised to build a wall, keep Muslims out of the U.S., dump NAFTA and NATO and a whole bunch of other things. Can he keep his promise?
Reason #2: Trump may have more bark than bite.
During the campaign Trump said he will deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. Such an effort would cost the US government an estimated $400 billion to $600 billion and possibly a decade. I would also cause private sector output to decline by between $381.5 billion and $623.2 billion according to a study by American Action Forum study.
Now he is saying he will immediately deport 2-3 million aliens with criminal records. That’s exactly what the Obama Administration has been doing over the past 8 years.
Trump says he will bring back the millions of outsourced jobs. American companies chose to outsource their production and manufacturing. That’s how many working class Americans became jobless. But those jobs are not coming back from China, Mexico or anywhere else.
Trump has bitten more than he can chew.
Reason #3: For every action equal and opposite reaction.
If Trump wants to build Fortress America and wall out the world, the world will wall out America too.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently travelled to China and announced his military and economic “separation” from the United States. He said, “America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow. And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”
The Turkish government is warning its citizens travelling to the U.S. “to be careful due to protests”. Should American citizens in the Muslim world also be careful “due to Trump being elected”?
Does Trump want our Latin American neighbors to whip up anti-Americanism and Americanophobia and ramp up their own nationalism?
Does he want to feed the hatred of all the terrorist groups who demonize America as the “Great Satan”?
Reason #4: Political infighting in the Trump transition will blunt a quick start to a Trump administration.
Trump will soon find out that he cannot run government by barking you are fired.
The grapevine says there is intense and bitter infighting between rival factions of the Trump campaign. Mike Pence is the transition team chief after Trump dumped Chris Christie. There will be more casualties in the Trump transition period.
Reason #5: Trump is unlikely to have a cakewalk in Congress.
The Republicans now control all three branches in large part because its voters are overrepresented in the House, the Senate, and the Electoral College. Trump became president railing against establishment Republicans who disagree with him on entitlement programs, immigration, the deficit and other issues. Will they follow Trump lockstep now that he is president?
Reason #6: It is easier said than done.
Talk is cheap and campaign rhetoric is not worth a damn. But action speaks louder than words.
Over the past several years, Congressional Republicans have voted more than 50 times to scrap Obamacare. Trump said Obamacare is “a total disaster” and “a catastrophe”.
Two days after he was elected, Trump announced that he will keep the ban on insurers denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and continue the provision allowing young adults to be insured on their parents’ policies. Exactly which part of the “total disaster” Obamacare will he be repealing? I shall bet that he will do the same thing with NAFTA, NATO, tariffs, Iran deal, etc., etc.
Harry Truman lamented for Dwight Eisenhower: “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”
Poor Don! Running the U.S. Government will not be anything like running The Apprentice. Or the Trump Organization for that matter.
Reason #7: Trump will get many tastes of his own medicine as his former victims of sexual assault and harassment and business partners look for a quick payday.
Trump is one man who is lawsuit-happy. During the campaign, he threatened to sue the N.Y. Times, the Washington Post and so many others. He even threatened to sue his ghostwriter Tony Schwartz for criticizing him.
Over the past 30 years, Trump has been a party to some 4,000 lawsuits. He is currently facing 75 active lawsuits in cases involving fraud, unpaid bills, contract disputes and sexual discrimination.
In 2010, a class-action fraud lawsuit was filed against the now-defunct Trump University alleging that Trump University swindled students by giving them worthless informercial type seminars pressuring them to spend up to $35,000 for mentorships. Unless settled, that matter will go to trial on November 28.
Trump is facing another civil lawsuit for rape in N.Y. federal court. (To read the Complaint click HERE.) That lawsuit alleges that in the “summer months of 1994”, Trump and his friends committed “acts of rape, sexual misconduct, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, forcible touching, assault, battery, intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress, duress, false imprisonment, and threats of death and/or serious bodily injury”. The matter is scheduled for a hearing in Manhattan (N.Y) Federal Court on December 16, 2016.
Just like Paula Jones was able to sue President Bill Clinton in her civil sexual harassment suit, I suspect there will be many more women and others who got a raw deal from the Master of the Art of the Deal looking for a quick payday. I can foresee President Trump spending a lot of time in depositions if not in court, unless he finds a way to settle them all out of court.
I suspect his tax records will now be open for public inspection.
Reason #8: If Trump insists on implementing a radical agenda, he will face fierce opposition from Democrats in Congress and the people in the streets.
The battle lines are already being drawn. The two “revolutionary” leaders of the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have expressed their readiness to work with Trump in rebuilding infrastructure and paid family leave to new mothers. Warren said on other issues it will be a battle to the end: “We will fight back against attacks on Latinos, African Americans, women, Muslims, immigrants, disabled Americans – on anyone. Whether Donald Trump sits in a glass tower or sits in the White House, we will not give an inch on this, not now, not ever.”
Plans are underway to have a million woman march in the capital a day after Trump is inaugurated.
If Trump insists on his dog whistle agenda, there may, after all be, an American Spring in 2017.
Reason #9: Trump cannot “alone fix it.”
Whatever it is that Trump wants to fix, he cannot do it alone. He will need the support of the various factions in his own party and reach out to the democrats who could stymie his efforts and give him monumental headaches. That should be easy street who brags that he is the Master of the Art of the Deal.
Let’s make a deal, Don!
Whether Trump can succeed in making deals depends upon the people he chooses and not chooses. I tend to believe that a president should be judged by the company (cabinet) he keeps. If he is going to have Rudy Guiliani, Chris Christie, Sara Palin and the rest as his team, then it’s “Ciao bambino”.
Reason # 10: The more things change the more they remain the same. To have any chance of success as a president and avoid gridlock-as-usual, Trump will have to govern from the middle.
Trumps populism built around rhetoric of economic nationalism and nationalist trade policies, severe immigration restrictions and exclusion of Muslims, a “terrific” universal health care system and a robust defense of social security and Medicare and guarantees that “we’re going to take care of the people on the street dying” could prove problematic in implementation.
Republicans in Congress are committed to drastic reductions in entitlement programs across the board and even giving larger role in Medicare to private insurance companies. Free trade Republicans are likely to resist strong protectionist policies as anti-growth and hurting American global competitiveness and increasing the cost of imports in American markets which in turn hurts the poorest Americans. In a trade war, America will not only lose its global leadership on trade but also jobs.
Trump’s plan to deport over 11 million undocumented immigrant is simply impractical, prohibitively costly and take years to accomplish given the legal process and lack of institutional capacity to process so many such immigrants.
The preliminary evidence shows Trump is already realizing that. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said Trump “is not calling for mass deportation” of illegal immigrants, but “wants to protect the sovereignty of America, and be a partner throughout the world.”
Trump said he will immediately deport “people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate [them]”.
How different is that from Obama who said that his deportation will focus on “felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.
Trump has also said he will amend and not repeal Obamacare.
The more things change the more they remain the same.
Reason #11: The people who put Trump in office will soon be disillusioned as he forgets about them.
Last July Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s best-seller “The Art of the Deal” warned that if Trump is elected President, “the millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows — that he couldn’t care less about them.’”
Is buyer’s remorse the ultimate reward for those who voted for Trump?
Reason #12: Republicans can’t govern. Period!
Republicans can make a big mess for democrats to clean up, but they can’t govern worth a damn. Exhibit A: The mess left over by George #2 for Barack Obama. The Democrats cannot govern because they are spineless; but they are a great cleanup crew.
Reason #13: Trump is basically a narcissist and he will be overwhelmed.
This is purely a personal impression. I believe Trump wanted to become president to feed his ego. He does not know much about governance or politics. He certainly does not know much about the Constitution and its fundamental principles. He has no clue about the Bill of Rights as evidenced in the fact that he wants to muzzle the press with libel laws, detain citizens and others on suspicion that they belong to a certain faith and separation of powers as he tried to intimidate a federal judge into ruling in his favor. In this regard, Trump is no different than African thug presidents who are clueless about the rule of law.
Trump is also thin skinned. His ghostwriter Tony Schawrtz said, “It is axiomatic that when Trump feels attacked, he will strike back. That’s precisely what’s so frightening about his becoming president.” That will be Trump’s Achilles’ heel. There will be many who would love to distract him with attacks and counterattacks.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who correctly predicted Trump’s victory said Trump’s first term will end in either in his resignation or impeachment because his narcissism and vindictiveness will cause him “unintentionally, break laws. He will break laws because he’s only thinking about what’s best for him.”
Did somebody say they are fleeing to Canada: In the Spirit of Churchill- Never Give up!
As the elections drew near and as shock of a Trump presidency set in, some people were talking about moving to Canada and elsewhere.
Ain’t nobody going nowhere!
When Britain faced blitzkrieg by the fascist Nazi war machine in 1940, the British people did not cut and run. They stood up in resistance and fought back.
Churchill inspired his people with a speech in the House of Commons on May 13, 1940. Churchill said the British people will fight “by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us” for “however long and hard the road may be”.
That is the defiant spirit we must have in continuing our democratic struggle.
We must fight for justice, equality, fairness in the White House, the statehouse, the courthouse, the clubhouse, the jailhouse, the poorhouse and in the city and town councils.
On October 29, 1941 Churchill gave a speech at a school. The lesson he imparted on those pupils then is relevant to all who commiserate today over Trump’s victory:
Never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Democracy is not just about presidential and national elections.
Democracy is about what we do in or local communities every day. We can stand up against racism and discrimination in our communities. We can get engaged to help end brutality by rogue police. We can aid the victims of religious intolerance and make them feel at home. We can join efforts that help immigrants and new Americans become productive citizens. We can all join hands to defend civil liberties and civil rights and help young people fulfill their potentials.
The great American revolutionary Thomas Paine wrote, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
Freedom ain’t free. It comes with a price. That price is eternal vigilance and unending labor of love in the cause of justice and equality.
Best wishes for President Trump
There is an old African saying which goes along the following lines: “Playing the drums looks very easy when the drum is in the hands of those who play it well; but it is very hard and confusing once it is in your untrained hands.”
It may seem easy for “Mr. I Alone Can Fix It” to be the leader of the free world and run the greatest nation on earth. Trump thinks he can negotiate everything and make a deal.
There is the master of the art of the deal and wheeler-dealers.
Trump’s situation reminds me of a character in Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged”. It is a book that depicts a dystopian and collapsing United States in which many of society’s most prominent and successful industrialists abandon their fortunes and even the nation, in response to oppressive government regulations.
In a conversation between the two leading characters in Rand’s book, d’Anconia asks:
If you saw Atlas — the giant who holds the world on his shoulders — If you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling, but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength. And the greater his effort, the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders, what would you tell him to do?”
The other character unable to answer flips the question back to d’Anconia who answers his own question: “To shrug!”
Donald Trump to me is Atlas Donald now. He must carry the entire world on his shoulders.
So in the end Atlas Trump, unable to bear the woes and burdens of the world might, might simply shrug it off.
Let it all go to hell in a handbasket!
That is my greatest fear.
But I ain’t afraid of no darkness!
“Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that some day.” Benito Mussolini.