On Nov. 8, America showed us that it is mad. No, not mad as in angry. Mad as in losing our goddamn mind. We—well, some of us—elected a lying narcissist sociopath bigot to the most powerful position in the world. There were various reasons this happened: fear, economics, and frustration were among them. Yet there is one reason cited specifically by Trump supporters that takes the cake for the worst.
But first, here’s a rundown of the completely bonkers and/or clearly unconstitutional ideas that he floated during the campaign—from his Muslim ban and registry; to his deportation force; to the “beautiful” wall; and the NATO shakedown; plus advocating for “worse than torture” or committing mass-murder and war crimes on the innocent families of suspect terrorists; and don’t forget the national installation of stop-and-frisk; and top it off with stealing health care away from 22 million Americans.
What’s nuttier than all of that is his voters believed that Congress just won’t let him get away with any of this stuff.
The Congress that led us straight off the fiscal cliff and got our national credit rating downgraded? The Congress that wouldn’t pass a budget for nearly six years? The Congress that has left the Supreme Court with only eight members for nearly a year? The Congress that held eight different investigations of Benghazi? The Congress that now averages more than 120 filibusters per year? The Congress that voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act upwards of 50 times? The Congress that hasn’t even begun to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act following the Shelby v. Holder decision from 2013? The Congress that refused to come out with a bipartisan statement in opposition to Russia hacking our election in order to favor Donald Trump?
There are people who admit they know that Trump’s ideas are completely nucking futz. But they voted for him anyway because they hope members of Congress will be the reasonable ones?
That’s just crazy.
This recent Town Hall with Trump voters and Bernie Sanders in Kenosha, Wisconsin, underscores this point.
After having a discussion with one Trump voter who refused to believe it’s possible to tax the wealthy in order to generate enough revenue to make public college free—even though seven advanced nations including Germany, France, Finland, Norway, Brazil, Slovenia, and Sweden are all already doing exactly that—we hear from one Muslim activist who points out how Trump’s Presidency is an existential threat to her community, starting at 4:00 in the video.
Rhema Ahmed: I think that Trump’s campaign was a campaign of hate. I was a Bernie supporter, I did switch over to Hillary in general election and the reason is for me, and the communities that I’m a part of, for me, Trump posed a real threat to our existence. And I say this as someone who was born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin, I’m a Wisconsinite, I’m a mid-westerner, I’m an American. so, um, yeah.
Chris Hayes: When you say posed a real threat to the communities you’re a part of, what did you mean?
Rhema: I mean folks of color. I mean communities of immigrants. I mean Trump has talked about putting folks that look like me on a national registry. I mean we’re thinking about Japanese Internment. and I’m also talking about other immigrant communities, communities that have benefited from DACA and DAPA. What are those communities gonna do? Are my friends, are my family going to be deported now? People who call this country home, who identify as American? Is this what’s going to happen? This is terrifying. And I say this as someone who has family members who voted for Trump. I’m from a mutli-ethnic, multi-religious family. It’s something we tried not to talk about that. But it’s scary to know that neighbors, family members may look past the threat that Trump poses to our very livelihood just because they wanted something different.
She said it several times. Trump is a threat. Trump is terrifying.
And what’s truly sad and horrifying is how one Trump supporter reacted to her clearly articulated expression of terror.
Trump Voter: He started a dialogue. There’s not one person in this room, Democrat, Republican or Independent, that would allow anything to happen like that and even in our Congress. That would not be acceptable to anybody. He just started a dialogue, and the dialogue has changed and it’s gotten better. None of that is ever gonna happen.
Rhema: He’s proposing legislation though. He’s proposing removing DAPA and DACA.
Trump Voter: (Cutting her off) In the first place you can’t promote—that’s anti-religion, it’s against our Constitution. That’s never gonna pass, and even if it went to the Supreme Court I don’t care, it would be thrown out. He can propose all he wants, it has to go through our Congress first, that’s another buffer zone we have.
It would be thrown out by the SCOTUS? Uh, after how many years? After Trump gets to stack the court—in the way that Congress has specifically enabled him to do by refusing to even meet with or vote on Judge Merrick Garland—with right-wing, anti-choice judges? How long has the Voting Rights Act been gutted again?
Chris Hayes: This is something I encountered a lot when I talked to Trump voters, who would say very similar things. The things that he says that are the worst things; the Muslim ban for instance. That’s just him “talking smack” and “it’s not gonna happen.” Is that how you three think of it, or is it “I hope he does that?”
Trump Voter #2: I hope he does not do that. I would never want to see anybody thrown out just because of their beliefs. Or their religion, I mean that’s awful. No. (chuckles)
Yeah, not seeing the funny with that. Or with this:
Trump voter #3: Y’know to some extent I’m hoping it is. Being one that works in a factory, and I have tried to finish my college degree, to be in the factory to do the job I’m doing. But because there’s so many illegals in there, I can’t get the pay I should get.
Chris: So you think that undocumented immigrants are threatening your pay, and you hope he does deport a lot of them? (Rhema is next to him and looks on the verge of tears).
Trump voter #3: It’s even been said on radio, that a lot of them that get stopped don’t pay their tickets. They go to Mexico and hide, they get away with it. They don’t pay their taxes, they go to Mexico and hide and then come back. I’ve seen this, it’s upsetting.
Trump Voter #4: I think that a lot of what he said was unimplementable rhetoric, to gain attention and it would never be congressionally approved.
And then Sen. Sanders pointed out the obvious to Trump voters No. 1, 2, and 4, who all said it’s “never gonna happen.”
Sanders: Well as somebody who is in the Congress, I’m not so sure that you’re right. But I think that there’s no question to my mind—and I think that it’s interesting what three out of four of you are saying, “Yeah, he talked about that stuff but we don’t believe it will ever happen”—why do you vote for somebody, who in a sense, is lying? (Crowd applauds)
Uh, yeah. Why? My impression is there really isn’t a good reason and Trump voter #1 came back again and pretty much confirmed that.
TV#1: He started a dialogue with the American people, and he used the media to get his point across. And he changed his view. He wasn’t lying, he started a dialogue, he got feedback and he addressed it as he went along. He knows as well as anybody in this room you can’t go after anybody because of their religious beliefs? It’s never—and I knew that right off the bat, he talked to the public.
Really? This is why he has Michael Flynn as his pick for national security adviser? A man who had to recently delete all his Islamophobic and fake news-promoting tweets after Gen. Barry McCaffrey said this about them:
But I must admit that now I am extremely uneasy about some of these tweets, which don’t sound so much as if they’re politically skullduggery, but instead border on being demented,” McCaffrey said.
“So I think we need to look into this and sort out what’s going on here,” he concluded. “I think we need to aggressively examine what was going on with Gen. Flynn and his son dealing with these transparent, nearly demented tweets that were going out.”
“I think it needs closer scrutiny,” he said.
This is the guy who’s going to set our national security policy, and his position doesn’t need to be confirmed by Congress.
Anyway, Sanders then brought it home.
Sanders: Well, you make an interesting point. You think, and I think, that what he was talking about was unconstitutional. That you’ve got a candidate for president of the United States talking about grossly unconstitutional things ... and he wins an election.
TV#1: Well, look what our congress does. They pass unconstitutional laws everyday.
Well, actually, they haven't passed much of anything in years. But it is interesting that his argument in defense of Trump advocating unconstitutional things is that Congress behaves just as unconstitutionally.
And who was it that was going to stop Trump’s unconstitutionality again?
It was immediately after this point where Trump voter #2, who had argued in favor of mass deportation, said that the people who receive Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security should have been listened to all this time—that they were the “Silent Majority”—and that clip has been most referenced since the town hall. Bernie Sanders points out that it is the Republicans and Donald Trump, who are threatening to cut Medicaid with block grants, to privatize Social Security, and to replace Medicare with health care vouchers.
The simple truth is that none of Trump’s ideas or suggestions are any good. Starting a trade war with China is not a good idea.
It's true that the U.S. wields significant power over Beijing. Huge amounts of trade flows in both directions across the Pacific, but China sells far more to the U.S. than it buys from American companies. Beijing has more to lose.
But don't for a second think that Chinese officials would not respond to aggressive action by a Trump administration with punitive measure of their own.
"If the U.S. imposes high tariffs on Chinese imports, then the smart move for China is to retaliate. China is too big to be bullied in this way," David Dollar, the U.S. Treasury Department's former financial emissary to Beijing, wrote recently on China File.
And NAFTA is actually not the source of all our jobs problems.
Populism is generally hostile to the very idea of international trade, and NAFTA in particular has become a scapegoat for every economic ill since it was enacted on January 1, 1994, more than 22 years ago. Surely one of the reasons is that its creation was bipartisan: It was initiated by President George H. W. Bush and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. NAFTA was enacted by a bipartisan vote in the Senate (61 to 38) and the House of Representatives, where supporters included 132 Republicans and 102 Democrats. In hindsight, this means any politician can bash it. But the main reason seems to be that the public is incessantly misled into believing that the three-nation deal between Canada, Mexico, and the United States was some kind of “development deal” that aided Mexicans at the expense of American workers.
Hence, people think it’s a bad deal. Dumb negotiators! Notice how Mr. Trump incorrectly perceives economic agreements as business deals, as if treaties among allies are zero-sum business negotiations. I don’t blame the man. He’s a world-class real-estate developer, after all. His most famous book is The Art of the Deal, for Pete’s sake. The deal is the lens through which Trump makes sense of the world. It is a distorted view, but there it is. The distortion is abetted by a cult of negotiation that is the central organizing principle of trade officials in Washington, D.C., and in other global capitals.
His economy and tax plans are most likely to spark a recession and add $5.9 trillion to the deficit. He’s got climate deniers slated to run the EPA and Department of Energy. He’s got a woman who mangled Michigan public education in charge of the Department of Education, and his pick for Secretary of State made a $500 billion oil deal with Vladimir Putin—which is hung up only because of the sanctions the U.S. put on Russia after they invaded Crimea. That’s something we found out immediately after the CIA revealed that Putin personally directed the cyber attacks on Hillary Clinton in support of Donald Trump’s campaign.
Trump’s plan for rebuilding our national infrastructure is completely unworkable, just like his plan to increase child care by using tax credits that only people who already have plenty of money can afford.
His entire plan to “Make America Great Again” is a total crock.
Even after the one halfway good thing he’s done in saving a few hundred jobs at Carrier, he immediately turned around and attacked the union chief who accurately pointed out that he’d “lied his ass off” about how many jobs were saved. Now that union leader is getting death threats for telling the truth. Trump couldn’t even do that without getting petulant and petty when someone criticized him on it.
Trump’s ideas and policies are based on his severely flawed thought process. He wasn’t just “talking smack.” He doesn’t know what the frack he’s saying half the time, or what the legal and constitutional implications are. He’s a rank amateur trying to play on the NBA level. All he cares about is covering his own ass, not about American workers and their hardships. He says he’s “like, a smart guy” and doesn’t need to have his daily security briefings, failing to realize that those briefings are a chance for him not just to sit there and listen, but to ask questions and get detailed answers. It’s a chance for him to learn and understand things. Things like how Russia hacked our election, which he continues to deny despite all facts and evidence.
All of that is bad. Every bit of it.
And we’re supposed to depend on Congress to sort it all out?
If there are Trump voters who really believe what three out of four of these town hall participants said, that the ideas Trump expressed during the campaign were terrible and should never be implemented or seriously considered, then those voters along with Democrats and independents need to absolutely hold Congress’ feet of the fire.
None of this can be allowed to stand. None of it can be implemented. Each and every one of his cabinet selections need to be picked apart, challenged, and, if possible, blocked. If some of Obama’s cabinet and political staff positions have to stay open with only “acting” officials in place for several extra months or perhaps a year or more, that would only mirror Merrick Garland’s wait to have a hearing as President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. Or Loretta Lynch as attorney general, who had to wait 161 days before she was confirmed. Or John Bryson as secretary of commerce (who waited 126 days). Or Tom Perez as secretary of labor (who waited 120 days). Or like the ATF, which went without a permanent director for seven years. If some of Trump’s picks face waits that are even longer, well, that’s just too damn bad.
Rumblings are the Democrats are planning to do exactly that with Trump’s selections.
Senate Democrats are preparing to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks through a grinding confirmation process, weighing delay tactics that could eat up weeks of the Senate calendar and hamper his first 100 days in office.
Multiple Democratic senators told POLITICO in interviews last week that after watching Republicans sit on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for nearly a year, they’re in no mood to fast-track Trump’s selections.
But it’s not just about exacting revenge.
No, it’s not about revenge. It’s not about payback. And it’s not petty or partisan. It’s about doing exactly what those Trump voters were talking about. It’s about saving the nation—from Trump.
All of his policies need to be stopped cold. They need to be fought like we’re fighting for the very heart, soul, and safety of the nation itself.
Because we are.
No one says this better than Keith Olbermann.
Trump is not fit to be president. He’s is a threat to the nation and the world. This is not a joke. This is not a drill.
Democrats, Republicans and independents need to come together. We need to all rally as one, against Trump and his agenda. We can’t expect that Trump will not just say something crazy and fucked up—he just might do crazy, fucked up things, too. He really might. We can’t expect that Congress is going to be able to stop him without serious incentive. We can’t expect that the Supreme Court will undo his fuck ups several years later. We need to stop them before they start, if we can. And if we can’t, then we need to shut them down as soon as they’re brought into the light.
Trump voters themselves already know this, so we certainly should know it, too.
We need to fight. With every breath in our bodies. We need to bombard our representatives and senators, at both the federal and state level. We need to flood the mailboxes and phone message systems of our governors. Don’t let up, and don’t give them him an inch.
He gets nothing. Nothing.
Our very lives and freedom really do depend on it.
Frank Vyan Walton
Here are some specifics ways and methods that Trump can and should be opposed and blocked.
- His nominees for cabinet and key positions need to be vigorously opposed, exposed and blocked as often as possible.
- His policy initiatives need to be filibustered and if that’s not possible defanged.
- Current conflicts of interest, foreign lobbying and corruption by anyone including himself, his family and his administration officers — from Steve Bannon to Michael Flynn on down — need to be investigated and FOIA’d like crazy. Prosecuted if neccesary.
- Any holdings or business deals made by his sons, daughter and son in law — as well as any of his previous ongoing deals and assets — need to be investigated by the SEC and Federal Ethics Office for insider trading, special access, favors and gifts from foreign governments.
- If he knowingly violates the Emoluments clause, Impeachment proceedings should be considered.
- He needs to be incessantly called out for his ridiculous, divisive and ludicrous comments — particular those that continue to incite and inspire rationalize racial/ethnic or police violence - and his judgement challenged at every oppurtunity.
- The potential of campaign collusion if not Treason with the support of Russia needs to be seriously investigated, particular the possibility that dropping the sanctions over Crimea, while being an incredible windfall for former Exxon CEO/SOS pick Rex Tillerson may also be finacial payback to Russia for their interference in our election.
- FBI collusion to hold back information about the Weiner/Abedine emails for nearly a month in order to deliberately sabotage the Clinton campaign needs to be investigated.
- He needs to be sued for each and any of his policies which are based on, or implemented bigoted results.
- His past practices and tax issues need to be publicized — from his bribery of State AG’s not to sue him over Trump U, to his links for foreign criminal organizations in his business dealings and skipping out of payments to his subcontractors — and contrasted with his practices as Chief Executive.
He needs to be hounded and hunted like a criminal on the run — because that’s is ultimately exactly what he is. While we do this we have to defeat the narrative that we are only doing it for partisan reasons, this has to be for the safety and security of all Americans, not just those in blue states.