Op Ed

Trump Leaving Chaos Behind

A few accomplishments in four years, but so many failures.

By - Dec 28th, 2020 01:56 pm
Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Back in 2016, I followed reports on Donald Trump assiduously, and I assembled a running total of 104 reasons to not vote for him in the both primary and general election.

I wrote about it incessantly as I added reasons and caught considerable flak from his local supporters. My home Washington County went for Trump at 67.8% that November, making it one of the reddest counties in America. He won at 68.7% Nov. 3 – no change from 2016.

Obviously, I was out of step with the majority in my home town. I had brought to bear the values I learned as an Eagle Scout and as a member of the United States Marine Corps. In both organizations, values are everything. In Trump, I saw a man who had no value structure, no compass, no abiding philosophies, no real sense of country, and little compassion of his fellow Americans.

It was all about him, a supreme narcissist. Yet he won by a narrow margin, and the Republican party loved the power coming from the White House. They dropped most of what they stood for, such as balanced budgets. Instead of sharing power, he became the center of all government programs and policy.

I admit that I detested everything about Donald Trump. In my eyes he was a boor who was thoroughly corrupt and un-American. But I decided to get off his case in the ensuing year or two to give him a chance as president to make positive contributions to the country.

As I look back, I’m trying to discern what those contributions might have been.

He did sign the bills that gave tax cuts to corporations, which put them on an even playing field with foreign competitors. Any Republican president would have done the same.

The billionaires like Warren Buffett were signaling that they were comfortable with much higher tax rates for themselves. But that didn’t happen.

Mega-rich traders on Wall Street, actors in Hollywood, super star professional athletes, and overpaid CEOs were relatively untouched by the Trump tax bill. Lower income people benefitted very little.

Trump did keep us out of wars and conflicts during his four years on office. On the flip side, he abruptly abandoned allies, like the Kurds and the Poles in Crimea. But there were no body bags coming home.

He signed two of the biggest conservation bills in the country in decades. They were not his doing, but he signed them into law.

He appointed conservatives to judicial benches across the country. That leap to the right may have gone too far in terms of balance in the country. But he did what he said he was going to do.

Beyond that, I don’t see much progress during his term.

To the contrary, racial relations regressed. Our longtime allies and trading partners became wary. He failed miserably as a strategic manager of the biggest crisis so far in this century, the novel coronavirus pandemic.

We are now in the middle what could become, not a recession, but a genuine depression. He fiddled while people died and the economy tanked.

His true self-centered ego boiled to the surface after he lost the presidential election November 3. He can only be described as mentally unstable since he lost. He is the biggest poor loser of all time.

And yet a big chunk of the Republican Party hangs with him as he tries to undermine an American election that was the safest and most robust in our country’s history. The number of bad ballots in recounts was miniscule.

He even entertained the idea of martial law in states like Wisconsin that went against him. If that were to happen, militias might form. You can’t rub out American votes with no reason. The “irregularities” raised by Republicans are what we used to call “chicken shit” in the Marine Corp. Anyone who knows statistics understands that the percentage of defects in the voting process was extraordinarily low.

That statistical accomplishment should have compelled conservative justices on both the Supreme courts to dismiss out of hand the challenges to Wisconsin presidential election.

Trump is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, flapping and flailing to try to stay alive. The chicken is really dead and so is our 45th president. He fled hurriedly to Mar-a-Lago in what could prove to be a self-imposed exile.

Inauguration cannot come quickly enough. Four years of leadership by an anti-democrat has been a huge blow to the underlying philosophies and principles that govern our nation.

The Joe Biden term will allow the country to heal – slowly – and give the Republican Party four years to recover their philosophical bearing, dignity, integrity, and just plain old American common sense. The GOP’s anti-democrats need to be drummed out of the party.

John Torinus is the chairman of Serigraph Inc. and a former Milwaukee Sentinel business editor who blogs regularly at johntorinus.com.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

One thought on “Op Ed: Trump Leaving Chaos Behind”

  1. frank a schneiger says:

    In the end, it is clear that John Torinus believes in the concept of American exceptionalism, the notion that we are somehow exempt from the threats and dangers that have damaged and brought down other nations. In summarizing his column, he states that President Biden will “allow the country to heal.” Since a majority of Mr. Torinus neighbors believe that President Biden is an illegitimate president, it is not exactly clear how that healing process will unfold. Or if, given everything that has occurred, whether it is even possible. If he President Biden is to “allow’ the healing, who is to lead it? My guess is that any name that I would come up with, such as Bryan Stevenson, would be an automatic reject by Republicans. Such healing would, almost certainly, have to take the form of a “truth and reconciliation” commission of sorts. Does anyone believe this country is ready for that?

    Next, John Torinus says that the Republican Party should “recover their philosophical bearing.” In reality, even with Trump, they have never lost that “bearing,” which goes back at least forty years to Ronald Reagan. That “philosophical bearing” includes: getting rich is the goal and purpose of American life; government is your enemy, don’t ever trust it; taxes are theft; white people are the real victims of racism in this country, with their hard-earned tax dollars and jobs going to lazy minorities and immigrants; businessmen (and the occasional woman like Kelly Loeffler or Diane Hendricks) are the only really smart people; the stock market is the best reflection of economic health; and dealing with the existential threats of climate change and other environmental challenges will ruin the economy. Trump may be a narcissistic and evil opportunist with no moral core whatsoever, but he has been a mainstream Republican in all of these respects.

    Finally, Mr. Torinus says that the “GOP’s anti-democrats need to be drummed out of the party.” Calling Dr. Pangloss! The anti-democratic forces ARE the Republican Party. If you drummed them out, who would be left? They have to employ voter suppression, gerrymandering, reliance on far-right judges, appeals to racial animus and “otherization,” and to maintain the support of violent fringe groups, all white, if they are to prevail in all but the most retrograde states. They also need to maintain the flow of cash from the anti-democratic rich, the Mercers, DeVos, Menard, Hendricks, Adelson and the rest. Along with the now openly fascist media outlets, Fox, AON, Newsmax and Rush Limbaugh who is openly advocating secession on the part of the “real Americans,” that would be the 70% of Republicans who have no interest in healing anything. If these people were “drummed out” in Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson would be having a lot of meetings with himself.

    How we get out of this situation without large scale violence and sinking into a long-term depression is not clear, but wishful thinking isn’t going to get us there. Nor are “traditional Republican values,” which have produced the most unequal advanced society on earth. If President Biden is to succeed, it is going to take strong leadership for structural change, and not “allowing” anything. The big question is whether this country is even “leadable” anymore, and a big part of the answer to that question rests with John Torinus’ neighbors and the corporate community that he clearly respects, but which has gone along with almost everything that has transpired over the past four years.

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