President Donald Trump is an amateur in politics. He has never been elected to any political office in his life. He has played politics much as I have played football, from the sidelines.
I can make almost any calls that a referee would make and debate all questionable calls ad infinitum. Or if you prefer, J can second guess every political action taken by any president or senate or the House.
I am a good at what Americans call Monday Morning quarterbacking.
Not only is Mr. Trump an amateur, he has surrounded himself with other amateurs in high places and the results are showing. In three weeks, we have seen:
1. His senior counsellor Ms. Kellyanne Conway counseled when she forgot that the she is paid by “we the people” and not by her direct boss Mr. Trump as she used her position to promote Ivanka Trump’s clothing line when Ivanka’s line is in competition with many other clothing lines by other Americans. She did not know or forgot it was not permissible for one on public payroll to promote one American over the others.
2. Mr. trump’s security adviser Gen Flynn quit on Monday after Trump lost trust in him and asked for his resignation. "The issue pure and simple came down to a matter of trust," Flynn had held a discussion with the Russian Ambassador to the United States before Trump’s inauguration without consulting and reporting to the then President Obama and lied about it to the current Vice President.
3. Us lawmakers are calling for the investigations of the president’s and other cabinet and senior advisers about their relationships with Russia. These calls are coming from both Democrats and Republicans.
4. President Trump had issued a Presidential Directive that bans all refugees and immigrants from the mostly majority Islamic nations from entering US. It led to confusion in most US airports and even worse in international airports around the world. It also caused widespread demonstrations in US cities. It led to court battles and a US Appeals Court has rejected the Presidential Directive.
5. The president himself held a security meeting in a public place. Cries are going up demanding to see the Security Clearance for Mar A-Lago restaurant where the security meeting was held. A republican congressman has requested information on what was discussed in the meeting and the level of security assurances that Mar-A-Lago place provided.
All the above are a just a tip of the iceberg. It has been a mere three weeks and all these and more have happened.
President Trump’s administration is an amateur administration run by amateurs for the people of United States.
If the present trends continue, it will be a matter of time before the amateur advisers would lead the president astray and he could do something that could lead to calls for impeachment.
Democrats must start to formulate their strategy for dealing with Mr. Trump’s moves. I suggest the following:
a. On the domestic front, Democrats should mount a vigorous opposition to some of the announced Trump moves such as repealing of Obamacare without a better plan in place; such as building a wall in US southern border; such as bringing back torture of terrorists; such as tax cuts for the 1%. They should propose their own agenda including making college affordable to all citizens, protecting the seniors from social security cuts and privatizing social security and Medicare; that infrastructure development agenda will create jobs; and many other things they ran on in 2016. These will not pass but it will demonstrate that they have a plan for governing.
b. On Foreign Affairs Democrats, should ensure that no new wars are started by the administration; that withdrawal from international treaties approved by Congress and signed by former presidents are inviolable; that US should be an even hand in the Mideast and not an agent of Israeli’s Prime Minister Mr. Netanyahu. The tail ought not wag the dog. Democrats must continue to emphasize the special relationship US has with her allies such as UK, EU, Australia, Canada, etc.; Democrats must ensure that that while US is in competition with China that this competition does not lead to war with China or the start of WWIII. Above all Democrats must oppose any attempt to enter a second arms race with any country/ies.
As the Opposition Party, Democrats, must accept the result of 2016 and not seek to revise it directly. If and when calls for the impeachment of Mr. Trump comes up, Democrats must make sure that such impeachment fails. Mr. Trump in office is the bestselling reason for the democratic return to government. If Mr. Trump is impeached successfully, Mr. Pence would become the president. Mr. Pence is not an amateur, but a seasoned political practitioner. He would change Republican failures overnight and make them the darling of the public with a possible chance of eight years of Republican dominance.
US has given Mr. Trump a four-year mandate. Four years it must be.
In the interim Democrats, must start thinking of 2020. Not just in terms of the presidency but in terms of governorship, state Houses and senates as well as US Congress. The key is in recruitment of acceptable younger members and the development of grass roots campaign, the sort that elected Mr. Obama twice. College campuses present good recruiting grounds. Democrats had conceded rural America to Republicans. This ought to change. If we have the Electoral College system on our books rural America will continue to have exaggerated influence on who occupies the White House. If we have state assemblies’ in Republican hands, gerrymandering will remain the order of the day.
Democrats should help Mr. Trump serve out his four years. He will help Democrats out a lot.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba, Boston, Massachusetts