Friday, March 3, 2017

the Trump show in American government

My title here might serve to label a long story to come: Trump playing president within the estate of USAmerican government that overwhelms him, profoundly preceding him, and destined to contain him, if not cause his disappearance from his stage.

That could be a great story of how government successfully constrains tendencies toward authoritarianism.

But it’s a story I don’t want to take time to tell—though I might seem to have difficulty staying away.

To my mind, that’s because he provides a case study in the ability of USAmerican government to sustain itself in the face of this electoral accident of rightest desire for a savior (a strong leader—a man who, by the way, frowns like Mussolini when he’s basking in cheers)—whose vanity made him the unwitting foil of Csarist mischief (Trump hardly knew he was being made Putin's proxy?), seducing The Donald with back room promises of greater profit from Russian investments? (His tax returns remain private for what reason?—a question I get a new spin on, from David Brooks today).

Likely to happen here (this posting) is that the title above (or something like it) eventually labels a website page of blog links to postings by me about The Show when I failed to make better use of my time.

To wit:

February 18

I’m astounded (and thrilled) by how effectively Trump is being contained by institutional good sense (factual “leaks,” effective courts), aggressive press, and others’ bypassing him (e.g., the Federal Reserve, U.S-E.U. alliances). Though there are dangers to the Obama legacy with Republican control of Congress (and avaricious de-regulation-ists), counter-regressive activism is showing itself to be well-organized and looks very likely to constrain Rightism, while the chaos of Trumpism unwittingly sets up the 2018 election season to give Democrats control of Congress, and a strong mandate for a neo-Obama-ist progressivity in the 2020 elections.

In the meantime, not much harm will be done, I hope. There’s good reason to think otherwise (e.g., near-term treatment of immigrants), but I’m hopeful. Anyway, it’s all very complex. I don’t know that my short comments at the PBS News Hour are useful. However, my comment today to a NYTimes Editorial against Trump was chosen by the editors as a “NYT Pick” (one of 16 among over 1000 comments on that editorial) and got lots of response.

Nicholas Kristof (NYTimes columnist) today prospects replacing Trump within coming months, but he’s pessimistic. I offered this comment:
A great credit to our democracy is that we can discuss replacement of the president vigorously.

The prospect of Trump otherwise destroying the Republican Party is credible enough that this does give me hope for major Democratic wins in the 2018 elections.

But to make this possible, Democrats must hustle to articulate vision that has bipartisan appeal. I trust that Barack Obama and the wonderful Democratic team that he built are working to remake the Party.

The Democratic majority has great opportunity to attract moderate Republicans. 2017 can be a year for Democrats to work for the future—pragmatically, yet with Vision—not primarily working against the present circus.

March 3

To be continued.