The Alert System

There are three ways for a level-headed citizen to respond to decisions by the nascent Trump administration. These should be applicable if you are a mortified liberal or even a “Yeah we voted for him, let’s see what he does” Trump supporter.

First: The “Smart Move” Alert. This label is reserved for outcomes that will be good and also will work. You might say, “Mitt Romney as Secretary of State, he’s a sane, reasonable institutionalist–smart move.” Or even, “Mattis as Secretary of Defense, he’s a reasonable hawk with a lot of institutional and military knowledge, who has already talked Trump out of torturing people–smart move.”

Second: The “Red Alert” Alert. This is for outcomes that will be bad and also will work. If you care about criminal justice reform, police departments’ excessive use of force against innocents, or drug laws, then Jeff Sessions running the Justice Department is a Red Alert. If you care about health for the uninsured and the stability of the insurance markets, then Tom Price as the Health and Human Services Secretary is a Red Alert. If you care about corporate Wall Street power over the average person, then Trump’s Treasury appointees are Red Alerts.

Depending on your politics, Red Alerts and Smart Moves are probably reversed.

The third approach, however, should be the same for all of us: I call it the “This ain’t gonna work” Alert. This is for sheer incompetence and mismanagement that, while they might muck up any intentional bad or good policies from being enacted, will open the flood gates to many unintended bad things. Hiring a National Security Advisor who was fired for creating a climate of back-biting in his department, and who requested that no one else be hired who outranked him–not gonna work. Hiring the guy who owns the Cubs to help run the Commerce Department because he won the World Series–not gonna work. An economic policy based on promising companies millions or billions of tax-payer money to keep hundreds of jobs in the US–not gonna work. A President who maintains his business ties with his properties–emblazoned with his name–all over the world… A President who doesn’t know that he can’t just accept a phone call from any country that rings Trump Tower to sing his praises, like Taiwan…

I am trying to be optimistic. I really am. But I can’t help but think that the Trump Administration just ain’t gonna work.

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