An Open Letter to Donald Trump, Congress, SCOTUS, and DOJ

Dear Esteemed Leaders and Mr. Trump,

As 2016 draws to a close, the rest of the world looks on at our great country with combined feelings of ridicule, fear, and glee, for those who desire our demise and see opportunity in our chaos. Americans have been called the ‘best and the brightest’, and the good news is that we still are. 74 million Americans voted to reject Donald Trump as President. 66 million of these votes were for Secretary Clinton. Yet, it seems our Electoral College system, which Trump himself called a disaster, failed…but, not without help. 

The GOP spent years cultivating an anti-intellectual constituency and provided a fertile environment for Trump to play his con game. He preyed on the uneducated and the desperate, appealing to the basic instinct to blame, hate and divide, and found an audience well-primed to believe the lies of a demagogue and to be shaped by the propaganda of an adversarial foreign power. This group, the 63 million who voted for Trump, is a minority. Thankfully, the majority of Americans are a thinking people. The public outcry against Trump’s election-countless protests, petitions, millions of letters to electors-is unprecedented, as are many aspects of this election. Do not fool yourself that this is a partisan response against losing an election. Elections have been lost before, even with the rare discrepancy between popular and EC vote, but this phenomenon is quite different. Operating the government in a manner against the express will of a majority this large is a social experiment that will fail, and likely leave our country seriously damaged. This is what we, the thinking majority, America’s ‘best and brightest’, know to be true.

The GOP’s culpability in this train-wreck cannot and will not be ignored. Like the protagonist of a child’s fable, the Republican Party has allowed every wrong decision to be driven by greed and power. This stain will not fade easily, but the longer you place Party over Country, the more we see and the longer we will remember. 

We watched as you allowed an unqualified reality tv celebrity become your standard-bearer. We watched as you waffled back and forth between supporting him, endorsing him and shunning him, only to stand with him in the end, despite unignorable and compelling reasons not to. We watched you compromise morality, ethics, character, common-sense, and the well-being of this country, for the chance to push your own agenda through and secure SCOTUS seats. We watched you engage in witch-hunts aimed at Secretary Clinton, turn a blind-eye to foreign election interference, and ignore FBI Director Comey’s 11th hour electioneering. We watched you take advantage of the loss of the Voting Right’s Act to actively suppress the votes of the poor and people of color and purge millions of votes in cross-check. Now you watch on, as we do, as your President-Elect makes a mockery of our country in his transition process, proving his incompetence every day. I teach my children that it is better to right your wrongs, even if that means admitting fault and taking punishment. Our government leaders still have a window of opportunity to set this right and regain public trust and respect.

Mr. Trump, I imagine you are feeling overwhelmed, as you find yourself in a position for which you are in no way qualified. There is nothing similar between running a business and running a country-especially a superpower. There are literally hundreds of millions of eyes on your every move. Your habitual lying and ineptitude will get caught every time. Perhaps you are not finding the job as satisfying as riling up the adoring rubes at your rallies. You claim you do not need to attend intelligence/security briefings because you’re ‘smart’. Your campaign and transition has told a different story. You exhibit the behavior of a pathaological liar. Your vocabulary and communication skills are like a grade-schooler, you are not well read or educated in pertinent matters, nor do you show a willingness or aptitude toward preparation. Poor communication skills combined with your demonstrated lack of self-control is a dangerous combination for diplomacy and foreign relations. 

Your reputation for narcissism is your biggest appeal to those around you, both foreign and domestic, who know they can use you as a puppet to push their own agenda. The help you received in your campaign had purpose. Mercer and Bannon used you to raise the visibility and agenda of the alt-Right. Putin wishes to destabilize NATO and weaken the United States, unltimately to regain status and power. Our chaos is what they want. If it was your goal to put together a Cabinet that would systematically dismantle the progress of all our government divisions, then you succeeded. 

Just your Twitter use, alone, demonstrates your incompetence to be POTUS. But, this is the reality. This is a country of real people-with real consequences. While you’re tweet-baiting China, whining about the media, and trying to re-ignite the nuclear arms race with Russia, you may do irrevocable harm to our country, and that’s without making a single grossly uninformed policy decision. The majority of the American people knew this danger before the election, more and more realize it every day. 

If you truly want to help this country, you should step-down, acknowledge the illegitimacy of an election corrupted by foreign and domestic electioneering and gerrymandering. Go back to your businesses with the goal of utilizing American materials, manufacturing and operations. Use what you learned on the campaign trail to become a better American-pay your taxes, don’t engage in bribery, pay your subcontractors, try being honest (note: creative hyperbole=lying).

As for the rest of our government leaders, realize that you may very quickly have to figure out how to override this election catastrophe. This is not going to sort itself out. A POTUS put in place against the will of the American people and by the combined actions of a foreign adversary, gerrymandering and electioneering is not something our country can come back from. The dangers posed to us are too great, the implications are devastating. The American majority has spoken-we are educated, organized and motivated. We are the best and brightest. We are #TheResistance.

Note to 115th Congress:  Make no mistake, we also see that you attempted to make your first Congressional action the gutting of the Office of Congressional Ethics. Obviously, we did not allow that to happen. We are not going to be complacent and you will not be able to remove yourself from accountability. Judging from Mr. Trump’s tweet regarding the timing of this move, it is reasonable to infer that he has signaled his own message to you. If you investigate him (and you must), some of you are likely going down with him. An independent, bipartisan investigation must take place. You were not elected to represent yourselves,  Mr. Trump, oil and gun lobbyists, Russia or the 1%-you serve the American people. Do your job, or step down.

Clinton’s alt-Right Speech Moves Us Forward

Hillary Clinton’s speech in Reno, yesterday, marked a needed turning point in what has been a truly bizarre election.  She not only brought Donald Trump’s campaign to task for the hate-filled division it inspires and espouses, but also pointed out just how out of place it is in the political arena.  Finally, someone had the gumption to pull back and provide a little meta-analysis to the hot mess that has dominated this election cycle.

Despite Donald Trump’s complaints of media bias, members of the press and political commentators have actually gone quite easy on him.  His offensive has provided so many gaffes and shocking moments, that reporters, commentators and fellow politicians have been locked in a continuous reactionary response–essentially allowing one man to turn our election process into a circus, and, in the process, nullify any real progress toward finding legitimate solutions to our economic and social problems.

Earlier this week on the Rachel Maddow show, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, criticized the proposed content of Clinton’s Reno speech, complaining that she should be speaking on policy, not on Trump.  Clinton has spoken on policy, and she will continue to do so, but this speech was absolutely necessary.  It was long overdue to talk about the elephant (excuse the pun) in the room.  Donald Trump may be the Republican standard-bearer, but that does not mean that we must collectively lower the bar for him.  Political commentators spend so much time with Trump surrogates while they flailingly try to explain their candidate, when they should be taking a stand on the obvious throughlines of his campaign.  He play-acted his way into the nomination with uninformed, yet authoritarian and divisive rhetoric.  His ignorance is tangible everytime he opens his mouth.  Most of all, whether it was with intent or stupidity, he has become the Pied Piper of an openly racist fringe element.  It is a dangerous scenario, and it is what we need to be talking about before too much damage is done.

Trump vs. “The Media”

Republican nominee, Donald Trump, is blaming “The Media” for his falling poll numbers, and working his followers up into yet another poorly thought out lather.  Though Trump’s battle cries are about media bias and dishonest reporting, I suspect he is truly upset because he thought he was in control of the press–using them to his own benefit. He thought he had a firm understanding of how to play a game.  When he transitioned from the primaries to the general election, though, the game changed, because the players changed.  Trump’s shenanigans were now being focused on by the rest of America–judged, as they should be, in the harsh light of a serious Presidential election. 

“The Media” is not a thing, at least not in the collusive, conspiracy-cloaked way many Trump supporters are referencing it.  It is a broad collection of persons in a related profession.  Now, within the media, there are news outlets that are characterized as liberal media or conservative media.  It is up to the consumer to make sure they vary their sources.  This is of particular interest because Trump’s ire is directed at the media as a whole.  He claims he is treated unfairly even by notoriously conservative news outlets like Fox News.  What are they doing that is distressing him so?  Well, they’re doing what they’ve done all along.  They are reporting on and discussing the things he says in speeches, interviews and tweets.  But, here’s the rub…when he says something outrageous, sensationalistic or outright false, it dominates the press.  This is not a new phenomenon, and Donald Trump knows that.  Consider the following:

“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better…The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.” – Donald Trump, The Art of The Deal, 1987

“I use the media they way the media uses me — to attract attention. Once I have that attention, it’s up to me to use it to my advantage…I learned a long time ago that if you’re not afraid to be outspoken, the media will write about you. … So sometimes I make outrageous comments and give them what they want — viewers and readers — in order to make a point. I’m a businessman with a brand to sell.” – Donald Trump, Crippled America, 2015

So, if he’s just doing what he’s always done and they are doing what they’ve always done, then what’s the problem?  The problem for Trump is how the audience is perceiving it.  You see, Trump’s “any press is good press” brand marketing style did work to get him the GOP nomination.  At that point, three things changed:

1). A general election is a lot more serious than a primary.  Trump did not enter into the general election with his game-face on, or implement any changes to his approach.  He continued to deliver the same demagoguery, supporting his claims with hearsay and falsehoods.  He continued with his “tell-it-like-it is” approach, littering his campaign with racism, sexism, and antagonism, behaving in an absolutely un-Presidential manner.

2). His audience changed. He was no longer only targeting a section of the Republican voting base.  The fact that he needed to alter his style to appeal to a much larger voting base seemed to allude him.  This is not just a matter of modifying his approach to connect with moderates and progressives, but to win the respect of educated people. Once he was on stage as a Presidential candidate, the bombastic buffoonery needed to stop.  Yet, his campaign has been fraught with overtly controversial statements and genuinely ignorant pratfalls.  When the press covers these situations, the “any press is good press” theory no longer applies to his new audience of potential voters.

3). Remember that brand he was trying to sell?  The one he estimates at $3.32 billion?  It went downhill fast.  In fact, his fellow Republicans have been so concerned about fallout from association with Trump’s brand that they have been refusing to endorse him and/or vote for him.  This number started small, but has grown with each one of Trump’s sensational outbursts.  In fact, today, a letter requesting that the Republican National Committee cut off funding to Trump has been signed by more than 120 Republican politicians and congressional aides.  The letter states:

“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck,” the letter says.

Donald Trump is not being treated unfairly by “The Media.”  He’s been playing a game for attention, it’s just a game he’s now losing.  And like a petulant child, he wants to accuse the other players of cheating.  I, for one, am waiting to see if he chucks the game board and goes home.