Ralph Nader: Tripwires for the Trumpsters

Ralph Nader at blog.nader.org:

The Trumpsters are coming to town—led by a failed gambling czar, corporate welfare king and major tax escapee—and they are hell bent on unmaking Washington, D.C.

With all three branches of government dominated by Republican members of Congress and Republican appointees—due to a mixture of abysmal deficiencies in the Democratic Party and the interloping luck of the atavistic Electoral College—the wrecking crew of Trump’s nominees to high cabinet and other positions brings with it a host of politically perilous baggage.

First, the Trumpsters have vowed to dismantle various government programs. They are determined to severely limit the protection of labor, replace public schools with taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools, and drop regulatory protections in the health, safety and environmental fields, among others. Acting without the requisite legal authority is of little concern to Mr. Trump.

Having sworn in their oaths of office (to “faithfully execute the laws of the land,”), they will find themselves quickly sued, exposed in the mass media and opposed by the law-abiding civil service. It will be a whistleblower’s field day. Trump will have serious trouble binding himself to the rule of law and the Constitution.

Second, the Trumpsters will establish more secretive government, led by their very secretive boss (note his refusal to reveal his incriminating tax returns); too much secrecy always gets government officials in trouble sooner or later, from legal trouble to media trouble to citizen revulsion over the resultant corruption scandals. Heavily staffed with militarists and corporatists, the incoming Trump regime will be hostile to open democratic processes and vulnerable to governing by cover-ups.

Third, since most of the top nominees are wealthy with many financial interests, they stand accused of conflicts of interest, even as they divest assets and place them in so-called blind trusts.

How can the restaurateur and fast-food chain magnate, Andrew Puzder, the next Secretary of Labor, escape being seen as conflicted when he has opposed labor unions and has opposed increases to the stagnant $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage? Similar conflicts exist with the new Secretary of State—Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson—with that company’s far flung concessions and investments around the world. People who got rich in business and leave to serve public office tend to go back into the business world from whence they came.

Fourth, Trump’s nominees are for the most part confirmed role-players in radical corporate-statism. They can talk a good game against crony capitalism or corporate welfare, but the soaring stock market, including defense industry stocks, signal that Wall Street likes the Trump team. This is not exactly what many of Trump’s supporters expected after November 8.

Trump promised a bigger military budget, corporate tax cuts and fewer regulatory health and safety protections for consumers, workers and the environment. With a Republican-dominated Congress he may achieve these objectives, but they will be accompanied by rising deficits, more inflation, and the cost of preventable human casualties.

Fifth, the maximum peril Trump’s administration brings to the country could come from its extreme hubris with regard to its military aggressiveness overseas. Trump has picked three retired generals well-suited to advance Empire’s constantly boomeranging attacks in whichever country in Asia and Africa they choose. Certainly President Obama, presently conducting wars in numerous countries without Congressional declaration, has opened the door to these unconstitutional adventures.

The Trump military and national security team is not looking for peace treaties or strategies that avoid the spread of stateless terrorism around the world.

One major terror attack on the U.S. and Trump becomes a warring, civil-liberties destroying monster of over-reaction, forsaking and crowding out other priorities and necessities that a mature society must address.

With his megalomaniacal, easily bruisable ego, his impulsive middle-of-the-night tweets against opponents, and his unwillingness to absorb critical facts with reflection and prudence, we cannot trust his judgement to serve the best interest of the people, especially given his belligerent advisors raising dangerous risks on the horizon.

Nothing short of a robust organization of wise and experienced, retired military, national security and diplomatic officials, who served under both parties, supported by adequate resources and media access, can have a chance to slow down what can become a deadly momentum of brute force and troop expansion overseas.

Enlightened billionaires have to step up to make this happen before a likely unleashing of Trumpian rage and rant. This is not a man who can learn from the bitter lessons of history.

And citizens from all walks of life—left and right—need to defend our democracy, our civil liberties, and the health and safety protections that at their best made our country a model for so many other countries.

See my book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier than We Think for more information on how citizens can fight Trump administration excesses.

8 thoughts on “Ralph Nader: Tripwires for the Trumpsters

  1. Bob Haran

    One thing is certain; the left, the right and the center are going to have to unite to stop this political mistake from destroying America. Trump is not a liberal or a conservative, nor a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian. He is a man without a party or an ideology or principles of any sort. Trump doesn’t want to make America great again, Trump wants to make Trump great. This is a highly unstable individual in the most sensitive position. Making Trump our Commander in Chief in the nuclear age is like giving a child a loaded gun to play with. So please excuse me if I don’t just sit back and watch and wait, this is not the time for the sunshine patriot. This is the time for the true patriot to get off their butt and get involved and speak loudly and clearly and take a part in the governance of of their country.

  2. Luke

    ” This is a highly unstable individual in the most sensitive position. Making Trump our Commander in Chief in the nuclear age is like giving a child a loaded gun to play with. ”

    Better watch out there, Mr. Haran….George Phillies will come along soon to call you a deranged liberal.

  3. DJ

    January 18, 2017 at 18:26

    I doubt that, since you felt compelled to comment.

    Doubt all you want. It won’t change the fact. He is irrelevant and has been for years if not decades.
    His 15 minutes was ate up with the Corvair.

  4. Mark

    Is that why virtually everyone in the country still knows who he is half a century later? Considering how many articles here get zero comments, the fact that you have commented on this one twice already is more telling than the content of those comments.

  5. DJ

    January 18, 2017 at 18:44

    Is that why virtually everyone in the country still knows who he is half a century later? Considering how many articles here get zero comments, the fact that you have commented on this one twice already is more telling than the content of those comments.

    I’ve commented TO you (twice now) and the article once and my age allows me to know who he is, nothing else.

  6. Mark

    Try doing a survey of the younger generations. They know who he is, too. And you obviously care since you keep talking about it. Ralph Nader is one of the two best-performing presidential candidates outside the duopoly *since 2000*, so it’s obviously a fallacy to say that his fifteen minutes of fame were in the 1960s. Check how many search engine results you get for his name and what years they are from. Look and see how many news mentions he receives.

    Public Interest Research Groups and Public Citizen are active in multiple states, influencing public policy right now, not in the 1960s. Per wikipedia, “Nader’s activism has been directly credited with the passage of several landmark pieces of American consumer protection legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and he has been repeatedly named to lists of the “100 Most Influential Americans”, including those published by Life Magazine, Time Magazine, and The Atlantic, among others. He has run for President of the United States on several occasions as an independent and third party candidate, using the campaigns to highlight under reported issues and a perceived need for electoral reform.”


    “Nader has been a guest on multiple episodes of Saturday Night Live, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Meet the Press, Democracy Now!, and The Late Show with David Letterman. In 2003 he appeared on Da Ali G Show and, in 2008, was interviewed by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

    As you well know, none of those existed in the 1960s, except for Meet the Press.

    In 1990 Nader was listed one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th century by Life Magazine.

    In 1999 Time Magazine named Nader one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century”

    In 2006 Nader was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans” by The Atlantic

    In 2008 Nader was listed among the “100 Most Influential Americans” in the Britannica Guide to 100 Most Influential Americans.

    In 2016 Nader received that year’s Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace

    Does that sound like someone who had 15 minutes of fame in the 1960s and has nothing notable since then? I don’t think so.

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