Why Trump Will Be Good for the Country — Eventually
How Donald Trump's presidency might ultimately result in good for everyone.
The blatant subverting of sound policy and the people's will to the moneyed elite has long been central to U.S. democracy. Few could argue against the fact. Both parties participate. It's been going on since our inception.
Donald Trump came to power calling this spade the ugly spade it has long been.
"Drain the swamp," he railed. Get rid of self-dealing insiders, the Beltway establishment, elected leaders all too willing to sell out to the wealthy -- industries, companies and individuals euphemistically dubbed special interests.
They're the folks who buy your politicians, he pointed out.
Trump would end that arrangement.
He keenly understood that our entrenched system, nurtured by apathy, nevertheless infuriated many, so the billionaire and former TV host vowed to blow up the same old same old, to answer our nation's bitterness. It proved an intoxicating promise.
Things haven't worked out as well as voters might have hoped.
As recent developments amply demonstrate, Trump is taking the embrace of the status quo up to 11, stripping away any polite veneer to our culture of naked influence peddling. Compromised leadership has never been so conspicuous.
Whether or not the Russia investigation produces hard proof of collusion, Trump profits handsomely from former oligarchs, who have paid top dollar to buy his properties for more than a decade. He now refuses to enforce legally mandated sanctions against their country.
Not to mention his signing of executive orders, tweeting threats and announcing shifts in policy that resulted in financial favors coming his way.
Remember that six months after he took office, the Chinese government abruptly approved a slew of hard-to-get trademark protections that Trump had been seeking in that country for years. The happy OK from Beijing created, potentially, tens of millions of dollars in added value for the president's company.
He gave his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top job in the White House, a position that Kushner used to arrange meetings with foreign diplomats in which he talked U.S. policy but also might have discussed his need to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to help prop up a troubled Manhattan high-rise his family owns, according to the Washington Post and CNN. Separately, Kushner offered a potential investor a job with the Trump administration, the New York Times revealed.
In the wake of that horrific school shooting in Florida, the president announced his support for restrictions on gun purchases, measures that Americans overwhelmingly support.
But yesterday he met with the NRA, which pumped tens of millions into his and other Republicans' campaigns and has mobilized against any reform. Afterward, Trump seemed to flip, praising the lobbying group in a way that suggested he would ditch his plan.
There are so many other examples of this type of behavior it's hard to keep track: stunning conflicts of interest, quid pro quo deal-making, payoffs, perks for officials. There's an almost gleeful shedding of shame. You pay me, I take care of you. Corruption in its purest form.
Ironically, the end result might just be what many of us wanted all along.
Apathy toward malfeasance is fading.
Thanks to a newly energized national media, scandals break almost daily, spurring fresh outrage over each exposure of crooked action. Polls show that more people are paying attention to Washington now than at any time since Nixon's impeachment.
Politically oriented shows boast record ratings, meaning legions of us from all points of view are tuning in, following details, learning. The impact is tangible.
Heightened scrutiny has killed the prospects of unqualified candidates for jobs and political appointments, along with forcing numerous resignations and genuine worry among leaders that their illicit acts might have dire consequences.
Young people, engaged in a wave of activism, are organizing marches and protests and launching into races for office. The students who lived through that shooting are loudly calling for the jobs of politicians in the pocket of the NRA, mounting the biggest challenge to the gun lobby that it's ever faced.
All while the special counsel's probe gains momentum, and not just regarding the central question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russia government to help him win.
Robert Mueller is also prosecuting various financial crimes of the people who worked to get Trump elected, and perhaps those still in his White House or Congress, insiders who might have twisted the law for their own benefit.
It appears that an actual draining of the swamp might finally be under way.