Friday, January 20, 2017

Welcome, President Trump

1/20/2017—Never has the loss of an election been so eventful. I have to distinguish between the bad things that are about to happen because America elected a Republican Congress and what may happen because of Donald Trump. So far, the harm I am worried about—the loss of healthcare coverage for poor and working people, the threat to Medicare and Social Security and the undoing of global warming efforts—are the result of votes for Congress, not because of President Trump. The same is true of what harm his nominees to the Supreme Court do. Different nominees might have happened if the Senate were Democratic and, anyway, any Republican President would do the same.

But these were more or less legitimate results of what the American people have chosen. For years, people have been voting to slit their own throats by voting Republican. Progressives and the Democratic Party have failed to connect with a majority, or at least a large enough majority, to genuinely govern.

So, I detest all these marches and protests. It only takes normal politics working well to elect Democrats and do normally good things. I don’t need protests and lawsuits. I need ordinary voters.

Others are worried about fascism. Maybe I am naïve, but the harms I’m seeing are coming from democracy.


  1. Two questions:

    1. It appears that there were enough Democratic votes in the election, but that they were not allocated in the right places? Do you need to be concerned about how redistricting is affecting the way that elections are working? I remember early on in the election a commentator saying that this is going to be a "motivation election, not a persuasion election." Is this the future of congressional and presidential elections?

    2. How do you encounter what feels like an overwhelming tide of numerical nihilism and disinformation? (i.e. Spicer challenging media over Inauguration crowds & counter by media of indications of lower attendance). Can this be democratically corrected?

    1. These are great questions. I am writing about them now for other venues. Yes, direct election of the President is an absolutely necessary change. The framers did not think of the President as a policy maker or they would not have created the Electoral College. On the other hand, as a commentator pointed out, Trump ran the election he did because of the rules as they are. It is not fair to say he could not have won the popular vote--we will never know.
      The reference to lies and distrust is quite telling. How can Spicer lie about the crowd photos? How can Trump lie about his criticism of the Intelligence Community? (How could Hillary lie about the emails?) America no longer believes in absolute truth. That change has had consequences. It came from the death of god--but that does not mean that the death of god was avoidable.