And there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth…
It has been a week after the election, and already our crepuscular Commander-in-Chief elect has revealed, if not the details, hints of the path where he is wanting to take America during the next four years.
First of all, Trump had a ninety-minute meeting with President Obama. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Trump and his team were unaware of the scope of the job of taking over the White House and even running the country, sources told the Journal.” [SLATE]
When I first heard about this, I immediately thought of a scene in Robert Redford’s 1972 film The Candidate:
For those unfamiliar with this thought-provoking movie, Redford plays an idealistic lawyer whose father was once Governor of California. Redford is talked into running against a long-time incumbent Senator, and although Redford has no chance of winning, his platform would introduce topics into the election (health care, environmental issues) that had long been ignored by the incumbent. As with the Trump campaign, Redford gets elected by a public that is sick and tired of the Washington Elite and who want some fresh, new blood in Congress. In the moment of his victory, as shown in the clip above, Redford realizes that his entire focus was to win the election, and that he doesn’t have a clue about what being a Senator entails.
Although The Candidate was made forty–four years ago, its timely message hits a bit too close for comfort. Trump isn’t even a lawyer; it is unclear just how much he even knows about law, or the Constitution. He certainly doesn’t have a clue as to how Washington works. The last time a President was elected and came to Washington with a particular disdain for the “business-as-usual” politics of the nation’s capital (Carter in ’76), he managed to anger the political establishment to the point where he wasn’t able to accomplish much.
However, it seems that Trump is going to rely heavily on his staff and cabinet. In light of Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” rhetoric, the names being floated around (Gingrich, Sessions, Mnuchin to name a few) imply that he isn’t going to drain the swamp at all, but simply re-stock it with conservative insiders.
Two positions have already been filled: Reince Priebus will be Trump’s Chief of Staff, and Stephen Bannon as chief strategist. Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, has no experience holding an elected office. But he’s good buddies with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who can certainly be counted on to give Priebus some pointers.
Bannon is even more disturbing: he is the executive chairman of Breitbart News, a “news” site that makes FOX look moderate. If Trump wants America to return to its core values, it is obviously the core values of the 1950s, namely racism and intolerance. Jim Crow for everyone not White and Christian. He has also been reported to be antisemitic, which could come as a big surprise to the conservative Jews who supported Trump.
The real impact of a Trump Presidency, as I have written about in a previous article, is that of economics. Trump’s supporters might get all starry-eyed about building walls to keep out Mexicans and bombing rogue Arab states out of existence, but these empty promises were just fodder to get the mindless masses to support him. Looking at the names of the people he is wanting on his team to shape policy, expect lots of tax cuts for the rich, cutting benefits for the poor, and raping the environment for the sake of corporate profits. The Federal Debt will likely explode, and for the majority of Americans who are not filthy rich, well, it’s going to be rough sailing from here on out, and I’m sure the Trump fans will blame their problems on anyone and everyone not white, Christian and conservative. For the working class America who voted Trump into office: Trump may not be the President they expected, but he will certainly be the President they deserve.