While I never wanted Donald Trump to be elected (he’s not competent to lead our country), for a moment in time, I saw something encouraging about his popular support. That was a faint hope that the American electorate might really push for dramatic change in government.
Both parties are responsible for the failure of our government. Here’s my top 10 list of the major failures of our government and our leaders, and therefore, what I am looking for in policy prescriptions from the candidates in both parties:
- Failure to reach agreement to do much of anything consequential. To be a leading nation takes courageous action, and we haven’t had much in a long time. We’ve been gridlocked in partisan acrimony.
- Failure to recognize and address (with policy) the Conservative agenda since Reagan which has pushed us too far to the Right, to the point of returning the US to the inequality of the Robber Baron Era in the 1920s. Along with that, failure to restore a meaningful social safety net for the underprivileged of our country. We had that in mid-century, but it’s gone now. Citizens United and the like enable moneyed interests to control much of our policy.
- Failure to specifically attack and improve the efficiency of government at all levels in all activities, and cut the waste in government. It’s enormous, and a lot of it is pork barrel politically motivated expenditure. Some is just poor management.
- If the savings from that is not enough to fully address the needs of the underprivileged, failure to tax the wealthy to make up the difference. I will willingly pay my additional share, altho I am certainly not in the upper categories.
- Failure to agree on foreign policy which should be built on negotiation, peace, and international solidarity and reluctance to use military force.
- Correlative failure to lead our citizens to see those of other nations as partners with us in a globalizing world, in which Chinese, Mexicans, Russians, and Iranians as all basically wanting the same–peace, safety, opportunity. The incendiary criticisms of the people of such nations only lead to more animosity and terrorism, not to peace and cooperation.
- Failure to lead our citizens to see the world as our responsibility, rather than drawing up the ladder and denying our opportunities to millions of the underprivileged who live outside our borders–failure to develop a system to advantage our country with the energy and skills of immigrants, on which our nation was built. Germany has agreed to take 500,000immigrants from the Middle East crisis. We have agreed to take only 10,000 and some Republican Senators say this is too much–that we cannot verify them. But Europe is verifying 94% of Syrians seeking asylum. As leader of the world, how can we defend such an isolationist position? We seem to care enough about the world to intervene militarily in human rights violations around the world, but we won’t bring their hard working disadvantaged to our country?
- Failure to develop a health care system which sufficiently meets our economic and personal/social needs. Obamacare is an improvement over what we had before, but we need further improvement or we should go to a single payer system. Our system costs 17% of GDP, while many other nations spend only half that and cover more people.
- Failure to keep America among the best in infrastructure.
- Failure to deal with continuing discrimination in our country–e.g., solving the crisis between police and our black citizens–in which both have legitimate grievances.
In Trump’s case, I admired only two things. I admired his refusal to agree to support anyone who is chosen by the Republicans to represent them in the election. I also admired his statement that he would tax some of the wealthy to make things better for some of the less fortunate. Most of the rest of his proposals were somewhere between impossible (the wall at the Mexian border, and moving all illegal immigrants out and then most of them back) or just ridiculous (what he would say to China or Mexico or Iran). But for his position of refusing to be totally Republican and his willingness to go against Conservative agenda on taxes, I admired him.
Alas, he has surrendered on the only things I found with which to admire him. He has agreed to support whomever the Republicans nominate and he has also agreed to support Conservative agenda. We’ll have to see whether he truly accommodates that latter point, but if he does, he cannot support any tax increases.
Why should we care whether someone is Democrat, Republican, or of any label? Is there really anyone among us who would agree 100% with whatever is the full party doctrine? Or even anyone who knows what all that policy is? But in the case of not raising taxes, most everyone does know–that’s at the top of the Conservative agenda.
Jeb Bush and others of the Republican candidates have thought to demean Trump by telling us he’s not a true Conservative. This doesn’t raise those criticizers in my esteem. I do not want someone who is entirely Conservative or entirely Liberal. I prefer they don’t sign up to the dogma of any group. I prefer someone who has some different ideas of her/his own? I was hoping we’d be looking for someone who was strong enough to refuse being categorized. Someone like the architect in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
As to Donald Trump, maybe the worst part of his concession was the reason he gave: Reince Preibus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee came to him (his office) and paid homage to him. That’s the reason Trump gave. And by the way, he also likes Kanye West. Nothing to do with Kanye’s beliefs or politics, just because “he’s very nice to me.” And, as to policies to deal with my list above, his specificity mostly boils down to “I’d hire really great people.” I think Bobbie Jindal has captured Trump: “a substance free narcissist.”
Unfortunately, I do not yet see anyone else sufficiently addressing the shortcomings above. So, I’m waiting for a leader who has practical plans for most of these shortcomings of our government, and I’m desperately hoping the American public is going to end up with similar demands, but it’s not looking hopeful at this time.