Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Party of Cruel

In our previous episode, Those Republican Sociopaths, Speaker Ryan had a terrible dilemma to deal with if he was going to pass his beloved Repeal and Replace Obamacare Bill. On one flank were moderate Republicans (apparently, they do still exist!) who were feeling guilty that the bill might be too cruel with the possibility of 24 million Americans losing health insurance in the next decade. On the other flank were the hard-right Freedom Caucus members who in their hate of all things government, in effect complained that the bill wasn’t cruel enough! Not seeing a way to satisfy both the moderates and Freedom Caucus members at the same time, Ryan pulled the bill rather than lose a floor vote.
Afterwards, Ryan himself conceded that Obamacare would be the law of the land for the foreseeable future. And President Trump said he wanted to move on to putting together a budget.
But that didn’t last for long. Trump, approaching his 100th day in office was desperate for something in the ‘Win’ column. In addition, the large tax cut that was part of this repeal bill would serve as a stepping stone to further tax cuts in an upcoming budget bill. Although Trump was not likely familiar with all of the bill’s details, needing a win, he pressured Ryan to renegotiate a new bill that would satisfy enough House Republicans to pass it.
The hard-right didn’t want the guarantee of insurance for those with pre-existing conditions from Obamacare to remain. But the moderates would never agree to this. So the compromise was to leave the pre-existing conditions requirement in – but in a concession to the hard-right, the bill would give individual states the ability to opt out if they choose – just like many of the Republican led states opted out of the Medicaid expansion for Obamacare.
The bill passed in the House by the narrowest of margins. The large tax cut that would be given to the wealthy who helped to finance Obamacare was preserved. The money to pay for this tax cut came in the form of a massive cut to Medicaid, a program that benefits the poor, disabled, and elderly to try and keep the bill revenue neutral. The onerous details of this bill are too numerous to mention. The interested reader can check out this link, The Trumpcare Disaster.
So what does a Republican who passes a cruel bill like this which may cause as many as 24 million people to lose their health insurance do? Celebrate, of course!  
As a practical matter, this bill has almost no chance to become a law in its present form. With many of the parts of the House bill being so toxic, the Senate will likely start from scratch to put together a bill of their own – while trying to satisfy their own hard-right members, namely Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee. And if the Senate somehow passes a bill, the Senate and House would then have to agree on a common bill that removes their differences before it can go to the president to sign. Good luck with that!!
Even if this Repeal and Replace bill never becomes a law, there will be some serious repercussions to the American political landscape.
Many Republican House members who were brave enough to hold town hall meetings back home have encountered bitter dissent from attendees who were scared to death of losing their health insurance. When the Democrats passed Obamacare, that dissent resulted in a 2010 wave election victory by the Republicans. The Democrats believe they can return the favor in the 2018 mid-term elections.
But even if Obamacare doesn’t get repealed, the chaos caused by all of the repeal activity has caused a great deal of uncertainty in the healthcare insurance marketplace which may cause more insurers to bail out of Obamacare, perhaps making the Republican predictions of its doom into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But let’s try to end this all on a hopeful note. If Obamacare is flawed and the Republicans have no viable option to replace it, we must be reminded how President Trump famously complemented Australia as having "better health care than we do." Of course, the delicious irony (apparently lost on Trump) is that Australia like most of the rest of the industrialized world has universal government-funded health insurance, also known as single-payer insurance which by the way, includes Medicare here in America.
So although Trump is apparently a closet single-payer health insurance supporter, most Republicans are strongly against it on ideological grounds. For them, given a choice between the cruel bill passed by the House and universal coverage for all Americans, cruel apparently wins. But with the passage of this House bill, even if it never becomes a law, many Americans who voted for Trump based on his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare have gotten a strong jolt of reality.
I will conclude with this quote from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia where President Trump won in a landslide:
“I said, ‘Mr. President, 172,000 West Virginians got insurance for the first time,’” Manchin said. "They’ve got something they never had before. They don’t know how they got it, they don’t know who gave it to them, they don’t know the Democrats, nothing about, ‘It’s Obamacare.’ They don’t know any of that. All they know is they’ve got it.” 
“And you know what? They voted for you, Mr. President,” he said. “They’re going to know who took it away from them.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Those Republican Sociopaths

If I were given the exercise of trying to describe the Republican Party in only one sentence, this would be it:
The raison d’ĂȘtre of the Republican Party is to look out for the interests of big business and big money.
This is what I wrote in a previous post.
There, I said it! Yes, there are all those social issues like guns and gays and abortions. But, frankly I believe these mostly act as cover for the true agenda of the party which is to transfer as much wealth as possible to the rich from everybody else.
Admittedly, these are very partisan sentiments that many would take as hyperbole. But with the recent failed Republican proposed replacement of Obamacare along with their​ latest proposed budget, those sentiments appear to be completely justified.
From the time Obamacare became law with no help from the Republicans, it has been an obsession to ‘repeal and replace' it to where it became a mantra that was constantly repeatedly by their loyal partisans. At last count the US House of Representatives has passed a bill to repeal Obamacare at least 60 times. Of course, there was no need to say what they wanted as a replacement since with Obama as president, this was little more than throwing red meat to their base voters.
Obamacare has been called almost every derisive word imaginable. But the champion in this category will forever be Dr. Ben Carson who called Obamacare "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." At the end of the video was a dire warning about how what he calls socialized medicine will lead to a socialist state. These were the same tired old words uttered by Ronald Reagan warning us about the horrible dangers if Medicare were to become law back in the 60s. The last time I checked, the nation survived this horrible danger.
So it’s fair to say that the Republicans really, really, really hate Obamacare. And while even its strongest supporters acknowledge its many flaws, is their hate justified towards a program that allowed 20 million more Americans to have health insurance, along with benefits nobody wants to give up like no preexisting conditions to buy insurance along with parents being able to keep​ children on their health insurance up to age 26 if needed?
These features are so popular that they were originally part of the proposed replacement offered by the Republicans. But non-partisan overseers like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) have warned that if this plan were to be implemented, as many as 24 million mostly poorer Americans would lose their health insurance over the next decade. Does anybody care about these people? But there is potential good news for the wealthy who had to help pay for Obamacare. They get what amounts to a healthy tax cut with its repeal. So to review, poor people get screwed out of insurance and the rich get a transfer of wealth coming their way.
But wait, things got worse as the bill went from just being partisan to downright sociopathic. Some of the more moderate (not sociopathic) Republicans backed away from the bill over concerns about some of their constituents losing coverage. This was undoubtedly fueled by the massive, nationwide protest. (Of special note starting at the 7:00 mark of the video are Town Hall participants begging their rep not to take away their Obamacare to save their own lives or the life of a loved one.) But the super hard line conservative Freedom Caucus (aka Tea Partiers) had their own agenda – nothing less than Obamacare’s complete repeal. The leftover benefits like no preexisting conditions were unacceptable to them. Essentially, they wanted to return to the way things were before Obamacare with no replacement, not caring about who would lose insurance or possibly die in the process. If that isn’t sociopathic, I don’t know what is!
But then out of desperation to pass the bill, President Trump and Speaker Ryan sold out by offering the Freedom Caucus a bill that stripped out essential health benefits that are the cornerstone of Obamacare – giving in to their cruel demands. But even a hollowed out shell of Obamacare was more than they would agree to. This was the fatal blow for the bill to repeal and replace. Trump and Ryan folded by cancelling the floor vote to avoid further embarrassment.
Much of candidate Trump’s appeal to his supporters was the “terrific” replacement for Obamacare he said he had. But after taking office, it became obvious he had no plan, instead delegating it to Ryan to work out the details. This along with Trump’s promise to insure everybody were exposed as just additional lies.
Perhaps the biggest Republican sociopath of all is Ayn Rand disciple, Speaker Paul Ryan. Yes, like his fellow Republicans, he is in favor of tax cuts to favor big business and big money. But every one of these handouts to the rich is paid for by extracting a corresponding pound of flesh from the poor – a Reverse Robin Hood if you will.
His most insidious proposed schemes were vouchers for Medicare and proposed block grants for Medicaid. To simplify things, this meant hard caps on federal money for these programs. When the cost of these programs exceeds the hard caps, they become more underfunded each year. This would mean Medicare recipients having to make up the shortfall out of pocket. And for Medicaid recipients, this means some of them losing their insurance as the CBO projected for the recently failed repeal and replace bill. In addition, it needs to be pointed out that Medicaid is not only a lifeline to insurance to the poor, but also is their ultimate safety net to nursing home care if needed.
President Trump with the defeat of the repeal and replace bill has announced his intentions to move on to the next part of his agenda which is tax and budget reform. One can only hope that this mean and vindictive man will not sabotage Obamacare in the meantime to try and get even. For his recently proposed budget, it’s just as bad. Many of the safety net programs that benefit the poor would be slashed or eliminated in favor of increased military and Homeland Security spending. What was left out of this preliminary budget are the tax cuts that candidate Trump promised which would mostly benefit the wealthy and large corporations.
But that is a fight for another day. In the meantime, the Trump administration has a more immediate worry with the announcement of FBI and Congressional investigations into their possible collusion with the Russians in tampering​ with the recent presidential election. Seemingly each day, another tidbit of information is being uncovered. The world will be watching!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Trump the Narcissist

America has been taken on a wild ride from the time presidential candidate Donald Trump first descended that escalator to the first couple weeks of his improbable presidency.
America has never seen a major party candidate and now a president behave so erratically (since perhaps Richard Nixon in his final days in office). Admittedly, his supporters are still doing the happy dance for a president they feel is telling it like it is. But the rest of us see a man with an incredibly inflated opinion of himself who at the same time is often mean-spirited towards others he sees as inferior to him. It is any wonder that many have asked whether there is something wrong with Trump from a mental health standpoint?
By far, the most applied label to Trump by both laypeople and increasingly mental health professionals is that he is a narcissist.
The Wikipedia article on Narcissism lists the following traits power-hungry narcissists typically display:
An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
A lack of psychological awareness
Difficulty with empathy
Problems distinguishing the self from others
Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults
Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
Haughty body language
Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
Pretending to be more important than they actually are
Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
Claiming to be an "expert" at many things
Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
Denial of remorse and gratitude
I will leave it to the reader to decide how many of the above traits apply to our new president. But in the category of Flattery, the mutual admiration between Trump and Vladimir Putin is more than ample evidence.
In fairness, mental health professionals have traditionally cautioned against diagnosing a subject from afar without having performed an examination with the patient's permission. But the ramifications of someone with possible mental health issues as the leader of the free world (who also has access to the nuclear codes) is scary enough for more and more mental health professionals to go public with their concerns.
One article published by Vanity Fair shortly after the election, Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In! has the following interesting observations:
“He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”
“He’s applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there’s nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He’s only serving himself.” 
Since Trump’s inauguration and his erratic behavior in the weeks since, more and more mental health specialists have been speaking out as outlined in this article alleging his ‘malignant narcissism’.
Just after the election, a group called Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism was created, which was joined by thousands of psychologists. They published a manifesto warning of Trump’s psychosis, citing the following as the signs to fear:
“Scapegoating and banishing groups of people who are seen as threats, including immigrants and religious minorities; degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics; fostering a cult of the Strong Man who appeals to fear and anger; promises to solve our problems if we just trust in him; reinvents history and has little concern for truth (and) sees no need for rational persuasion.”
Whether it is phone conversations with world leaders or just speeches in front of various groups, Trump seems to have an obsessive habit of boasting about himself. Perhaps the most egregious example was his speech in front of the hallowed memorial wall at the CIA. Very strange if not outright narcissistic!
In the months during the election campaign, it was apparent to most that along with Trump’s inexperience in government, he was poorly versed on the issues he would have to handle as president. But his standard reply to those with reservations over this is that he would hire some “terrific advisers”. But how has that turned out?
All presidents, no matter how knowledgeable they may be need advisers. Nobody can be a specialist in everything. But in the case of Trump who feels he is always the smartest man in the room wherever he goes, how does he decide who is most worthy to provide him with advice?
If someone is a narcissist, the ready answer is to pick someone who is an ideological soulmate and fawning admirer - like Steve Bannon who ran Trump’s campaign and has now become his top White House strategist. The additional danger with Trump’s inexperience is that he may well unwittingly allow somebody like Bannon to take the reins of office and run with them. The New York Times takes this sobering look at the man they call President Bannon?.
Plenty of presidents have had prominent political advisers, and some of those advisers have been suspected of quietly setting policy behind the scenes (recall Karl Rove or, if your memory stretches back far enough, Dick Morris). But we’ve never witnessed a political aide move as brazenly to consolidate power as Stephen Bannon — nor have we seen one do quite so much damage so quickly to his putative boss’s popular standing or pretenses of competence.
But a new executive order, politicizing the process for national security decisions, suggests Mr. Bannon is positioning himself not merely as a Svengali but as the de facto president.
So is there a point in calling out what may be some mental health issues with the president? I say the answer is an emphatic yes! While liberal partisans such as myself may indeed criticize Trump on ideological grounds, these pale in importance to the possible dangers to our democracy posed by a mentally unhinged leader.
For example, there is Trump’s bitter hostility towards the media. He has verbally abused them and done his best to delegitimize them labeling any news accounts unfavorable to him as “fake news”. His endless use of Twitter allows him to try and control the narrative when addressing his followers without the media to provide needed context and/or fact checking of what are sometimes his use of  "alternative facts".
Now more than ever, we need a vigilant media to hold President Trump’s feet to the fire. But instead, we have Bannon who has told the media to "keep its mouth shut". We as citizens cannot tolerate this kind of attitude that can only be described as totalitarian if not again, narcissistic.
Most sobering of all is that we have a president who cannot tolerate even the smallest criticism or affront without waging a prolonged and sometimes vicious counterattack. Will this man plunge us into a war if he is provoked or insulted? Did I remember to mention that he now has access to the nuclear codes?
Unless we can be assured that Donald Trump is mentally sound, I say we have to be afraid. Very afraid!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Trying to Understand the Trump Voter

For those of us who didn’t see Donald Trump’s victory coming, many of us are still in shock. How could this have happened? It seemed like Trump said or did one outrageous thing after another that would have killed just about any other candidate’s chances.
But his followers were inspired by him and were not to be denied. What motivated them so much? While we have had ample opportunity to put Trump under the magnifying glass during this election year, those of us in blue state America have no real idea of what makes the Tea Party supporters in those deep red states tick. And while liberals like myself may never agree with their views, perhaps we need to leave our bubbles to at least try to understand them.
It was with this intent that a liberal sociology professor (from Berkeley no less) decided to climb what she called her empathy wall to get to know as many people in deep red Louisiana as possible through a series of interviews spanning several years.  The result was Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right which I read and can recommend to the reader.
The main paradox the author tries to understand is that Louisiana residents have been subjected to incredible amounts of industrial pollution by the oil and petrochemical industries. In addition to the polluted air and water, there have been cancer deaths from the various carcinogens left as manufacturing byproducts. But their disdain for government is so strong that they want no part of any regulations to try to prevent or at least mitigate some of the damage. In fact, many of the people the author interviewed were actually in favor of dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency (which was ironically created by a Nixon Republican administration). So given this, perhaps it helps to explain why President-elect Trump wants to appoint someone hostile to the EPA to lead it.
So while there is lots of anti-government rhetoric spouted by both citizens and politicians, the pollution is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. The oil industry provides jobs. In their minds, pollution is the price they must pay to get those jobs.
The author when interviewing a self-proclaimed partisan Republican, got this gem of a quote on Page 166 when the subject turned to pollution. As Dave Barry would say here, I am not making this up!
"A company has a job to do; it's making things people want and need. Just like people have to go to the bathroom, plants do too. You can't just say ' don't do it.' "
As for the strong anti-government feelings, the author came up with a narrative or as she called it, their “deep story” or their "feels as if" story.
Those in rural America have also been feeling economic pain. Especially among white men, the way to get ahead is to work hard and get in line to make progress towards a better life. But as they see it, other people are cutting in line. Women are getting more access to the career jobs they used to have. Blacks are getting ahead through affirmative action. And in President Obama, they see someone who is helping the line jumpers. As for those getting government aid, shouldn’t those people be working instead?
As the author notes, there is not only sexism in this narrative but also racism. This is difficult for her to write about because these are people she had grown to like. These are people she had never heard using the n word but were racists nonetheless. This is from Page 147:
As I and others use the term, however, racism refers to a belief in a natural hierarchy that places blacks at the bottom, and the tendency of whites to judge their own worth from that distance from that bottom. By that definition, many Americans, north and south are racist. And racism appears not simply in personal attitudes but in structural arrangements - as when polluting industries move closer to black neighborhoods than to white ones.
In these people, there is undeniably an air of frustration. If only the right person who understands them, who talks their language, would offer to lead them out of the wilderness. It was Donald Trump who said that he alone understands what’s wrong with America and he alone can fix it. To most of us, this is little more than authoritarian rhetoric. But to these people, this is the man they wanted to be our next president.
The website Vox published this fascinating article, The rise of American authoritarianism
authoritarianism — not actual dictators, but rather a psychological profile of individual voters that is characterized by a desire for order and a fear of outsiders. People who score high in authoritarianism, when they feel threatened, look for strong leaders who promise to take whatever action necessary to protect them from outsiders and prevent the changes they fear.
So when Trump talked about the Mexicans sending their rapists, most of us cringed. But his base voters approved. The same thing happened when Trump announced a proposed ban of Muslims.
Unlike most convention speeches made by their nominees that promise a sunny future for America, Trump’s speech dwelled on all that he felt was wrong with America along with of course, his promise to fix things. And the more uneasy an electorate is, the more an authoritarian can hit home with his message.
So the message of this article was that even before Trump ran for president, there was an authoritarian following waiting for somebody like him. And this following had enough momentum to make Trump a candidate with serious winning chances long before most of us began to take him seriously. And this is from an article posted last March!
Unfortunately, the transition from  Trump’s election to his inauguration has been anything but reassuring. If anything, his authoritarian tendencies have been more on display. This excellent Robert Reich video expresses the fear that Trump’s authoritarian behavior could ultimately be a threat to our democracy if left unchecked for too long. Frankly, I found the video to be a bit disturbing. But I urge the reader to watch it!
The big problem with the authoritarian mindset in my view is its unconditional faith in certain people or ideologies. For example, the people in Louisiana discussed before are suffering horribly from the effects of pollution. But because they believe that all government regulation is bad, they feel they  have little other choice but to endure it.
Although Trump has to be charitable, stretched the truth on countless occasions, his followers seem to believe every word he says as gospel.  When truth takes a beating like this, is it any wonder that fake news and legitimate news can become indistinguishable to many?
The only antidote to authoritarian thinking is critical thinking where logic and the search for the truth rules over fear and closed mindedness. But are enough of us capable of that? I like many others around the country and the world are fearful of what the upcoming months of a Trump administration will bring to our democracy. The only comfort we can take is to remember that America has made it through some really rough times before.  We will do it again!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Can Donald Trump Deliver on His Promises to Rural America?

I was planning on waiting until after the election to do a posting on how America just dodged a bullet by finally sending Donald Trump home so we wouldn’t have to hear his toxic rhetoric anymore. It didn’t work out that way.
As the reader can guess, the results left me stunned and in the state of total despair.
But I tried to cope as best I could. I thought that he at least got the majority of the popular vote which as far as I’m concerned, conveys the will of the people whether I liked it or not. Then I found out that he indeed lost the national popular vote. That didn’t work.
OK, so we just elected an intellectual lightweight. But we’ve done that before. What can possibly happen that is catastrophic? Oh yeah, George W. Bush, who was elected in 2000 (also with a minority of the popular vote) transformed an inherited budget surplus into a massive deficit by needlessly and tragically starting a war with Iraq. That didn’t make me feel better either.
But reaching deep down, maybe – just maybe something good came out of this. Could this all have possibly been a blessing in disguise? Maybe. Just hear me out!
It’s been painfully obvious that America is not only deeply but bitterly divided. Looking at all of those maps on TV during the election returns, it showed states mostly covered with red colored counties with a few blue dots, those representing the urban areas.
It is safe to say that much of this bitter divide is between urban America and rural America. And although rural America commands the overwhelming amount of land area, the overall urban and rural populations are very close to being equal. And by no coincidence, the presidential election results have been cliffhangers in recent years.
So how do we compare the urban and rural American mentalities? That would take a book. And this is not that book. But with the reader’s indulgence, I would like to offer some general observations with the caveat that anything general can have its exceptions.
Urban dwellers live in close proximity to one another. This constant interaction with one another leads to an attitude that we are in this together. Having government to provide a safety net for those in need is the only right thing to do. Urban centers are typically melting pots where different races and ethnicities freely mingle.
On the other hand, rural people tend to live apart from each other or at the least, away from dense population centers. This tends to cultivate self-reliance and independence from what they feel is any form of government intrusion into their lives. For those in need, government is not the answer; charity is. And unlike urban America, rural America is a homogeneous white culture. Admittedly, it is difficult to have empathy for another race where few white people have ever engaged with non-whites.
This rivalry between the two competing worldviews is nothing new. But rural America has been going through some especially tough times lately. Job losses particularly in coal and manufacturing have been accelerating. This naturally has led to more widespread poverty.  These people are mad as hell, but whom to blame for their misery? Maybe it’s foreign immigrants. Or the black people. Or China with the government and their trade agreements that they feel caused much of this. When Hillary Clinton advocated moving away from fossil fuels like coal to renewables, environmentalists applauded but the coal miners were furious at her for wanting to take away their jobs. In short, government became the enemy. In their eyes, President Obama is the face of big government and Hillary Clinton represented continuation of the status quo. It took a demagogue like Donald Trump to harness all of this frustration and hate into a most improbable election victory.
And make no mistake, rural white America contributed greatly to Trump’s victory. While Trump strongly outperformed Mitt Romney in 2012 among rural voters, Clinton underperformed President Obama in 2012 with blacks, Latinos, and even women. With many of the crucial swing states being decided by razor-thin margins, this alone was likely enough to deliver the victory to Trump.
If Hillary had been elected, this bitter divide would have continued to the detriment of our nation. Perhaps the only way to settle this was to give rural America what they wanted. But as they say, be careful what you wish for!
Donald Trump has made what liberals like myself feel are a lot of outrageous promises to get elected that he will never be able to keep. It’s easy to boo and do catcalls at the performer when you are one of the spectators. But soon, he will be on center stage with the world watching him. And now he will be expected to perform.
Where do we start?
He has promised to immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with “something terrific”. Will the people with preexisting conditions continue to be insured? The idea of forcing people to buy health insurance may seem wrong to these people. But if only sick people buy health insurance, how does he expect the insurance market to avoid a collapse? Now he can show us.
He promises large tax cuts benefiting mostly the rich along with in his words, making the military great again. And while not touching Social Security or Medicare, he has promised a balanced budget. Previous tax cutters like George W. Bush have given us exploding deficits. Can Trump do better? Let’s find out.
Will the Republican Congress authorize the money to build that wall on the Mexican border? If this somehow happens, will he really be able to get the Mexicans to reimburse us for the cost? This is not to mention the cost and manpower to round up and deport the millions of undocumented immigrants as promised.
He has promised to bring back the jobs that have left America. Coal and steel jobs will return. And to those companies who plan to move jobs outside of America, he promises to impose steep tariffs. How would he explain the likely resulting trade war that could decimate world economies? He has promised repeatedly that through the threat of tariffs, he will prevent Carrier from moving its Indiana manufacturing plant to Mexico.
He claims he can negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin to keep world affairs in order. What will he do if Putin gives him the finger and causes more mayhem elsewhere?
If he can fulfill his promises without harming people, that would prove that the change his voters demanded was the right medicine for what ails America. But if he can’t, maybe it will expose the fallacy of all of these ideas which may result in his supporters turning on him. And while the next presidential election is 4 years away, the Congressional midterm elections are only 2 years away which may result in significant Republican losses if they fail to deliver. And those Carrier workers in Indiana expect action from him to save their jobs from moving to Mexico. Or else.
And only a few days past the election, some fascinating developments are already taking place as the Trump Administration is taking shape. He is already hedging on some of his major pledges including the repeal of Obamacare and the building of the wall with Mexico. He had strongly condemned lobbyists during his campaign. Now they're on his transition team.
As one of Trump’s many skeptics, I can assert that much of what he is advocating for has already been tried and found wanting. But memories are short. Unfortunately, for all too many, the only way to show what works is to conclusively prove what doesn’t work.
And maybe, just maybe if more of us can agree on what works, we can work together to promote the common good instead of prolonging this toxic divide between rural and urban America. At least it’s something to hope for!
I would like to conclude with this NY Times reader comment by Matthew Carnecelli:
...what they fail to understand is that Trump's victory is merely the rope that they will use to hang themselves, and that his presidency will be the final nail in the coffin of their toxic ideology.