Trump Is No Populist:
The People Didn't Elect Him!
The Huffington Post, April 5, 2017
I’m so tired of references to Donald Trump as a “populist,” considering the populace by far didn’t vote for his presidency.
A populist has been defined as a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people, causing me to wonder when in recent times the Republican party has been known to do that?
As for Trump, he’s only lately become a Republican and, even as he purported to champion the “people,” he did so mostly flying home each night to his gilded palace on Fifth Avenue.
But okay, you say, a rich fellow could still promote average guys and gals, except one only has to look at the “benefits”
his new presidency has bestowed in ten weeks to see his “populism” hasn’t helped or sought to aid anyone but elites, a group he often decried.
He’s lied often and lied again to support his lies, which have been deemed indefensible by many detractors, including lambasters in his newly adopted party. Even Fox News disputed his assertions they’d provided proof for multiple Trump tweets that Barack Obama wiretapped him during the campaign. Trump attributed as his source the network’s commentator Andrew Napolitano, whom Fox News thereupon briefly suspended.
Trump boasted on May 14, 2016, “Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced with something much less expensive that works much better,” one of myriad such statements during the campaign. Yet the hastily-constructed House plan, whose members had seven years to draft and which Trump enthusiastically endorsed, was defeated by conservative activists on one side and GOP moderates on the other, not to mention sure defeat awaiting in the Senate.
His “better” plan was denounced by many, including the AMA and AARP. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which analyzes effects of legislation, predicted 24 million would lose coverage, others would find fewer benefits and higher deductibles, and even with the end of Medicaid subsidies to the states, it would still only save the government $151 billion over ten years.
What’s most amusing, if it weren’t serious, is that millions of Trump supporters found themselves in danger of losing health coverage they’d grown to rely upon under Obamacare vs. the “better” Trump plan.
His pledge to “drain the swamp” produced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign, and his first Senate ally, Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from investigating the Russian interference in our election, due to both men consorting with the Russian ambassador.
Regarding Obama’s “wiretapping,” FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have denied Trump’s allegations of wiretapping, as have other intelligence sources.
However, Trump’s congressional stooge, Devin Nunes, chair of the supposedly bipartisan House Intelligence Committee, secretly examined intelligence information at the White House provided by a former aide and then reported same to Trump (who should’ve known, considering it was coming from his offices) without including ranking member Adam Schiff before going forward with a news conference, much of which he backtracked later.
What’s most disconcerting is the continual delusion forthcoming, not only from the usual sources, i.e. GOP congressional leaders, but from respected news commentators who almost always, even when they’re detailing Trump prevarications, shrug that the people elected him to pursue these policies.
The people did NOT elect Trump. The Electoral College did. Many journalists cynically dismiss this argument as fallacious, reasoning since the Electoral College exists it doesn’t make a difference, in effect ignoring that almost 3,000,000 more citizens voted for Hillary Clinton. Maybe these “people” aren’t the folks they’re talking about. Perhaps, though misleading, they’re referring to the few “people” chosen to vote for their state’s winning candidate. It was those “people,” not most Americans who elected Trump to pursue his policies.
This was an unusual election, not to mention the intrusion of the FBI Director days before November 8. Still, amidst the tumult
of the Trump presidency and cries of “sour grapes” from those backing the president who denounce naysayers opposed to his legislative offerings, executive orders and Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch, one might hope reasonable journalists said,
“I understand the pushback, considering the popular vote. Maybe we should discuss whether The Electoral College is relevant today when news of candidates is available to most, when education is far more accessible, when women and folks of color
may vote, when slavery isn’t legal, all things not so when ‘founders’ created what is now an archaic abomination.”
But they don’t. From their standpoint, Trump is president, so they just discuss how he’s doing and, to their credit, reveal the lies. They do consistently remind why Gorsuch is facing problems, much of which is due to Mitch McConnell’s refusal to hold hearings for Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland, over a year ago. It’s maddening, though to watch most of them permit McConnell to deflect his foul deed with his hoax that Supreme Court justices shouldn’t be proposed in election years, as if the Constitution limited a president’s power for one-quarter of his term.
And what about Trump’s GOP detractors? Not one has said he/she will oppose McConnell’s plan to end filibustering for this appointment. Even Susan Collins, shame on her. And so-called moralists like Lindsey Graham and John McCain side with Trump almost every occasion, even as they often scold him. UPDATED to indicate the three senators DID join GOP colleagues to end ALL filibustering except for legislation.
This nightmare wouldn’t be happening if the people’s choice took office, and it’s inconceivable why Americans, the press and even Democratic officeholders aren’t screaming for a change in our presidential election system to popular vote, whether by constitutional amendment (hard) or the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (much easier and 60% already there). Let’s get a president in office the people really wanted!
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