Thursday, January 5, 2017

Shock and Awe

Shock and awe as defined by Wikipedia is "a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight."

We are now witnessing a campaign of shock and awe in America's national political institutions unlike any we have previously experienced.
The Supreme Court, limited to 8 members and long stretched by political tussles over nominees, has been delegitimized by McConnell's Gambit. Assuming the president-elect nominates a justice who is approved by the Senate, future court decisions may be considered illegitimate any time that member votes with a 5-to-4 majority. The federal courts could see an unprecedented upward spike in confirmation of appointees.
The Senate leadership, with McConnell's early decision to block the possibility of Obama successful advancement of legislative proposals, and in 2016, refusal to hold hearings on the president's nominee to the Supreme Court or on the administration's budget proposal, has delegitimized itself.
The electoral victory of Trump reinforces the Republican strategy to freeze government throughout the administrations of Democrats and unfreeze government when a Republican is president. Sadly, the election of Trump instead of say, a Cruz or a Rubio, is advantageous to the Republican agenda because Trump has a unique concern with his personal success and, by extension, his family, and only limited interest in policy outcomes. This unusual configuration of interests between Trump and the Congress greases the skids for outcomes that benefit Trump personally while advancing the agenda of the Congress because almost no conflict exists between the two.
In the days and weeks ahead, we can expect a blitzkrieg of legislation enacted into law and a series of administrative actions by the new president reversing the successes of the previous eight years. The Affordable Care Act will surely be eviscerated. The popular press shines the spotlight on the impact on individuals, but the health insurance industry will be thrown into disarray. If the Republican penchant for cliffhangers (government shutdowns, default on federal debt, etc.) is a guide, the repeal now and replace later tactic will be too tempting to resist.
Let that be a lesson to any industry that cooperates with a future Democratic president.

And for the mainstream press, meaning the NYT and CNN in particular, among others, bad behavior has been rewarded. Paid subscriptions to the NYT are up. The failure to report in context, playing an active role in drumming up interest in irrelevancies, has now resulted in a story that no one can ignore. These news outlets failed to focus on the likely outcome of a Trump presidency and the stark differences that would make to people's lives, treating the two candidacies as equivalent - two people that no one could 'trust', and now we the people, get to live.

On the popular front, the changes will be dramatic and stark, here and abroad. We are already seeing a dramatic shift in U.S. policy, at least from the incoming administration, away from cooperation with China, its developing economy, and its population of 1.4 billion, toward Russia, its kleptocracy, and its population of 140 million.

No comments:

Post a Comment