Trump’s True Colors, 100 Days In

At the time of this writing, Donald Trump has been president for exactly 100 days. Now, I know that some of you are going to be at the panels or speeches about this so you might find this column redundant but I think there is a lot to consider at this marker. Now, the 100-day mark does not have a lot of objective meaning; it is mostly an effect of Franklin D. Roosevelt having a huge democratic majority when he first took office and a lot of legislation planned out ahead of time. Since then there have been some very effective 100 days (Lyndon B. Johnson’s and Obama’s are good examples, though each could have gone further since they controlled Congress) and then there are some that do not reflect what will happen afterwards (e.g. George W. Bush, who was prepared to spend four years fighting about budgets and reforms and wound up exploding the Middle East). Something like a major terrorist attack could happen while Trump is in charge, which would be very bad for everyone (though to be honest, I think most people are going to think he ordered it, or at least let it happen), but if nothing really spectacularly bad happens in that regard, I think people are going to see Trump as essentially the Fox News generation president.

Now, I do not mean to say that Trump is taking his ideas entirely from Fox News (say what you will, but the man will basically watch or read anything, if only to make himself sound informed). What I mean is that he is the kind of president Fox News’ audience would pick: old, white and argumentative, not to mention his racism and perpetual sexual harassment. It is an entire worldview shaped by old white men who think they are alpha males, deserve to be treated as such and want to be “respected” for whatever reason. It is a presidency that demands it be taken seriously, which ignores the fact that the majority of Americans do not think that way about him. He can never get above 43% in the polls and usually hovers around 40%. He has passed no major legislation and only undone last minute regulations. He has not repealed and replaced Obamacare. The wall is not happening. His Muslim ban and sanctuary city attacks have been ripped to shreds by the courts. The only thing that he can take credit for that is significantly different is putting Gorsuch in a stolen Supreme Court seat and deporting people.

So what is left? At the heart of Trump’s presidency is the delusion that he is beloved: he lost the popular vote by a margin bigger than Bush’s, he won the Electoral College in a very small way, which might not have happened if turnout was higher and/or there was no voter suppression yet he acts like he won in a landslide. Yet no president has ever been more illegitimate: his national security advisor Michael Flynn was fired for failing to disclose conversations with Russia as well as illegal lobbying. Many of his advisors are registering as foreign agents and hiring crisis lawyers. There are three ongoing investigations on his potential electoral collaborations with Russia, with one of them (the FBI’s) rumored to have objective proof against him. By all measures, Trump is a uniquely dangerous figure in American history and yet at the same time very bad at his job. If he was truly the Siberian Candidate Putin dreamed of, he could hardly be doing a worse job at being an ally, having been forced to distance himself from the Russian president.

Yes, indeed if Trump can be felled like a great tree, the dangers to America will largely go unheard. Vice President Pence, as malevolent as he is, is still competent and follows the rules more than Trump does. Trump has violated the constitution several times already via the Emoluments clause and he could be removed from office at any time.

Yet he will not be removed. The Republican Party, as much as its politicians despise Trump, has recognized that he is the key to getting them elected. His voters are their voters. Even though it means for the good of the country he should go, the Republican party will never oust him because his voters will not back them ever again if they do.

So what is to be done? The only real acceptable answer is to vote for as many Democrats as possible, in addition to organizing to fight his agenda. Trump has revealed that perhaps since 2008 the Republican party is broken, unable to govern or create legislation, only able to stonewall, obstruct, undo regulations and willing to collaborate with a hostile foreign power in the name of victory. One hundred days in, it has become apparent that it is time for a new generation to take the reigns of power. To defeat Trump is to defeat the mindset of a generation and to rid ourselves of a new, powerful strain of hate that has been sickening us.

 

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