Trump Inauguration: And Away We Go!

Donald Trump InaugurationSo it has begun. The Trump inauguration is over and so now Donald Trump is President of the United States. I have just a few thoughts to share with you all. It’s nothing too profound. It’s hard to be profound when you are terrified.

The Protests

To begin with, I wasn’t in favor of protesting Trump’s inauguration. He was elected president fairly in the context of our non-democratic system. And it bothers me to think that people will be more interested in protesting this than in trying to fix our country’s election system.

The Electoral College

Let’s just talk about the electoral college — even though that is actually a fairly minor way that this country is non-democratic. We face a really difficult time getting rid of it. Before Trump was elected president despite losing the popular vote by almost three million votes, most Republicans wanted to get rid of it. After the election, Republican voters flipped and decided that the electoral college was just great!

So I’m not sure how we get rid of the electoral college now that it is clear to Republicans that the only way they can make it into the White House is through this deeply non-democratic mechanism.

The Trouble With Trump

As I see it, there are two primary problems with Trump. Let me start with the one that gets all the attention: he’s insane. I can imagine him using Mexico refusing to pay us back for the wall he’s planning to build as a pretext for going to war. And if he did that, it would probably lead to World War III.

I know that a lot of people think that the military would not go along with Trump if he ordered a war crime. But that’s nonsense. We all know that the Nazis were tried for war crimes because they lost the war. If you want to see what happens to military personnel when they stand up for what is right, see Chelsea Manning. This distinction between valid and invalid orders is like what constitutes Fair Use in intellectual property matters. No one knows anything. You just have to wait and see which side wins.

So if Trump goes on tilt, don’t expect the military (or almost any other American institution) to stop him. The only possible institution that would stop him would be the Republican Congress. They would gladly impeach him, because they’d rather have Mike Pence anyway.

Trump Is a Republican

The much bigger problem with Trump is that he is a Republican. And we have a Republican Congress. And I don’t think Trump is planning to be an active president in terms of policy. Congress will send him bills that will enrich the rich and literally kill the poor, and he will sign them. Why not? He doesn’t care. Remember when he promised that no one would lose their healthcare with his replacement? How’s that claim looking now?

The Good Trump

The only good thing about Trump is paradoxically also what is bad about him: he’s insane. So it is possible that his narcissism will make him stand-up to the vile Republican Congress. But since he’s been elected, there has been no indication that he will do that. I think he is about as likely to do that as my 84 year old father is of running for president in 2020. I mean that literally: my father could run for president as a kind of joke. He almost certainly won’t. Same for Trump actually caring about the people of the United States.

Trump Inauguration: And Away We Go!

I was actually much more emotionally distraught over the 2004 election than I am over this one. (It could be, however, that I’m much more plugged in now and have simply suppressed my feelings. Also: my father’s two serious illnesses and my brother’s death have all distracted me.) Back then, I couldn’t stand the time between Bush’s re-election and the start of his term. I felt terrible and I had to wait for the terrible thing to happen. I’ve felt much the same this time.

So I’m glad it has actually begun. I do think that the next two years will be a catastrophe for the country. And I think if we are really lucky, we might be able to clean up the mess over the next two decades. But at least the game is on.


For the record, I actually believe that Trump’s inauguration is something we don’t come back from. Just as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both made the country permanently worse, Donald Trump will make the country permanently worse. But don’t worry too much. It’s most likely that this process will continue to be slow. If it were really fast, the American people might be awakened from their stupor and notice.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

11 thoughts on “Trump Inauguration: And Away We Go!

  1. I feel this to be true. I don’t know if it is true. Bush’s popularity was eventually brought down by the war (no amount of Fox can cover up PTSD). Yet if the financial collapse had happened a year later, it might have been outgoing president McCain today. Attending the inauguration of President Palin.

    I just have this horrible fear that Bannon is cleverer than Rove or Ailes, and will ALWAYS find a way to message the pain away. According to the LA Times, we’re going to see almost immediate raids on immigrants. Conducted with TV cameras. You give the Trump voters human sacrifices like that, you can distract them forever.

    But hey, what would the Roman god Saturn have to say? This!

    • Krugman wrote a good post on exactly this, The Opposite of Carnage. He notes that Trump got elected because people are wrong about the state of crime and the economy. He notes that the economy is almost certain to tank, if only because it is already about as good as the Federal Reserve will allow it to be (my take, not his). But he asks a question he does not know the answer to, “But can Trump voters be convinced that things are getting better when they aren’t?” I say no.

      However, I still think Trump will get re-elected. And this is because the economy is likely to get worse for the next two years. But it is unlikely it will tank all the way to 2020. By then, it is more likely that a much worse economy will nonetheless be improving. So people will vote for him and the rest of the Republicans. If you simply destroy people’s lives step by step, they are unlikely to notice. Although millions losing their healthcare suddenly will be noticed. But by 2020, will they remember? I doubt it. Many of them will be dead anyway.

      • The old story of the frog in slowly boiling water …

        Here’s a different legend I’ve never gotten. The frog and the scorpion makes sense. Sometimes, though, it’s told as the lady and the snake. That makes no sense. Snakes swim fine! These creepy pythons swim around happily in Florida swamps, and they weigh as much as a small motorcycle! Why tell it that way? (I guess because the people who told it that way had never seen a scorpion. God bless ’em. Scorpions are horrifying.)

  2. Arizona was foggy, dark, and rainy. God was weeping His pain over what happened.

    I think what I hate the most about this is how petty the Republicans are when they win. They have to humiliate as well as win.

    And it has spread elsewhere as it is infecting the left with the officials at the women’s march in DC for tomorrow refusing to list Hillary Clinton’s name on their materials because the person in charge of it hates her for reasons I am not going to bother mentioning considering this crowd. But it is so very petty.

    • It’s who they are. The political leaders in the GOP and their Koch masters are bullies. It’s the thrill of victory. Conquest for conquest’s sakes. It’s the dark heart of human nature, and they thrive on it like adrenaline junkies. Their loyal voters thrive on it too. The all-important feeling to them is that their side will be Winning. Footage of Trump or any GOP politician screaming at someone makes them feel strong.

      These are the same people that if you mention Iraqi casualties, they’ll say “better them than us.” What they really mean to say is “better them than nobody at all.” Consider the most popular American sport, football. It’s all about vicarious fulfillment through violence. (It’s why I like baseball/basketball, where the crowd goes “oooh!” when a player savagely slams a ball.) Trump’s Q rating was dead until frustrated people all over the country fantasized about being able to say his catch phrase, “you’re fired,” to everyone who’d ever pissed them off.

      Everything gets conflated in the minds of these folks. An employer who mistreated them, a company that cheated them, and Hillary saying she doesn’t bake cookies — they’re all equal affronts. Which is madness. But it’s such a fractured and needlessly competitive country, frustrated people have little sense of validation to cling to.

      Remember the “Bob’s” episode about Linda’s terrible birthday? She gets lost on the bus, sprayed by a skunk, etc. We’ve all had days like that. Where we’re so stressed about big things that every little thing seemed like the universe pissing on us. You misplace your glasses and scream in rage. We’ve got a finely-tuned propaganda system which keeps that level of rage up for frustrated people all the time. “Mexicans don’t pay traffic tickets!”

      As to the March, that was a tacky leadership move. You are frustrated yourself by rude behavior from people on the left-progressive Democratic side. Keep in mind, many of us on this side have been frustrated for 20+ years. It doesn’t excuse rudeness! Not at all. But you know how frazzled nerves and emotions can get the better of people. You saw it in court a time or two, I imagine …

      The warring sides in the Democratic Party can come together and be stronger for it, I’m sure that’s possible. Will it happen? I dunno. If it happens, can we beat the bad guys? I dunno. But people can always come together. Whether they do or not is up to them.

    • Look: it is wrong to call the Republicans Nazis. But if you look at the general way that the Nazis looked at the world, you will see the Republicans. It is amazing that Trump could stand up on that podium and talk about how terrible the country is when (1) it isn’t, and (2) it was an obvious insult to the last president who was sitting right there.

      I don’t think what you mentioned there is a general trend. There are always petty people — everywhere. And the Democrats are going through a difficult time. But as Jonathan Chait recently said, the Democratic Party is a normal political party with normal problems. That just isn’t the case with the Republicans. I don’t think anything is spreading — except maybe me — to Ghana.

      • Maybe there were people that petty back in the day but I don’t know. It was still really rude to ignore the one woman who has done more than any other woman has for all of us.

        • It was a dick move, no question. Give some props to the lady who’s taken shit for 30 years. At least have a written statement by her saying “while we honor the transfer of power, we also honor Americans’ constitutional right to peaceable assembly” or some such. I think it would have pumped up the crowd. And you know where I stand; public protests are mostly useful in getting people excited about working together. Leaving Clinton out of a Wonen’s March was not only tacky & rude, I think it was poor strategy.

          We’re gonna need both the idealist liberal puritans and the hardscrabble strategists to get back on top. Hmm, anybody I know from online interactions who can bridge those worlds? Anybody in, say, Arizona, maybe?

  3. I had to explain to my kids that the Inauguration and time change occur on the same date.
    I explained that we got a new President and set the clocks back 50 years.
    Its called Yea White Ravings.

    Of course that lead them to ask (again), “Why Trump?”
    ..this time I answered, “because Stalin and Hitler had previous engagements.”

    I think they get the big picture of what is going on.

    • That’s hilarious! In all seriousness, though, that’s the strangest thing about being around kids. When they ask the tough questions about human cruelty. Hell, when they ask science questions, there’s lots of great kids books for that. “Why did X happen, how could people do that?” is a real toughie.

    • That’s pretty good, Will. Although, Stalin got and held power by killing people. Hitler is a much better example, because he did have charisma. And he do was elected without a majority!

      But I need to be careful. My takeaway from reading the speech is that what’s really holding America back is a lack of the old “America: Love It or Leave It!” mentality — for whites anyway.

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