Many of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life were learned while coaching. Most of the time I learned more about my team and how to optimize their performance from a loss than from a victory. On the nights we won seemingly everything went right thereby masking the mistakes. In defeat all you seem to remember is what went wrong; your shortcomings are glaring. With that in mind let’s explore some of the lessons of the 2016 election.
I’m an American, a progressive and a Democrat in that order. In the past my team had names like Warriors and Bengals today it is simply the United States of America. In November of 2016 my team suffered a major upset defeat which it is currently paying the price for. The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution complete with checks and balances. For over two centuries through both good and bad presidents it has served us amazingly well; you might say we had a lot of wins. Then along came Donald Trump and the 115th Congress (most specifically the 115th House of Representatives).
The founders had never envisioned that America would simultaneously have a corrupt and incompetent president along with a complicit legislative branch. In fairness, it must be noted that the judiciary branch (especially at the sub-Supreme Court level) has to a large degree held Trump in check. The date and method is fodder for parlor game discussions, but at some point we will be rid of Trump. At that point I contend that Congress must change some procedures and enact some laws so that we never find ourselves in this situation again.
We need strict anti-nepotism laws – period! No loopholes like not taking a salary. That is what gave us Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. They are both living proof that you can financially profit from government service without taking a paycheck.
If we leave Russiagate with the policy of not indicting and/or putting a sitting president on trial for alleged criminal activity intact we need a law that would freeze the statute of limitations clock on a sitting president. It is simply unfair to have it both ways. You either have the temporary immunity of the office or the statute of limitations protecting you, not both.
There are two positions that are not subject to Senate confirmation that concern me. One definitely needs to be changed and if the other remains solely the choice of the President its Cabinet level status has to be removed.
The National Security Advisor is one of the most powerful people in the world. They are often the president’s most trusted advisor on issues of war and most times the last voice the president hears before making the final decision in matters like the use of military force. Currently this position does not require Senate confirmation and that is in large part how someone like John Bolton can serve in that capacity. Do you really want the nuclear trigger to in large part be subject to his judgement?
The White House Chief-of-Staff is a member of the Cabinet yet is not subject to Senate confirmation. Currently whoever fills that position is entirely up to the president with no oversight. I can see why any chief executive wants to determine who their chief-of-staff is unencumbered by any constraints. In this case other than security clearance none are vital to national security. However why should that person be a voting member of the Cabinet who under the 25th Amendment has the power to commence the removal process of the president?
If you thought the above was controversial I’ll really make you head spin. I feel we have to get away from a simple majority vote in the Senate to confirm Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees. If we had the 60 vote super-majority rule in effect we would never have had Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh among others. Reverting to a super-majority would necessitate more mainstream nominees and give the Party in the Senate minority some input of significance in the process.
America lost when it elected Trump that doesn’t mean we have to throw up our hands and say the “season” is over.
Please note: This article was written well in advance of publishing in order to accommodate my holiday travel and grandpa time schedule.
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