Monday, November 27, 2017

Trump May be Irrelevant but he is Not Harmless

Trump's defective judgment, psychological dysfunction and amorality have made him irrelevant. On the campaign trail Trump promised his supporters that they would win so much they would get tired of winning. However, his backlog of failures have made him the most unpopular president in US history. Trump is irrelevant because no thinking person can believe what he says, or take what he means seriously. Trump is an entertainer and there is still interest in his antics from that point of view. However, this is the same kind of interest that one has in watching a train wreck. It is a voyeuristic spectacle, not of great achievement, but of catastrophic failure.

Trump has done nothing during his presidency with the exception of voiding Obama era executive orders. Meanwhile Trump's picks are destroying government from the inside. Fossil fuel lobbyist Scott Pruitt, the man Trump picked to run the EPA is dismantling the agency he was tapped to run. Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is also gutting the department he was charged to oversee, in part by simply not filling vacancies.

Trump's failed leadership means that America is being ignored by the G20 and at COP23. The US has seen its global reputation plummet and business leaders are abandoning the president in droves. He is even irrelevant to in his own party.

Plummeting global standing

The United States always had its detractors, but something unprecedented is happening today. This is not just about differences of opinion, this is much more fundamental to the world's perception of America.

In an op-ed CNN host and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria argued that the US is "becoming irrelevant". To support his argument Zakaria cited a recent Pew Research Center survey that revealed the world’s confidence in the US president has fallen to a third of what its was a year ago. Confidence in President Barack Obama was at 64 percent, under Trump it has declined to 22 percent. To put it another way almost four fifths of the world, or 8 out of every 10 people think Trump is not trustworthy and as such unimportant.

Zakaria anticipated the demise of the US in a 2008 book however, "the parochialism, ineptitude and sheer disarray of the Trump presidency" is bringing about America's demise much quicker than he ever thought possible.

Corporate America

Corporate America sees Trump as irrelevant too. The word on Wall Street, like just about everywhere else, is that Trump's poor grasp of the issues and his fundamental incompetence make him impossible to work with. Trump has earned the ire of corporate America for a number of reasons including the Moslem ban, his defense of racism in Charlottesville and his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Sustainability titan Elon Musk bluntly inferred that Trump is bad for business. In fact a number of business leaders are standing up for sustainability and opposing Trump. CEOs have resigned en masse from his business councils forcing Trump to disband them. Corporate leaders are ignoring Trump's climate ignorance and moving forward with ambitious sustainability initiatives.

In a New Yorker article William D. Cohan's investigation of CEOs and Wall Street bankers led him to conclude that business leaders think Trump is incapable of achieving corporate America’s policy goals.

Some CEOs are still playing it safe and keeping their opinions to themselves. However, many business leaders have decided that inaction in the context of the Trump administration may be even more dangerous than speaking out. "Corporate executives increasingly view Trump as so erratic, unpredictable, and polarizing that being too close to him risks alienating employees and consumers," Cohan said.

Corporate leaders are still looking for lower taxes and less regulation, however, they are now working with Congress and forgetting about Trump altogether. A Wall Street executive told Cohan, "Donald Trump as a leader of an agenda and a set of policies is no longer a part of the frame."

Domestic politics

As suggested above Trump has even made himself irrelevant in domestic politics. In June, Fairfax Media columnist Nicole Hemmer penned an article in which she said, "Six months into his presidency, Trump is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the goings-on in Washington."

After Hurricane Harvey at the end of August Dan Rather told MSNBC that Trump runs the risk of seeming 'irrelevant'. The irrelevancy of the Trump administration became abundantly apparent in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

In a Newsweek article Robert Reich proclaimed, "Trump’s Do Nothing Presidency Is Irrelevant". Robert Reich is no lightweight he knows of what he speaks. He is an author and professor at UCLA, Berkeley. He is also a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century.

Reich asserts that when it comes to the actual work of governing America, Trump is irrelevant. Reich's thesis is premised on Trump's failure to understand basic policy issues. Reich points out that Congress largely ignores Trump just as they ignored his budget. Trump is out of the loop. He is being excluded from the legislative strategies of both Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell and the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

Irrelevant not harmless 

The dismal failure of Trump's nativist populism has made him irrelevant. However, saying that Trump is irrelevant is not the same as saying he is harmless. The damage that Trump has done and will do should not be underestimated.

Reich shares the view that orange Potus continues to be worrisome even if he is irrelevant. "Trump is still a dangerous showman and conman – tweeting condemnations of critics and ranting before friendly crowds at his never-ending campaign rallies. He continues to fuel bigotry and meanness. He has reduced America’s standing in the world. His outbursts could start a nuclear war." Reich said.

Trump is a man who has no ideological vision beyond his own self-aggrandizement. He cannot fulfill his promise to make the country great again, however he may be hastening America's decline.

As we watch Trump teeter on the brink of political solvency, we must remember that it is not only his brand that is dying, he imperils America as he rages against his own imminent demise.

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