TRUMP, The Donald, is a boob. I call him the Alienator In Chief, a man who believes in shooting the messenger while ignoring the message.
Donald Trump’s preferred tactic is to ridicule anyone opposed to him, as if diminishing their stature somehow reduces or eliminates criticism of his actions or words. His latest salvo pinned the label of “devil” onto Hillary Clinton. If it doesn’t stick, he will mine literature and biblical history for some equally dismissive appellation, from Lady Macbeth through Cruella de Vil to Jezebel or Salome.
Small-minded America sees his bigotry as exuding strength, offering a refreshing leadership that more ‘politically correct’ politicians do not exhibit; meanwhile, public figures on both sides of the political spectrum see Trump as a neo-dictator in style and substance.
Trumpsters see only positive aspects of his authoritarian style. Like dumpster divers who believe hidden gems can be found among society’s detritus, Trumpsters view him as the fulfilment of their dream for a new American revolution that lowers taxes, removes the burden of government regulations, strengthens the already-strongest military in the world, reduces government spending while protecting their essential Social Security or Medicare handouts.
They believe in his plan to build a protective wall which would keep out ‘illegals’ and cheap, foreign goods that will, instead, be produced more expensively in America; to restore law and order by putting minorities back in their place behind white America; and to appoint judges who will halt – maybe even reverse – the last sixty years of progress toward social equality.
Trump is a politically chameleon, changing positions day to day, denying statements made in print and on the airwaves. Yet Trumpsters don’t care about the truth. Neither do Republican Party leaders, who might cringe at what he says but are betting their future, and that of the country, on their ability to control him should he take the oath of office. They are as foolish as those voters and politicians who thought they’d be able to contain Hitler, Mussolini, Hamas, and other dictatorial movements.
The key impact of the coming presidential election is crucially overlooked: the next president will most likely nominate two to four Supreme Court justices, and while Presidents set policy for four to eight years Supreme Court Justices influence lives for decades.
Not all Republicans are crazy about Trump, far from it. The majority, however, want to see a return to the ‘good old days’, to a time when public servants truly put the public good ahead of their own self-interests. So here, I would suggest, is a party platform both they and even a non-Republican like myself, could support, with some tweaks:
• No more tax cuts for the wealthy ($250,000+ a year) while expanding breaks for low- and middle-income workers through tax credits for children, the earned-income tax credit or a new low wage subsidy.
• Promote the benefits of global trade agreements, but help displaced workers.
• Rule out fully privatising Social Security and Medicare; reassure workers they will be exempt from cost-cutting.
• Acknowledge that universal health care is here to stay, but push for market-oriented changes.
• Disavow mass deportations and promote the economic benefits of legalising longtime workers who are in the country illegally while reducing the legal entry of less-skilled immigrants.
It might surprise you to learn that this list is not mine but the platform planks of the “Reformocon” movement of disenchanted conservative Republicans, as described in this New York Times article.
It’s a long-shot that any of these more sober thoughts will become anything more than heresy to Grand Old Party poobahs, yet it is revealing that some within the GOP are even considering making the GOP appeal more universal.
Democrats should welcome such an overture. Perhaps the country would be able to return to what truly were ‘good old days’ when politicians reached across the aisle to forge legislation that benefitted all, not just the rich and entitled.
Back then the Second Amendment didn’t mean a gun, especially not an assault rifle, in every home. Nor did it mean taxes couldn’t be raised to fund infrastructure projects and other needs. Nor did it mean Roe v. Wade [a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions, including abortion, without interference from politicians] was the litmus test for Supreme Court appointees. Nor did it mean a presidential candidate could suggest not complying with NATO treaty defence obligations, nor suggest the military engage in torture.
Yes, those were good old days. Trumpsters, however, will not go down easily in defeat. Donald Trump is seeding thoughts of a rigged election, oblivious to the facts that voter fraud in the USA has been found almost non existent. Federal appeals courts have repeatedly invalidated tighter voter identification laws enacted by states based on the alleged premise that voter fraud has been rampant.
Elections at the state level are a supervised by appointees of each governor. There are 31 Republican governors, 19 Democrats. In the 11 so-called battleground states that may decide the presidential election, Democrats are governor in just four: Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their states account for 51 Electoral College votes. Republicans are governors in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. Those states have 100 Electoral College votes.
For Trump to claim the election is rigged, his own party’s election machinery would have to be conspiring against him.
If only that were so . . .