Archive

November 16th, 2016

Democrats, it's time to engage the dealmaker in Trump

    Okay, Democrats. You can sit around complaining about pollsters and the electoral college and blue-collar voters who've been duped into voting against their own economic interests. You can sit back for two years and let Trump and the Tea Party play out their fantasies and let the world see how badly that turns out. Or you can turn lemons into lemonade by moving quickly to give Trump the chance to do the one thing he loves most: make a deal.

    The deal I have in mind takes a page from both Jack Kemp and President Barack Obama as well as Trump's own agenda - corporate tax breaks in exchange for job creation and infrastructure investment. It might unfold this way:

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America Elects a Bigot

    Donald J. Trump is president-elect of the United States. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

    Against all odds and against all forms of the establishment, he prevailed. He won, legitimately, including in many states that were thought to be safely blue. The pundits and the polls were wrong. There was more pent-up hunger for change — and also racial, ethnic and economic angst — than many models considered.

    Trump will become this country’s 45th president. For me, it is a truly shocking fact, a bitter pill to swallow. I remain convinced that this is one of the worst possible people who could be elected president. I remain convinced that Trump has a fundamentally flawed character and is literally dangerous for world stability and injurious to America’s standing in that world.

    There is so much that I can’t fully comprehend.

    It is hard to know specifically how to position yourself in a country that can elect a man with such staggering ineptitude and open animus. It makes you doubt whatever faith you had in the country itself.

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What Trump's victory tells boys everywhere

    Donald Trump's victory speech, loosely paraphrased:

    Barron, my boy, this is quite expected.

    There was never going to be any other outcome. I knew: All I had to do was want it.

    Son, never let anyone tell you that your dream is impossible. Never let them tell you that the white Christian son of a millionaire cannot grow up to be the next president of the United States! In fact, we are practically the only ones who ever have! (Legitimately, that is.)

    Listen, this is America. This is a land of dreamers, and you can dream big.

    People always tell you that all you have to do is work hard and believe in yourself, and you can accomplish anything. That's a lie. You don't have to work hard.

    You don't need to study or prepare or even read a single book. If you want to, you can read "All Quiet on the Western Front," but you don't even have to do that! It's not important. All you have to do is BELIEVE! This also makes a great substitute for vaccines.

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U.S. liberals should take comfort from the rest of us

    Welcome, American liberals. Welcome to the special torment of discovering that you do not know your country.

    You thought, no doubt, you were exempt -- immune from the shocks that liberals throughout the world have felt in recent years. And I can understand why: Because while you have suffered defeats at the hands of Reagan and the Bushes, and it seemed at times like your country would bend back the arc of history, it never really did.

    But this time, you know, is different. This is a different sort of defeat, and a different sort of victor. You, too, have lost to an authoritarian populist, a man who sees himself as the only answer. And you can find no handle with which to criticize him, for the weapons of reason and ridicule and horror that have always worked before seem to have been rendered useless and impotent.

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Two cases where Trump could rewrite the rules

    Vice President-elect Mike Pence has told evangelical leader James Dobson that the next administration will reverse President Barack Obama's contraceptive mandate rules and transgender bathroom guidance -- both of which it can do without Congress. If Pence speaks for President-elect Donald Trump, both decisions would have major implications for cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In both cases, the effects of unilateral executive action are tricky, because liberal appellate decisions remain on the books, and because conservatives would like to see those decisions reversed. Trump doesn't yet have an attorney general or a solicitor general, but his Department of Justice will soon have to figure out how to proceed.

    Speaking to Dobson, the director of Focus on the Family, Pence -- who calls himself a Christian, a conservative and a Republican "in that order" -- presented himself as the voice of the Trump administration on morality.

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Thoughts for the Horrified

    So what do we do now? By “we” I mean all those left, center and even right who saw Donald Trump as the worst man ever to run for president and assumed that a strong majority of our fellow citizens would agree.

    I’m not talking about rethinking political strategy. There will be a time for that — God knows it’s clear that almost everyone on the center-left, myself included, was clueless about what actually works in persuading voters. For now, however, I’m talking about personal attitude and behavior in the face of this terrible shock.

    First of all, remember that elections determine who gets the power, not who offers the truth. The Trump campaign was unprecedented in its dishonesty; the fact that the lies didn’t exact a political price, that they even resonated with a large bloc of voters, doesn’t make them any less false. No, our inner cities aren’t war zones with record crime. No, we aren’t the highest-taxed nation in the world. No, climate change isn’t a hoax promoted by the Chinese.

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The Trump Era will be great for the Democratic Party

    The cyclical nature of electoral politics provides some solace for Democrats. If history is any guide, a Trump presidency will cure the three problems that have been ailing the party since 2010.

    The first is the midterm election dropoff. Democrats lost a whopping 62 House seats in the 2010 elections during President Barack Obama's first term, and after winning some seats back in the presidential election year 2012, lost another 13 seats in 2014 during his second term.

    Midterm dropoff happens to almost every president's party. The Republican Party lost 28 House seats in the 1982 midterms during President Ronald Reagan's first term. The Democratic Party lost 52 House seats in 1994 during President Bill Clinton's first term. And while there was no such Republican loss in the post-9/11 midterms in 2002, Republicans did lose 27 House seats in 2006 during George W. Bush's second term.

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Stopping Trump from going rogue on national security

    When Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January, he will assume extraordinary powers used by the last two presidents to wage a global war on terrorism.

    For the next president's critics, this is a recipe for rule-of-law disaster. After all, Trump proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the country after last year's rampage in San Bernardino, California. He has pledged, with profane enthusiasm, to bomb the Islamic State out of existence. Trump has at times said he would bring back torture for detainees, and that he would create a national database for all American Muslims.

    Such promises led the American Civil Liberties Union in July to conclude in a paper that Trump represented "a one man Constitutional Crisis."

    How can someone who wants to bring back waterboarding and ban Muslims be trusted with the expansive power to wage a war without end?

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No, I don't want Donald Trump to succeed

    In 2004, Thomas Frank wrote a very insightful book called "What’s the Matter with Kansas?" After Tuesday's election results, he owes us another book: "What's the Matter with America?"

    If we really believe in America, how could we elect as president a man who is against everything America stands for? If we really believe that all men and women are equal under the Constitution, how could we elect a man who treats women like dirt and promises to round up and deport 11 million Latinos?

    If we really believe in freedom of religion, how could we elect a man who wants to institute a religious test for anyone coming into this country? If we really believe in saving the planet, how could we elect a man who claims global warming's a hoax invented by the Chinese?

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Lessons In Math And Civics

    This election brought us more than one math lesson especially proving once again that appealing to the lowest common denominator still works.  Additionally it showed that the popular vote and the electoral college do not make a balanced equation.

    Perhaps most important of all is how desperately we need more civic education.  The results of this election scream out that all too many have no commitment to the principles of our government, especially the idea of equal opportunity.  This was about as far as one could get from the joy, the excitement, the hope, the promise of that election eight years ago when we chose our first African American heritage President.

    This time it is more than a woman not following that lofty path.  It is that a man who spewed such hate, exhibited such little respect for women, had no compassion for the less fortunate or appreciation of the balance of power is slated to be our next President.

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