Well, not really. But there’s a lot to be said about Trump losing healthcare. So many angles to discuss. The one I prefer has to do with Democrats. It’s surprisingly not obvious that Trump would blame the Democrats for this failure, but blame he did. “Look, we got no Democratic votes. We got none, zero,” he conspicuously told the New York Times. Well, you never actually asked for any, did you?

Throughout this process, I haven’t heard a single democratic name mentioned in the press as part of this process. Chuck Schumer was mentioned in today’s news, but not because of the historic non-vote. Instead he was in the paper for claiming the democratic votes to filibusters Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

So it came as a bit of a shock that suddenly the democratic resistance was to blame, even in the ultra-partisan Washington political atmosphere. Throughout the last few days of political wrangling, it didn’t even seem like there were two major parties in Washington at all. Democrats? We still have those around here?

The inherent non-news about democratic involvement in the legislative process went calmly unnoticed, but miss it we did. The Republicans just took everything over and then choked themselves on their own success. The word bipartisan was harder to find in the news on Friday than a republican on Mars (yes, the planet).

Did Trump ever pick up a phone to Nancy Pelosi and I missed the news release?

As an aside, I’d also like to mention that Trump’s deal-making skills aren’t that super duper after all. I know it’s only so much hyperbole and I’m stating the obvious, except I’m not. Trump’s big promise is his deal making skills. That’s his appeal. But to make deals, you need to involve all parties. What we saw was that Trump’s business acumen isn’t about win/win. It’s win/lose. He wins and you lose. This is why his furious but unfruitful outreach over the last few days included not a single dime’s worth of calls to the left side of the isle. And he paid the price for his arrogance, miscalculation and greed.

If Trump was the leader he claims to be, he’d lead. It’s clear he doesn’t really understand true political leadership. He understands only winning or losing. So today he got to lose.

Trump’s White House appears to be spiraling out of control. There’s already massive controversy, back-biting, leaks, subterfuge, carelessness, betrayal, and a generous helping of alt-facts. It’s been less than a month.

Now, one could argue that things just need to stabilize for Trump and that all he needs is time. But Trump isn’t just in a rough patch. He’s a in a whole new environment. Surrounded by a bureaucracy that he condemns and that despises him, betrayals small and large await in the days ahead, and enemies lurk in the shadows of every building in Washington.

The Republican establishment hates Donald Trump. He scares them for a variety of reasons. He’s unpredictable, spiteful, and a loose cannon. He’s also unversed in many matters of government that would benefit a president.They all know he’s in the wrong place and got there the wrong way. They didn’t want him to begin with and only grudgingly accepted him as he won more and more popular support of their mutual voting base.

But support doesn’t translate to love or loyalty, and the establishment would have an easy time convincing their cohorts to turn on Trump given the right set of circumstances. The reason? Pence. An insider. Far more mainstream than Trump, but very conservative. A dream candidate who handled himself well during the VP debate. The presidency would fit nicely with Republican’s wish list were it handed to Pence. They just need a good reason to oust Trump.

So here’s my prediction.

There’s a very good chance that Republicans are secretly hoping for a good enough reason to impeach. But the catch is that the reason needs to be iron clad or they risk the wrath of Trump’s base. They can’t just impeach, but given something egregious enough, they could do it and oust Trump whilst installing Pence.

By the look of it, it might not be long before something like this comes up. With Russian hacking, a Trump/Russian dossier, and now Mike Flynn and the Russians? It’s hard to ignore all of the Russian ties. Any investigation that shows Donald Trump had any secret contact with the Russians could prove to be a terrific reason to oust him and still maintain the support of the faithful.

I guess we’ll all have to wait and find out.

Trump’s Republicans today killed the Election Commission as part of their continued assault on our freedoms and our right to vote, while still pushing the phony, baseless claim of ‘massive voter fraud’. I haven’t heard of a single person charged with voter fraud. You would think the ‘millions’ of people would be easier to find, eh?
 
Trump plans to rig the next election in his favor with a nefarious combination of voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, and the elimination of this so-called ‘wasteful’ government agency charged with making sure elections aren’t tampered with. Saying it’s shameful doesn’t cover it. California needs to leave the union. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Trump is giving the EPA to a climate change skeptic who has ties to fossil fuel. He’s giving our foreign policy to Exxon, one of the biggest special interests in the country. Our government is quickly becoming too corrupt to salvage under this so-called ‘drain the swamp’ liar.
 
Every day there’s another terrible headline. I can’t even read the news anymore. I think at some point we have to recognize that there’s no longer any middle ground. Either you want your kids praying in public schools, or you don’t. Either you want healthcare for everyone or you don’t. Either you believe in the power of diversity, or you don’t. Either you believe regulation, while more expensive for business, protects people or you don’t.
 
The people I know who support Trump are willing to overlook the obvious danger signs. They claim he doesn’t mean what he says. They claim it makes sense to stuff the government full of morons like Ben Carson and Rick Perry, or billionaires or bankers while they roll back banking rules. They say it doesn’t matter that Trump peddles racism and xenophobia and alternative facts, or has ties to the alt-right and their white nationalist agenda. They are willing to overlook all of it. When they finally realize the full extent of their missteps giving this loose cannon the reigns of power, it may very well be too late.

One of the biggest problems in today’s political discourse is that people seem to have lost sight, or purposefully ignore, much of their own commonsense. Instead, political affiliation seems to have taken over as the driving force behind our decisions and points of view.

Let’s take one modern example: Trump’s new Muslim ban. Now let me be clear: I detest Donald Trump. He has no business in the White House, and does not deserve to be president. But, would I call his recent executive action to ban people from certain countries “A Muslim ban”?  Not really. There are dozens of countries that are majority Muslim not on his list. And I know many well-meaning liberal people who are smart enough to understand that an actual Muslim ban would look much different than this limited order.

On the other side of the argument the administration says that an immediate ban from these locations is absolutely necessary. Why? That wasn’t President Obama’s take, and we didn’t have any terror attacks from non-citizens under his 8 years. If these places were really interested in attacking us they could do it very easily. It’s not as if guns are hard to come by in the US. 9/11 was over 15 years ago.

The ironic thing about this specific debate is that both sides have relied illogical arguments to make their point.

So what is really going on?

The political left realizes that continuing to insult Muslims could actually provoke the dangerous circumstances this order is said to prevent. It seems very ill conceived, and was obviously crafted hurriedly and without a lot of thought considering the green card scandal and obvious lack of guidance to the various departments. It’s also been characterized as overly broad. The problem with Donald Trump insulting minorities is that any attack in response to his bellicose blather will just turn into a reason for him to grab more power and suppress his political opposition.

Meanwhile, the political right gets to feel some form of appeasement from their new leader whose first wall “to keep out them foreigners”, as it turns out, is more of an ocean. The xenophobes argue it’s not a Muslim ban, but that’s exactly what they want. So they are approving of the position they are arguing against.

*sigh*

 

1. How does repeatedly insulting the nation of Mexico get them to capitulate to our demands? Public support in Mexico for a tough stance against the United States is probably at a record high, dramatically increasing the prospect of a trade war and diminishing our position in any negotiations. That would ultimately hurt the United States economy.

2. How does insulting the whole world of Muslims, not to mention many non-Muslims, make us safer in the long run? This action by President Trump will only enhance our enemy’s narrative of religious persecution by Christians and fuel a new generation of both homegrown and international threats making us far LESS safe.

3. Weren’t at least a few recent terrorist attacks in the United States homegrown, and isn’t this crackdown a provocation to another such local extremist? The San Bernardino terrorist was born here.

4. And why isn’t Saudi Arabia on the list? They sent 15 of the 19 hijackers from 9/11. Wouldn’t they be at the top of any list? What secret purpose would motivate president Trump to overlook $audi Arabia? I suppose our new secretary of state, the former CEO of Exxon had something to do with that decision.

5. And what if Trumps fancy new extreme vetting system doesn’t work right, and a few angry, determined extremists slip in? Then who will Trump pin the blame on? Obama, most likely.

Even to the casual observer one cannot ignore that these are all costly and strategic mistakes when it comes to protecting the American people. Insulting, bullying, fabricating, insinuating might (shockingly) get you to the White House in this country, but the same strategy could well prove disastrous for the United States as a country.

One last note: a terrorist attack would play right into Donald’s hands. It would allow him to consolidate power. It would also allow him a bigger microphone and make it easier for him to defend himself against criticism. So the only real person with something to gain from a terrorist attack against the United States at this point in time is Donald Trump himself.

Today, the Mexican President took the highly unusual step of cancelling a meeting with Donald Trump. The amazing, but not wholly unpredictable result of 18 months of bellicose blather by the new President. But what does this mean for the world?

Well, I think it’s fair to speculate that any unilateral action Trump takes will elicit a reaction by Mexico and affect trade in a negative way for American consumers and businesses, which is obviously bad for the US.

Trump’s twitter rants are no way to renegotiate NAFTA, and his bullying of Mexico is not endearing – to we Americans and Mexicans alike. A better approach would have been to announce a renegotiating of NAFTA and work through the issues at the table.

That said, the wall Trump wants to build is a separate issue from NAFTA. For one thing, Trump’s been insulting towards our Southern neighbor, arrogantly proclaiming that he’s going to make them pay for his grand idea. He speaks about them like someone in high school that you can beat up and manipulate, and at this point I’d be surprised if their national mood was anything but SCREW TRUMP, even if it costs jobs and money.

So, the result is that Trump has embarrassed himself internationally and created animosity with our third largest trading partner. And it’s only week 1. This is going get really interesting. It’s like watching a semi-slow motion train wreck.

Yesterday Trump tweeted out a condemnation of the Boeing Air Force One contract price, or so he seemed to describe it. Today, big business is having buyers remorse – and Trump is not even president.

Trump’s every word affects stock prices now. If I were a Boeing employee, I’d be pissed off by his latest childish and ill-informed outburst. And, if I were any number of big businesses whose profit margin depends on outsourced call centers or manufacturing, I’d be terrified. Some of these businesses aren’t solvent without cheap labor and even if they are, stock prices of American investors could suffer with a drop in profitability.

Trump is supposed to be pro business. Even if the government is spending too much, on the Air Force One contract, which isn’t immediately clear, his buffoonish approach of broadcasting threats via twitter is bound to upset group after group after group in the business word.

As the man running the show, it’s his job to fix the machine, not go to war with his own government. Good leadership would dictate that he put his head down and get to work on fixing things that he perceives to be broken. He gains nothing by playing this little game except PR and he does so at the expense of the people who now work for him. Ultimately that’s not the path for a successful president.