The Trump presidency is turning into the spectacle many predicted and, in many ways, surpassing even the most dire of warnings. The key argument made by Clinton and her surrogates, that he lacked the disposition for the office, is being displayed more and more with each passing week. On healthcare, the environment, foreign diplomacy, national security, the economy and immigration, he has shown a deafness and myopia that is astounding. On organizing an administration and plan of attack for his policies, he has displayed the deftness of a third world banana republic dictator. On exemplifying the dignity expected of the office, we might be better served by Adam Sandler or a reincarnated Andy Kauffman. And on improving the lives of working families, he has demonstrated the commitment and fidelity to the cause of Mickey Rooney (8 marriages, for those who missed the retrograde analogy).
Looking over his actions since my last post two weeks ago, there is too much to cover, but let’s hit the lowlights. At the top of the list is the fact he is doing everything in his power to immediately punish those who voted for him by taking away their healthcare, cutting their benefits and eliminating the already limited protection they get from corporate malfeasance and their nefarious debtors. Trumpism is a fraud (WP), but how long it will take for voters to fully realize the travesty they have perpetrated upon the country, the environment and our collective futures is anyone’s guess.
Beyond the racism and xenophobia, some were sold by the notion Trump would take his business success and clean up the government. A little research might have dispelled that mythology, but that may be asking too much of people who feel an ideology once discovered should never be disrupted by silly things like facts or objective truth. Trump has already lost a senior member of his cabinet, had several others step down before they even came before a Senate that seems willing to confirm any Tom, Rex (WP) or Jeff (The Guardian) willing to support their agenda and might soon have to add the Attorney General to that list. Worse still, Trump has overseen the slowest moving transition in decades, with 18 members of the cabinet in place but 500 vital slots yet to even muster a nomination, alongside an even bigger list of second and third-tier positions (NYT).
Trump claims this is all part of his big plan to shrink the size of government, which entails eliminating plenty of well-paid, benefit-laden positions at a time he claims to care about putting Americans back to work (WP). Of course, Trump also claimed that no one would lose their insurance with his superior plan, even as that plan appears poised to cut 24 million people out of healthcare in the next decade, if enacted (WP). At least the rich will get much needed tax relief yet again (WP)! And he continues his absurd claim that he had the most attended inauguration in history (Daily Kos), that millions voted illegally (HuffPost) and that the millions protesting his policies across the country are being orchestrated and funded by democratic operatives, including Obama himself (The Guardian).
The most terrifying thing is that the very political insularity that keeps his faithful coming back with their hands held aloft (538), asking to be socked in the nose one more time, keeps them in a miasmic cloud of distrust and conspiracy theory fury. Of course, many of the most callous purveyors of these lies now line his administration from Bannon and Conway to Pruitt (New Republic), and down to the more secretive elements of government most are not paying attention to (Propublica). And while many of billionaires are lining the hallways of the White House now, there are still more behind the scenes, emboldened by his victory into pushing an even more radical agenda, including a rightwing computer scientist who is behind a multi-million-dollar conservative propaganda network
(The Guardian) that can reaffirm the lies of Fox, Breitbart and Infowars.
Even as serious questions persist about Trump’s complicity in the Russian hack of our election (Vox, NYT), he turns his attention to the absurd claim that Obama was bugging Trump Tower during the election (Salon), which holds even less water than the many attacks on Clinton during the election. Failing to ever admit he’s wrong actually appears to be a centerpiece of his rhetorical strategy, one that is, at least in the heartland, working to a large extent (Salon). And this is backed by his ability to subvert and attack the mainstream press at every turn, instead relying on his tweet rantings (TNY) and, in essence, trolling worldview (TNY).
In a similar vein, Trump continues to take credit for what he didn’t actually do (538), and far too many will probably believe him, just as they will believe the economic uptick is somehow his doing (538), even as he has done little since taking office beyond largely meaningless executive orders, the ostracizing of leaders and immigrants across the globe and setting up the coming windfall for corporations and the wealthy. They will ignore the fact his travel plans and time away from the White House is costing taxpayers billions (The Guardian), that his position on the environment will hasten the moribund fate of our planet (WP), that he plans to undermine our security to build his absurd wall (WP), or that Trump appears more interested in reelection than actually doing anything to help anyone beyond the one percent (TNR).
They will buy the vision of Ronald Reagan as a hero that saved America from an Empire that was in its death knell and thus support reallocating money that could be used to improve our education, economy and social security net invested instead in the biggest expansion of the military since the end of World War II (The Nation). Even the vacuous and venal fashion industry has gotten in on the protests of late (TNY), even as the cowardly GOP Congressman supporting his agenda run from the increasingly angry crowds that want to actually hold their representatives accountable for, god forbid, representing their interests (Vice). Of course, if you want to know what the seemingly unpredictable Trump will do next, the best idea is probably to simply follow the money.
Trump could face impeachment in the future, could wake up one morning and decide that honesty is, in truth, the best policy, could realize that he should reward those poor souls that put their faith in his power to help them, could find a truer representation of Jesus or … could precipitate the doom of the entire planet on a whim or as retribution for some perceived snub at a state dinner. Which do you think is more likely? Well, the only good news is that we are only have 1,408 days until the next inauguration, when, one hopes, enough Americans wake up so that this nightmare can end …