Ever since Donald Trump won the election, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, liberal groups, the New York Times, MSNBC and assorted pro-Hillary media outlets have thrown a prolonged temper tantrum about the results — remember when they all pointedly asked if Trump would accept the outcome if he lost? — and have done everything possible to put the worst possible spin on his every action.
First, the transition was in chaos, even though Trump put together his cabinet relatively quickly. Then there was an uproar about all the possible conflicts of interest stemming from his business holdings and demands that he must sell off his properties or face immediate impeachment.
NPR trotted out Steven Schooner, a whiny professor of government procurement law at George Washington University Law School to say that the General Services Administration should revoke the lease on the Trump International Hotel in DC. His reasoning was that there was “no way a GSA civil servant is going to be able to negotiate with the president or the president’s children with the government and the public’s interest at heart” and would be forced to give Trump a sweetheart deal.
When Trump announced that his deal with Carrier would keep 1,100 people in jobs in Indianapolis that would otherwise be sent to Mexico, countless media and political organizations attacked the deal, saying it was all political theater, that fewer jobs would be saved than announced, and that it would be extremely expensive.
Another round of hysteria greeted the news that Trump had taken a call from the president of Taiwan, which, according to the juice boxers at Vox, “may have just thrown decades of US-China relations into disarray.” Worst of all is the wailing and gnashing of teeth among pundits — and all over social media — by which Trump and his supporters are casually referred to as Nazis, for example, his “Thank you” rally for supporters a few days ago in Ohio, which was said to resemble Hitler rallies in Germany in the 1930s.
All of this hysteria was perfectly captured by Rob “Meathead” Reiner, who on November 29 tweeted, “The sooner MSM understands that our PEOTUS is mentally unstable, the sooner we can have a real discussion about how to remove him.” This idiotic comment, which casually proposes that constitutional rule be abandoned — and the wonderful Mike Pence presumably be installed as president — was liked or re-tweeted more than 12,000 times.
Let’s quickly go through the charges being tossed around by Trump’s opponents. First off, there’s a lot to criticize Trump about — his early cabinet picks remind me a lot of the Reagan administration’s unabashed embrace of corporate power and foreign policy hawkishness, which is a huge threat — but a lot of the whining now makes Trump’s opponents look like crybabies and only serves to make him more popular. The media is totally discredited and despised after its wretched campaign performance so every alarmist op-ed in the Times and Post only serves to boost Trump’s standing.
Second, whatever you think of Trump’s policies, the guy is not a Nazi and the country is not Berlin 1933. (If you doubt that, go read “In the Garden of Beasts,” which tells the story of Hitler’s rise to power, and you’ll no longer be able to make that case without being embarrassed.) It’s insulting to the huge crowds of people who turned out as his rallies to be uniformly dismissed at Nazis and white supremacists. That continues the type of coverage that dominated the campaign, when the media totally underestimated and misread Trump’s appeal and dismissed his voters as dimwitted racists. (Some obviously are, but certainly not all.)
There are some very scary Trump supporters and if I were Muslim or Latino, in particular, I would be very worried. But if real fascism comes along, we’ll recognize it. Throwing out the Nazi charge now is totally misleading and it makes those doing so sound like the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
On China, Trump’s call with Taiwan’s leader may have been a diplomatic mistake — or maybe, as the Washington Post is now stating, it was “a calculated move, some experts say,” and possibly “a long-planned, intentionally provocative move” — but whatever the case, I’m pretty sure the relationship with China will survive the call. Meanwhile, I remember the days when liberals warned about the U.S. sucking up to the Chinese regime during the Bush Senior years and well beyond. Personally, I don’t really care if Beijing is upset about the phone call, World War III isn’t going to be launched as a result and it truly is a rotten government.
As for Trump’s business holdings, yes, they open the door to potential conflicts of interest and something needs to be done about that. It’s complicated but it’s not illegal to run for public office as a businessman and some form of blind trust could be set up. Demanding that Trump has to sell off his business holdings and give up the hotel lease is unreasonable as he may only be president for four years. The lease terms are transparent and the poor GSA employee will surely be able to negotiate a deal without giving away the property for free.
As for the Carrier deal, maybe it is “political theater” and expensive — Sarah Palin, who clearly got told she’s not getting a cabinet position, called it “crony capitalism” — but it’s not theater for the people who are keeping their jobs. Meanwhile, in crying over the deal Democrats and liberals come out looking like they’re in favor of shipping jobs off to Mexico. Smart.
Look, it’s probably a good thing that Trump won the election. If Hillary had won, liberals would have been complacent and claimed victory over the monstrous Trump. But Hillary would have been a terrible president — thank god we’ll never know how bad — and it would have taken a long time for opposition to her to kick off, if ever.
With Trump, an opposition is already growing. If it could just stop being so whiny and elitist, it might actually mobilize support. Also, I find most of Trump’s cabinet picks appalling and worth criticizing, but the full-scale knee jerk anti-Trumpism that emerged in the aftermath of the election isn’t going to win anyone over and it makes his opponents look like sore losers. (Like the idiotic recount; last I heard Trump had actually gained a few dozen votes more advantage in Wisconsin.)
OK, criticize Trump but he is going to take office. It’s pretty clear where his government is headed and his policies are almost surely going to generate a lot of anger but it’s hard to protest effectively until he puts policies in place.
And here’s the best thing about Trump winning. Had he lost, his most ardent and truly scary supporters would have taken to the streets. For the next four years, they’d blame Hillary Clinton, the media and liberals for everything that went wrong.
Those people now have nothing to complain about — except for Trump, who by appointing Wall Street and right-wing “free market” economic appointees is already pissing them off. Just wait until Trump & Co. start gutting Medicare, Social Security, health care and unemployment benefits. This could also well be the most corrupt administration since Reagan’s, but we have to get to the inauguration first and see what happens.
Trump represents a real menace but let him dig his own grave. It won’t take long. There are very few voters (outside of Upper West Side and luxury condo dwellers in Washington and San Francisco) who are going to turn against Trump because of a New York Times editorial or a Vox storytelling studio piece.
There needs to be a smart political movement against Trump, not some sham opposition by Democratic Party dead-enders and liberal elites who unexpectedly lost the election and now find themselves on the outside looking in. Whining won’t build a political movement, ideas and alternative policies will, but so far there’s very little of the latter and ear-piercing levels of the former.