Post-Trump, Changes Will Be Needed

Trump is not the problem, he’s a symptom.

I know you have heard this a billion times by now, and it is true. However, while it is a very important thing to realize and understand, it is also very important to remember that this symptom points to a major disease that threatens the survival of our democracy.

By all rights, there is no way Donald Trump should have survived the Republican primaries in 2016. In days gone by, he would have been lucky to poll 5-10 percent. But the Republican Party is broken and has been for a long time. By the time of the “Republican revolution” in the 1994 election, it had already been broken for some time, but its fractures have gotten worse over the last quarter-century or so.

And why not? Who would expect otherwise? For more than 50 years, they have put winning ahead of politics and certainly way ahead of anything resembling morality. When Lyndon Johnson kicked their asses in 1964, the reaction wasn’t to polish their political message and stop attacking Social Security and welfare, it was to recruit former Democrats who felt “disaffected” when the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were passed. You know, racist white people.

The current GOP has now been appealing to racist white people for more than 50 years, and they have allowed that element of their party to take over, which explains why they elected a completely moronic fake billionaire as their standard bearer. The party that once led the way when it came to confronting the old Soviet Union has now embraced a former KGB cold warrior from Russia and allowed him to co-opt our democracy. As the moronic “president” embraces Putin and Russian oligarchs who are hell-bent on destroying democracy, the entire Republican Party has joined him and supports him fully.

Like it or not, Donald Trump, our would-be dictator, has changed our politics, and not in a good way. For two years now, he has tried to push the envelope with regard to presidential power and the rest of his chosen party has helped him at every turn. The only thing he knows how to do is to sign Executive Orders, and many of them have been doozies, to put it kindly. And the broken GOP has supported them all in every way imaginable.

“We, the people” will have to change a lot in the coming years, which is why it is important to elect nothing but Democrats for a long time. This is not permanent, of course; we need more than one party in the system, eventually. However, for now, we have to elect Democrats at every level because we know for a fact that the Republican Party will not change anything. They like the way the system works right now because they win more often that way.

The first thing we’ll have to get Democrats to do is to shore up the electoral system. PART of that is campaign finance reform, of course, but it’s really not the most important thing, and it’s certainly not the magic bullet many unicorn progressives believe it is. Last week a Bernie Stan tried to convince me that we have to change the campaign finance system first, or we will never win another election, which is silly. Barack Obama won presidential elections quite handily both before and after Citizens United, so…

The biggest thing we have to address is to encourage greater turnout. After all, that is the key to Republicans’ electoral dominance over the past 40 years. One of the hallmarks of the Republican strategy is their belief in holding down turnout. It’s not a new thing. Here is a small clip from the architect of the new “conservative” movement, in a speech he made in 1980:

That’s the number one thing we have to change. We have to give more Americans a reason to show up and vote. That is why Trump has to be a major motivator for 2020, but he can’t be the only moptivation. The entire GOP has to go, at every level.

We will also have to re-establish is the notion that the president is the moral leader of the nation. Trump obviously is the opposite of a moral leader. Even before he was fake elected, we knew he had no moral core. He’s not even committed to the United States; most everything he does in foreign policy does more for Russia than the United States.

Along those same lines, we have to do what we can to encourage the press to do its job and make sure every future candidate at every level is fully and properly vetted; something that was not done in 2016. It’s now 2019 and Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns. He paid hush money to two women he’d once had sex with and we still don’t know all the details. It’s impossible to believe that NO investigative journalists have looked into this issue and gotten all of the details, but that apparently is the case. Either tha or other journalists have decided it’s not a big deal and they have chosen to ignore it.

As I said, a lot of changes will have to be undertaken by the Democrats who take over the government once Republicans are gone. Trump has shown us that we will need much more explicit laws to protect us from a tyrant. There is enough in place now to prevent a moronic tyrant from taking too much power for himself, but what if the next narcissistic dictator-wannabe is smarter than Trump?

We have to pass laws that explicitly require the next elected president who owns large assets to place everything s/he owns into a blind trust – period. Failure to do so by the time the candidate takes the oath of office should be an automatically impeachable offense. Likewise, any president who personally benefits from being president while in office should be automatically impeachable.

That means Congress should pass a series of laws that a president is required to follow, or be automatically eligible for impeachment. They should also pass a law that explicitly SAYS a president can be held legally accountable (by indictment or arrest) if s/he commits a crime. No more questions about whether 45-year-old memos have any kind of legal authority.

Impeachment also has to become easier and there should be a specific legal construct and code of conduct for presidents. For some behavior, it should not be up to the discretion of the party in charge of the House and/or the Senate to decide whether some things are impeachable. We have sat back and watched Trump pillage the Treasury for two solid years, but because Republicans in Congress didn’t care, now we have Democrats having to play catch up and just beginning hearings that should have started more than two years ago. The very minute he took the oath and then trashed the United States in his dark inauguration speech, Trump has been breaking the law.

One way we may make impeachment easier would be to set up a non-partisan panel to look at the crimes and the actions of each president and make recommendations about whether or not they should be impeached and why. The key in all of this would be the “non-partisan” part. Someone like Robert Mueller would be perfect because they demonstrate loyalty to the country, not their party, even though we all know Mueller is a Republican.

In short, we have to return this country to a time when corruption was not acceptable, as long as it was “our side” being corrupt. Trump has to change everything because we can’t afford another self-centered narcissist as president, or we at least have to acknowledge that such people can “win,” and take precautions to limit their corruption.

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