Friday, November 11, 2016

Ruminations on a Trump Presidency

Now that things have calmed down a bit, it's time to reflect on the outcome of the election.  I heard Trump's gracious sounding remarks the other day, and I thought there might be some hope that this guy isn't as much of an asshole as he made himself out to be during the campaign.  It just might be the case that it was all a facade designed to get the votes of millions of bumpkins who don't know the first thing about government, or economics, or world affairs, or science, but are outraged that gay people can get married.  People who would vote for a man whose whole life history exemplifies everything they say they despise, because he's now singing their tune.

I've been thinking that Trump's apparent abject ignorance was just for show, because that's what it takes to impress his voters.  Or maybe it's because his primary source of information has been Breitbart (yes, the ones who ran his campaign are the same ones who run Breitbart News).   But as of now, he is getting real news from the US intelligence community - not just ideological spin from a bunch of right-wing political zealots.  I have no doubt that this will be a sobering and eye-opening experience for him - to hear things about the realities of the world that he previously had absolutely no idea about.  And maybe as these realities sink in, Trump will have a more realistic view of what's involved in making the decisions that the president is faced with every day.  Well, maybe.  But then, maybe not.

With all that top-level intelligence information in hand, the prospect of Trump cozying up to Putin is rather alarming.  Even now, the news is just starting to come out about Trump's recent contacts with the Russian government, not just his past business dealings.  And isn't it true that Russia used its intelligence and psyops (phychological warfare operations) resources to actively manipulate the sentiments of American voters with day-by-day releasees of hacked information from Trump's opponents?  There's a reason the Russians worked so hard to help Trump get elected.  They expect to receive a big payoff for their trouble.  But maybe my fears are completely unfounded, and Trump was actually the one shrewdly taking advantage of them.  Or maybe not.

At least we have a strong business leader who knows how to fix the economy, right?  Well, maybe not.  Actually Trump's only economic experience is in enriching himself, often at great cost to those who have had dealings with him, and always by taking advantage of every legal ploy, loophole, subsidy, and bailout form the government that he could, and without which, he would have ended up completely broke.  His knowledge of economic policy is abysmal, and his proposed policies would do much more harm than good.  And despite the hopes of all those who want to see the Mexicans deported, doing so will not only cost the government a lot of money, but it will have a huge negative impact on the US economy.  The bottom line is that if Trump actually carries out his stated economic policies, it would result in the loss of millions of jobs, a severely depressed economy, soaring national debt, and the loss of benefits from Social Security and Medicare for all those bumpkins who voted him into office.  So let us hope that it was all just talk.  Like you hear in the men's locker room.  Just talk.  Trump wouldn't really do that to us, would he?

But then we hear about the people Trump wants on his staff and in his cabinet.  Good, honest, conservative folks like Chris Christie serving as Attorney general, who is currently facing calls for impeachment because of his corruption as governor of New Jersey.  And John Bolton serving as Secretary of State, who as ambassador to the UN under Bush, proposed lobotomizing the UN, helped Bush gin up phony evidence against Iraq to justify the invasion, and who wants to go to war with Iran.  And then there's Ben Carson as Secretary of Education.  Yes, the guy who thinks Joseph built the pyramids in Egypt and that evolution is an evil idea fomented by the devil.  Or how about Myron Ebell as head of the EPA?  Ebell is a climate change denier who wants to gut existing environmental policies.

Now, I think it would be good for both sides of the political divide to calm down and do some self-reflection.  Where have we failed?  Is there room for some agreement on how to move forward?  I understand that we liberals have to bite the bullet and accept that we lost the election (even with a larger number of votes).  There will be pain.  Let the bigots have their day.  Let them revel in their hatred.  But it doesn't have to be the end of the world.  Maybe Trump won't turn out to be quite the asshole he was during his campaign.  Maybe there is room in TrumpLand for some rational policies and some reasonable approaches to taking care of the needs of all those working-class folks who have felt left out.  The ones who backed him in the hopes that things would turn out better for them.  And honestly, if Trump does what's good for them, that will be good for all of us.  But I'm bracing for the worst.  If Trump actually implements the policies he has proposed, those people aren't going to benefit.  If they thought they were suffering under Obama, they have a rude awakening coming.

But maybe Trump's campaign was just a big lie, designed to get the support of ignorant people who don't know any better.  I'm hoping it was all just a big lie - just locker-room talk.


  1. I've been going through the grieving process; drinking and sleeping a lot. I think that I hit a turning point on Saturday, I figured that it will take a few years for the Trump administration to change the US into a Mad Max Thunderdome type society. This gives us some time to stop him. There is still some hope.

    1. I'm sure the feeling is similar to what many Republicans felt eight years ago. Impending disaster. But there's a difference. Their fear was based on their own propaganda. Obama was nothing like the monster they made him out to be, and the country has done reasonable well, despite all their dire predictions. Unlike them, I'm not about to forget how bad the economy was after W. Their big complaint now is that it hasn't recovered enough. But things have stabilized and improved. The difference now is that this guy's policies are really harmful. It's not just a matter of hating him because he's a total asshole. I can survive that. And that's what most of the Democrats' complaints have been about. But his policies on economy, environment, and international affairs are horrific. And that could be devastating for all of us.

  2. I am clinging to two rays of hope: 1.) Trump will find that being President is a lot of hard work and relegate himself to a figurehead status or 2.) the actual enormity of the responsibility will hit him and he will become much more considered in his speech and actions. In neither case will the results be good but perhaps we can avoid catastrophe.

  3. Update:

    It was reported last night that the Trump transition is faltering. Trump's transition manager, Mike Pence, has decided that he will stay in Indiana to serve full-time as governor until January 9, just days before the inauguration. Meanwhile, calls to the transition team from the DoD and the CIA have gone unanswered. This is astounding.

    But Trump is surrounding himself with cronies and his own relatives as his chief advisors. Most of these people have ZERO experience in government. His choice for chief of staff is Reince Priebus, who has been chair of the RNC, but has never served in government. Worse than that, Trump's chief strategist (equal in status to the chief of staff) is none other than Steve Bannon, the champion of the racist alt-right movement, who has no government experience whatsoever. Here are some interesting things to know about Bannon.