As the incoming Trump administration is still coming together, I’m trying to search for signs of how things will go. I’ve heard both sides argue how Trump is going to do what he said he was going to do, and I’ve also heard the doom and gloom predictions of what’s coming down the pipeline. Personally, I like to see who the president picks to make up their cabinet and advisors before I try to predict what’s going to happen. I did that with both Bush and Obama, so I will extend the same courtesy to Trump as well.
Given his picks so far, the one thing I can come away with is that we’re going to be in for a long, long 4 years. Trump rode populist anger against “elites” yet his picks are all pretty much elites and/or billionaire donors of some kind. I don’t see any earthshaking “drain the swamp” picks as much as I see standard right-wing ideological picks that any Republican ideologue would choose. From the pick of Steve Bannon as a White House advisor to Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, this country is going to swing so hard to the right that NASCAR may have to switch to running races in the opposite direction to avoid having to make left turns.
There’s also the issue of ethics that the administration will have to come to terms with. Many of his picks have deep and varied investments that would likely face scrutiny during confirmation hearings. As for Trump himself, he’s already stated “As far as the, you know, potential conflict of interests, though, I mean I know that from the standpoint, the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” Trump’s businesses make their fortune from the marketability of his name. Add the title “President” before that name, and the marketing potential shoots through the roof. What person or company in any country would refuse to engage with any Trump related business now? I don’t think anyone, the Founders included, ever contemplated such a complex issue to ever reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
To further complicate things, America will also have to deal with whether outside influence tilted the balance of this election. I read a story today from Philly.com about Russian influence in American politics this year. It’s quite interesting, and I included a link if you want to check it out. A Google search for Russian troll factory returns numerous articles about how Russia used social media to spread propaganda, including fake news stories. America probably got taken for a ride this year in more ways than one, and only time will tell whether that’s true or not.
Maybe that’s the silver lining in this election. We’re going to hit rock bottom so hard on ethics that people will realize that the government is not a business and being an expert in business does not make one an expert in running a government. Maybe Trump will indeed make America great again by ensuring people become civic engaged and we find some ethical people who actually care about running the country. I’ve already been working on my playlist for the next four years. I’m starting off with Zoom by The Commodores because a brother can still have a dream nowadays:
I’m searching for that silver lining
Horizons that I’ve never seen
Oh I’d like to take just a moment and dream my dream
Dream my dream