Hillary Clinton was elected to the presidency, but it’s the fifth time the loser will move into the White House, thanks to the obscenely useless electoral college. Republicans and their disaffected are rejoicing.
Donald Trump is a despicable person, a persistent liar, philanderer, misogynist, and cheat, singularly unqualified to be president. A man with the attention span of a kindergartener, who has probably never actually read a book in its entirety. He won with lies and appeals to hatred, telling white America they have been cheated by Democrats. Trumpsters have short memories: it was Obama who rescued Michigan from economic oblivion, yet they voted for Trump.
I read what he wants to accomplish, and agree with some of it. But most of it is the usual Republican nonsense that gives money to the rich at the cost of those who aren’t, the triumph of Big Money. Not only will we now have a billionaire for president, the very rich will have complete control of all parts of the national government. The very rich and their Republican puppets will rearrange things so they can burn unlimited fossil fuels, which will affect the entire world in calamitous ways.
Unfortunately, Republicans and the very rich have almost no understanding, or even belief in, the most significant issue in the entire history of humankind, the inexorably changing climate. A Republican carried a snowball onto the Senate floor to “prove” that warming is a hoax, and too many others presented such stupidities like, warming can’t be real because carbon dioxide isn’t poisonous.
But climate change is already here, increasingly obvious, and can only get worse. Melting of “permanent” ice is already decades old, and now it looks like the entire ice mass of Greenland and both polar ice caps will melt over the next century or so. This will increase the depth of the ocean by over eighty feet. Likewise, temperature increase is already advanced. In several parts of the globe extended periods of 120ºF or higher cause tens of thousands of deaths every year, and the hottest US cities and regions experience a month or more when the temperature never drops below a hundred. Eventually the average ambient temperature will cross the 125ºF mark, above which human life is not possible.
But these concerns are long range. Besides casual attitudes toward our descendants, Republican dominance means thoughtless voiding of laws that protect the lives of us all right now.
Trump never failed to play to the anger and racial hatred of people who feel they have somehow been wronged by people with darker skin. This is a common tactic of tyrants, one played masterfully by Adolph Hitler. The “wronged” come to believe that Those Others are the reason they are not rich and respected, and therefore they are treacherous and inferior. In so doing Trump earned the full support of the KKK, the neo-Nazis, and every other racist, white supremacist hate group in the country. In effect, Trump gives them all license to commit violence against Jews, blacks, homosexuals, Mexican-Americans, Muslims, immigrants—anyone. Nazi graffiti appeared even on election day. In many places it will become dangerous for anyone who seems even slightly different to walk down the street. With some 350-million guns in the country, Trump has issued a general license to kill.
One wonders why white supremacists believe as they do, since their only achievement is accidental paleness, and not one of them has accomplished anything of real significance.
A third element lies in the realm of economics. Trump has repeatedly proven to economists that he knows nothing about the subject. In fact, Republicans in general tend to be ignorant of it. Paul Ryan, majority leader of the House, is widely admired by Republicans for his economic plan for the nation, a plan of sheer nonsense that depends on many billions of dollars of phantom cash from mysterious unexplained sources that not even the GAO can find. Or perhaps they expect that doing away with their favorite boogiemen will put money into the budget and somehow make it work.
They will almost certainly rescind social programs they don’t like, programs that millions depend on: Social Security and Medicare, particularly Obamacare. This will throw Americans by tens of millions into abject poverty with no escape, including millions who believed Trump’s fantasies. These cuts will have absolutely no effect on the budget, but many bureau budgets will be cut enough to make their departments ineffective, thus crippling essential government programs. Since Obama already cut the bureaus, it’s hard to imagine how further slashing will help.
Trump himself brags about his business prowess, but it doesn’t really exist. As economist Robert Reich pointed out, if he had simply invested his entire inherited fortune in an index fund, he would be at least four times more wealthy than he is. Even the money he did make was largely due to up-front payment for use of his name, as well as out-and-out cheating of his clients and employees. Most of his ventures either went bankrupt or earned far less than he claimed. Frankly, he’s a liar and a cheat, which his election is unlikely to change. The economic benefits he promised followers simply do not exist.
Perhaps he didn’t really expect to win, and now finds himself confronted by his own ignorance, with a plan that will punish his followers. How long will it take them to realize that? What will happen when they do?