FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Another Week Under Trumpocracy

Some takeaways from another week under He Who Would Be Emperor:

“All politics is local.” Speaking to local issues rather than echoing the official mantra may be the only way Democrats are going to win back the House. Campaigning in Pennsylvania, which you’ll recall with anguish that Trump won in 2016, probably reflects the kind of messaging it will take to flip the state. Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, for example, is nearly morphedinto a Trump-style Democrat.

Good news on the environment—and the rule of law. First, the fight to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline from being built continues, as a federal court has ordered a full environmental impact statement on the project. TransCanada, the pipeline builder, and its US and Canadian partners have been dealt a major setbackon their revised route through Nebraska. Second, Trump’s effort to weaken the Obama-era Clean Air Act has had another setback. A judge has rejectedthe EPA’s effort—and the chemical industry’s lobbying—to delay by two years enforcement of the act’s tougher rules on chemical plant safety. (If you’re interested in donating to NGOs that have been stout defenders of the environment in court, may I suggest NRDC—the Natural Resources Defense Council—and Public Citizen. These folks are relentless, and successful.)

Another major piece of good news is that more than 400 newspapers, responding to a call from the Boston Globe, published editorials on the importance of a free press and protection of the First Amendment. The editorials clearly agitated Desperate Donald: He cried “COLLUSION” (would you believe it?) and wrote all sorts of stupid thingsto defend his belief in “true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.”

On the other hand, there’s Trump himself: relentlessly racist, and with no fear of a kickback from the Republicans. To them, “it’s just his DNA” and the way he governs, say the few senatorswilling to comment. Paul Krugman points outhow threatening Republican spinelessness is to our democracy, and therefore how crucial is the November elections to stopping what otherwise will be an even deeper assault on our governing institutions. The message: Live with it.

And then it’s the usual Trump tweet spray, complaining about fake news, diverting attention from his worst fears, adding to the pile of lies he has accumulated, deepening the rift with China, pretending all’s OK with North Korea, denouncing the Mueller “witch hunt,” and sending lap dog Rudy Giuliani hither and yon to defend him and continue the pretense that Trump might still be willing to talk with Mueller. And, oh yes, telling us again what a fine fellow Paul Manafort, avatar of corruption, is.

But it’s not just tweeting; it’s the actual damage to the nation. Revoking and threatening to revoke the security clearances of former senior intelligence officials, signaling an effort to punish everyone associated with the Russia investigation (and possibly adding to obstruction of justice charges); announcing another attempt to save the coal industry, by transferring regulatory authority from the federal government to the states, thus guaranteeing a worsening of air pollution; appointing lobbyists and lawyers who worked for the industries they now (de)regulate; transforming the bully pulpit into a pulpit for bullying aimed at silencing critics; planning even more tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations; carrying on a trade war that will hurt farmers and many other people who voted for him—these are among the many actions that show how Donald Trump has failed to fulfill the oath of office, in which he swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The bottom line: Can Trump and the Republicans continue to get away with outrageous behavior? Max Boot, conservative columnist for the Washington Post, says he/they might in 2020, but some figures are encouraging:

No matter how bad it gets, his approval rating never seems to fall far below 40 percent. (He’s currently at 42 percent approval in the FiveThirtyEight poll of polls.) It is thus easy to say that none of this matters. Easy — and wrong. Previous presidents who were in office during times of robust economic expansion, with low unemployment and a roaring bull market, generally had average approval ratings well over 50 percent. Trump’s egregious misbehavior consistently costs him at least 10 points in the polls.

So, dear friends, we’ll see.

More articles by:

Mel Gurtov is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspective, an international affairs quarterly and blogs at In the Human Interest.

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Wim Laven
The Annual Whitewashing of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail