1/2/2017—Happy New Year. As legislation is introduced to privatize Medicare and Social Security, as Obamacare is repealed, and as the tax code is rewritten, as greenhouse gases soar, and as the recognition is given to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Americans are going to see what a functioning Republican Party government does. Although I don’t agree with the policies, there is something good about what is about to happen. America will learn that voting matters and that the Democratic and Republican Parties are different.
I hope this will lead to a resurgence of democratic decision-making, in which voting begins to take place on grounds of actual policies by people who disagree with each other in public.
In a way, the strategy of noncooperation has worked for the Republican Party. Government was deadlocked and people naturally lost faith in government. My Republican friends tell me Obama was intransigent, but it does not look that way to me. Republicans delegitimize any Democratic President. They certainly did so with President Obama and with President Clinton before him. Democrats generally don’t do that to the same extent as Republicans. They have not done so even with Trump, yet.
Domestically, Trump will not matter that much. I don’t think he is interested in domestic policy. There might be more steel and coal jobs since environmental regulations will be reduced. But not many.
It should also be remembered that this will be minority government. The House is gerrymandered, which ought to be unconstitutional, the Senate is constructed to represent States and not people, and Trump lost the Presidential election by 2.9 million votes. It is laughable to hear people say that this reflects Clinton’s win in California by 4.3 million votes—California voters are not American?
The reason the framers of the Constitution did not think about direct election of the President is that the President was not to be a policy maker. The body they thought would be the active policy making branch was the House of Representatives and they made it the most representative government body. But now the President has evolved into the most important policy maker, including the sole decision whether to destroy human life on Earth through the use of nuclear weapons. No minority has the right to decide who that should be, only the majority. I would even favor a runoff if the two Parties were not an adequate substitute for majority voting for the President.
But none of that matters. Like President Bush, who did not feel constrained by his minority status, and unsettled the Middle East by his invasion of Iraq, President Trump will not feel constrained. But Trump lacks Bush’s basic generosity.