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Opinion: Use ballot to control Trump in ’18

Washington — Grit your teeth. Persevere. Just a few more days and this awful, rotten, no-good, ridiculous, rancorous, sordid, disgraceful year in the civic life of our nation will be over. Here’s hoping that we all — particularly special counsel Robert Mueller — have a better 2018.

Many of us began 2017 with the consoling thought that the Donald Trump presidency couldn’t possibly be as bad as we feared. It turned out to be worse.

Did you ever think you would hear a president use the words “very fine people” to describe participants in a torchlit rally organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan? Did you ever think you would hear a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations thuggishly threaten that she would be “taking names” of countries that did not vote on a General Assembly resolution the way she wanted? Did you ever think the government of the world’s biggest military and economic power would reject not just science but empiricism itself, preferring to use made-up “alternative facts” as the basis for major decisions?

We knew that Trump was narcissistic and shallow, but on Inauguration Day it was possible to at least hope he was self-aware enough to understand the weight that now rested on his shoulders, and perhaps grow into the job. He did not. If anything, he has gotten worse.

By all accounts, the president spends hours each day watching cable news, buoyed by the shows that blindly support him — “Fox and Friends,” “Hannity,” a few others on Fox News — and enraged by those that seek to hold him accountable. His aides have had to shorten and dumb-down his daily briefings on national security in an attempt to get him to pay attention. Members of his Cabinet try to outdo one another in lavishing him with flowery, obsequious praise that would embarrass the Sun King.

Trump and his enablers have waged a relentless war against truth in an attempt to delegitimize any and all critical voices. He wields the epithet “fake news” as a cudgel against inconvenient facts and those who report them. Can a democracy function without a commonly accepted chronicle of events and a commonly acknowledged encyclopedia of knowledge? We are conducting a dangerous experiment to find out.

To understand how deviant the Trump administration is, consider this: Since its founding, the nation has treasured civilian control of the military as a restraint on adventurism. Now we must rely on three generals — Trump’s chief of staff, his national security adviser and his secretary of defense — to keep this rash and erratic president from careening off the rails.

The president’s Republican allies in Congress, who have the power to restrain an out-of-control executive, have rolled over in passive submission. Many see clearly Trump’s unfitness but continue to support him because they fear the wrath of his hard-core base and see the chance to enact a conservative agenda. History will remember this craven opportunism and judge it harshly.

I haven’t even mentioned Trump’s nepotism — installing his daughter and son-in-law as high-ranking advisers, with portfolios they are in no way qualified to handle — or his inability to staff the executive branch with the best-and-brightest types who customarily serve. The Trump administration is not only transgressive, it is also mediocre.

The year has been terribly depressing — but not paralyzing. Let’s end on a more positive note.

The day after Trump’s inauguration, a much larger crowd descended on Washington for the Women’s March, an immense show of resistance. That passion might eventually have faded away, but all evidence suggests it has not. If anything, it seems to have intensified.

In November, Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s race in Virginia, a purple state, by a surprisingly big nine-point margin. His coattails were long enough to elect so many Democrats to the state House of Delegates that control of the chamber is still undecided pending recounts. And then on Dec. 12, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election for a U.S. Senate seat — in Alabama, of all places, one of the most Republican states in the nation.

These races were not about Ds versus Rs. They were about sanity versus insanity, reason versus chaos. They were about Trump, and he lost.

So Godspeed to the Mueller investigation, but let him worry about that. The rest of us — Democrats, independents, patriotic Republicans — should work toward the November election. Our duty is to elect a Congress that will bring this runaway train under control.

— Eugene Robinson is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Bob Summers

The fantasies people create while under the influence of the Liberal gene like Eugene here is fascinating.

Their "awful, rotten, no-good, ridiculous, rancorous, sordid, disgraceful" bitter clinging about their congenital ideology is entertaining.

Their complex creative behavior is why they own Hollywood.

They cannot help but create fantasies.

I wonder why Eugene doesn't have these colorful Liberal code word fantasies to level on the Al Franken sex scandals of 2017?

There is a couple dozen Liberal males in prominent positions accused of abusing females.

huh

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Steve King

Fantasies? Let's count. Trump, lowest approval in History for a first year president. Trump associates - 4 arrests, Obama - 0. Yeah, just keep telling yourself it's all good. Sad.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Scott Burkhart

You have as bad a case of Trump Derangement Syndrome as the author. Lowest approval in history? Really? And you believe this because of polling data? The same polling data that was predicting Hillary a landslide win in the 2016 general election? 4 arrests? Two of them process crimes, lying to a federal agent and 2 for alleged crimes before one of the arrested ever knew then candidate Trump. Both crimes having nothing to do with nefariously plotting with Russians.

Here are some facts for you. GDP already over 3% growth. Federal regulations slashed and small businesses already reinvesting in themselves. Illegal immigration down substantially. Lastly, nothing new, after 15 months of investigations, on Russian collusion. However, the game is not up when it comes to indictments, for the Obama administration that is. You and the entire world is going to be shown how Hillary used her office as a cash machine and how the entire Obama DOJ was weaponized against a political opponent during an election campaign and then as a President Elect. The score may be 4-0 now but the game is not over.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Gary Stussie

Average 401k was worth $100,000 when Trump was elected. It is now worth $125,000. Stock market has gained more than $4 trillion in value in Trump's 1st year as President.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

It will be worth that much until the crash. Then what will it be worth. And I hear that changes will now allow the big banks to buy up the small banks and become even bigger. Ready to bail them out again?

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed

Polls didn't show Clinton winning in a landslide. They showed her just barely winning. And she did win the popular vote, so they weren't wrong.

And if we grow too fast we will crash even harder. It happened quite often. But of course, the crashes never really hit the already rich too much. They always recover quite well and profit from the loss of the poorer people. I even watched a house flipping show where the rich, arrogant house flipper brags about profiting from the housing crash. Must have been a graduate of Trump university.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bob Smith

Check page 7 of this link. http://ap-gfkpoll.com/main/wp-content...
Hillary is up by 15 points in the total column. Reality is a stubborn thing.
BTW, anybody who predicted Hillary would win the election by any margin was totally wrong.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

Dear Steve,

At least Trump has not assassinated any Americans like Obama did,

Whew! That's good news!

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bob Smith

Just last year, American voters used their ballots to make Trump the President.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Daniel Kennamore

He didn't even get half of those that actually voted.

A lot of people stayed home because they wrongly believed there were not enough American's stupid enough to vote for such an obvious con-man. The elections in VA & Alabama show that turnout is WAY up even in traditionally red states.

Trump and what's rest of the clown-show running the GOP are in for a rough night next November.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bob Smith

The Constitution, my friend, have you read it? BTW, a lot of people stayed home because they couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary, the worst major-party candidate in 100 years.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Daniel Kennamore

I wasn't disputing the result, just that he has any kind of mandate.

He's a fluke President brought in by a (hopefully) once in a lifetime convergence of events. He'll rightly be shown the door in landslide fashion in 2020...assuming he hasn't been thrown in jail before then.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Gary Stussie

This may be the most hate fulled letter the Lawrence Journal World has printed.

Do you really feel that your readers want to hear this leftist crap about their President? What good does it do to print this crap?

"work toward the November election" ... Democrats have no message, no leader and nothing to brag about ... their entire approach will be Anti-Trump.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Calvin Anders

Much as I dislike the aggressively stupid and dangerous direction Trump is taking our government, I have to conceded that Mr. Stussie has a point about the Democratic party. Democrats are not currently able to express a clear message other than opposition to Trump's horrible carnage. The leadership of the Democratic party is working harder to quiet progressives and court corporate donors than they are on a distinct platform. And while I'm confident it's true that increasing Democratic representation in both houses of Congress would temper Trump's idiotic destruction of our federal system, I am loath to vote for the lesser of 2 evils. If Democrats can't move beyond allegiance to their corporate donors, if they can't move back to representing their constituents rather than the oligarchs, then they will leave my vote and scores of others on the table.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

"Democrat" is a choice. The Liberal condition is not.

The Democrat party has more Liberals in it than the Republicans have in their party.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Bob Summers

Can you hear me now?

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Steve King

Facts. 4 arrests. More to come. Everything else you post is garbage, right wing talking points. Arrests, serious stuff. Denial of the facts, Sad.

3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Steve Jacob

I can be a rare natural party to Trump here. I don't name call. Trump took a good economy under Obama and made it great, partly due to the rest of the world doing very well. Investors are excited about the new changes, the lower taxes, ect. The tax reform will be great for the next couple of years. Trumps did not get much of what he wanted with trade deals, and immigration and that probably helped the economy. I think we will finally see wage growth.

Now the bad. Interest rates have to climb every chance the Fed can, we will finally get inflation. Republicans will try to justify the tax cuts in 2018 by trying to cut spending, but no way will Trumps own party will go along with that. We are looking at budgets deficits in the trillions now per year. Nobody talks about the damage both Bush and Obama did to our future with the debt. And I have not even talked about any possible wars or Russia.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Richard Heckler

The Koch brothers are at it again.

The Wall Street Journal just reported that they’re spending a whopping $20 million promoting the GOP’s tax scam, with more TV ads and even door-to-door campaigning in the works -- all to boost the plan’s weak popularity before the 2018 elections.

We all know the tax scam is a bad deal for the American people. But we can’t let the Koch brothers well-funded spin machine cloud the truth -- and we’re running ads right now to fight back.

The GOP’s billionaire donors -- including the Koch brothers -- are about to get massive tax breaks under the GOP plan. And now, they’re channeling their windfall into propping up the Republicans who voted for this scam.

3 months, 3 weeks ago

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