Monday Dec 26,2016
Clearly there are going to be lots of things to learn about the Trump Presidency in the coming long 4 years, but there are three things that seem to be clear about how those 4 years are going to play out.
First, Trump’s Presidency is all but a lock on earning the title of most corrupt Presidency in history. It’s off to a good start in that respect, and there is every reason to believe that Trump and his administration members will be able to maintain that momentum through 4 years. One of the things that makes the Trump administration all but certain to earn the title of most corrupt is that the two current contenders, the administrations of Warren Harding and Ulysses Grant, had an honest, or basically honest, President. Trump is clearly going to be the leader of the corruption, in part because the idea of not taking every opportunity to make money no matter how it arises will never even enter his head. Plus he is already being told he is above the law.
While the Trump administration will most likely not include the sight of bags of cash being dropped on the desks of Congressmen, as was true in Grant’s day, in our day, there are lots of ways in which money can be moved around less conspicuously. Trump is filling the top positions in his administration with men who have spent their lives finding ways to make themselves rich and everyone else in the country poor, just as Trump has. There is no reason to believe that Trump or any of his appointees is going to have a sudden attack of morality and decide that the interests of the public at large or the country as a whole are worth sacrificing a chance to become personally richer.
Second, it is clear that Trump will be easily manipulated by foreign officials and members of his administration. Since Trump is not very smart, does not read, does not worry about facts, has no background in any public policy issue, domestic or foreign, he will be entirely dependent on what others tell in making decisions, putting aside random, off-the-cuff decisions. (The idea of Trump going to a room by himself and reading all the material that daily comes to the President so he can make an informed decision is too funny for words.) He also has a very short attention span, so he’s not exactly going to spend several days learning what he doesn’t know. On top of all that, Trump is never wrong, at least in his own mind, so whatever off-the-cuff decision he makes on a question will not be questionable or changeable.
This set of characteristics makes Trump extraordinarily vulnerable to being led into positions contrary to the best interests of the US by foreign leaders who are much smarter (almost all of them) and who know what policy positions are in their interest. This is more so, as we have already seen in the Taiwan-China dust-up, because the foreign leaders have lobbyists in place who will plead their cases with Trump in terms that will appeal to him in the 20 seconds of thought that he gives to any issue. Likewise, members of his cabinet, businessmen generally and Republican Congressmen will know that the issues much better than Trump, thus making him likely to go along with what they tell him. And if some administration member takes some action and claims that he told Trump about it in a meeting, Trump will not admit he doesn’t remember it.
Third, the Democratic establishment is determined to learn nothing from the last election but is determined to keep the shrinking power they have the leading of political power minority. The idea of making changes in their approach to issues, elections or recruiting candidates is not even on their radar. The leaders of a party, at all levels, which lost to Donald Trump, could not win the Senate contests that were there for the taking, which would have resulted in a Democratic Senate, and which cannot do anything about the continuing Republican control of the House and a majority of states should apologize for their bad work and resign. None of them, including Hillary, have accepted any responsibility for the decades long decline of the Democratic party, in general, or for the horrible results of the 2016. To paraphrase Shakespeare: “The fault, dear establishment, is not in hacking or the Attorney General, but in ourselves.”
It is clear that the Democratic establishment is tied to identity politics, silo campaigns and the “need” for money from the same people who fund the Republican party. So the establishment will continue to hold lavish parties and policy retreats and collect money from the 1% and wonder why the 99% rejects their tired, old candidates and old-line policies.