Saturday, November 19, 2016
Will America survive the 2016 Election? A Union on the brink of civil war
Imagine two soldiers in Iraq (or anywhere else). One is killed, then other incurs traumatic brain injury. We would say of the second that he/she "survived" the war in a way the first did not, but we would also go on to say that "he/she will never be the same again. It is as if we're dealing with a very different person; I feel so sorry for the spouse, and I wonder whether he/she will or even should stick it out for a lifetime of de facto misery." We would go on to speak of the living envying the dead.
I see a few positive signs, given Constitutional norms of course. Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham have expressed opposition to killing the filibuster. This gives the Senate some capacity to negotiate and ameliorate the worst legislation. Professor Alan Lichtman of American University, a rare professional to have predicted Trump's victory (on the basis for an approximately national predilection to turn over the White House periodically), also predicts Trump's impeachment. Quoting his September interview in the Washington Post: "[Congressional Republicans] don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable. They'd love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook."
This may be out of the fire into the frying pan but at least Pence hasn't given anyone grounds for analogies with the interwar rise of European Fascist movements -- aside, to be sure, of his participation in the upcoming regime.
Pence, like many or most Republicans, was capable of taking a compassionate position when he was personally face to face with a human need, in his case southern Indiana where he OK'd a needle exchange program there to reduce HIV infections. So I remain sort of hopeful for the short term.
For minimizing global warming, keeping big money out of politics, keeping the economy steady, reducing the disenfranchisement of Democrat-voting groups, moving to a popular vote presidency, maintaining the fragile network of global cooperation for peace, providing due process for the accused, reducing inequality in wealth and income -- I'm not optimistic.
Thanks for the comment. Let me confess to a certain ambivalence about the filibuster. In the current situation, keeping the filibuster may be the only thing between us and disaster, especially with regard to some of his more egregious appointments. But let me suggest a certain Machiavellian impulse behind keeping the filibuster. Most Senate Republicans, whom I view as models of consummate bad faith--there are some honorable exceptions--might want to retain the filibuster precisely so they can blame Democrats for hindering the passage of what they (the GOP senators) recognize to be terrible legislation, but they don't have the moral backbone to oppose it directly. This is especially relevant with Obamacare, on which they've painted themselves into a corner. It is truly idiotic to "repeal Obamacare" and keep the ban on taking pre-existing conditions into account, since that will inevitably drive the cost of insurance sky-high without either staggering subsidies or reverting to the dreaded mandate (or, of course, moving to a single payer). It is essential that the GOP be added with responsibility for governing, as would be the case in a parliamentary system. The 2018 and 2020 elections, assuming we survive that long, should be a genuine retrospective evaluation of what GOP governance looks like. They ought not be able to campaign on the basis of "gee, we wanted to repeal Obamacare, but the vicious Democrats wouldn't let us."
It may be a small consolation, but Trump is unlikely to stop the global effort to stop dangerous climate change. His language of "cancelling" the Paris Agreement shows how little he understands. This would make sense only if the deal were one between Us, represented disgracefully by Obama and superlatively by Trump, and Them, a bloc of the rest of the world. Walking away from the table, as Trump plans to do, would them kill the deal. In fact, it was a pact between 195 countries. One country can always leave, but the others are still obligated to each other. The negotiation will not be reopened. A denunciation by a superpower could lead to a progressive unravelling, but there was no sign of this in Marrakesh. Trump will be isolated in his denialist bubble.
There will be consequences to the U-turn away from sense. The poorest countries have had their hopes of generous concessionary finance much reduced, and their progress will be slowed. The ratchet of increasing ambition towards a 1.5 degree C limit has been jammed, for several years. Domestically, the CPP is dead: but it was always weak tea, and coal plant closures have already been running well ahead of the CPP timetable, on the basis of existing regulations, cheaper gas and renewables, and grassroots opposition orchestrated by the Sierra Club. CAFE standards fot vehicle efficiency will probably follow the same route - but California, China and Europe will continue to support the new electric technology, which is bound to defeat ICEVs through the very rapid technical progress in batteries.
There are many good reasons to fear the Trump presidency. Climate change is not among the greatest.
"honorable Republicans" (paragraph 6) is an oxymoron. One of those listed among the honorable--Mitt Romney--is interviewing for a job with the Trump administration. The chance of Republicans going along with Pozen's suggestion is zero.
If I can paraphrase J.B.S. Haldane, a Trump presidency will not only be worse than you imagine, it will be worse than you can imagine.
But I fear your fantasy of "honorable republicans" remains a fantasy. They will not try to control Trump, they will ride the tiger. And at the end they'll find that they can safely neither hold him nor let him go.
I have noticed that many Republicans, politicians and pundits, who decried, rebelled, etc, against Trump have been inching their way back because of Republican control of Congress and soon the Cour, taking this lemon and making and drinking orangeade (in the manner of Kool Aid in Jonestown).
By the Bybee [expletives deleted], a possible Trump appointed in his administration has indicated that gays can be cured. Query: Can a narcissist be cured?
"One country can always leave, but the others are still obligated to each other."
I'm not at all clear why we should particularly care. Let them be, they're the ones who are parties to that treaty. We never were, all Trump is doing is acknowledging that fact, which anybody who didn't flunk civics in high school would be aware of. There are plenty of international treaties we aren't party to, it doesn't really cause us trouble.
I expect this fantasizing about civil war will pass. You're still working your way through those stages of grief.
You want a reason why civil war is infeasible for you? This map should make it clear.
The red area is fairly contiguous, and would form a largely self-sufficient country which would do very well on energy, mineral, and food exports. The blue areas are scattered islands. Can you really put them together into a country? If you did, it would be a country remarkably dependent on its worst enemy for all necessities.
No, I'm afraid secession really isn't a feasible option here. We're stuck with each other. If only there were some governmental principle that would make that livable. Subsidarity, local rule, federalism, something.
But that would require the blue spots to admit they weren't entitled to rule the red expanses. I'm getting the impression that's not a very welcome concept in bluetopia.
Brett: Nicolas Sarkozy has already proposed carbon tariffs on climate freeloaders. He's another unscrupulous populist (though with brains), trying for a second go at the office of President of France. The idea has serious academic support from Thomas Piketty. We will hear much more of this idea. Trump is spoiling for trade wars, but at 1 against 195 you tend to lose. Will it really be a good plan to leave the Paris seat vacant while others hatch schemes to your detriment?
The blue spots on the map of the USA are called cities, where the majority live.
The only thing I'm interested in is whether any of you truly believe that I and others should lighten up because the early indications of what a Trump presidency will look like should not upset any truly patriotic American who wishes the best for each and every American citizen--including the non-deplorable who voted for Trump--and even non-citizens who have been welcomed to the country, not to mention people all over the world who will be worse off because of Trump's delusions about climate change and restoring the coal industry, etc., etc., etc.
Hello. I hoped you were doing okay after your nightmare came true and all.
Anyway, won't tell you to "lighten up" in part since such worse case scenarios lets us feel a bit relieved when things are only pretty bad. Bannon, Sessions etc. doesn't make me feel much better. It was nice that Pence went to see "Hamilton" though Trump of course had to whine on Twitter because of some boo-ing of someone at a Broadway musical who said AIDS funding should go to conversion therapy etc.
Red States will suffer the most from climate change. California and New England can go independent as well as Scotland or Ireland. Texas will dry up and Florida drown. So it goes....
Like Joe, I am glad that the shock of the election didn't send you into a coma or something.
I imagine that there would be some Republican electors who would be open to the argument that Trump lacks the character to be president of the United States. Whether there would be enough to keep him from reaching 270 votes, I don't know. But clearly the Republican electors will not be moved by the arguments that (1) they should vote for Hillary because she won the popular vote or (2) Trump shouldn't be president because he might support Republican policies or appoint Republicans to office.
Assuming, however, that Trump will in fact take office (a very strong assumption), here are some thoughts on Congress's ability to provide a constitutional check on his presidency. http://www.pointoforder.com/2016/11/11/things-to-do-in-dirksen-when-youre-dead/
Sandy: But secession today really doesn't make much sense, alas, because the dangers of a Trump-governed U.S. can't simply be internalized to those states who wish to remain part of a renamed Trumpland. His policies threaten each and every one of us, not only those living in states that voted against him, but people living all over the world. He is a clear and present danger to us all.
What policies do you believe threaten us all and why?
Apart from the border wall, nothing Trump has suggested is new and has not been done before in the U.S. - many by Democrats like FDR.
Back up your apocalyptic hyperbole.
Once again SPAM I AM! is pleading to be taken off Trump's enemies list for calling him a fascist over and over again while pushing the Cruz Canadacy - and even after the Cruz Canadacy failed! As consolation, SPAM has a pot to ....
If we want to talk thought experiments, with the narrow victories, Clinton winning Pennsylvania and Michigan was quite possible. If that occurred, looking at an electoral vote map, the final count would be 270-268, the differential a single Maine elector going to Trump. The faithless elector gambit might be a bit different in that scenario, the chance of finding two (if the Sanders elector didn't stick to his guns) electors to be "faithless" a lot easier than over 30.
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