THE LONG VIEW: Will Team Trump drain the ‘swamp’ or lead us deeper?

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Pat Grimes New pic.jpg

By the time this is published, the 45th president will have begun his term. Despite predictions to the contrary, like Michael Moore’s declaration that a Trump win would usher the end of our country, we shall assume the Republic has survived.

By the time this is published, the 45th president will have begun his term. Despite predictions to the contrary, like Michael Moore’s declaration that a Trump win would usher the end of our country, we shall assume the Republic has survived.

In the aftermath of November’s election, it’s become clear the establishments within both major parties were out of touch with a major portion of the electorate. With their employment less secure, their homes less valued, their healthcare costing more, and their futures looking dimmer, many of these folks responded to candidate Trump’s promises to look out for the little guy.

After watching their slice of the pie shrink for a couple of decades, these voters put their hope in a businessman outsider, overlooking his complete lack of experience in governance or policymaking, seeming dislike of a free press, boorishness toward women, and apparent apathy for minorities and the powerless. The election’s surprise results, it seems, are what you get when the politically powerful disregard too many people for too long.

Now his supporters encourage us to give the new President a chance. I am absolutely willing to do so, but his lead-up to taking office has not been encouraging.

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to fight the entrenched powers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, D.C. He pledged to “drain the swamp,” to remove the old guard from power and lead an administration that would fight for you and me. So far, the signs are not hopeful.

To replace the fat cats who’ve ignored you and me, our new president has stocked his Cabinet with other people with no need to pay attention to regular Americans. The roster includes a number of billionaires, none with any convincing qualifications for the positions.

 

The former chairman of Exxon Mobil would be the first Secretary of State without military or government experience. The Secretary of Commerce nominee’s expertise is in restructuring bankrupt firms, a skill of questionable value for fostering job creation, sustainable economic growth, and improved lives for all Americans.

The Education Secretary is known for lavish political contributions that loaded my home state’s legislature, helping make Michigan a Right to Work (for less) state and one in which for-profit charter schools undermine the public school system without achieving better results for students. Neither she nor her offspring ever attended a public school.

Another nominee with no record of public service, the Secretary of Treasury made his fortune on Wall Street, raking it in while overseeing expedited foreclosures by his bank in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. The EPA administrator is a climate change denier who repeatedly sued the agency he would oversee.

Our wealthy new president, unwilling to disclose his financial records, has gathered a host of other affluent individuals to help run our country. None of them, I fear, are particularly in touch with the day-to-day challenges of living that you and I experience.

I want to give the man a chance, but neither he nor his assembled team look like they have any intention of looking out for us. Instead, the dark swamp gets deeper.

Pat Grimes, a former South Bay resident, writes from Ypsilanti, Mich. He can be reached at grimespat19@gmail.com

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