The election of 2016 was one for the books. The expected “coronation” of Hillary Clinton never took place, her ambitions for election to the highest office of the land crushed when the FBI investigation into her emails resulted in her indictment on federal misdemeanor charges. Only a last-minute pardon granted by outgoing President Obama saved her from a lengthy trial and probable conviction.
When self-avowed Socialist Bernie Sanders became the official Democrat party nominee due to a rabid outpouring of support from the ultra-left fringe, the GOP – now insulated from the threat of a Hillary candidacy – reverted to form and coalesced around Establishment candidate Jeb Bush.
Defeated in the primaries, Donald Trump declared himself a candidate as an Independent. On election night this dynamic played itself out to its finale, with Sanders getting little support from other than the ultra-left, Bush getting little from any other than the GOP loyalists, and the remainder going to Trump. In an election cycle with a record-low turnout, that happened to be enough to give Trump the win.
Now, six months after the inauguration, Trump sits at his desk in the Oval Office brooding over his next moves. He’d tried to push through his promise to build a border wall between the US and Mexico with the stipulation that he’d stick Mexico with the bill, but he’d immediately run into another “wall” he hadn’t anticipated.
Congress had refused to create any legislation authorizing such a project, and with no ties to either of the parties in control of Congress, Trump found himself with no leverage at all with which to proceed. His request for such legislation was simply DOA. The only thing he got was a gift from the President of Mexico of a bottle of fine agave tequila, with a sardonic note of congratulations.
Along similar lines, when he’d tried to find some way to suspend the automatic granting of US citizenship to “anchor babies”, there was no actual way to effectuate his efforts. He couldn’t do it by executive order, because citizenship is a state of being, not a document issued by a government agency to which he could issue orders. He again asked Congress for appropriate legislation, and ran into the exact same problem he faced regarding his proposed wall: Congress ignored him.
In August of 2015 he’d said that he’d support a tax increase on the “ultra-rich” – heresy to conservatives – and when he’d proposed the idea to Congress he got strong support from the Democrat side of the aisle, and strong opposition from the GOP, again with the same result: no action from Congress.
Last month’s meeting with Putin had gone badly. They didn’t click on a personal level, a problem right out of the box. He’d tried to insist that Putin call off his dogs, but the Russian just stared at him with those beady eyes. It was infuriating! “All right, so he got a little annoyed at what I said”, Trump thought. “But I was calling his actions ‘stupid’, not him personally. Can’t he tell the difference?”
He’d tested another policy initiative a couple of months ago, a sort of trial balloon. He’d instructed our ambassadors to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to present to those countries bills for our costs in protecting their countries militarily, including from the Saddam Hussein invasion. After all, they have virtually unlimited wealth from their oil production, and we provide their military support. It was for only $1.5 trillion! Who’d have thought they’d react the way they did? The Saudis even insisted Trump recall our ambassador to that country. Imagine! Looks like that balloon popped…
Which, Trump mused, means the odds of doing the same thing anywhere else look pretty slim…
The backlash from his announcement last week that he was sending the 82nd Airborne Division to the Middle East to fight ISIS utterly confounded and perplexed him. If there was any actual personification of actual evil on this planet, they were it. So how could so many people – not only in the electorate, but in Congress – not see that we had to send in the troops?
“Quagmire?”, he grumbled to himself. “What does that even mean? I can tell those generals how to win that war. And anyway, if they don’t do it my way, and win that damn war, I’ll just fire them.”
Seeing that the sun was setting, he rose from the chair and left the room. Tomorrow was another day.
©Brian Baker 2015
(Published in my local newspaper, The Signal, on 3 Sep 2015: http://www.signalscv.com/section/33/article/141834/ )