El Presidente Trump
Every day we find out a little more about Trump’s plans for his first year in office. The announcement yesterday that Stephen Bannon will be his chief advisor hasn’t allayed any of the fears of self-respecting women, blacks, Muslims, and the LGBT community – Bannon, a white (Christian) supremacist who believes women should return to traditional roles, is also anti-immigration, anti-abortion and gay marriage, and anti-Semitic. Though for some reason, an Israeli governmental official who wants to dump the so-called two-state solution for Palestine (that Israel never intended to fulfill) is crowing.
Now, in “Donald Trump’s Great Bait and Switch,” John Cassidy writes in yesterday’s New Yorker magazine that “what’s really going on is something akin to the Oklahoma land grab of 1889, with various factions of the Trump campaign, the Republican Party, and the business lobby fighting over the spoils of the election victory…One interest that will definitely be protected is the Trump business empire. Trump has said that he will hand his businesses over to his children to run while he’s in office, but three of them – Donald, Jr., Eric, and Ivanka – have been named members of the transition team’s new executive committee, as has Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Perhaps because nothing seems shocking anymore, this mingling of family and political interests didn’t provoke much comment when it was announced. But, as my colleague Ryan Lizza pointed out, it represents a ‘massive/unprecedented conflict.’ Imagine the outcry if Hillary Clinton had won the election and then appointed Chelsea Clinton and Donna Shalala, a board member and the president of the Clinton Foundation, to her transition team.
And what of the great leader himself? The Times reported Friday that Trump may dispense with the antiquated notion that the president should spend nearly all his time living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Apparently, he’d like to spend at least the week-ends in New York or at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. “I don’t know about you,” Cassidy says, “but I missed the bit in Trump’s speeches where he promised to turn the presidency into a part-time commuter job…
The prospect we’re facing is a populist but semi-engaged president who’s less interested in governing than in soaking up adulation at big rallies. (He might hold more of them even though the campaign is over, the Times story said.) Meanwhile, his cronies and members of the permanent establishment will make many of the actual decisions, which will largely benefit the already rich, including the ruling family. Debt will mushroom as El Presidente approves prestige construction projects but not the taxes to pay for them. Meanwhile, skilled propagandists like Bannon will whip up nationalist fervor to keep the masses diverted from what’s really going on.
We’ve seen this movie before, many times. But not here in the United States.”