The power to decimate and destroy is a lot easier than the energy it takes to build. That is the early lesson of the Trump Presidency.
I recently posted an analysis and commentary piece about the stumbling start of Mr. Trump just a little over two months into office – possibly the worst of any president in American history. I stand by that post.
With that in mind, it is worth noting that President Trump has had what he and some of his most avid supporters call “successes.” His adversaries would call them by different names, but the effect is the same. Mr. Trump is putting his mark on the very workings of our democracy.
By any objective analysis, to argue that Mr. Trump has been almost totally ineffective (ineffective, as he would define it,) that he has done little, is not true. Yes, his leadership has been chaotic and his poll numbers–at historic lows from the beginning –have been slipping. You can argue that most of what he’s done is destructive for the country’s future and that the debacle of trying to change the Affordable Care Act has earned him the title of “Loser.”
But Mr. Trump is using the power of the Presidency to enact the most dramatic elimination of government regulations since the Reagan years. For example, many rules for protecting the environment have been decimated, as have rules affecting workplace safety. He’s made it easier for mentally disturbed people to get guns and has made it easier for coal mining interests to pollute streams and rivers. He has waged war on the very structure of our Federal departments and agencies. What will happen to the State Department, our scientific research, education initiatives, women’s rights, the Environmental Protection Agency, and so many more. He is embracing a very extreme vision of governmental power, channeling his top aide Steve Bannon. This is a threat to how Democrats and Republicans–and the country as a whole– have traditionally seen government especially on foreign policy.
In sum, he set out to destroy or disable much of the government as we have known it through Republican and Democratic administrations for almost a century. And he’s laid quite a bit of groundwork for that.
The full effect of this will take time. There is a lot of entrenchment and inertia in our governmental function. There will be lawsuits and legislative fights, petition drives and protests. Which should be a wake up call for all who oppose Mr. Trump’s agenda, who are appalled at the tone, character and substance of the Trump Presidency so far.
It’s a reminder of how much diligence, hard work and organizing it is going to take to stop or even slow him. All the while the importance of the 2018 Congressional elections looms ever larger. Nobody said it was going to be easy, and nobody is right.