Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues are in a laid-back Donald Trump state of mind. Majority Leader McConnell proved that when he whipped out a senate rule that hasn’t been used for 40 years or more to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren. At the same time, he reinforced and flaunted the ‘boys club’ atmosphere that the senate has long been labeled with when he allowed a number of male senators to do the same thing that Senator Warren was banned from speaking for without challenging them. It was kind of like they said – ‘okay, just because we have decided to allow gentle ladies, that’s what the boys club calls them at times, into the club does not mean that they are not required to know their place: The senator from Massachusetts will take her seat.’
Whoa! What just happened?! Majority Leader McConnell and his colleagues are like – oh, don’t worry about it; we’re in a Donald Trump state of mind. What are you getting all bent out of shape about it for? You can’t do anything about it anyway. And that is how the senate is operating now, at least in all matters Trump, under Senator Mitch McConnell’s leadership. Senator McConnell is a savvy politician and tactician who knows what he is doing so he likely weighed in advance the odds associated with the potential positive vs. negative impact of what he did to Senator Warren would have. Apparently, he determined that publicly putting the kibosh on her senate floor speech was worth the risk: he is playing the long game.
I can just imagine that it was after seeing the Senate Majority Leader put, in the words of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, ‘a woman’ (emphasis on woman) in her place that, after having been out of the glare of the bright lights of the press for some time because he was trounced by Mr. Trump in the primaries, Ted Cruz’s mental wheels began to turn and he began thinking (like a scorned fifth grader who had recently been expelled from the clique and had a desperate desire to be reinstated) – yeah, and the Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan! He took those thoughts to the press and the bright lights were back on…at least for a brief moment.
The fact of the matter is that Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, are ignoring the grave danger that Mr. Trump poses to America and the world for as long as they possibly can as long as he is advancing the Republican agenda. They are content to ignore the implications of Mr. Trump and his administration’s highly questionable relationship with Russia and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. They are content to ignore the fact that America’s enemies are probing her for weaknesses and that Mr. Trump and his administration seem to be unorganized and confused as to how to respond.
This might not be a problem for 74-year-old Senate Majority Leader McConnell because he was recently reelected to another 6-year term in office and will be almost 80 years old when and if he decides to run again. But it is a problem for many American people who are concerned about Mr. Trump’s antics and the fact that he does not seem to have any real plan in place as to how he intends to bring Americans together and move America forward. And It is a real problem for many Americans who are concerned as to whether or not he has been compromised by Russian president Vladimir Putin. And whether they themselves realize it or not, it is a problem for Republicans who are not in the comfort zone that Senate Majority Leader McConnell is in and who must run for office again in the not so distant future.
The thing that is really sad about this whole situation is that these elected officials who have a sworn duty to protect America against enemies foreign and domestic and who were elected to represent American citizens regularly put their careers and party before America. This is as discouraging as it is scary. For Republicans to be willing to risk stretching things out until they can extract as much as is humanly possible from Mr. Trump no matter the cost before they impeach him in order to further their agenda is ludicrous.
And as unlikely as it might seem that a Republican controlled congress will impeach Mr. Trump, I believe that that is a part of their plan and that they will eventually do it. If they do not impeach him, they will figure out something that will be equivalent to impeachment that will have the same affect. Whatever that is, they will remove him from office because it is a part of their plan. Then, they will move forward and hope that the American people will not hold them accountable because we have a short memory and will have forgotten how irresponsible they were by the next election cycle. Even if we have not forgotten, they will shower us with expensive ads and sleek sound bites knowing that many of us vote based on ads and sleek sound bites rather than on a meaningful knowledge of them and the issues.
As regards the recent election you might ask, what happened to that great tide of Hispanic people that were supposed to come out to vote that would turn the electorate up-side-down and sweep Secretary Hillary Clinton into office? Why did 29% of them who did turn out vote for Donald Trump? Why would any Hispanics vote for Mr. Trump when during his campaign he referred to them as rapists, drug dealers, people who steal jobs from Americans and other degrading names? Why would any Hispanics vote for Mr. Trump when he said that a federal judge, who simply because of his Mexican heritage, could not be fair to him so should not be allowed to act as a judge in matters adjudicated involving him?
Perhaps it would be convenient and easy to blame Hispanics for Mr. Trump’s victory. But we have a Mr. Trump and a Trump’s America because far too many Americans failed to exercise our right to vote. Where were the African American voters? Where were the other people of color? Where were the white Clinton voters? Where were the young people? Where were the women? This would have been an historical moment for all of us but especially them; where were they? All of those who failed to show up and vote are responsible for Mr. Trump’s victory. So for those of us who are pointing fingers and blaming Hispanics, let’s stop it right now.
What makes things so bad though, is that although all of those who failed to vote contributed to Mr. Trump’s win, Hispanics are taking the brunt of his executive order signing spree. They are the fastest growing minority in America and they were looked upon as the firewall that would assure that Mr. Trump would not be elected. Ironically, as a result of that assumption by the rest of us not materializing, Hispanics are the group that is suffering the greatest negative impact because of his victory.
During his campaign, Mr. Trump said what his audience – whoever it was at the time, wanted to hear and promised everybody everything. People then cherry picked the things that they liked and clung to those things. Each group ignored the promises that he had made to the other groups that were in direct conflict with those things that he had promised them because they wanted and needed to believe what he had said to ‘them’. And they wanted and needed to believe that he would not forsake ‘them’. Although they were aware that it was not possible for him to do all of the things that he said he would do, they believed that he would do the things that he said he would do for them.
One can reasonably surmise based on the people that Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with and the things that he is doing now that he has been elected that, despite what he said during his campaign, these are the things that are important to him and they reflect the kinds of policies that he intends to put into place. No matter how disillusioned and hurt that those who voted for him might be who are now concerned about his total distain for the intelligence community, American governing norms and protocol, and the direction in which he is trying to take America – if they are not in support of him, then they too are now the enemy. In his mind, they are no better than those who did not vote for him, and – according to him, the press who are the most dishonest people in the world and the enemy of the American people.
If the American people intend to have our questions surrounding this presidency answered, if we intend to have any fears and concerns that we might have addressed, if we intend to maintain the integrity of our great democracy, then we need the help of our elected officials. We need them to put America ahead of their political ambitions and their party. Right now, we do not have that because it is obvious that they have chosen to put political ambition and party first. The crowds of protesters and the demands that they are making that our elected officials meet with and talk with us indicates that we intend to hold them to account. We must continue to do that and not forget how they responded come the 2018 and 2020 elections.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line