Post-electile dysfunction: The first 4 whacks at Trump
Whack #1 – That WTF-have-I-done feeling
Trump won’t be President until the 20th January, and while the election winner usually gets a popularity bump around the glamourous inauguration parties, Trump’s poll approvals have already slumped to 38%. So far the only glamour he’s been able to sign up for his party are a teen opera star, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Rockettes – several of whom are declining to show up, including all their women of colour.
What’s going on?
Like the day after Brexit, many voters are thinking: OK we sent our fuck-you to the political elite, but now can we get the puffball slug off the stage? Nope, they’ve got him for four years or eight, unless he’s dismissed.
His truly deplorable appointees – the Treasury boss who made a fortune from the 2008 mortgage meltdown; the Exxon-Mobil-Russian-Oil boss for Secretary of State; the climate change deniers running the Environment and Energy departments; the ex-Ku-Klux-Klan creep as Attorney-General – are all at least as scary as Trump. Last week his spokesperson Kellyanne Conway threatened the press with retribution if they keep being disrespectful, which caused a fresh eruption of abuse on the most unpopular man to assume the Presidency in living memory. Of course, Trump and his gang personally spewed incomparably vile insults on the Obamas, like his New York campaign chair who wrote: "I'd like [Michelle] to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie the gorilla."
Democrats in Congress and in other levels of government are planning to resist and reject just about everything Trump does, using most tactics Republicans used to frustrate Obama’s plans, but with deeper thrust. California Gov. Jerry Brown promised to team up with other Democratic states including New York to bring America’s carbon emissions down to what Obama promised the world in Paris two years ago, if Trump goes through with his promise to cancel Obama’s. Jerry, who’s 78 and sharper than three Trumps and a razor blade, reminded the fossil fool President-elect that California has the seventh largest economy in the world, and “more sunshine than Texas has oil”.
Meanwhile, Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren has a bill in the Senate demanding Trump reveal what he’s doing with his billion-dollar businesses while he’s in the White House. Most of these businesses stand to profit hugely from government decisions and Warren doesn’t want Trump committing “high crimes or misdemeanors under the impeachment clause of the U.S. Constitution”, which bans personal inurement from office. The serious games are already on for Elizabeth Warren.
And these are the polite, establishment Trump-rejecters.
Millions more regular folks, especially people Trump denigrates for their race, youth, and gender, are plotting fuck-yous of new orders of magnitude.
Whack #2 – Trump called John McCain “a loser” for being captured in Vietnam. Smart move?
Last week Obama announced he’d instructed the CIA and the FBI to investigate more to back up their recent contention that Russian spies hacked Clinton-friendly email accounts to damage her election campaign.
Trump was outraged, as usual, but stayed below apocalyptic on this one because a far-right US President can’t really keep on defending Russia’s spies against “our own”.
Trump blamed the whole crisis – it already involves the biggest tit-for-tat US-Russian “sanctions” since the worst days of the Cold War – on American “leftists”. But then, last week, Republican House leader Paul Ryan and Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham all announced they want to investigate the Ruskies even harder than Obama plans to.
So even before he assumes office, Trump has top Republicans lining up alongside defeated Dems to delve into his cosy relationship with Russian money – and, it’s just been revealed, he has his own “man in Moscow”. It’s important to stay skeptical of what the Democratic Party national bosses (the Clintons et al) blame Russia and wikileaks for, but Trump’s financial ties to Russia, and what slimy tapes they may have on him, compromise him beyond Putin’s wettest dreams.
Whack #3 – What Obama will do next
One of several ways Republican billionaires have won control of the US Congress in recent years is by spending big to get their own yes-men (they don’t back women) elected to local and state level posts, because those are the people who redraw the electoral boundaries for the next elections. This old trick, called gerrymandering, has reached new heights in the past 15 years, allowing Republican candidates to win the majority of House seats nationwide while the majority of voters have voted Democratic.
So Barack Obama is planning to use his huge popularity – he just won the “most admired man in America” poll for the ninth year in a row -- to travel around the nation supporting Democratic candidates for local and state government.
Whack #4 – Justice for Hillary?
On 3rd January the US Senate meets to swear in new members, which is usually a formality – but it doesn’t have to be. That afternoon 34 outgoing senators will cease being Senators before the newly elected replacements are sworn in – so Democrat senators will outnumber Republicans for a few crucial hours, and they could decide right there and then to vote in Obama’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland.
But wait, there’s more: Obama could go one further and nominate a new candidate, since the Repubs didn’t like Judge Garland. The outgoing President could nominate, say, a lawyer who has been vetted repeatedly, knows every issue before the court backwards, and has huge popular support, demonstrated by winning the popular Presidential vote by more than three million. Vice-President Joe Biden, who chairs the Senate sitting, could call a vote to confirm Justice Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court.
Now that would be a fuck-you vote of prodigious and righteous proportion. Unfortunately, it’s also a parting shot of Hail Mary proportion too…