I will always wonder if it would have been different if Trump reacted to the Russian interference in the 2016 election as an attack on America, which it was. He would have found the support of most of us if he defended America against this foreign interference in our election. There might not even have been a Mueller investigation, or it would have looked a lot different if Trump was the energy and driving force behind it.
Instead, Trump acted like he had something to hide, something that he did not want us to find or see. As an amateur student of human nature and behavior, to this day, I think that was the case – Trump’s actions were intended to hide and obstruct the Mueller investigation. Trump was never going to lead an effort to protect our country against Russian interference in our elections. We all can ask ourselves why, but the answer is right in front of our noses. There was some connection between Russia and Trump. I am one that thinks if the Mueller investigation did not stop when it came to a financial investigation, if you follow the money, you will usually find what you are looking for. When Trump defended Putin after the Helsinki meeting, I will never be convinced otherwise. I hope some day this investigation can be picked up and finished.
My second sort of global review of the Trump presidency has to do with his refusal to be president for all Americans. He started in on his first day in office attacking the other side, and he has never stopped. General Mattis faulted Trump for this very thing, the constant promoting of division and hatred among us, the very people he was supposed to be president of. I think this was all part of a script, attack those that were not part of his base, attack the media and make sure they are adversaries, keep fanning the flames of culture wars, and attack just about everyone outside the circle of Trump world. It never stopped, and really got worse over the four years. I do not see how you can govern like this and ever expect to be re-elected. The base was just not big enough.
My next criticism has to do with the act of governing. You cannot burn through as much staff, cabinet members, and advisors and expect to be able to govern. I cannot count the faces that have come and gone. It makes my head spin to think of the chaos Trump brought on himself with this sort of self-defeating style of administration. It may have kept up the drama meter that is great for ratings in reality tv, but it sure wrecked his White House.
I am not even going to get into the mega narcissism – that needs no explanation. I hope the country looks more closely at a candidate in the future and considers the character of the individual. Character does matter. I have always thought that if someone like Trump moved into my neighborhood, most of us would shun him. The same goes for other Trumps we have met in life – we tend to avoid and literally shun such people.
I could do a lot more with this, but I am going to stop after my next criticism and it has to do with a lack of respect for our democracy, our laws, the norms of governance, and just what often appeared to be a scofflaw’s view of the Constitution. I think some of this was due to Trump’s life in the business world where he could make up his own rules and do whatever he wanted. He was never the kind of businessman that played by the rules and was not a man of integrity. Six bankruptcies and long strings of unpaid creditors do not seem to be good marks when it comes to integrity and character. Loan defaults as well as defrauding his own charity and the students that paid tuition at his university just don’t make you say, “Boy, he is such a peach of a man.”
Now, I am going to bring some closure to all of this. I really think the stage was set for a Trump back in the 1980s with Reagan’s tax reform act and trickle down economics. Money never did trickle down from the wealthy, the unions were diminished, and large American corporations started moving production overseas, especially to China. The middle class found itself fighting to hang on by its fingernails to the American dream. The 2nd Bush followed with more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and wealth continued to flow upward and concentrate with the wealthiest Americans.
Then the Great Recession of 2008, and the slow recovery after. The slowness was really intentional on the part of the Republican Congress. They did not want Obama to be able to achieve anything in the way of helping the Americans most hurting. For McConnell and company, the game plan was obstruct, obstruct, obstruct, and build the base of Americans that were desperate as well as having lost all trust in our government and institutions. Add in some racism and nativism and you are ready for a Trump. The plan was for the Republican party to be able to use and control a Trump – that did not work out quite the way they thought it would. You see, Trump never respected them either. He was never a Republican at all. And in the meantime, Trump built a base of dissatisfied and distrustful Americans that really looked like a marriage of the George Wallace South, and the Tea Party with the gun fanatics and the Libertarians acting as bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Lucky us huh – now we get to Wednesday, January 6th. All the players and actors are ready for the great American tragedy we watched unfold on Wednesday.
Can we separate from Trump, hold him accountable, and bring some needed change and help to America? Can we find a way to recognize our problems, meet in the middle and find some compromise? After all, no one party has a monopoly on all the right ideas. We used to be able to do this before some politicians decided it worked for them to divide us. I think we can do it – our children and grandchildren deserve better than we are giving them now.