One of Trump’s supporters asked: “Can you say anything positive about Trump’s accomplishments”? And I thought about it for a while. And here is my answer:
What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
And by “what” I mean Trump and his party.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, famously said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
Our naive founding fathers did not anticipate today’s situation, when a totally inept man would be elected President of the United States.
The “rule of law”, the country of laws, our Democracy only works if citizens willingly participate in upholding democracy, upholding the laws and the Constitution of the country. Unfortunately this is not the case in Trumpland.
Below is a brief list of ways Trumpism is testing the ability of our country to overcome the stress that our Democracy is subjected to.
It took the arrival of such a leader (Trump) to reveal how many things that had always seemed engraved in monumental stone turned out to depend on those flimsy norms, and how much the norms depended on public opinion. Their vanishing exposed the real power of the presidency. Legal precedent could be deleted with a keystroke; law enforcement’s independence from the White House was optional; the separation of powers turned out to be a gentleman’s agreement; transparent lies were more potent than solid facts. None of this was clear to the political class until Trump became president. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/04/how-to-destroy-a-government/606793/
Systematic efforts to intimidate the media. “The president’s tweets can have an impact and consequences for the press both at home and abroad. His rhetoric has given cover to autocratic regimes: world leaders from Cambodia to the Philippines have echoed terms like “fake news” in the midst of crackdowns on press freedom. And the rhetoric has sometimes resulted in harassment of individual journalists in the U.S., where the CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) is aware of several journalists who say they were harassed or threatened online after being singled out on Twitter by Trump. “ https://cpj.org/blog/2019/01/trump-twitter-press-fake-news-enemy-people.php
Building an official pro-Trump media network.“CNN is a voice that really seems to be the voice out there and it’s a terrible thing for our country,” Trump said, diverging from his speech on protecting Medicare for seniors at an event in The Villages, Florida. “We ought to start our own network and put some real news out there, because they are so bad for our country.”
“United States (1971) The freedom of the press, protected by the First Amendment, is critical to a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. “ – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black in New York Times Co.
Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or domestic security agencies.
“The politicization of the FBI has been swift and extreme. According to Reuters polling, just two years ago, 84 percent of Republicans viewed the FBI favorably. By February 2018, 73 percent agreed that “members of the FBI and Department of Justice are working to delegitimize Trump through politically motivated investigations,” according to a new Reuters poll. Thanks to a president eroding long-standing norms and America’s extreme political polarization, the FBI may not be alone. We are at risk of becoming more similar to struggling democracies, where most security and law enforcement institutions are simply assumed to be aligned with a political party.” https://www.justsecurity.org/55383/politicization-security-institutions/
Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.
Trump’s attacks on courts undermine judicial independence
“..Language in the article suggests that the framers wanted the judicial branch to serve an independent role free from political pressure. It stated that judges should “hold their Offices when they exhibit good behavior.” This meant judges could only be removed for misconduct.”
“The American people should be deeply troubled and scared as to the status of their rights and liberties over the next three to four decades,” said Daniel Goldberg, legal director at the progressive Alliance for Justice.
The most troubling part for me is that Trump is replacing all the professional career department heads with his loyalists.
Our democracy might recover from Trump’s 4 years and get stronger. It will not, in my opinion, recover if Trump wins reelection.