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Silver Linings

November 13, 2016

Trump’s drawbacks are extensive, and I was hoping he would not win the presidency. However, he has and America will have to live with the consequences, both good and bad. I am an optimist by nature, and amid the doom and gloom, I like to see the good things as well. This post is primarily targeted toward liberals, and to some degree progressives although they won’t agree with it.

Trump has the best temperament. Yes, I know it was a laugh line when he said it but it’s true. He has the self control and determination of a sleep deprived two year old. He has the work ethic that only the silver-spooned lifestyle of someone born super rich can bring. This is a horrible temperament for someone on your side to have, but it’s a great temperament for your enemies to have. Trump will not work tirelessly for Republican goals. He’ll give up at the slightest setback and get caught up in petty feuds.

Climate Change
Trump has given a big F you to everyone hoping the government will solve global warming. Global warming activists will have to look elsewhere for a savoir, but they should have been all alone. The inconvenient truth is that the government isn’t good at fixing complex problems when different interest groups disagree on the fundamentals.

The scenario Democrats had put their hopes in was what, exactly? Pass a massive tax on gasoline, much higher CAFE, push out tight regulations on dozens of polluting industries all of whom are lobbying hard with an opposition party who doesn’t even believe the problem exists? Then once you’ve managed to get U.S. emissions down at least 75%, convince not only rich Europe, but also poor China and India to eviscerate their own growth to cut emissions too? Because it doesn’t work unless everyone, or darn near, does it together. All the while, each government is in a prisoner’s dilemma and is going to try to free ride off the efforts of the rest. Sorry, but governments aren’t up to such a challenge and they wouldn’t have been even had the Democrats won every election.

Instead, people will have to put their hopes in solutions that can be done without the government, which I believe was the better approach all along. Fund new solar panels, buy electric cars, come up with geoengineering technologies, etc. Technology has always been the only plausible way to solve global warming and now Trump has forced liberals to recognize that.

For all the “Trump will get us nuked” rhetoric, Trump has promised to get along much better with Russia. Sure, the Ukrainians are screwed. Sure, the Baltic States will have to put some serious thought into national defense. But the #1 threat to America getting nuked has always been Russia, ever since 1949. Clinton, not Trump was in the habit of poking the bear. A bear is a good symbol for Russia. You can’t be friends with a bear, but you sure as hell don’t want to be a bear’s enemy either. So it is with Russia. If Russia wants Crimea, ffs let them have it. Yes, it sucks for the Ukrainians, but it’s NOT worth risking the U.S. getting nuked. Yes, it sucks that Russia is bombing Islamic militias that the CIA was arming, but once again, it’s not worth the U.S. getting nuked over. Let them play empire. They let us play empire without interference. If they roll tanks into Germany, sure, maybe then we’ll get serious, but for countries that are no strategic value to the U.S., it’s simply not worth fighting Russia over. Trump will not mess with Russia unnecessarily. Clinton would have.

Civil Liberties
Democrats were against civil liberty abuses when George Bush did them, but as soon as Obama was in office, they were in favor. Republicans are always against them. So we libertarians are in a bit of a bind. When a Republican is in office, we have Democratic allies, so we want them to win, but as soon as they do, they switch sides and suddenly we’re alone. Having a Republican president, especially one as divisive as Trump means suddenly we’re not going to be the only ones against extrajudicial drone executions of American citizens, bombings of MSF hospitals, warrantless surveillance, etc. etc. Many of the things the media got its panties in a twist over Trump promising to do, either Bush or Obama have actually done. Obama did use drone strikes on the families of terrorists. Bush did use torture on prisoners of war. Both of them had the FBI spy on mosques without probable cause. Now at least we’ve got some allies.

Foreign Policy
Who knows what Trump will do. But we know what Clinton would do. Endless worthless pointless eternal war. Thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars thrown away year after year is a crusade that makes Americans less safe than we were before. The media attacked Trump for saying he was against the Iraq War before he was actually on record as against it, but at least he was against it at all.

Improve Parties
Both the Republican and Democratic parties got their butts kicked this election. Trump shows to Republicans that their voters don’t give a fudge about their platform. The Democrats will have to do some soul seaching, reconnect with voters, and find something they can sell that’s better that “we’re not racist”. There’s a good chance of a realignment. Hopefully libertarian ideas can find a home in the Democratic party now that the Republicans are the authoritarian party.

Ends idea that money buys elections
Perhaps the most pernicious misconception in all of political science. Money doesn’t win elections, but as long as politicians think it does, they will continue to throw the American people under the bus in favor of special interests so they can get money to buy campaign ads. It would be better for them to do a good job and have less campaign spending, and Trump perhaps is such a salient example that maybe they will on the margin.

As much as I don’t like that Trump won, I’m pretty happy Clinton lost. She was an awful candidate in many ways. Just because Trump was worse does not in any way excuse her behavior. When she broke the law, her response was to send her husband over to the AG’s office and get them to drop the charges, then lie non-stop to Congress, the FBI, and the American people.

The Democrats used every dirty trick in the book to nominate her, even though she would likely have won the nomination without their machinations. This wound up sabotaging her because it’s ammo that Trump can use to undermine the legitimacy of her nomination as well as alienating the Democrats who were hoping for Sanders. If she has won fair and square, Sanders supporters would have supported her more enthusiastically. I also disagree with her on virtually every policy perspective out there. I could go on, but it would get tedious.

A few of Trump’s first batch of policies
Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;
Response: A bad idea, but probably never going to happen.

A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;
Response: Gimmicky, but not a bad idea.

Renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.
Response: Ahh that wonderful wiggle word “renegotiate”. As long as Trump can get a few good concessions, hopefully he’ll leave the substance intact.

Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Response: Inevitable. Anti-trade sentiment is ascendant and the deal itself was shrouded in corruption and secrecy.

Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama
Response: lol, suck it blue!

Removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country.
Response: This is why his base elected him. He HAS to do something about illegal immigrants, and contrary to the Clinton camp, wanting people to follow immigration law is not racist.  Because of his credibility on the issue, Trump may be the best person to do a real reform of our immigration system.  Trump married an illegal immigrant.  He’s from New York.  He’s spoken about the need for more high skill immigration.  He might not be that bad.

Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.
Response: More weasel words. The vetting system is already quite robust, taking about 2 years. Trump could add maybe 10% to it and claim to his base that it’s much better.

Where do we go from here?
First of all, don’t panic. Cthulhu is still swimming left. More Americans than ever before support gay rights, marijuana legalization, and Millenials are far more left wing than the dying Baby Boomers. Demographics are also on the left’s side. Trump did not win a majority of votes, just a majority of electors. This is not the new dawn of racism or xenophobia. Keep a close eye on Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. The only way for the left to lose long term is for democracy itself to be undermined. I’m reassured by the outpouring of people saying we need to relearn empathy, understanding, moderation, compromise, and American values. We can get through the next 4 years. America has had worse.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2016 4:01 pm

    Let them play empire.

    People don’t seem to know that it turned out since at least 1900 empire is a cost not an asset.

    • November 17, 2016 4:18 pm

      I agree. Russia will not benefit from their expansionism, but that’s a lesson for them to learn.

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