LESSONS FROM 100 DAYS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP

Apr 30, 2017 by

5. Trump systematically betrays his supporters. Elected in part on working-class anger at elites, he keeps proposing giant tax cuts for the rich financed by cutting health care for the needy, and his tax “plan” would in effect borrow from China to reward billionaires like himself. His “deregulation” includes letting chemical companies peddle an insecticide, chlorpyrifos, linked to brain damage in children.

6. Trump has built a colossal swamp in Washington, hiring lobbyists to craft policies governing the very companies that previously paid them. To cover up abuses, the White House issues secret waivers of its own ethics rules! The denizens of this swamp are also like nothing previously seen in the White House: One counterterrorism aide, Sebastian Gorka, founded an extremist political party in Hungary and allegedly has ties (which he denies) to a Nazi-allied group there.

7. Bless the American people: Scapegoating and bigotry carry a political price. Trump has demonized some of the most vulnerable people — refugees and unauthorized immigrants — but large majorities of Americans disapprove of his policies on immigration (57 percent to 41 percent, according a CNN poll).

8. After initially tussling with allies like Australia and Mexico, and apparently refusing to shake Angela Merkel’s hand for a photo, Trump has partially adapted to reality on foreign policy, abandoning his positions on two Chinas, on China’s currency and on the Iran nuclear program. He has replaced an awful national security adviser (Michael Flynn) with a good one (H. R. McMaster) and now has a respectable national security team.

9. Perhaps the greatest single risk of a Trump presidency is what he calls a “major, major conflict” erupting on the Korean Peninsula. I don’t think this is likely, but it would be cataclysmic. The problem is that Trump’s existing policy won’t succeed in getting North Korea to give up its nuclear stockpile — and one can’t help worrying when two inexperienced and impulsive leaders face off.

10. Democrats should be careful to avoid Trump Derangement Syndrome. A survey of Dartmouth students found that 45 percent of Democrats would be uncomfortable with a roommate of opposite political views, compared with only 12 percent of Republicans. Meanwhile, the passions to block conservative speakers at Middlebury and the University of California, Berkeley, should also give us pause: Liberalism mustn’t be illiberal.

11. Let’s avoid the temptation to chase the latest shiny thing. Focus on what’s truly important: health, tax and housing policy, the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, the efforts to undermine women’s health programs, and the effort to slash foreign aid just as 20 million people face possible famine.

12. The Republic stands. Checks and balances have constrained Trump, courts have blocked his travel ban, journalists have provided oversight, and the public has hounded members of Congress. Alarm that the U.S. might slip into a fascist dictatorship has diminished — but it’s a long three years and nine months still ahead of us.

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