Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Turning Point of Trump Era

Andrew Sullivan characterizes defeat of RyanCare Bill in House as the moment when finally 'political gravity is catching up with Donald Trump' while others either see a harder road going forward or an opportunity to 'break the nihilistic lock of partisan politics' which has gripped Washington for a decade or so. One of the extraordinary possibilities of Donald Trump Presidency can be how Trump helps Washington finds it way back to a normal politics and I am enthusiastic for that.

With the fiasco of RyanCare[1], few things ought to become evident to the Tea Party and Trump Voter Base:
- That, it is not a Democratic president occupying White House who makes deals impossible, but it is folks in their own party who make any change difficult.
- There are limits to Donald's magic of deal making, and Donald will have to reach across the aisle to Dems.

Indeed Donald's Chief of Staff is very much making 'sounds of bi-partisan' approach on Sunday Talk Shows. That is as mainstream as possible for the ruling class in America. Washington is finally internalizing limits of extreme politics of so many Republicans and likes of Freedom Caucus.

One of the important questions is how far Congressional Democrats engage with Donald Trump. There is a wing of Democratic Base, having tasted victory in early Trump Days, which will be completely reluctant to engage constructively with Trump Administration. And why blame them? Having observed total obstructionism of Republicans to Obama in last few years getting awarded with a complete victory for GOP in all branches of American Political Power; logical conclusion is to follow the same playbook. Equally, there is the question of RussiaGate[2], no-one knows how radioactive this administration would become given seriousness of allegations as well as abundant corruption opportunities which are unfolding every day. The last thing any politician wants is wasting her political capital on an administration which is not going to last.

But the political reality is such that there are some Democratic Senators[3] who need to retain their seats in 2018 from states which have voted overwhelmingly to Donald Trump. Further, if Nancy Pelosi has any dreams of becoming the house speaker again; Democrats need to win districts beyond their current Blue States. That also means having certain bipartisan wins under the belt for these Democrats. No doubt, there is a risk in aligning with a president who can be impeached. But any cooperation with Trump Administration for a particular bill does not mean Democrats do not hold Donald's feet to the fire when it comes to serious possibilities of treason, or unconstitutionality or breaking of laws.

***

The campaign of 2016, results of that election and early tumultuous days of Trump Presidency; all these things are likely to cringe anyone who cares about democracy. But I feel lot better these days, we do not need Barack Obama to conduct affairs of this country. As over centuries it is shown again and again that this country comes up with political leaders and conducts her business without dependency on any single person. To start with, first, Americans accepted election results of 2016 even when Trump did not have popular votes. American Media might have missed reading the mood and possibilities with American Voters, but after the election, it has gone into the role what it does best - keep investigating the administration and hold 'powers be' accountable.[4] 

Trump trash talked Federal Reserve and Janet Yellen on the campaign trail. But after the election, as he appointed Wall Street Bankers and smart economists to his Economic Team;  Trump has stayed away from meddling in affairs of Fed. Again, a network of intermingled interests ensures that 'independence of Fed' is retained. It is a reassuring sign that 'institutions of this republic' will withstand political pressures.

Next, courts (primarily Federal, but states too) in this country have not hesitated to throw away Donald's legal transgressions beyond what our Constitution allows to the executive agency. Courts of the land making an emphatic statement about conducting affairs in a constitutional manner is a big, big positive revelation about America in recent months.[5]

Now finally, Congress is arriving at a point where it will be forced to shed counter-productive political practices of years. In other words - our Media, our Courts, our Institutions and Congress all are working as intended by our framers and that is some astounding statement for the endurance of Democracy in this land.

In a democracy, People have rights to make mistakes. Falling for Donald Trump's campaign or failing to overcome Hillary hate in performing our citizen duty in voting for her; some of the most stunning political mistakes this country has made in decades. But thankfully, our constitutional framework and willingness of so many people to adhere to that; all that will help us even in the darkest hours of this republic.[6]

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[1] It is not Freedom Caucus solely who stopped RayanCare. By the time Ryan and Donald concluded their negotiations - rather dole outs - to Freedom Caucus; enough damage was inflicted to insurance assurances of Medicaid receipts so much so that moderates like New Jersey Republican House Member Rodney Frelinghuysen could not stomach anything more. When likes of Rodney started to throw in the towel, it became apparent to all how 'destructive' RyanCare bill had been. No sane person with basic decency and empathy can tolerate what Paul Ryan advocated in the name of ObamaCare Repeal and Replace - wholesome 'selling' of poor on Medicaid, all for tax cuts for Rich. As Nancy Pelosi said - "it is in DNA of Republicans": treat every policy opening as an opportunity to reward "haves" at the cost of "have nots"; all in the name of debunked Ayn Rand philosophy. 

[2] Daily Kos with HuffingtonPost are following these stories in all earnest. Good for American Democracy. What needs to be proven in the end is:
- either Donald Campaign contacted a foreign entity - in this case, a Russian entity - to alter the outcome of the 2016 election
- or Donald engaged in quid pro quo kind of deal with Russians which benefits him personally at the cost of a compromise or deviation in nation's foreign policy.
The key thing is to establish culpability of Donald by showing that he 'willingly engaged' in such transactions. GOP-dominated House would not take the impeachment bill so lightly if Donald is found guilty. There will be Court cases before anything happens. We have to see if respectable cabinet secretaries like Gen. Mattis drop out earlier or not to retain their own personal credibility when things get murky.

As FBI digs deeper into this investigation, a possibility of someone providing lot more details under a 'plea bargain' cannot be ruled out. After all, it is not the competence of FBI sleuths themselves, what matters is the weight of Law which FBI can bring to the table in forcing a witness to spill beans.

[3] Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana; all are vulnerable Democratic Senators for reelection in 2018. These are Senators from States which voted overwhelming to Donald Trump in 2016.

[4] Resignation of Michael Flynn is a testament to the vigilance of Media in this country. American Media made it impossible for Trump to carry on Flynn once his failures were exposed.

[5] When even Paul Ryan proclaims that "ObamaCare is the law of the land" and it is here to stay for a while; the adherence to the rule of law is explicit and exemplary.

[6] Just look at Russia. Around American Tax Day - April 15 - big nationwide rallies are planned urging Donald to release his tax returns. I do not see Russian kind violence for those rallies.

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