The Trump presidency hasn’t really changed much about Washington. What it has done is unmask and throw into sharp relief the sad state of felonious crapitude the place was already in.
The people that are going most out of their minds over Trump are the people who most desperately want to keep things going the way they have been. To them, the scariest thing about Trump is that he’s an unknown quantity.
He didn’t come up through the political farm system, learning all the proper etiquette along the way. Like, how you’re not supposed to notice how people in government who are doing a terrible job are, in fact, doing a terrible job and should be fired.
Everybody who’s anybody in Washington knows that failing programs should always be given more money, and incompetent leaders should be given more and more responsibility until they either get their own MSNBC talk show or become General Secretary of the United Nations. How could career politicians know that an oaf like Trump would understand this? It’s truly a terrifying prospect.
The way established powers are coping with their terror is by continuing to do business as usual. If anything is different, it’s just that the typical bureaucracy and media opposition to a Republican president has been turned up to eleven. But it’s just a difference in intensity, not in kind.
The most glaring example of the business-as-usual mindset is the utter failure of Congress to do anything about Obamacare. A Republican congress not acting on Obamacare is like Guns’N’Roses playing a show without doing “Welcome to the Jungle.” Really, it’s more like Guns’N’Roses leading you to believe that they would put on a show and then doing the exact opposite, which I guess for them would be getting up early on a Saturday morning and volunteering to help the local library inventory their back issues of Cat Fancy magazine.
The very thing that every single Republican has been campaigning on at the top of his lungs for the last seven years is now being shunned and abandoned like the Albanian exchange student on the senior class trip to Six Flags. And the fact that they feel safe in doing this proves that no one has yet learned the most important lesson from Donald Trump’s election.
The 2016 election was an almost perfect example of a hypothetical question come to life: Do you want more of the status quo or would you be willing to try anything different. Faced with that choice, more than sixty million American voters decided they wanted to take a chance on the gold-plated dumpster fire.
The world of acceptable options for voters has clearly changed. Both the Democrats and Republicans think they’re still operating in a binary universe — “No matter how bad we screw over the voters, they’ve got to vote for one of us. Even if they get mad and drop us for a little while, eventually they’ll have to come back.” Politicians have worked under that assumption for their entire careers, so it’s pretty deeply ingrained in their strategy. But I think events have demonstrated that it’s just flat-out not true anymore.
In fact, the truth is pretty much the opposite of that: Voters are willing to at least consider any rich and/or famous loudmouth who offers a chance to break the interminable cycle of “we promise this-and-such / oh my gosh we blew it / well, vote for us anyway and we’ll try to do better.” They are, quite literally, willing to try anything else.
If Jay-Z tried to run for Chuck Schumer’s Senate seat in New York, do you think he’d win? What if Toby Keith tried to primary Ted Cruz in Texas? Trump has forever upended the premise that only experienced professionals can run and win in big races. And he’s definitely giving the people what they voted for: something different.
So, career politicians, keep on promising everything and delivering nothing at your peril. Then get your resumes ready and you might be able to swing a deputy assistant undersecretary position in President Kid Rock’s Department of Badassery.