Putting the White House under siege has become standard mainstream media operating procedure these days. Donald Trump has elicited such an emotional response that where you stand on him is driven entirely by your political worldview. In this article I’m going to advocate for moderation, if out of nothing more than our own self-interest. Having a White House under siege is very likely to play out in a lot of ugly ways that could torpedo the value of your home and retirement plan, and even result in your losing your job. We might face a deep and prolonged recession, and maybe even much worse.
If you’re of a Leftwing political persuasion, I’m willing to bet you’ve not thought much about that possibility. But don’t ignore it. The economy and the financial markets thrive on stability. Putting the White House under siege will disrupt that stability, and end up costing us all a lot of money as it plays out.
The Attacks Started on November 9 – and Haven’t Let Up
The protests against Trump’s election began on November 9 – the very next day after the election. They continued for several weeks, frequently using the chant/claim Not my president.
No doubt that most of the protesters were Hillary supporters who were stunned that she whose time had come didn’t win. There was also the technical matter that Hillary in fact won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. That alone was seen as a justification to declare that Trump is somehow an illegitimate president.
It’s worth remembering that under the laws that govern US presidential elections, it is the electoral college – the senators and congress members who represent each state – who decide the outcome of presidential elections. By voting based on the popular vote in their respective home states, Trump did in fact win the electoral vote 306 – 232, winning in 30 out of the 50 states.
(Reader/commentator “2112” (as well as reader Tim K.) noted an error in my understanding of the electoral college. The senators and house reps are not the electors, but electors are appointed consistent with the number of senators and house reps from each state. This is confirmed in the National Archives and Records Administration. It’s good to know that there actually are people who know the U.S. Constitution!)
Those who cry foal at the electoral process conveniently ignore that it was established to keep the bigger states, with their larger populations, from dominating elections over less populous states. Many on the Left are fond of making an issue out of “fairness” – but we can certainly see the fairness in what the electoral college was designed to protect (the small states from the bigger ones). But fairness apparently only applies in select situations, and never when it might interfere with the desired outcome.
Think about this: Though Hillary won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, her margin of victory was nearly 4.5 million in California. Take California out of the election, and Trump not only wins the electoral college by a landslide, but he also wins the popular vote by more the 1.5 million!
That begs a basic question in regard to “fairness”: Should California, with its nearly 40 million residents, have the unique privilege of being able to decide presidential elections?
Sorry dissenters, but Trump IS your president – legally!
Protesting is Part of Democracy – But so is the Legitimacy of Opposition
I’ve heard the argument that protesting is an integral part of democracy. I agree that that’s true, but so is another doctrine – the legitimacy of opposition. No democracy can survive without it.
What legitimacy of opposition means is that even if my candidate or my party don’t win the election, I’m still bound to follow the elected president and party as a citizen of a democratic society. In doing so, I’m acknowledging the legitimacy of a leader that I do not agree with. That’s also democracy, and without it we revert to dictatorship.
What we’re seeing from the Trump opposition is the complete opposite. When you say “not my president”, you’re actually saying that you disagree with the legal election process of the democratic system.
That’s not fairness, and that’s not voicing your opinion. It’s the very fascism that many on the Left claim that Donald Trump represents. It’s squarely an attempt to diminish and suppress a leader who they don’t support. Perhaps it would be more accurate for them to say – my president, or no president.
Give the Guy a Chance to Flop Before Declaring War
Truly fair-minded people, including the opposition, would at least give a person who they don’t like the chance to screw up before they declare war on him. Trump’s detractors didn’t even let him get into the White House before declaring war.
Presidents typically enjoy a honeymoon phase of at least six months after an inauguration, and often as long as a year or more. Trump’s detractors are so committed to his failure that they determined that he will not have an opportunity to succeed in his agenda.
That’s tragic, because we have serious problems in this country that need to be addressed. We can start with Obamacare, which is a train wreck waiting to happen. We can also look at our overly complex and often punitive federal income tax code. And then there’s the problem of public-sector pension plans, which are currently underfunded by nearly $2 trillion, despite an eight year bull market in stocks. And that’s just three of the more obvious problems looming over us.
One can easily get the sense that Trump’s opponents would rather see the country crash and burn then take a chance that he might actually succeed in addressing some of these chronic problems.
How democratic is that? What chance does that give us of ever making progress against our worst problems?
The Reaction to Trump Says More About the Citizenry than it Does About Trump
Trump may be all of the awful things that his opponents claim. But what does that say about the citizens of this country if they choose to believe the worst in a person? And what about the fact that opponents are absolutely frozen with fear at the prospect that Trump might actually succeed?
We’ve become a nation of self-centered spoiled brats. If we don’t get exactly and precisely what we want, we throw a temper tantrum.
Another sign of immaturity is a lack of willingness to face the reality of the problems in our path. Over the years, I’ve become convinced that the citizenry of this country simply assumes that either a) the problems aren’t real or they’re exaggerated, or b) the government will save us from whatever might happen.
We’ve had a really good run, economically speaking, since the end of World War II. That’s probably created the widespread complacency that has rendered us incapable of either agreeing on the problems that we have or taking constructive action to deal with them. We would rather pretend that the problems don’t exist, or that they are fully subject to interpretation and debate. Any action taken will be “unfair” to some group somewhere, so the best course of action has become no action.
A nation that will not face up to its problems faces a very uncertain future. We’ve been on that path for many years, but the turn of events accelerated on November 9, 2016.
Why Trump May Not Last Through His First Term
So far we’ve been talking about Trump’s opposition in terms of the masses on the streets. But they’re hardly alone in their activities. Many in the mainstream media, and almost unanimously in the entertainment community, have openly turned hostile to the new president. There is nothing he could do to satisfy them other than to disappear from the scene. And that’s the basic objective.
If you haven’t noticed, an entire media driven cottage industry has been built around the anti-Trump movement. People such as Rachel Maddow have essentially built their careers around opposing Trump. I’ve watched her a few times, and never does an episode pass where she doesn’t take aim at Trump, usually as the main direction of her program. Her obvious political persuasion should cast doubt on her authority as a news source. And she’s hardly alone (see Megyn Kelly). TV talk show hosts have joined in the symbolic lynching, never missing a turn to take a swipe at the White House.
It’s been said that if you really want to know what’s going on, follow the money. Trump’s opposition in the media are not without financial motivation. They are all too well aware that the 65 million people voted for Hillary Clinton represent a very specific target market, who can’t get enough of the anti-Trump circus. They are playing up to this population segment to the exclusion of all else.
From a financial standpoint, it’s working – for the media. But from a national standpoint, it’s a disaster in the making.
There are hundreds of influential people who are bent on putting an early end to the Trump presidency. When you have that many people dedicating their existence to your destruction, the outcome will be inevitable.
No one on the planet has led a perfectly clean life. And no one’s personal, professional or political lives can stand up to intense scrutiny. And as a friend of mine recently said, no one gets to where Trump and the Clintons have without stepping over a few dead bodies. He was of course being metaphorical, but the point is that everyone has skeletons in the closet, especially the powerful. I’m not suggesting we give leaders a free pass, but if we’re going to vet our leaders based on a standard of absolute perfection, then we will have no leaders.
I believe that it’s just a question of time before Trump’s opponents get what they want. I have serious doubts that he’ll make it through his first term. All it will take is one scandal, one misstep, and enough negative fanfare will develop to run him out of office.
Scandal has become one of the favorite ways to ruin a politician or a party. Both parties participate in it. The Democrats learned the value of scandal with Richard Nixon and Watergate. The Republicans attempted the same tactic with Bill Clinton and Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky.
But the Democrats are much better at it, because they have the mainstream media on their side. A Democrat says it, and the media reports it like it’s a fact. The Republican says it, and the media tells us why there’s no truth to it, and why the Republicans only want to starve children and throw grandma out on the street. I’ve lived long enough that I’ve seen this nonreciprocal pattern play out in the mainstream media again and again. Certainly enough times to know that it’s really happening.
Most non-Democrats know this. Most Democrats dismiss it, because it works in their favor. It’s like the bully kid at school, whose parents don’t think he’s a bully because he isn’t the victim (unless another bully picks on him).
But you know the saying, be careful what you wish for – your wish might come true.
The Democrats may think that they’re doing noble, high-minded work in ridding the country of Trump. But once that happens, a series of negative events will be set in motion, and Democrats, along with Republicans, independents, libertarians, and non-politicals, will all face the consequences of the emotion driven witch hunt.
What Will Likely Play Out After a Trump Ouster
I don’t enthusiastically support Trump. Like a lot of people, there’s a lot about Trump that I truly don’t like. But as a human being, and as a citizen of this country, I’m certainly not rooting for him to fail. That would be – as another saying goes – cutting off your nose to spite your face.
But many on the Left see it much differently. They think of it as something of a holy mission to rid America of the Trump scourge. They believe that all will be well once Trump is gone.
I don’t think it’s a matter of if Trump will be run off, but when.
There will be a long torturous process before all of this plays out. For starters, we’ll go for many months, perhaps one or two years, where the White House will be paralyzed. And not just the White House, but the entire government. That includes Congress. The members of that body will be caught in the crossfire of trying to a) be on the right (winning) side of the conflict, and b) covering their own political hides. Loyalties will be unpredictable and fluid.
This will not bode well for the citizenry. None of the major problems that we are facing will be dealt with in this environment. Should a major negative event, such as a financial crisis, stock market crash, or major foreign war erupt, a White House under siege will be incapable of responding to the crisis with definitive action.
It won’t get better once Trump is run off either. At that point, Vice President Mike Pence will become president. In addition to the fact that being an unelected president of the United States is the virtual definition of illegitimate, Pence will also be the new target of the left-wing opposition. After all, if they can run off Trump, they can run off Pence as well.
The end result will be four years of chaos and inability to deal with crisis.
For those of you who don’t remember the tumultuous 1970s, with its political scandals, double-digit inflation, oil embargoes and a seeming invincible Soviet threat, political paralysis can be the very cause of crisis.
What we often fail to realize is that the peace of our day-to-day lives is intimately affected by the sense that everything is under control. When that perception is lost, all kinds of bad events become more likely, and not less. And once stability is lost it’s very difficult to regain.
A White House under siege could motivate a foreign power to move against our interests somewhere in the world, confident that we can’t respond. A financial collapse could come about by the realization that no one is in charge. It could even result in a prolonged period of instability and economic and financial turmoil – a “lost decade”.
How a White House Under Siege is Likely to Hurt Your Finances
Even if you hate Trump, if those of your political persuasion are successful in either neutralizing him or running him off, you’d better also be prepared for a stock market crash, a credit freeze, currency disruptions, and seemingly unwinnable foreign entanglements.
Like it or not, a disagreeable peace is almost always better than chaos. Running off a president is a step toward chaos. Believe me, you don’t want that, no matter how much you might hate Trump.
Back amid the turmoil of the 1970s, a Nixon administration official confidently predicted that it would all be OK because “the center would hold”. That was a stable, well-employed middle class America, with largely intact families and thriving communities. But in 2017 that center no longer exists. There is no consensus as to where we go without Trump (or even with him for that matter).
Putting the White House under siege will negatively affect the value of your 401(k), the value of your house, and the stability of your job. So to repeat the famous saying, be careful what you wish for – your wish might come true. But it will likely come true in so many ways that you didn’t anticipate and that won’t be at all good for your wallet.
I realize that this issue is driven almost entirely by political persuasion, but can we dare to talk about it in a more objective way?