2016 Election Thoughts – Part VI (DJT)
I’ve written many words about Donald Trump. None of them have been kind. Now, I find myself wanting, with precious little to say which hasn’t already been said.*
Most people say, We’ll get through this. Probably. But maybe not. No immutable law says the United States of America will last forever. That it has lasted for 228 years does not mean we have another 228 years to go. Or 28, or even eight.
Authoritarianism—a desire for order and a fear of outsiders—explains Mr. Trump’s victory. Vox had the goods in The Rise of American Authoritarianism, written by Amanda Taub in March 2016. (For non-clickers, Ms. Taub reports on research which demonstrates the high correlation of support for Mr. Trump and a preference for an authoritarian leader.)
So what are we seeing, as Mr. Trump starts hiring people? Steve Bannon. I dealt with this man personally 20 years ago. He’s a take no prisoners, bullying, egomaniac. Lt. General Michael Flynn. A man who’s always right, a bad manager, and a man whose subordinates refer to his “facts” as “Flynn Facts.” And Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).
Senator Sessions has a record which lives up to his given name: Jefferson Beauregard. Ari Berman provides an overview of the voting rights record for The Nation in Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Pick for Attorney General, Is a Fierce Opponent of Civil Rights. Deplorable. Simply deplorable.
Then there are the children. Yes, they’re nice looking. They dress well. And they have lots and lots of money. That aside, what qualifies them to be helping their daddy run the country? If we needed a reminder that we elected a reality television star, the kids provide it, every day.
Other concerns? You bet. Trump plans lots of infrastructure spending. Here’s Steve Bannon:
I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks.
Good on the spending. Sad, though, that when President Obama proposed lots of infrastructure spending the Republican Congress said, repeatedly, “we can’t afford it.” (For more on the infrastructure plans, read Infrastructure Build or Privatization Scam? by Paul Krugman. For now, I’ll accept Mr. Krugman’s analysis over Mr. Trump acting in a straight-away manner. Every deal which anyone knows about has been less than straight-up, and he just agreed to pay $25,000,000 to settle a fraud and racketeering suit.)
Then there’s health care. Mr. Trump says he’ll keep the good parts of Obamacare, and fix the rest. Alas, only the bad parts bothered Republicans, ever, and they had 18 months before the law passed, and six years after it passed, to hop aboard and help fine tune the law. Did they? No! Instead, we got 50+ votes to repeal and replace, with no details about any replacement. And about the fix, now? “Hey, we just got elected, and it’ll take a couple of years to figure it out.”
What of it, regarding infrastructure and health care? If we get to the right place, what’s the diff? Well, if we have a governmental structure in which one side only acts when it’s in charge, we really have no government at all. Minorities must be heard, but they must participate, too. And during the Obama and Clinton Administrations, the Rs chose resistance, in lieu of participation. (No, shutting down the government does not constitute participation.) That system leads to failure.
Personally, I only really fear a collapsed economy. Why? Schuld der Juden. We only need to go back 90 years to see what happens to Jews when a modern economy fails, and notions that it “can’t happen here” reflect a lack of appreciation for the German Republic during the first thirty-plus years of the last century.
For our nation and many among us—America as we know it—I’m very afraid, right now. First, I fear the lack of deep thinking. On issue after issue, policy seems to follow sound bites. Smart people go deep, considering secondary and tertiary effects. (Here, again, is The Obama Doctrine, Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece for The Atlantic from back in April 2016. I offer it solely for the purpose of demonstrating how deep thinking works.) There’s no evidence at all that a Trump Administration will focus deeply on any issue. This crowd does “Ready. Fire. Aim.”
Second, I worry about the Others. The Outsiders. For African-Americans, these will be bad years. Ditto for Hispanics. Maybe worse for Muslims.
Are you LGBTQ? Married? I don’t expect a Supreme Court decision which will terminate existing same-sex marriages, but I fully expect a Court decision which allows states to ban same-sex marriage. (“What? Trump says he doesn’t object to same-sex marriage. Good on that, but his Court nominees almost surely will.”)
Finally, I worry for the millions who did elect Donald Trump. Some are well off, and voted for Mr. Trump because they like his views, they hated Hillary, or they’re on Team R. For them, I worry not so much. But for the masses, who saw themselves “forgotten in America” until the Donald stood up for them? Good luck. This man cared about you only because he needed you to satisfy an urge to get elected. (Urge to serve? Not so much, me thinks.) Nothing in this man’s past suggests even a passing interest in working men and women, or struggling families, or children, or anyone or anything else, other than his children and his wealth.
Godspeed, United States of America!
*I gathered some thoughts after all.