Two flaws do not make a right: catastrophe in America

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President-elect Donald Trump! In the most stunning and most disruptive election in many decades, Donald Trump won a majority of electoral votes and will be inaugurated president of the United States on January 20, 2017. At the time of writing this, all the votes have not been counted yet. The popular vote is tightening. It is not impossible that Hillary Clinton could prevail, not that would make any difference except to widen the huge political divide in America. Remember that Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000. George W Bush won the election. By a wide majority, Americans did not like, did not trust and would have preferred to have different candidates running for the presidency. Many believe that last Tuesday was a national day of mourning when Americans elected Mr Trump as president. Both candidates are profoundly flawed. And no matter who was elected, the next president stands a chance of being impeached, possibly convicted and removed from office. About flaws, Hillary Clinton’s were dramatically exposed by two of the people closest to her. Donald Trump was his own best detractor, and his own words were the most damning indictment of why he was not fit to be president. Yet, Mr Trump will move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20, 2017. E-mails from John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s re-election campaign, were extraordinarily powerful reasons for why the former First Lady will now remain at her New York home in Chappaqua and not move to the White House. Podesta complained that Clinton and her team thought “they could get away with” not disclosing the existence of a private e-mail server that many believe broke the law. More searing was Clinton backer Neera Tanden’s conclusion that Mrs Clinton had “bad instincts.” About, Mr Trump, his campaign ranged from the despicable to the unbelievable. Regarding immigration, Mr Trump promised to “build a wall” on America’s southern border and have Mexico pay for it. He had nasty words for Mexicans and Muslims. He insulted a war hero, Senator John McCain, and demeaned the Muslim parents of an American army captain killed in Iraq. Mr Trump will bomb “the sh*t” out of the Islamic State (IS) and impose tariffs on Chinese goods. He will renegotiate NAFTA. He guarantees economic growth at an unsustainable rate. He will repeal and replace Obamacare. And while Mr Trump had kind words for Russian President Vladimir Putin, he allowed his supporters to chant about Mrs Clinton, “lock her up.” Fact checkers report that over three quarters of statements made by Donald Trump are wrong, false or outright lies. The infamous Billy Bush-Donald Trump video in which Trump bragged about his celebrity status giving him the power to grab a woman’s genitals is tame when compared with interviews taped by biographer Michael D’Antonio and released by The New York Times. Americans will have a narcissistic, egotistical, possibly delusional person who is unfamiliar with truth and fact in the White House. How did this happen and what happens next? Clearly, possibly a majority of Americans are extremely worried, anxious and frightened about the future. Wages are stagnant. The costs of education, health care and living are growing. The upshot is that the future is not nearly as bright or attractive as it once was. Indeed, the mood in America is that this generation’s children and grandchildren will not have the same prospects as their parents had. Fear has catalysed emotions of anger, rage and disillusionment with the ‘establishment’ in Washington that has failed to govern. Hillary and Bill Clinton made famous by the characterisation of Clinton Inc. referring to how the Clinton Initiative was meant to do good and has done very well in lining Clintons’ pockets were poster children for this elite that has failed the public. Trump exploited this fear and loathing that translated into fury.
What next? First, President Trump’s docket will be filled with legal problems. The fraud trial against the Trump University will be underway, and Trump may be required to testify. Imagine if the plaintiffs win and President Trump is found guilty of fraud. That other women may come forward to sue Trump over sexual misconduct is not out of the question. The ticking time bomb will be in Trump’s tax returns. Given the extensive nature of his business activities, the likelihood of potential conflicts of interest is exceedingly high, especially involving foreign entities. Turning the Trump organisation over to his children rather than to a blind trust will cause law enforcement officials to examine these and other business relationships that may be an order of magnitude more damaging than revelations about Clinton Inc.

Second, President Trump must grapple with the massive issues and challenges facing the next president domestically and internationally. These are as difficult as at any time since the end of the Cold War. Forming a new administration will take time, probably six months or more given the slow pace of the clearance and confirmation process for senior officials. Further, as an outsider, Mr Trump will have difficulty assembling a good team. Ironically, George W Bush had a ‘dream team’ of cabinet officials that still led to disasters.

Third, ‘healing’ the nation has become a cliché. The polarisation of politics, in part, has broken government. The nastiness and baseness of the campaign has let loose raw emotions on all sides. Democrats are likely to seek revenge not partnership. Republicans in Congress may choose to pursue investigations of both Mrs Clinton’s e-mails and the Clinton Foundation. That three of Trump’s closest advisors are old, white men two having been married three times (former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and once married New Jersey Governor Chris Christie) does not appear representative of American society.

Finally, Mr. Trump has NO experience in domestic and especially international politics. Putin, China’s President Xi Jingping, Iran’s Grand Ayatollah and the IS must be preparing tests for Mr Trump. The initial congratulatory messages from foreign leaders have been cautionary. And the huge decline in financial markets following the election was not a good harbinger.

The danger is this: because Donald Trump is indifferent to or ignorant of law and fact, the chances are not nil that even a Republican House could impeach him raising the specter that Trump could be convicted by the Senate and removed from office. More frightening is the powerful combination of fear and anger that brings to mind perhaps the most trenchant line in the American Declaration of Independence. “When government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter and abolish government and establish a new one.