Thursday, November 10, 2016

What now? Brace yourself: 100-day plan to “Make America Great Again” (by Deirdre Fulton)

“At the end of October in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump laid out what his campaign called a ‘100-day plan to Make America Great Again.’

The plan (pdf) came on top of multiple promises Trump made on the campaign trail about what he would do on his ‘first day in office.’ Taken together, these vows represent a right-wing agenda that includes:
  • removing 'more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country;'
  • canceling 'every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama;'
  • suspending immigration 'from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur;'
  • repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act;
  • allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward;
  • lifting restrictions on fossil fuel production;
  • selecting a Supreme Court nominee in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia;
  • canceling 'billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs;'
  • establishing 'a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;' and
  • ending federal funding for sanctuary cities.

“‘This is life in the early days of a Trump presidency: economic shock, international instability, and constitutional crisis as Trump makes the presidency his plaything,’ Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote last week.

“Some of Trump's plans, including the infamous border wall with Mexico, may hit some roadblocks. But with the GOP retaining control of both the House and the Senate—and Trump's potential cabinet picks comprised of conservative darlings from Rudy Giuliani to Sarah Palin—the path for implementation for many of these agenda items is clear.

“As John Nichols wrote on Wednesday for The Nation: ‘Make no mistake, Trump now leads the Republican Party. And that party has in recent years developed an approach to power. When it does not control the executive branch, the GOP obstructs the Democrat who is in charge. When it has the executive and legislative branches in its grip, the GOP acts. Quickly.

“‘Despite the whining of ‘Never Trump’ conservatives who griped that the Republican nominee was politically impure, Trump accepted the nomination of a socially and economically conservative party that spelled out its agenda in a platform that People for the American Way's ‘Right-Wing Watch’ recognized as a more extreme version of the party's previous programs: ‘a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.’

“[Newt] Gingrich correctly noted that the platform on which Trump was elected outlines an aggressive anti-labor agenda that parallels the worst of what Walker and other members of the GOP's ‘Class of 2010’ implemented in the first months of their tenures. 

“The new president has criticized minimum-wage laws and supported anti-union ‘right-to-work’ laws. Only fools would doubt that his fiercely anti-labor vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, will hesitate to implement the agenda (as a defining player on domestic policy) just as quickly as did Walker. Nor should they doubt any of the other outlandish and extreme commitments made by Trump during what the new president described in his victory speech as a ‘nasty’ and ‘tough’ campaign. Trump will have skilled and experienced allies, not just in Pence but in House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Ryan himself said Wednesday in the wake of Trump's win: ‘Now...we will lead a unified Republican government,’ and talked of working together toward Republican priorities. ‘The opportunity is now here, and the opportunity is to go big and go bold,’ Ryan said. In fact, those establishment allies have been laying this groundwork for years, said Charles Pierce in Esquire on Wednesday.

“‘Somebody finally climbed aboard the vehicle that the Republican Party had spent long years constructing, but that it somehow never built up the nerve to take out for a real shakedown,’ Pierce wrote. ‘Turns out, it was more powerful than even they could have imagined it to be, and now we're all along for the ride, god help us.’”


  1. Some preliminary thoughts on the Democrats' failure to beat someone as loathsome as Donald Trump by Andy Thayer:

    “1) Insider Democrats did all they could to tilt the scales (Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile, et al) to nominate the most out-spoken neo-liberal candidate ever. Though I wasn’t a Bernie supporter, leading Democrats chose to ignore how their candidate was the least able to defeat anyone in the Republican field – Wall Street had their candidate, and they were with her, and everyone in the Dems’ base just had to suck it up.

    “In 2008, Obama and Clinton did their best to out anti-NAFTA each other in the Ohio and other rust belt primaries, and despite evidence to the contrary, hope-against-hope, many working class people believed them. Eight years later the evidence was too glaring to ignore -- Goldman Sachs speeches, Clinton Fdn pay-to-play, TPP, etc., and for good, and demonstrably bad reasons, white working class voters deserted the Democrats. Any wonder why Trump swept the rust belt?

    “2) The last two years have, with good reason, seen an explosion of fury against racist police murders – with most of the mayors covering for the cops being Dems of the Rahm Emanuel variety. So is it any wonder that Dems couldn’t more motivate urban areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio to offset the white, rural racist vote?

    “3) As a political junky I’ve tried to engage as many people of as many different backgrounds as possible to find out their views on the election. Despite many months of conversations, I have yet to have had a face-to-face discussion with anyone who was enthusiastically FOR Clinton. The enthusiasm of her many supporters always went the other way – AGAINST the bigotry of Trump, and 'yes she's got faults, but Trump is SO horrible.'

    “This was seen in the largest, truly motivated group of Clinton voters – Latinos. After a record two million deportations of the undocumented under an incumbent Democrat, Latinos swept to the polls not in an act of pro-Clinton allegiance, but in anti-racist disgust against Trump.

    “3) The United States has always been much more racist and otherwise bigoted than most liberals congratulated themselves about after the 2008 victory of President Obama. The 2008 election should have been an FDR vs. Herbert Hoover cake-walk victory. We had by far the worst recession since the Great Depression (that year’s October surprise) and yet the incumbent party only narrowly lost?

    “The explanation should have been clear at the time – the only reason it was close at all was because the challenger was a black man, and racist America largely wasn’t ready to accept a black man as president despite the disaster that was the was the incumbent party.

    “Seven years later and most working class incomes are just beginning to recover to the pre-Great Recession levels, and that’s not even accounting for the fact that real working class incomes have lost enormous ground since the early 1970s. Enter a racist bloviator who blames that declining income on all the usual scapegoats and adds in some phony anti-Wall Street populism for good measure.

  2. “Just about the only solace the Dems should take from this is that the next recession will likely occur during a Trump first term, and it will likely not be a ‘usual’ recession, but a really bad one that will hurt all working class people enormously.
    “Here's why: We already have one of the longest (and weakest) economic expansions in history. The next recession will probably be unusually savage because the usual stimulators for moderating such recessions -- lowering interest rates and deficit spending -- are already largely tapped out. The savage effects of the next recession will not only be accentuated by a governing party that loathes U.S. cities and their residents.

    “The incumbent party, in this case the Republicans, will be blamed for it, just as the Democrats have been blamed for the failure of the current anemic expansion to make a real difference in most working class people’s incomes.

    “But don't expect the Democrats to offer the sort of truly paradigm-altering programs we saw during the Great Depression -- unless forced to by massive opposition to BOTH parties from the ground up. Things like the three general strikes in 1934. Things like the occupations of all major workplaces and the formation of the mass, industrial unions in the immediate few years thereafter that forced the creation of America's first social safety net after many previous decades' failures.

    “Rather than tinker around the edges with phony ‘help the homeless’ vouchers, token job-training programs and other such neoliberal nonsense that is common currency today, massive public works programs put millions to work, massive construction of affordable housing put people in homes, and rights like the 8 hour day and Social Security pensions for the elderly were won.

    “All of the promises of the early New Deal years began to go down the toilet when the independent left largely threw its lot in with Democrats in the 1936 election and thereafter. With the onset of WWII, McCarthyism and then the more severe recessions beginning in the 1970s, Democratic politicians increasingly attacked their own base. The same was seen after the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, when the remnants of those movements threw their lot in with the Democrats in the 1970s.

    “Unlike some Bernie supporters, I do not see that even the most robust New Deal style programs will even begin to solve the most fundamental, anti-human, anti-planet problems of capitalism. They will at best ameliorate them.

    “But this side of overthrowing capitalism, widespread amelioration is a better alternative to the far more savage results we saw during the 1930s in other countries. And for that we need to re-learn the lessons of the struggles of the 1930s, and how BOTH major parties were at the core of the problems, and not the solutions.”

    -Andy Thayer

  3. Possible reasons for Trump’s triumph by Salim Muwakkil:

    “1. The overwhelming white support given to Donald Trump is delayed racial backlash to the first black American president and the demographic changes his victory portends; it was a whitelash, as Van Jones passionately argued.

    “2. Republican Donald Trump’s victory conforms to the natural pattern of popular fatigue with two-terms of presidential leadership by the same political party. Only rarely do political parties’ national tenure last more than two terms.

    “3. The widespread white support that elected Donald Trump is the American iteration of an international movement of populist anger at seemingly out-of-control immigration. Populist parties pushing nativist, even xenophobic rhetoric are the fastest growing political forces in many European nations. The Brexit vote in the UK was another expression of this nativist spirit. Trump’s stance against Mexican immigration and his anti-Muslim posture is fully in line with this global movement.

    “4. Many supporters (as well as opponents) of Donald Trump are victims of a globalized, neo-liberal economy that structurally channels resources upwards and fosters dramatic wealth disparities and income inequality. Trump’s boastful nostrums soothe the economic anxieties of the victims while offering nothing programmatic.

    “5. The candidates’ temperaments also factor into the electorates’ choices and some experts argue that voters often seek sequential contrasts. Donald Trump’s hot, impulsive and undisciplined temperament is a dramatic contrast to Barack Obama’s cool, measured and deliberate manner.

    “6. Hillary Clinton's email scandals were politically deployed to give substance to Trump's allegations of dishonesty and dampened support for her candidacy” -Salim Muwakkil.

  4. A view to the future in terms of public policy in my world of education by Bill Tierney:

    “Mr. Trump’s first steps will be the repeal of Obamacare and a tax cut that will radically increase the deficit. It is not that easy to eliminate the Department of Education but educational funds and programs, and research funded by the government can be dramatically cut, especially if his Secretary of Education is Ben Carson. What that means:

    • For profit higher education will dramatically increase, with even less regulatory oversight;
    • Pell Grants and other need-based scholarships for college students will be dramatically curtailed;
    • Any funding for anti-bullying, homeless youth, foster care youth, LGBT youth and undocumented students will be eliminated;
    • Research funding for the Dept. of Education, NEA, NEH, NSF, and earth based climate projects for NASA will be eliminated.
    • Visas for international students will be dramatically curtailed (Indian students last year and students in Hong Kong this year already have said they’re hesitant to come to the country; legislation will make it that much harder).
    • Mr. Trump’s attacks on the first amendment will leach onto college campuses and make some individuals more hesitant to speak up and speak out.

    “The result is we will have fewer students participating in higher education, and student debt will increase. The students we work with in the Pullias Center are particularly harmed: Undocumented students will need to go underground; the lack of college preparation programs for low income students will make it harder to get into college and then get a college degree. The elimination of health care will increase the need for schools to provide expanded health care services. The result of fewer students with college degrees and fewer international students will leave jobs requiring STEM degrees to go unfilled. The curtailment of academic freedom shortchanges the vital role universities can play in a democracy.

    “What to do? It seems there are 3 options:
    1. When the AIDS crisis hit, ACT UP did not act rationally, did not obey the rules, did not act nice – and things changed. We ACTED UP because we had to

    2. Not all Trump voters are in the basket of ‘deplorables.’ We have to do a better job of talking with those who do not understand the consequences of their vote.

    3. Burrow down, mind your own business, and do nothing.

    “I’m fine with those of us who do #1 and/or #2. Not #3. Let’s take the weekend off. We begin Monday” –Bill Tierney.

  5. “Gut wrenching sadness. No words at the start for me, just pain and disbelief. Throughout the past thirty-five years, really since the election of Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been looking to roll back the civil and human rights gains of the 1960s and 70s. They’ve opposed affirmative action; challenged and finally succeeded (through the Supreme Court) of emasculating the voting rights act; chipped away at Roe v Wade; threatened to undo the EPA; denied Global warming science; and attacked the content of our multi-cultural society and education, calling it unpatriotic and anti-American, when we know it was, and is, our first serious effort to discover and tell the story of the real America. Now Trump’s victory is being depicted as a sign of a populist revolt that wasn’t heard, that wasn’t heeded.

    “There’s a painful truth here. And Hillary certainly wasn’t a populist figure. She was a political centrist, a party mainstay, but she also represented another vision of our former 1960s revolutionary period, women's voices, women's political power and equal rights. So the sight of her loss and Trump succeeding to the presidency—with his overt racism, mind-bogglingly empty slogans and rhetoric, joke of a campaign, vision of wall building that Mexico will pay for, mini-rape adulation, nativism, and general self-aggrandizement and ridiculing of America’s political system—violates our foundations as a progressive society. Stupidity, mean heartedness, bigotry, callousness to women, xenophobia, and greed for greater profits, are let loose under the banner of ‘“Make America Great Again’”—Leslie Kelen.

  6. "1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.

    "2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn't let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must 'heal the divide' and 'come together.' They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.

    "3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that's about to begin.

    "4. Everyone must stop saying they are 'stunned' and 'shocked.' What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all 'You're fired!' Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.

    "5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: 'HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!' The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the 'liberal' position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above)"--Michael Moore.