While his sideshows may not show it and his sycophants remain loyal (at least in public view) Donald Trump is preparing for his inevitable exit from the White House. Today I’d like to cover a few things happening that are mainly off the “front page”. They center on his scorched earth tactics and including one aimed at an American institution you wouldn’t think that I care about. Let’s explore.
The Republican Party
The Republican Party was born in the mid-1800s as the left wing political party in America. Had I been around then and for the next several decades, I would have both registered as a Republican and primarily voted for Republican candidates.
Over time the parties switched positions and became more homogenous with the Democrats the party of the left and the Republicans the party of the right and later extreme right. Effectively being the party of racism, the GOP was shocked when it lost to a black man in 2008 and reached out to the Tea Party in 2009. That ended up being the first hostile takeover. Sunday morning I awoke to a Washington Post article outlining how Trump’s handpicked RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel intends to run for reelection. If McDaniel is capable of independent thinking she has yet to demonstrate it in her role as RNC Chair. This is part of Trump’s effort to make the Republican Party – particularly the RNC – his personal piggy bank and not relinquish control of the party in the aftermath of his defeat. In my mind that is the second hostile takeover attempt of the GOP in this still somewhat young century. Based on his actions to date am I the only one who can foresee Trump having the RNC pay for his legal expenses and those of his kids?
Last week America passed two milestones: 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 and 12 million cases of the virus. The G-20 held a virtual meeting this weekend. When the COVID-19 session was held Trump went golfing. America has a bit less than 5% of the global population but around 20% of its COVID-19 cases. I’ll let you connect all those dots and draw your own conclusions.
Trump likes to envision himself as a war president with the virus as the enemy. He has about 2 months left in office and the virus is exploding with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s spikes yet to come before January 20th. As of this writing we have surpassed the 250,000 mark. There were about 405,000 American deaths in World War II. I don’t think that we will hit that mark by Inauguration Day but it’s a pretty good bet that we will before the Biden administration can get things under control especially since Trump is sabotaging the transition.
An Honest Broker
Friday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the West Bank. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most difficult and complex in the world. Americans, regardless of political persuasion, are basically pro-Israel but we have not turned a totally deaf ear to the Palestinians. In the past that has enabled us to be an honest broker and facilitator of peace agreements. The Palestinians and Israelis are not going to settle their difference on their own. The wounds are too deep and too old. A third party is going to have to bring the process along. It is in our interest that we be that third party! Just ask yourself this question: Is America better off if the Russians or the Chinese are the third party? Those are the two most likely alternatives. This is just one of the areas where Trump has weakened America on the international scene. There is a lot of work for the next State Department to do.
More Arms To A Hot Zone
Historians debate whether arms merchants’ overzealous sales were the primary cause of World War I or not. However the vast majority of them agree it was among the top causes. For years the Middle East has been and remains a tinder box where the balance of power is important to preventing a shooting war. Trump is working out the final details of a $23 billion dollar arms sale to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The sale would include transferring America’s most advanced fighter jet along with armed drones. The UAE is a tiny but very wealthy nation controlled by a dictator. Trump needs money; you connect the dots.
The More Immediate Problem
To date this hasn’t gotten a lot of ink but it soon will. Current federal government funding runs out on December 11th. The best that can be hoped for is a continuing resolution avoiding a government shutdown. Can Congress come up with an agreement? What will it contain? How long will it run for? Would Trump simply veto any agreement as part of the scorched earth strategy or to provide a shiny object distraction? Would Congress consider the economy and the people and override a Trump veto?
There are a lot of questions and at this point no solid answers. The last days of the Trump administration will be eventful.
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