Give or take a few minutes, it was exactly a week ago that I sat down in this same recliner to write last Sunday’s article. One thing has become clearer since then (outside the Donald Dome that is) and much is still subject to speculative deciphering. Let’s explore.
President Elect Joe Biden
Friday all the major news entities called Georgia for Joe Biden and North Carolina for Donald Trump. That completes the allocation of electoral votes and brings the total to 306-232; the exact same numbers that the 2016 election ended at. Importantly Biden has won by a margin so large that any shenanigans removing any single state from his total still leaves him over the required 270. Barring significant civil unrest or military action Joe Biden will be President of the United States just after noon on January 20, 2021.
First Post-Election Move
The first executive decision a presidential candidate makes is naming their running mate. Kamala Harris is vastly superior to Mike Pence. I’ll just leave it there.
Post victory the first personnel move they make is naming their Chief of Staff. Trump picked Reince Priebus who was a political operative with no Washington experience and few long time working relationships. Biden selected Ron Klain who, in addition to years of working closely with Biden, Klain has decades of relationships in all three branches of government in DC. I could go on but it’s no contest.
Remaining In The Cabinet
There are 24 Cabinet level positions in the federal government. Eight of those slots are still filled by the original Trump era occupant: Treasury – Steve Mnuchin, Commerce – Wilbur Ross, Education – Betsy DeVos, Agriculture – Sonny Perdue, HUD – Ben Carson, Transportation – Elaine Chao, Trade Representative – Robert Lighthizer, and Mike Pence – Vice President. Let’s look at them.
Mnuchin made his money in predatory foreclosure. Ross’ claim to fame appears to be as an international money launderer. DeVos bought her job and has proceeded to destroy the public education system in America to the best of her ability during her tenure. Does anybody really think Trump cares about agriculture? Carson knows nothing about public housing but he does appear to have an expensive (with other people’s money) taste in furniture. Chao is Mrs. Mitch McConnell and this is her second convenient stint in a Republican Cabinet. You connect those dots. Trade Rep is a difficult job but I can’t think of one great achievement in foreign trade achieved by the Trump-Lighthizer team. I can think of several failures. In all honesty does anyone think Pence has anyplace else to go? He is the one member of this “club” that Trump can’t fire since he was elected to the office.
Does this represent nothing but the best? I don’t think so!
Military And Intelligence Shuffle
Trump’s recent activities in these areas are genuine cause for concern. The question is what is Trump up to. In acts of employment preservation Trump’s closest advisors are notorious for only giving him good news. Therefore it is very possible that his electoral defeat came as a surprise to him.
I am convinced one motivation is to bury as much evidence of scandal as possible in the remaining days before he leaves office; hence the appointment of lackeys. (I am very much not ruling out a resignation prior to January 20th but that is another story for another day.)
The other possible (but much more speculative and appalling) motivation is in the desire of mobilizing the military to keep him in office. I am among the many who have found Trump impossible to predict completely. I feel there are some paramilitary units and certainly a plethora of right wing militias that will act on Trump’s order but as to the regular military I hope the professional officer corps will remember that their oath is to the Constitution not a temporary (and in Trump’s case after noon on January 20, 2021 illegal) occupant of the White House.
The Pandemic Grows
In the closing days of the campaign Trump predicted that all discussion of COVID-19 would stop after the election because the corner had been turned. If memory serves me correctly the day after Election Day was the first where the new cases daily total went into six figures where it has been each day since.
I monitor the 14 day rolling average of new cases as a leading indicator. As of this writing the last available date is November 13th where it is growing at a rate of 76%. That is terrible!
Since the Trump administration has proven incapable –and rumor is that Trump is now disinterested – I feel the situation will only worsen between now and when the Biden administration can make some progress. Therefore I foresee the unfortunate day when +76% will legitimately be viewed as an improvement.
As with many things, due to Trump, it will get worse before it gets better and my voice won’t be the only still talking about it.
One Last Scam
From its early days I have identified the Trump administration as an organized criminal enterprise dedicated to enriching itself and providing a return on investment to a handful of financiers and inner circle supporters. Numerous fundraising appeals have gone out under the “Stop the Steal” mantra. The implication is that the funds will be used to fund Trump’s legal challenges to the 2020 election. (At last count they were 1 for 20 with the one victory allowing their ballot counting observers to move four feet closer to the “action”.) If you read the fine print until you are well into the four figure range every penny goes to other “causes”. While a bit different this scam smacks of the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
We are less than 70 days until America is rid of Trump – they will be eventful. History repeats itself. FDR was left a mess by Herbert Hoover, Barack Obama by George W. Bush and Joe Biden will be by Donald Trump.
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