Looking back at the ‘good old days’
Perhaps Donald Trump could learn something from Gov. Jim Justice. Although Justice quit the Democratic Party to join the Republicans, he did not become their willing tool. Indeed, Justice has behaved like an independent with a slight nod to moderates of all stripes, Democratic or GOP.
Indeed, Justice in his first year managed to defy Mitch Carmichael and passed a comprehensive bond issue to improve the highway system. He backed teachers and state employees against the Republicans in Charleston. When the attempted to scuttle the bill by handing the governor a highly partisan education act — he stood them down. Only the West Virginia Senate refused to vote “a clean bill” with no tricks included. But at least, the public knows whom to blame.
Unlike Justice, Trump has not been so independent. He has gotten close to the Freedom Caucus led by Clark Meadows, and he has generally deferred to Mitch McConnell. On the economy, he has been differential to the corporations, and he has miraculously become a social conservative. Outside of some foreign policy initiatives, Trump has become a virulent Right Winger whose chief interests are mostly negative. He cannot even agree to an infrastructure bill choosing the mythical wall instead. While Justice’s unorthodox nature has wracked up successes, Trump seems content, particularly, domestically to be a Trojan Horse for the worst elements of the GOP.
Even Trump’s pro-tariff instincts cannon seem to have a popular focus. In the end, he left NAFTA in place while slightly changing the name. His actions against China have weakened farmers and benefited international financiers. So far Main Street has been clobbered by Wall Street. And for all the bluster and brag, it will all end up at status quo with China.
Trump’s approval of constant confrontation has gotten in the way. Granted, the Democratic focus on scandals has not helped to bring out his more relaxed nature. But, his constant parroting of Right Wing media has not helped. It is all about the “base” or some fading right-wing celebrity who is losing their luster and trying to market political bile in order to rescue them from obscurity.
Although he campaigns the same way, Trump’s direction is not populist. He is stuck with the hot button issues, the wall, or “bomb” Iran. Whatever the day is. He manages to merge John McCain’s foreign policy with Steve King’s domestic gems. Trumps addiction to secrecy is so complete he tweets what he will do in advance.
What once was entertaining has become boring — so boring I can’t imagine why anyone would really be angry with the president.
Trump could still reignite his presidency by doing the unexpected. Perhaps firing Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and then embracing a project like improving the federal highway system. Doing what he said he wanted to — something large. Instead he’ll end up like much of the base, complaining that things were not like they were in the good old days.