Chamberlain, Trump, and Patton

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Chamberlain – Trump – Patton

The one thing we know for certain about President-elect Trump is that he is a self-promoter. He won the election because he was able to reach (market to) half the voting nation. Post election the voices on the left keep chanting “Not my President” and “We won the popular vote”. The problem with this thinking is that it is denial of the truth. Trump won, or I should say, is going to win the Electoral College vote on December 19th. He will be our 45th President. To insist otherwise would tear this nation asunder.

Coming to grips with a Trump Presidency is no longer an option. Five times now the candidate that won the Electoral College vote did not win the popular vote (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016). The precedent has been set. The peaceful transfer of power occurred on the other occasions and will again. It is a central convention of our political system.

We have made a choice. No matter who is in office we cannot leave the government on autopilot and come back in two years or four years to see if it’s doing OK. Democracy isn’t like cooking a turkey, it’s a roux. It takes constant attention and a watchful eye.

Trump said a lot of divisive and mean-spirited things in his campaign. Now he’s going to be dealing with the nation as a whole, not pandering to just his half of the audience. He’ll watch his approval ratings like the DOW. He is starting in a very big approval rating hole, which means he’ll be after something splashy to win people over to start his term.

After listening to President-elect Trump on 60 Minutes, he’s already started to back off slightly from some of his campaign positions. He’s gone from deporting 11 million illegal aliens to just 2 – 3 million criminals and gang members. He’s gone from threatening to ban all Muslims and a registry to making immigration laws that require extreme vetting (which he’s going to find out isn’t too different than it is now). After meeting with President Obama he claims he’ll keep the best parts of the ACA (Obamacare); preexisting conditions for example. As for racist and xenophobes who have been emboldened and acted out after his election, Trump made sure to look straight into the camera and say, “Stop it!” Overall, his whole tone was softer, which he attributed to the campaign being over.

Whether he’s just sucking his detractors in close or sincere is a question only time will answer. In the meantime there is a choice to make concerning the Trump presidency. On the diplomatic scale we have to act somewhere between Neville Chamberlain and General George Patton*, cautious optimism without completely destroying every opposition in our path.

‘What about the way the Republicans treated Obama?’ That’s a good question. The answer is it was their job to make sure President Obama didn’t run the train off the rails. That’s how a two party system is supposed to function. Unfortunately they were Patton-esque and started firing on that train before it even left the station. Old sayings stick around because they are true – two wrongs don’t make a right. And have you ever heard of tit-fot-tat being a good thing? No. Me either.

Fasten your seatbelt and hold on tight. This might be the most exhilarating or exasperating time of our lives; either way we start to go through it in 66 days.

Stay tuned and stay involved.

*No disrespect to General Patton. He was a bull in a china shop, when that’s what America needed. His acute lack of diplomacy is well documented, but not unneeded at that time in our history. I count him among my favorite heroes of World War Two.

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