When Ronald Reagan was elected president I literally became ill. It was unexpected as was his victory tally, but as difficult as it was to digest I accepted he was chosen by the preponderance of the American people.
Not so with Donald Trump, who under a flawed and archaic system achieved high office, but it wasn’t because more Americans were drawn to his bigoted, outrageous utterances. Almost three million more voters rejected his candidacy and we must vigilantly remember this, not falter as we did after 2000. Why? Because he continues his cocky, insensitive display to the greater numbers who opposed him, shoving our collective faces in the mud.
Three weeks in, he's announced mostly right-wing cabinet choices and policies, despite huge worldwide demonstrations against him, castigation by many senators protesting his nominees, including Republicans who later capitulate, all while Trump spews lie after lie regarding his proposals and even the fact more Americans preferred Hillary Clinton.
There've been few GOP senators willing to match rhetoric with deeds and deny Trump the worst of his cabinet. In the most defiant act yet only two Republican senators, Maine's Susan Collins and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski voted against Betsy DeVos, the roundly criticized Education Secretary choice. They only needed one party colleague to join them, and considering they'd agreed to other controversial choices like Attorney General Jeff Sessions it was odd they couldn't persuade one senator to prevent Mike Pence from breaking a tie vote.
Despite continual GOP criticism of Trump, every cabinet choice appears to be getting the nod, even Tom Price for Health/Human Services, despite his stock profits scandals and over-the-top desire to end the Affordable Care Act.
When Democrats tried to block his nomination by refusing to attend hearings, which required one opposition vote to move to the full Senate, Utah's Orrin Hatch said Democrats were “acting like idiots.” With unbelievable cheek, laced with hypocrisy, he said “Yesterday, my colleagues took the unprecedented step of boycotting a finance committee vote on nominations... Long story short, we took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues.” This, from someone who supported Mitch McConnell's refusal to hold hearings after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died for any nominee Barack Obama proferred even with almost a year left in his term.
And then we have John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who expressed grave concerns about State Department pick Rex Tillerson, then caved in when it was time to vote, unable to send a message to a president they clearly disliked, because naked politics eclipsed their so-called decency. One should remember Graham was among House attorneys trying to convict Bill Clinton in '99 and I can still remember his smarmy holier than thou pronouncements, negated in present day by his and McCain's sell-out to a president they abhor even for a lesser cabinet post like Education. How then could we expect their opposition for State, Treasury or Health/Human Services?
So, we are left to the courts to determine the constitutionality of the many Trump blusters, most recently regarding his executive order banning travel from a select group of Muslim nations. We are continuously barraged by mindless maniacal tweets from a man who so many, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared was unfit for the presidency and we are seeing they were right.
It’s important to repeat that almost three million more Americans concurred and voted as such on November 8, but we are stuck, not just with a president whose policies are antithetical to many Americans but with a president and his cohorts antagonistic to more Americans than those who voted for him. How can we retain a system that permits this?
It’s also frustrating when TV newscasters during discussion with those decrying Trump shrug that citizens apparently wanted these things and elected him to do so. In most instances they don't include the obvious asterisk, that his ascension was only due to the Electoral College, which clearly disproves their point.
Yet these same anchors like CNN's Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon, Fox News' Chris Wallace and MSNBC's Chris Matthews paradoxically revel in problems confronting Trump, reporting extensively on his diplomatic faux pas and challenges he faces with courts who won't permit him to act by fiat.
They recognize inconsistencies, such as Chris Matthews' spirited interview with oily, often unpleasant prevaricator Kellyanne Conway, who almost never gives straight answers even when confronted with facts. She invariably deflects Trump's lies or shameful conduct with something Bill Clinton or others have done. Indeed, in response to her dismay over the protest concerning Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Matthews reminded her of the Senate’s refusal to even consider Merrick Garland, who was Obama's choice.
Conway untruthfully stated presidents don't nominate Supreme Court justices in their fourth year (they did in 1912, 1916, 1932, 1940 1956, 1968) and Matthews then asked if Trump would pledge not to do so if someone departed in his fourth or eighth year. She stonewalled, in spite of three or four follow-up attempts.
Such is the quality of Trump's chief confidantes. Conway has since come under fire for endorsing Ivanka Trump's clothing line, then was defended by presidential spokesman Sean Spicer, even as GOP House Ethics Chairman Jason Chaffetz declared he'll investigate her.
Outrage spread when Trump's consigliere Steve Bannon replaced the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman on the National Security Council, and scandal brewed over National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's questionable December call to the Russian Ambassador, assuring him Obama's sanctions wouldn't be a problem.
UPDATED: Flynn was forced to resign on February 13.
Haven't we had enough? Marching is great, but issues aside this surely should convince us to change our presidential election system to popular vote. Let's march for this!
Michael Russnow’s website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com
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