As a former Republican turned Democrat, count me as not so surprised that Donald Trump’s first 65 days in office replete with a Republican dominated Congress have been a complete failure. In the dark days after the November election when Democrats, Independents and rational Republicans experienced heightened anxiety about the pending Trump administration, my Jedi instincts led me to believe that failure on a major scale was on the horizon.
My instincts rarely fail me…
You see, even the most casual political observer could tell that Trump the presidential candidate was nothing more than a circus showman, one who was quite adept at playing upon the fears of millions of Americans who could not articulate legitimate (non-racist) reasons for why they disliked former President Barack Obama if their lives depended upon it. By painting all Muslims as terrorists, all Mexican immigrants as criminals, all black neighborhoods as “war zones,” all police officers as heroic, all foreign allies like Germany, Australia and Great Britain as sycophants, and the Obama economy that had reversed the Great Recession that began under former President George W. Bush as a “disaster,” Trump’s distortions about these groups and events was just the type of bigotry that fuels many who wish that America could return to its segregated and bigoted self circa 1957, not the diverse land that it truly is in 2017.
But campaign braggadocio and bombast are something entirely different from the art of governing. Nominating ill qualified cabinet secretaries like Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development and Betsy Devos at the Department of Education were only trumped by Trump’s disastrous decision to appoint the bigoted former General Mike Flynn as his National Security Adviser, the same Flynn who despises Muslims, allegedly colluded with the Russians during the campaign and transition period, and who was on the dole for the Turkish government while advising then candidate Trump. Indeed, for all of the “lock her up” rhetoric that Trump used against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton with respect to the email scandal that was dissected ad nauseam, it is rather ironic that Trump now finds himself the subject of a criminal investigation by an FBI attempting to determine whether the Trump campaign was compromised by the Russians.
As such, all of that “we are going to win so much” and “you are going to get tired of winning” rhetoric are words haunting a president who is losing “Bigly” on a weekly basis. Trump promised a plan to defeat ISIS on day one and has yet to deliver. His travel ban that ostensibly was a #MuslimBan has been enjoined from taking effect by federal courts. Trump did not “drain the swamp” from reptillian lobbyists, rather, he introduced his own financial alligators and adders who seek to elicit wealth for their cronies no matter what impact their policies will have on the average Americans who voted for Trump in droves based upon his promises of “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Oh, and speaking of Trump’s faux populism, the critical beat down that Trumpcare took last week was due to the fact that Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan both tried to push through a health care plan that according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office would have made nearly 20 million Americans lose coverage. Not to mention that other conservative policy wonks feared that the same plan would cause private premiums to skyrocket for Americans between the ages of 51 and 65, the same ones in red states who may love Trump’s brand of bigotry, but who love going to their doctor and having low drug costs even more.
Make no mistake, the Trumpcare defeat was “yuuuuge” because it signals that congressional conservatives are not going along to get along just to please a president who lacks the intellectual capacity or discipline to even understand why the conservative House Freedom Caucus refused to vote for Trumpcare. To see Trump blame the loss on the Democrats was almost sad as it signaled that he is too slow and arrogant in his ignorance to grasp that being cheerleader-in-chief will not provide him any significant victories with conservative Republicans who remain skeptical of his conservative bona fides.
Even worse, more losses loom upon the horizon for Trump as he pivots towards a trillion dollar infrastructure package that may pique Democratic interest, but will get dissed and dismissed by conservatives who remain philosophically opposed to such government sponsored populist programs.
With his approval ratings hovering in the mid-30 percent range—historic lows—Trump will continue to pander to his politically illiterate base by holding rallies that allow them to scream “Build that wall” and “Make America great again” to their dim witted heart’s content. But the truth of the matter is that no matter how much Trump seeks to lie and deflect via Twitter, the fact remains that both the more liberal and even conservative mainstream media outlets like National Review are blasting him for the political dilettante that he proves himself to be with each passing day. And because most Republicans in Congress are more concerned about maintaining power for themselves past 2018, I expect to see even more internal Republican intransigence between Congress and the White House. Stay tuned…