No president has ever been sent packing. Nixon resigned because he saw it coming. Trump would sooner start a civil war
I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that Democratic candidates may be “too far left”.
But in an era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”.
A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market.
But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else – whether on the old right or the old left – has become disempowered and less secure.
I’m not suggesting we emulate the Chinese economic system. I am suggesting that we not be smug about the American economic system.
Instead of trying to get China to change, we should lessen the dominance of big American corporations over American policy.
China isn’t the reason half of America hasn’t had a raise in four decades. The simple fact is Americans cannot thrive within a system run largely by big American corporations, organized to boost their share prices but not boost Americans.
Not since Warren G. Harding’s sordid administration have as many grifters, crooks and cronies occupied high positions in Washington.
Trump has installed a Star Wars Cantina of former lobbyists and con artists, including several whose exploits have already forced them to resign, such as Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Tom Price, and Michael Flynn. Many others remain.
I keep hearing a lot about “socialism” these days, mainly from Donald Trump and Fox News, trying to scare Americans about initiatives like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, universal child care, free public higher education, and higher taxes on the super-wealthy to pay for these.
Well, I’m here to ask you to ignore the scaremongering.
It’s important to uphold the constitution through impeachment – even if it goes nowhere, even if it’s unpopular with many voters, even if it’s politically risky
Trump and his propaganda machine at Fox News have so aggressively undermined the legitimacy of Robert Mueller’s inquiry – repeatedly conjuring a “witch hunt” and maintaining a drumbeat of “no collusion” – that Mueller’s report, whatever it shows, will almost surely be overwhelmed by a fog of alt-interpretation and epistemological confusion. What’s “collusion?” What’s illegal? What’s unethical? Has Trump been vindicated or not?
The real danger is that as attention inevitably turns to the 2020 campaign, controversy over the Mueller report will obscure the far more basic issues of Trump’s competence and character.
An American president is not just the chief executive of the United States, and the office he (eventually she) holds is not just a bully pulpit to advance policy ideas. He is also a moral leader, and the office is a moral pulpit invested with meaning about the common good.
Trump wants us to believe he’s the Triumphant Individual. But in fact he’s a conman who inherited his wealth
The second tale is the Benevolent Community – neighbors and friends who pitch in for the common good.
The third tale is the Mob at the Gates – threatening forces beyond our borders. Daniel Boone fought Indians, described then in racist terms as savages. Davy Crockett battled Mexicans.
The fourth and final tale is The Rot at the Top. It’s about the malevolence of powerful elites – their corruption and irresponsibility, and tendency to conspire against the rest of us.
But the real Rot at the Top consists of concentrated wealth and power to a degree this nation hasn’t witnessed since the late 19th century. Billionaires, powerful corporations, and Wall Street have gained control over much of our economy and political system, padding their nests with special tax breaks and corporate welfare while holding down the wages of average workers.
In this, the rich have been helped by Republicans in Congress and the White House whose guiding ideology seems less capitalism than cronyism, as shown time and again through legislative and regulatory gifts to big pharma, Wall Street, big oil and coal, big agriculture and giant military contractors.
To a conservative mind, socialism is getting something for nothing. Yet this is what the president promotes for the wealthy
The only redeeming aspect to Trump’s presidency is he brings us back to basics. And what could be more basic than the difference between democracy and dictatorship?
The choice could not be clearer. Democracy is about means, while dictatorship is about ends. Trump uses any means available to achieve his own ends.
We can preserve our democracy and force Trump out of office. Or we can continue to struggle against someone who strives to thwart democracy for his own benefit.
In the months ahead, that choice will be made, one way or the other.