U.S. post 2016 elections: Shock – not awe – & resistance

Written by  //  March 22, 2017  //  Government & Governance, U.S.  //  1 Comment

See also Trump Transition

Joseph E. Stiglitz: How to Survive the Trump Era
Recognition of uncertainty is not a justification for denial.
(Project Syndicate) … when we are constantly barraged by events and decisions that are beyond the pale, it is easy to become numb and to begin looking past major abuses of power at the still-greater travesties to come. One of the main challenges in this new era will be to remain vigilant and, whenever and wherever necessary, to resist. (20 February 2017)

A grim (prescient?) outlook that offers little hope that some form of global disaster can or will be avoided
History Tells Us What Will Happen Next With Brexit And Trump
By Tobias Stone Entrepreneur, Academic, Writer
We are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination.
(HuffPost) after the War to end all Wars, we went and had another one. Again, for a historian it was quite predictable. Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable.
That was Hitler, but it was also Mussolini, Stalin, Putin, Mugabe and so many more. Mugabe is a very good case in point. …
[Trump]  is using passion, anger and rhetoric in the same way all his predecessors did — a charismatic narcissist who feeds on the crowd to become ever stronger, creating a cult around himself. You can blame society, politicians, the media, for America getting to the point that it’s ready for Trump, but the bigger historical picture is that history generally plays out the same way each time someone like him becomes the boss.
On a wider stage, zoom out some more, Russia is a dictatorship with a charismatic leader using fear and passion to establish a cult around himself. Turkey is now there too. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia are heading that way, and across Europe more Trumps and Putins are waiting in the wings, in fact funded by Putin, waiting for the popular tide to turn their way.
We should be asking ourselves what our Archduke Ferdinand moment will be. How will an apparently small event trigger another period of massive destruction. We see Brexit, Trump, Putin in isolation. The world does not work that way  —  all things are connected and affecting each other. (25 July 2016)

 

22 March
Graydon Carter: The Trump Presidency Is Already a Joke — But it’s no laughing matter.
in the end, proper historians and serious journalists will descend in droves to mop up the lies, the half-truths, and the criminality. Trump’s legacy and that of his family could end up in tatters. The self-lauded Trump brand may well wind up as toxic as the once self-lauded brand of another New York-Palm Beach family: the Madoffs.
(Vanity Fair) It can reasonably be said that our dear leader is now the most ridiculed man on the planet. In fact, he may well be the most ridiculed man in history. For a preening narcissist who takes himself terribly seriously, being the butt of the joke heard round the world has got to hurt. The handpicked assortment of craven nitwits and supplicants that he has surrounded himself with have valiantly tried to insulate him from the derision. But they’re only human. Your heart has to go out to the ones doing the heavy lifting: banty Sean Spicer, the M. C. Escher of the English language, and Kellyanne Conway, the president’s temperament fluffer. (Look away from CNN, Mr. President. There’s something shiny and bright over there!) Engaging as it is to watch these overworked mouthpieces, I fear their days must be numbered. Comments about microwaves that turn into spy cameras and what should be understood when the president puts words in quotation marks are having minimal effect in reducing the scorn heaped upon their boss. Hats off to them for their tenacity, but no amount of spin is going to change the fact that the Trump White House, like the company its inhabitant has run for the past four decades, continues to be a shambolic mess.
21 March
Wall Street Journal compares Trump to ‘a drunk’ clinging to ‘an empty gin bottle’ in scathing editorial
(Business Insider) The words of President Donald Trump and his White House staff are, in no small way, a matter of national security and credibility, and those things have entered a danger zone, a Wall Street Journal editorial argued on Tuesday.
The conservative-leaning editorial board pointed to Trump’s debunked claim that domestic and international entities had colluded with the Obama administration to spy on Trump’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

20 March
Trump’s Weary Defenders Face Fresh Worries
Mr. Trump’s allies have begun to wonder if his need for self-expression, often on social media, will exceed his instinct for self-preservation, with disastrous results both for the president and for a party whose fate is now tightly tied to his. … And Mr. Trump’s fixation on fighting is undermining his credibility at a time when he needs to toggle from go-it-alone executive action to collaborative congressional action on ambitious health care, budget and infrastructure legislation.
“I don’t always like what the president is saying,” the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told The Washington Examiner last month. “I do think he frequently, by wading into other matters, takes attention away” from “the very substantial things we’re already accomplishing.”

19 March
Trump’s Approval Rating Hits New Record Low
(Slate) The commander in chief’s approval rating fell to a new low over the weekend to 37 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. That marks a sharp drop from the 45 percent of a week earlier and comes as Trump’s disapproval rating hit 58 percent, also a high point since the real estate mogul was sworn into office.
Needless to say, those are the worst numbers for any president this early in his administration in the history of modern polling.

18 March
We are the resistance poster‘Paris in Georgia’: political salons spring up across US in push against Trump
Taking inspiration from history, groups gather in Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco and beyond to plan opposition and create an outlet for their concerns
(The Guardian) The 2017 salon is more often marked by groups of friends and neighbors organizing specific political actions, from raising money to educating each other about the refugee ban, while hanging out and making new friendships.
… At 7pm on a Sunday night once a month [at the Progressive Salon of Decatur], a crowd of about 20 people pile into the semi-retired attorney’s lounge room, with the dining chairs set up around the couches in a semi-circle.
“We are not here to sit around around and complain,” explained Huber. The group is a mixture of people from the middle-class neighborhood of Chelsea Heights, including folk musicians, stay-at-home moms, lawyers and a former nun.
They are focused on three key topics: the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the April special election for the sixth congressional district in Georgia (vacant after Tom Price became head of health and human Services in the Trump administration), and the 2018 midterm elections (the governor of Georgia is up for re-election).

15 March
John Cassidy: Who Leaked Part of Donald Trump’s 2005 Federal Tax Return?
(The New Yorker) there are a number of reasons why the theory that someone connected to Trump may have been the leaker is far from implausible.
For one thing, the leak didn’t include the bulk of Trump’s tax return or the supporting appendices. These materials would have provided information about any loans he had taken out and details of any income he received from overseas. It is also curious that the return is for 2005, which was a particularly good year for Trump’s business. …  The revelation that he paid tens of millions of dollars in federal taxes, for this one year at least, must count as favorable to him.
The return was also leaked just when Trump needed a distraction.
Finally, a stamp on the second page of the partial return that Johnston received reads “Client Copy.” This appears to indicate that this document wasn’t sent to the Internal Revenue Service but was instead retained by Trump or his accountant.
‘People are scared’: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House
Staffers are leaving their phones at home, using secret apps and monitoring each other’s social media.
(Politico) It’s an environment of fear that has hamstrung the routine functioning of the executive branch. Senior advisers are spending much of their time trying to protect turf, key positions have remained vacant due to a reluctance to hire people deemed insufficiently loyal, and Trump’s ambitious agenda has been eclipsed by headlines surrounding his unproven claim that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone lines at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign

14 March
Let’s normalize Trump
(LATimes op-ed) Trump thrives on attention, positive or negative; the more his craziest Tweets grab headlines and dominate the conversation, the more he’ll turn to his phone.

22-25 February
Tom Perez is new Democratic party chair, beating Keith Ellison in tight vote
(The Guardian)  Former labor secretary and progressive congressman call for unity against Trump after party race that became symbol of centrist-progressive divisions
The threshold for victory in the second round was 218 votes, out of 435 voters. Perez gained 235 to 200 for Ellison. After announcing the result, Brazile presented the gavel to Perez. He presented a motion to name Ellison as deputy chair, which passed unopposed.
Both men used their remarks after the vote to appeal for party unity, the race for DNC chair having become a symbol of divisions that opened during the 2016 presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Meet the DNC chair candidates vying to take over Democratic leadership
Frontrunners Keith Ellison and Tom Perez are challenged by Pete Buttigieg, Sally Boynton Brown and others as the party seeks direction in the Trump era
(The Guardian) Hundreds of Democrats have gathered in Atlanta to chart their path forward after a demoralizing defeat in last year’s election. The most pressing issue on the agenda: choosing a new chair to lead the party in the era of Donald Trump. After a months-long national campaign, the chairmanship will be decided by 447 voting members – party functionaries, including state party chairs, activists, donors and elected officials
Weakened Democrats Bow to Voters, Opting for Total War on Trump
(NYT) Reduced to their weakest state in a generation, Democratic Party leaders will gather in two cities this weekend to plot strategy and select a new national chairman with the daunting task of rebuilding the party’s depleted organization. But senior Democratic officials concede that the blueprint has already been chosen for them — by an incensed army of liberals demanding no less than total war against President Trump.
Immediately after the November election, Democrats were divided over how to handle Mr. Trump, with one camp favoring all-out confrontation and another backing a seemingly less risky approach of coaxing him to the center with offers of compromise.
Now, spurred by explosive protests and a torrent of angry phone calls and emails from constituents — and outraged themselves by Mr. Trump’s swift moves to enact a hard-line agenda — Democrats have all but cast aside any notion of conciliation with the White House.
Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, a middle-of-the-road Democrat up for re-election in 2018, cautioned that loathing Mr. Trump, on its own, was not a governing strategy. He said he still hoped for compromise with Republicans on infrastructure funding and perhaps on a plan to improve or “repair” the Affordable Care Act.
Meet the DNC dark horse: Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is shaking up the race for Democratic chair
(Salon) In a race split between big names, gay small-town mayor and Afghan war vet Pete Buttigieg is now a contender
21 February
Michael Moore: Do These 10 Things, And Trump Will Be Toast
First, let’s acknowledge what we all know to be true: Trump is in deep, deep trouble ― in the pocket of Russians, surrounded by alt.right idiots, alone in his bathrobe in a mostly-empty White House ― and caught inside a disgusting “shit-sandwich”, so said his supporter who turned down the NSA job.
Only one month into his So-Called Presidency ― and yet there is good news, as this is what the American landscape looks like:
Tens of thousands of citizens across the country have stormed Congressional district offices and town hall meetings to express their rage at the Trump agenda (a dejected Republican congressman, after a 3-hour verbal assault from his angry constituents, said on TV last night, “let’s face it – they [the Obamacare supporters] have won.”).
A federal court halted Trump’s first Muslim Ban ― actually, make that FOUR federal courts have ruled against him! He’s conceded defeat and will not appeal to the Supreme Court (though he will try a new ban – and good luck with that, you son of a Scottish immigrant).
Progressive Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison appears to be the front-runner for this Saturday’s vote to head the Democratic Party ― and to FIX the whole damn mess! Also, a recruitment drive has begun across the country to find the best local candidates to run for state and federal offices in 2018. Millions are committed to never letting the Debacle of ‘16 happen again.
Republican members of Congress hear from angry constituents at town halls
Trump alleges, without evidence, that ‘liberal activists’ were crashing meetings
Constituents Shout Down Republican When She Ducks A Question About Obamacare
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) got a taste of voters’ outrage over the GOP’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn Besieged By Boos At Tennessee Town Hall
14 February
‘Unbelievable Turmoil’: Trump’s First Month Leaves Washington Reeling
(NYT) … a remarkably tumultuous first month for President Trump’s White House that has burdened the early days of his presidency with scandal, legal challenges, personnel drama and questions about his temperament during interactions with world leaders.
The Embarrassment of President Trump
(The New Yorker) In the past, the nation has had do-nothing Presidencies, and scandal-ridden Presidencies, and failed Presidencies, but until Donald J. Trump came along there hasn’t been a truly embarrassing Presidency.
After little more than three weeks, Trump’s behavior is no more erratic than it used to be, but in the context of the Presidency it seems so. This year’s “Saturday Night Live” season has been very funny, but the most startling moment was not a sketch but a depiction of something real: Trump’s obsessive tweeting, four years ago, about the end of the relationship between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. It’s been fascinating to watch him change policies in the twinkling of a tweet, as with his briefly confrontational China policy, inaugurated in December with a telephone call to Taiwan’s leader, and then reversed; or to witness his cobra-like lunges at newfound enemies, including the Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, who revealed that Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, had told him that he found the President’s attacks on the courts “demoralizing.” Trump just can’t seem to stop himself. Three months after the election, which he won, he’s still talking about those mythical fraudulent voters, and still calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” When he did so recently, in a room filled with senators, it got awkward; one attendee told Politico that “an uncomfortable silence” filled the room.
3 January
Chris Patten: Comrade Trump and the Truth
(Project Syndicate) The inquiries into these weighty matters will continue after Trump’s inauguration, and you can bet that they will multiply, as leaks flood out of Washington. Some of these may be false flags or bits of speculation, but others may be true, and possibly horrifying. Either way, they will all be divisive, and they will weaken the US and its president. Still, Trump will weather the storm, unless investigators can confirm complicity between his campaign and any Russian entity known to be connected to Putin. One can only guess what the prize would be for finding such a treacherous link.
So, what can we do in the dark days ahead? For starters, we must not allow lies to crowd out the truth in public discourse and debate. If social media are full of falsehoods, counter them with facts. If co-workers are repeating fake-news headlines or ignorant, prejudiced claims, challenge them on it. If television or radio news programs are distorting the truth, pick up the phone and tell them and their advertisers what you think. And ask your pastors and other community leaders to roll up their sleeves and do the same. (See TD Comment below)
2 January
trump-portraitPaul Krugman: America Becomes a Stan
I know that many people are still trying to convince themselves that the incoming administration will govern normally, despite the obviously undemocratic instincts of the new commander in chief and the questionable legitimacy of the process that brought him to power. Some Trump apologists have even taken to declaring that we needn’t worry about corruption from the incoming clique, because rich men don’t need more money. Seriously.
But let’s get real. Everything we know suggests that we’re entering an era of epic corruption and contempt for the rule of law, with no restraint whatsoever.
The only question now is whether the rot has gone so deep that nothing can stop America’s transformation into Trumpistan. One thing is for sure: It’s destructive as well as foolish to ignore the uncomfortable risk, and simply assume that it will all be O.K. It won’t.
20 December
Sarcasm dripping from the page
Trump Campaign Manager Condemns Democrats for Trying to Delegitimize the President-elect
(New York Magazine) Kellyanne Conway believes that our constitutional system relies on the good-faith cooperation of the minority party in Washington — and that the very least that party can do is acknowledge the legitimacy of the duly elected president. …
In fact, early reports suggest that Democrats on Capitol Hill are attempting to foment cooperation with the next commander-in-chief. The party’s leading lights in the Senate — from Chuck Schumer to Bernie Sanders — have already expressed their interest in working with Trump on issues like infrastructure, child care, and family leave. …
Recall how the Republican Party responded to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008. Instead of forming a “permanent opposition” that would have corroded our democratic institutions, the GOP framed the election of the first black president as a source of pride for all Americans — and then rallied behind that president, to help the nation battle its way back from financial crisis. And let’s not forget that Donald Trump’s rise to political prominence was fueled by the leadership he displayed in condemning the birther movement (which Hillary Clinton’s nasty 2008 campaign had started).
19 December
‘Unpresidented’: Donald Trump invents the Guardian’s word of the year
A tweet attacking China also offered the English language a new word – which might be used to describe a Trumpian act of folly such as nuclear war
Trump’s spelling error: an act of Joycean virtuosity or carelessness?
14 December
Trump’s flirtation with Bolton sends shivers through Senate
Republicans and Democrats have pledged to battle Trump if he names the least diplomatic diplomat to a top State Department post
(Politico) John Bolton, the mustache-sporting, Iraq War-cheering former United Nations ambassador, is possibly one of the least diplomatic diplomats ever to serve in the U.S. government. He has argued the U.S. should bomb Iran to stop its nuclear program, dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state and called the United Nations a “twilight zone.”
13 December
Trump postponed the planned Dec. 15 press conference explaining how he’ll separate himself from his businesses; now it will be in January. This gives the Electoral College, which votes Dec. 19 to confirm his election, a legitimate reason to vote him down, ethics lawyers say.
12 December
The Russian Hacking Allegations: Last Friday night, following the announcement that the Obama administration would launch a thorough review of election-related hacking, news broke that the CIA suspected the Russian government of orchestrating cyberattacks to help Donald Trump win the presidency. Now the Senate is also getting involved, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backing a bipartisan inquiry into Russia’s role—and a group of presidential electors is demanding a briefing on the hacking. But Trump is questioning the CIA’s conclusions, while some of his closest allies—including his likely pick for deputy secretary of state, John Bolton—are claiming without evidence that the hacks were conducted under a false flag.
11 December
“I’m, like, a smart person”: Trump doesn’t even listen to facts from his secret intelligence briefings
(Quartz) Most presidents-to-be spend their precious few months before taking office by taking in top-secret intelligence briefings and learning as much as they can from the people tasked with keeping the US safe. Not Donald Trump, whose cabinet pageantry and victory tour has left little time for briefings. Breaking with the tradition of receiving daily intelligence updates, the president-elect claimed that hearing such classified information would just get repetitive. “I get it when I need it,” he said on Fox News Sunday today. “I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.” (N.B. He’s only been elected for four years.)
10 December
Trump, Mocking Claim That Russia Hacked Election, at Odds with G.O.P.
(NYT) An extraordinary breach has emerged between President-elect Donald J. Trump and the national security establishment, with Mr. Trump mocking American intelligence assessments that Russia interfered in the election on his behalf, and top Republicans vowing investigations into Kremlin activities.
Mr. Trump, in a statement issued by his transition team on Friday evening, expressed complete disbelief in the intelligence agencies’ assessments.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Mr. Trump’s team said, adding that the election was over and that it was time to “move on.”
Though Mr. Trump has wasted no time in antagonizing the agencies, he will have to rely on them for the sort of espionage activities and analysis that they spend more than $70 billion a year to perform.
Mr. Trump’s team lashed out at the agencies after The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A. believed that Russia had intervened to undercut Mrs. Clinton and lift Mr. Trump, and The New York Times reported that Russia had broken into Republican National Committee computer networks just as they had broken into Democratic ones, but had released documents only on the Democrats.
Not likely to happen, but an indication of how desperate people are
Russian Interference Could Give Courts Legal Authority To Install Clinton

secstate-candidates Frank Bruni: Donald Trump’s Bottomless Secretarial Pool
(NYT) It’s not as if Donald Trump wants for self-amusement, but still I pity him the apparent end of his search for a secretary of state. He had such a blast with it.
Luminary upon luminary genuflected before him. Oracle upon oracle plumbed the mists of his utterances. (“Just met with General Petraeus,” he tweeted. “Very impressed!”) He was the star yet again of a top-rated reality show, this one with the heightened stakes of war and peace — “The Apprentice: Armageddon.” I assume that Mark Burnett helped to vet the candidates
9 December
Shields and Brooks on Trump’s understanding of presidential power
David Brooks: Trump has picked the more extreme versions of all Republicans so far, the more aggressive. And I think the thing to watch out for is, I could totally paint a scenario where Trump runs an authoritarian regime. I can totally paint a scenario where he has no control over his own government.
And that’s in part because of his attention span problems, but in part because running an agency is very hard. Cabinet secretaries often have no control over their agency. And it becomes doubly hard when you’re really out of opinion with the people who actually work in the agency.
And it becomes triply hard, as I think may happen, a lot of people will leave the government. There are a lot of people in a lot of these sorts of places that are weighing, do I really want to serve here?
8 December
Don’t Let Trump’s Sideshows Distract You from His Policies
By Charles Krauthammer
(National Review) What appears as random Trumpian impulsiveness has a logic to it. It’s a continuation of the campaign. Trump is acutely sensitive to his legitimacy problem, as he showed in his tweet claiming to have actually won the popular vote, despite trailing significantly in the official count.
The 115th [Congress] is Republican and ready to push through the legislation that gives life to the promises. On his part, Trump needs to avoid needless conflict. The Republican leadership has already signaled strong opposition on some issues, such as tariffs for job exporters. Nonetheless, there is enough common ground between Trump and his congressional majority to have an enormously productive 2017. The challenge will be to stay within the bounds of the GOP consensus.
Trump’s Presidency Is Shaping Up to Be an American Tragedy
His administration is likely to be just as bad as you think – and possibly worse
(Rolling Stone) We can’t guess how bad it’s going to get over the next four or eight years. We don’t know what America will look like. But if you think things won’t change because they never have, you aren’t paying close enough attention to Donald Trump.
At the very least, we’re being led by an unqualified man-boy who doesn’t grasp even the most basic tenets of governance.
At worst, we’re headed down an extraordinarily dark road where the things that make America America simply cease to exist. A president who won on a campaign of anti-immigrant furor, who believes in casting aside freedom like litter, who craves constant validation and can’t abide criticism or satire – that’s a tyrant in the making.
2 December
Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump in popular vote passes 2.5 million
Democrat’s lead greater than 10 previous US Presidents
Hillary Clinton has received more than 2.5 million more votes than Donald Trump in the Presidential election, making her lead over her rival greater than 10 previous US Presidents.
(The Independent) The former Secretary of State lost the electoral college and conceded her 232 electoral votes – distributed in different numbers per state – to Mr Trump’s final tally of 306 votes.
Yet the Democrat has accrued 65,250,000 total votes so far, compared to the President-elect’s 62,686,000 — meaning at least 2,564,000 more Americans voted for her.
27 November
N Ziehl: Coping with Chaos in the White House
A few days ago, I wrote a post for my Facebook friends about my personal experience with narcissistic personality disorder and how I view the president-elect as a result. Unexpectedly, the post traveled widely, and it became clear that many people are struggling with how to understand and deal with this kind of behavior in a position of power. Although several writers, including a few professionals, have publicly offered their thoughts on a diagnosis, I am not a professional and this is not a diagnosis. My post is not intended to persuade anyone or provide a comprehensive description of NPD. I am speaking purely from decades of dealing with NPD and sharing strategies that were helpful for me in coping and predicting behavior.
15 November
Donald Trump’s Transition Team, Or Lack Thereof, Is Causing Real Panic
(HuffPost) The self-proclaimed government outsider is having trouble finding people to run the government.
The problem is twofold: Trump and his staff are not creatures of the establishment and are naturally skeptical of those who are. At the same time, many Republican lawyers and government officials who would have jumped at the opportunity to work in a GOP administration are balking at employment under Trump and his cabinet picks.
In first test, Trump makes big mistake
By S.E. Cupp
(CNN opinion) It was the first serious test of Donald Trump’s leadership, and it would send an important and clear message to a country that is both excited by and terrified of his presidency.
And yet, in true Trump fashion, his appointment of both Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon to “equal” leadership posts in his cabinet has accomplished little but confusion and continued consternation over who Trump intends to be as president.
The idea that Trump only had these two options is also hugely shortsighted. If he were truly a courageous visionary, he could have chosen Kellyanne Conway, his tireless campaign manager who brilliantly steered him through the final harrowing months of his flailing campaign, attempting, with some success, to keep him on message and away from dumpster fires.
Instead of head-scratching and more scrutiny, the appointment of Conway would have been met with immense positivity from both sides of the aisle and signaled to the country that he was both committed to his cause but also serious about uniting the nation.
12 November
Andrew Cohen: Trump has no interest in unifying America
(Globe & Mail) On the morning after his election this week, Donald Trump also met the media to declare victory over Hillary Clinton. Suddenly this demagogue was a conciliator, soft and gracious, promising unity and perhaps a little irony, too.
Even if president-elect Trump wants to unite a polarized people, it won’t be easy. He won only 47 per cent of the popular vote (making him a minority president) with 200,000 fewer votes than Ms. Clinton.
If Mr. Trump won the election stoking fear and anxiety – crime is rising, terrorists are coming, industry is leaving, drugs are spreading – then why bother with the unity card? Divide and rule is more effective.
But if he is conscious of the moral burdens of the presidency, and is serious about bringing unity to a country in a continuing cultural war, here is what he can do:
Appoint Democrats to senior cabinet posts, as John F. Kennedy named prominent Republicans. Mollify Democrats in the Senate, as Ronald Reagan did; otherwise they can filibuster legislation and obstruct judicial and diplomatic nominees.
Seek compromise on immigration. Amend rather than repeal Obamacare. Forget prosecuting Ms. Clinton, building a wall with Mexico and deporting 11 million undocumented aliens.
Apologize for the harsh rhetoric. Show humility, and contrition, too.
Mr. Trump should do all this but he can’t. Temperamentally, he is about winning. Politically, he is not apt to compromise, nor will his circle of advisers – Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani – encourage that. Triumphalist Republicans, led by a newly empowered Vice-President Mike Pence, will push a social conservative agenda, not consensus-building.
11 November
Shields and Brooks on a ‘political earthquake’ and how America can move forward
(PBS Newshour) In their first post-election Friday analysis, syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the factors that may have contributed to Donald Trump’s dramatic upset, including an American desperation for change. Also, how should we consider the subsequent protests that have erupted, and can we expect Trump’s policy positions to evolve?
Transcript – Mark Shields: (quoting Salena Zito at “Atlantic.”) … to understand this election, critics of Donald Trump take him literally, but not seriously. His supporters take him seriously, but not literally.
In other words, so while his critics were very upset with what he said, the — his supporters really were the mood and the positions he took, rather than precise phrases or words.
I say that because now, as of Tuesday, everyone has to take him seriously, and I think that’s what we’re seeing. I think the anxiety in schools that we hear, in minority communities, those with the archbishop of Los Angeles at Our Lady of the Saints Cathedral yesterday at an interfaith service with Jewish and Muslim, and was very open and said, our children are fearful that their parents — the government is going to come and take their parents away.
And I think that’s a consequence of the election. I mean, in addition, the fact that he won, but his positions appear to prevail, and I think there have left fear in a lot of places.
David Brooks: I do not believe, having spent these last many months interviewing Trump voters, that [racism is] a dominant element in at least a lot of the people I spoke to. They had good reason, as Mark just elucidated, for why they were really upset with the course of the country.
Their culture, their life economically, socially, families breaking apart, drug use, it’s going downhill. And I think the two things — one, we don’t want to turn this into a children of light, children of darkness, where us college-enlightened people, educated, enlightened people are looking down at those primitive hordes. We do not want that.
That’s what — that condescension is what fueled this thing in the first place. And so I don’t think we want that.
Second, through American history, we have had populist movements that often, often, often have this ugly racial element. But, often, there are warning signs of some deeper social and economic problem. And we have rapidly increasing technology, which is making life very good for people who are good at using words, and not so good for people who are not good at using words.
And so the ugliness can sometimes be super ugly, but also a warning sign of something down below.

9 November
View from New York: With Clinton’s loss, a revolution fails
Hillary Clinton represented a vision of the United States in which women, African-Americans and Latinos would share power. Instead, argues Stephen Blank, American voters reached for a mythical past.
(Open Canada) To us, here in New York City, Trump was the wild-eyed radical. But to many Americans, he was the true conservative, determined to resist the frightening changes in our country that had trashed our familiar and friendly life as we knew it.
The Trump victory does not represent a new start. Trump’s campaign promises were – like Brexit – an effort to recapture the past.
In the post-election piece I imagined I would be writing this week, I was going to argue that the key to what would come next was not Clinton’s policy ideas, but what would happen on the Republican side: Whether the party would adopt a scorched earth policy, opposing her at every step, or whether the party moderate-extremist gap would widen.
The election does not resolve this struggle. Indeed, if Trump really does attempt to implement his campaign rhetoric of building walls, deporting millions and tearing down alliances – and creating what would be an enormously imperial presidency – then those Republicans who opposed him (but often still voted for him) will be forced to take a stand or to slink off forever. The battle over the future of the Republican Party is just entering a new phase.
Also, in defeat, Democratic divisions, papered over during the campaign, will widen. Will the Democrats become the party of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? What happens to the moderate Obama-Clinton wing? (Indeed, to Obama’s “legacy”?) What will happen to Clinton’s urban educated white men, women, African-American, Latino grand alliance?
All grist for many mills. Stay tuned.
Californians are calling for a ‘Calexit’ from the US — here’s how a secession could work
(Business Insider) A fringe political group in California wants to opt out of a Donald Trump presidency by leaving the union.
The Yes California Independence Campaign aims to hold a referendum in 2018 that, if passed, would bring California one step closer to becoming an independent country.
Far-fetched as it may sound, the plan started gathering steam after Tuesday night’s surprising presidential vote. The movement has an impressive backer in Shervin Pishevar, a well-known angel investor who offered to bankroll a campaign to secede.
“As the sixth-largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states,” Yes California wrote in a statement.

Trump’s voters were ‘hidden’ in plain sight
By Salena Zito
(New York Post) In the end, their support for Trump was non-ideological and not solely a revolt by poorer whites left behind by globalization. These voters turned out for Trump, too, but it was the Ripepis of the world who put this race over the top for Trump.
Voters keep sending Washington a message, and Washington — and the reporters who cover it — keep missing the signal. On Wednesday, pundits kept trying to calculate why progressivism was rejected, and they kept looking past what was right in front of them.
Voters are rejecting big government, big banks, big corporations and big technology. They said no to establishment Republican primary candidates and Wall Street, and they hid from the political statheads trying to track their mood

One Comment on "U.S. post 2016 elections: Shock – not awe – & resistance"

  1. TD January 8, 2017 at 5:57 pm · Reply

    Re Comrade Trump and the Truth
    Patten makes sense. As a practical matter, the Congressional Republicans are the only ones who can get rid of Trump constitutionally. I think it should take about two years of Trump’s fumbling before they feel that they can impeach him with reasonable support from their constituency, thus giving Pence two years of incumbency on which he can run in 2020. Trump’s current attitude to Russia gives Putin a free hand to nab , risk free, say two of, western Ukraine, Moldova or Georgia. If Putin wants to take serious risks, he could also try one of the Baltic countries, but if he decides to do that , that must start there. (I do not think he will.) TD
    The danger is that when Trump feels embarrassed for having been so publicly taken, he might overreact. Congress might be wise to do something about Trump before that happens.

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm