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November 11, 2016

Op-Ed: Okay, Trump's Been Elected. Now What?

The views expressed below are entirely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of AVN Media Network, its owners, management or other employees.   Most of you are probably too young to remember this (if you were even born yet), but on the day after President Richard Nixon resigned, his successor (and the guy who made a deal to pardon that particular Watergate criminal) Gerald Ford said in his inaugural speech on Aug. 9, 1974, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over." Guess what? Our "long national nightmare" is just beginning again: Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States. Yes, the bloviating sociopath who'll soon have his finger on the button that can launch our nuclear arsenal managed to amass 279 electoral college votes, even though his opponent Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by just a little more than 301,000 actual votes. (The petition to get rid of the electoral college can be found here.) We might begin by asking, Does Donald Trump even want to be president? Oh, there's no doubt he wanted to win the election—he's incredibly competitive and doesn't like to lose anything—but now that he's got it, what can he be expected to do with it? Will he, as his son Eric said several weeks ago, spend his time traveling the country to "make America great again," and leave all the "domestic and foreign policy" decisions to his VP, the excrable Mike Pence? Ghod only knows, and as will be discussed later, if Pence becomes the de facto president, there's a good chance the country will fare far worse than if Trump were actually to do the job. As this is written, Trump has just replaced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—you remember; the guy who closed down two entry lanes to the George Washington Bridge just to spite a mayor who wouldn't support his campaign for re-election?—as chairman of his transition team with Pence, which seems only fitting since everyone else on the team is either a reactionary, a fundamentalist or both. Those would include, as vice-chairs, Christie, religiously insane surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, super-conservative former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who recently said he wants to resurrect the House UnAmerican Activities Committee), former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (on the short list to be Attorney General, or possibly head of Homeland Security) and Sen. Jeff Sessions, a major proponent of kicking undocumented immigrants out of the country and stopping all immigrants from coming in. And then there's the transition team's "executive committee," which includes Sen. Marsha Blackburn (who vilified Planned Parenthood over its having supposedly sold aborted fetus parts), former Breitbart News head Stephen Bannon (does anything else need to be said about him?), RNC Chair Reince Priebus and three of Trump's kids. (We'd call that nepotism, but considering how the man whom Samantha Bee described as a "crotch-fondling slab of rancid meatloaf" has used campaign funds to pay himself for everything from his headquarters rental in Trump Tower [$169,758 per month] to his two victory parties at his Mar-a-Lago resort [$423,373] to another victory party at his Westchester County golf resort [$48,240] to his use of his personal Boeing 757 jet for campaign appearances [$10,000 per hour] to his purchase of give-away copies of his book Art of the Deal [$300,000], whatever he's paying the kids probably doesn't come close to those outrages.) But while many things the transition team will do are likely to be outrageous, what about when Trump actually takes office? Mother Jones' Tim Murphy has compiled a list of all the things Trump has promised to do on his first day as president, and some of them include "repeal every single Obama executive order," "repeal Obamacare," "Call the heads of major companies who are moving operations oversea to inform them that they'll face 35 percent tariffs," "Get rid of gun-free zones [in] schools" and "military bases," and "Convene his top generals and inform them they have 30 days to come up with a plan to stop ISIS." The full list can be found here. And besides what Trump has said he'll do, religious conservatives have a few ideas of their own. "Operation Rescue favored the Trump/Pence ticket because of detailed promises to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, defund Planned Parenthood, ban abortions after 20 weeks, and permanently encode the Hyde Amendment to block the use of tax money to pay for abortions," claimed Operation Rescue president Troy Newman. "He pledged to repeal the law that prevents tax-exempt houses of worship from becoming political action committees that endorse and oppose candidates," noted Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, adding, "He promised to sign a law that will allow people to use religion as a basis for discrimination." "They [white evangelical Christians] didn’t just reluctantly vote for Donald Trump. They embraced him," noted atheist blogger Hemant Mehta. "They rejected a proud Methodist and her former missionary running mate in order to support a man who can’t name his favorite Bible verse, can’t say whether he prefers the Old or New Testament, never asks God for forgiveness, rejects religious freedom for Muslims, thinks the biggest problem Christians face is the inability to say “Merry Christmas” in department stores, lies without effort, treats women’s bodies as his personal property and brags about sexually assaulting them, has been married three times, mocks the disabled, is condescending to black people, enjoys the support of the KKK, has given virtually no money to charity when it didn’t benefit himself, and doesn’t know the first thing about being 'pro-life'." "What we will have over the next four years—or at least the next two—is a government completely in the hands of the Republican party," wrote a blogger on Queerty.com "The Supreme Court? Antonin Scalia will look like Bernie Sanders compared to his replacement. Obamacare? Hope you have good insurance through your employer. Russia? Let’s have our pal Putin over for a slumber party in the Lincoln Room." "If the media had questions about the influence of the religious right, they were answered early Wednesday morning by the greatest coalescence around a Republican nominee in two decades," wrote Family Research Council head Tony Perkins. "Turns out, the press had about as much success writing the obituary of the evangelical movement as it had predicting this election. (And that isn't much!) Anyone who traveled the country these last few months saw how values voters connected with Donald Trump, not because of shared values, but because of shared concerns over the damage a Clinton Supreme Court would do to our freedom ... In the end, what we witnessed wasn't just the revenge of the deplorables, but the collapse of the Obama legacy." "[I]t wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night—it was his supporters too," wrote Aaron Sorkin, creator/writer of The Newsroom and The West Wing, in an open letter to his ex-wife and daughter. "The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere. Hate was given hope. Abject dumbness was glamorized as being 'the fresh voice of an outsider' who's going to 'shake things up.' ... For the next four years, the President of the United States, the same office held by Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, F.D.R., J.F.K. and Barack Obama, will be held by a man-boy who’ll spend his hours exacting Twitter vengeance against all who criticize him (and those numbers will be legion). We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world." One would like to agree with Bernie Sanders, whom polls say is the most respected politician in the U.S., when he stated, "To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him," but there's little chance of the former, and already multiple examples of the latter ... ... like Trump's list of potential cabinet nominees, which include, for Attorney General, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (whom Trump bribed with a $50,000 campaign contribution and Mar-a-Lago party to get her not to join the class-action lawsuit against Trump University); Ben Carson for either Secretary of Education (if Trump doesn't actually disband the entire department, as he's threatened to do) or Secretary of Health and Human Services (other nominees: Gingrich and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and Ghod knows what they'd do to abortion rights and the availability of contraception if any of them got the job); Sarah Palin for Secretary of the Interior (Sarah "Drill, baby, drill" Palin!!!); far, far right-wingers Stephen Hadley, Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. or Jeff Sessions for Secretary of Defense; House Conservative Caucus head Jeb Hensarling and OneWest sub-prime housing lender/ex-Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary; and good ol' multi-talented Jeff Sessions for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Of course, there's every reason to expect that the "backfired wish that Republicans made on a cursed monkey’s paw" (thanks again, Ms. Bee!) will be impeached early in his first term, possibly over the Bondi bribery charges, or possibly because one of the 75 lawsuits currently on file against the "failed QVC steak salesman" will lead to criminal liability—but that would leave us officially with President Pence, and that could easily be a bigger disaster. After all, according to American Family Association president Tim Wildmon, "God has allowed this man to be elected president—against all odds—and Donald Trump has chosen to surround himself with many Godly men whom I admire and trust. But for God, why would a billionaire business tycoon from New York City want to look to Christian men for counsel and advice? He didn't need Gov. Mike Pence to win Indiana. No, God has placed Gov. Pence, a Bible-believing brother in Christ, in Donald Trump's path." Yup, Pence is such a Bible-believer that he signed into law a "religious freedom" bill that would allow businesspeople to discriminate against gays and transsexuals in any aspect of commerce—an act which cost his state billions in lost revenue from companies moving out and conventions canceled—and more recently a law which, besides restrictions on abortion availability, required aborted fetuses to be cremated and buried. "Vice President-elect Mike Pence has told evangelical leader James Dobson [formerly of Focus on the Family] that the next administration will reverse President Barack Obama’s contraceptive mandate rules and transgender bathroom guidance—both of which it can do without Congress," wrote Bloomberg News commentator Noah Feldman. "If Pence speaks for President-elect Donald Trump, both decisions would have major implications for cases now before the U.S. Supreme Court... Speaking to Dobson, the director of Focus on the Family, Pence—who calls himself a Christian, a conservative and a Republican 'in that order'—presented himself as the voice of the Trump administration on morality." Can you say "Meese Commission II"? Can you say "resurrection of the National Obscenity Task Force"? Can you imagine what Rudy Giuliani, who did his best to empty Times Square of adult businesses, or Jeff Sessions would do to the adult industry as Attorney General? Be afraid; be very afraid! (And let's not forget that anti-porn pledge Trump already signed!) There's lots, lots more that could be written about what a disaster a Pence presidency would be, but this has gone on long enough already, so I'll conclude with ... Remember when then-Senate Minority (now about to be Majority) Leader Mitch McConnell said in 2010, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president," and his late non-lamented House counterpart John Boehner, referring to Obama's agenda, added, "We're going to do everything—and I mean everything we can do—to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can"? That's exactly the philosophy with which every forward-thinking American needs respond to this "two-bit used hate salesman" until he can be driven from office ... "and his little dog [Pence] too"! (Sorry, Dorothy...)  

 
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