Friday, December 16, 2016

Reality Politics Under Trump and the GOP: Nepotism Is in, Fair Play Is out

There’ve been lots of ink spilt and bytes clicked over the upcoming vote December 19 by the Electoral College for the 45th president of the United States. The pros and cons of voting for the choice of the plurality of each state’s electorate or choosing, as David Pozen put it in Thursday’s New York Times, “Hillary Clinton or an establishment Republican,” have been hotly debated, mostly because of antipathy toward Donald Trump (

But here’s the reality—Hillary won’t be selected and even if the electors wanted to choose “an establishment Republican” there ain’t any of them around anymore. In the Grand Old Party there are no more Jacob Javitses, Edward Brookeses, Everett Dirksens, Charles Percys or Howard Bakers—the likes of senators willing to compromise and work with Democrats. Not even Ronald Reagan would qualify as a doctrinaire Republican these days. He, after all, worked with Tip O’Neill’s Democratic Congress.

Perhaps the euphoria of recapturing the three branches of government (once a conservative Supreme Court nominee is confirmed) has fractured the backbone of Republicans. They seem willing to abandon truth, constitutional principles and personal conscience in their eagerness to not become targets of Trump’s Twitter darts, public threats and humiliations (Trump keeps threatening Speaker of the House Paul Ryan if he doesn’t support him without reservation while his dangling of Mitt Romney as a potential secretary of state was mean-spirited. But to be fair, Romney’s willingness to represent to the world a man he considered unfit to be president made him unworthy of any sympathy.).

The height of Republican disdain for democratic principles, and Democrats, is playing out these days in North Carolina. For those not aware of how a Republican-controlled legislature can thwart the electorate’s will, take a few moments to read how GOP lawmakers are racing at breakneck speed to turn the newly elected Democratic governor into an impotent executive:

The double standard Republicans are demonstrating vis-a-vis Trump and their treatment of Hillary Clinton is equally egregious. They smooth over his obvious business conflicts of interest, they don’t bat an eyelash at the intrusion of his children and son-in-law into affairs of state in violation of nepotism and conflict of interest protocols, they fail to strongly challenge Trump’s rejection of the intelligence community’s assertion that Russia was behind the hacking of Clinton’s and the Democratic Party’s emails, they paper over Trump’s repeated lies, the latest being his contention that the Obama administration did not cite Russian hacking before the election, to name just a few of their tolerances for the disruption of government as we know it and the accountability of elected officials.

Let me share with you an analysis of Trump’s meeting with technology executives earlier this week that illuminates the quagmire of ethics and absurdity we have entered into: 

(For those who chose not to read the link, the central point  by Mark Suster was the meeting at Trump Tower included 25 people. “25 people. 4 of them — FOUR — are the president-elect’s children (sic—actually three children and one son-in-law). That is 16% of everybody in the room or put differently if I include Donald Trump the meeting consists of 20% family members. This is the definition of nepotism that we would condemn from the least democratic nations in the world.”