What has become of American politics? How could our government and the two major political parties behave in such a dysfunctional manner? Who is responsible for the current state of affairs?
Dirty politics and bad blood between the president and Congress is not a new phenomenon. It’s existed since the time our country was founded nearly 250 years ago.
Even before our nation was formed in 1776, the leaders of the revolution were fighting with each other about states’ right, slavery, commerce, banking, voting rights and how to control the dominance of the more populous states. It finally came together and our forefathers crafted a wonderful document we call our Constitution.
The animus that exists between Republican and Democrats has hit an all-time highpoint. The venom, mudslinging and lies that are prevalent today have made it impossible for the federal government to do its job. The vacuum resulting from the ineffective and conspiratorial Obama years paved the way for a mean-spirited, narcissistic megalomaniac to win the presidency. Our country was so brutalized prior to his introduction that it scorned “the establishment” and the mores that enabled America to thrive with its two-party system. We elected a man who was not part of Washington and now we are paying the price.
Consider the way that Trump governs, bad and good. For one thing the president had no idea how the federal government operated. It’s not a dictatorship. The president is the most powerful man on Earth, but he does not have absolute power. He needs to collaborate with Congress to implement policies, spend money, go to war, make treaties, appoint justices to the Supreme Court, etc. The president is responsible for creating an agenda for the country and convincing lawmakers to approve his ideas, even if the opposition party controls Congress or part of it.
Donald Trump was the undisputed autocrat of his real estate empire. For his whole life he gave orders to his sycophants, and they did his bidding. When he moved into the White House he attempted to govern similarly, and his administration has and continues to fall flat on its face.
Exacerbating the situation has been Trump’s inability to recruit and retain high quality people to advise him. One person cannot operate the federal government. Obama never learned the same lesson. This inability to keep together a strong cadre of insiders to deal with a myriad of problems every day has resulted in probably the most ineffective administration in history.
Similarly Trump convinced himself that, as the leader of the greatest country in the world, he could bully leaders of other nations. His tendency is to strong-arm people he negotiates with, including heads of state and other politicians. This worked well for Trump as he bought and sold buildings and casinos, but it’s been a disaster during his two plus years as president.
Trump resents anyone who resists his will. He has to be right all the time. He never admits missteps. Americans prefer leaders that have the courage to trust and listen to others and are not embarrassed to accept a better way to accomplish shared objectives.
But one of the worst characteristics affecting Trump has been his propensity to belittle anyone who takes a contrary position. This includes firing cabinet members and advisors wantonly. Political opponents are fair game and have been since the 2016 primaries. Assigning childish nicknames to those who disagree with him is just not befitting a president. Trump has not hesitated to use the same tactics on domestic politicians and world leaders.
It feels like we have a spoiled child in the White House. If he doesn’t get his way he has a snit, and watch out. Heads roll.
The president speaks off the cuff too often. Some may find this to be refreshing and entertaining. Unfortunately, going off script results in inconsistencies, and even accusations of lying. Fact checkers have had a field day with his transgressions ever since he miss-estimated the attendees at his inauguration.
And finally there is character. How many times have you heard that Americans don’t want their children to grow up to be like Trump? The president must be a role model. Sadly our president has a long history of bad behavior that includes misogyny, racism, self-importance, aggression, untruthfulness, exaggeration and so on. He is not one that should be emulated in most Americans’ opinion.
But there is another side to this story. Donald Trump has ignored tradition and recrimination. He never apologizes for America, whereas, too many presidents and politicians have spent much time doing mea culpas for the past. American leaders often feel the need to say they are sorry for historical actions taken against people worldwide. They say America is too prosperous, too aggressive and too invasive. It does not support the needy at home or around the world. Everyone in America is rich while millions are starving to death in Africa. Obama spent eight years saying he regretted the actions of America. Trump has not spent one minute doing so.
Donald Trump was elected to change the direction of the US. We were losing ground to our greatest rivals and enemies. We were being abused by immigration policies. All of our trade partners imposed tariffs on us that were higher than what we imposed on them. NATO was underfunded The US used its economic might to make gains diplomatically. Trump is turning all this around and making a lot of enemies in the process. In this day and age of ever-dwindling resources and huge deficits, the country can no longer operate frivolously.
Trump changed it all. It hasn’t been pretty or polite or tactful, but he’s getting the job done. Trump puts America first, and why shouldn’t he?
The blowback from Trump’s adversaries has been relentless and shameful. It’s one thing to criticize policy, it’s another thing to attack the president and divert his attention away from important issues. Democrats wanted to boot Trump from office before the new president-elect moved into the White House. Their tactics have been despicable. And in all fairness, Trump has responded in a similarly inappropriate manner.
So where do we go from here? We are about to experience the dirtiest and most vicious presidential campaign ever. Democrats are swinging far left, socialistic left, and are not pulling any punches with each other or towards Trump. The president thinks Democrats are out to get him and are lying, spinning, spying and pleading with the electorate to approve an effort to impeach him. This is because none of the empty suits vying for the Democratic nomination will be able to defeat Trump in 2020.