I observed on election eve that one of the biggest differences between even a generic Republican and Democratic administrations is the regulatory state: how the president directs it and who staffs it. Well, here we go:
The unwinding of Dodd-Frank. The firing up of shuttered coal plants. The rollback of rules that increase overtime pay for low-wage workers.
Hours after Donald J. Trump won the race for the White House, scores of regulations that have reshaped corporate America in the last eight years suddenly seemed vulnerable.
While many questions remain about how Mr. Trump will govern, a consensus emerged Wednesday in many circles in Washington and on Wall Street about at least one aspect of his impending presidency: Mr. Trump is likely to seek vast cuts in regulations across the banking, health care and energy industries.
“This is going to be a president who will be the biggest regulatory reformer since Ronald Reagan,” Stephen Moore, one of Mr. Trump’s economic advisers said in an interview on Wednesday. “There are just so many regulations that could be eased.”
Let me just interject this here: yes, that Stephen Moore. I’m sure he would have been just as influential within a Democratic administration.
Anyway, it’s the strangest thing. America’s most powerful elites haven’t gotten the memo that they were supposed to be uniformly opposed to Donald Trump:
Mr. Trump will probably find common ground with many Republicans in Congress, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan, on cutting regulation. They clashed during the campaign over Mr. Trump’s past conduct toward women and inflammatory statements about ethnic groups, and many Republicans do not see eye to eye with Mr. Trump on immigration and trade.
“But Ryan and Trump are like-minded on regulation in a way they are not on trade and immigration,” said Ted Gayer, director of the economic studies program at the Brookings Institution and a former Treasury official under President George W. Bush. “That is red meat for both of them.”
Hmm, it’s almost as if the Republican Party is not united against Donald Trump but is united behind him because he is a vessel and in many cases an active collaborator they can work with to pass their agenda. This agenda, in short, is to completely gut the American regulatory and welfare states, enact a massive upward distribution of wealth, suppress minority voters, and to use the federal judiciary to attack progressive state legislatures and future Democratic Congresses on the one hand while allowing Republican statehouses and public officials free rein on the other. Admittedly, none of this is nearly as important as Hillary Clinton’s compliance with internal email management policies.
To expand on a comment I left on Paul’s recent post, in saying that the media’s coverage of this campaign was a scandal of world-historical importance, I am not saying (and am sure Paul is not saying) that, despite the immense stakes, the media should not publish reporting that is unflattering or politically inconvenient for Hillary Clinton. People can reasonably disagree about what is an important story, but “Hillary Clinton’s EMAILS are three times more important than every substantive issue put together” is several universes beyond any possible reasonable judgment of priorities. If you’ve uncovered a real story that contains negative information about Hillary Clinton, so be it, but especially in the context of this campaign that cannot justify hyping embarrassingly vacuous non-stories like “ZOMG! Political campaigns have publicists! Jessica Valenti contacted the Clinton campaign about a story she was working on! We’re through the looking glass people!” into 5-alarm CLINTON SCANDAL stories. Lefty journalists are in no way obligated to suppress their ideological disagreements with Clinton, but that doesn’t justify just making stuff up, and as you can see above anyone who asserts that there is the “smallest possible margin” between the Republican and Democratic policies or that Hillary Clinton is on the “center-right” of the American political spectrum either has no business being paid to write about politics or is lying to their readers.
The thing about a constant drumbeat of negative coverage about bullshit pseudo-scandals is that, like negative advertising, it suppresses turnout. This was hugely beneficial to Donald Trump. Ignoring or distorting or outright lying about the vast substantive gulf between Ryan/McConnell/Trump’s Gilded Age radicalism and Hillary Clinton’s moderate liberalism is also, given the unpopularity of the former agenda, hugely beneficial to Donald Trump. And even leaving aside the outcome, it’s a failure to properly inform the public. Many Trump voters have no idea what’s about to be done to them and the planet and wouldn’t support it if they knew, but the media conspicuously failed to even try to inform the public about what actually matters about the election. I’m sure many of the editors and reporters who made abjectly horrible judgments about what was worth focusing on (and frequently botched the trivia they did decide to cover) figured it wouldn’t matter because Trump had no chance anyway. Heckuva job!
[PC] I just want to reiterate what Scott is saying here about the professional and moral obligations of journalists. The invidious thing about the Intercept’s an others treatment of the Podesta inbox is that this ended up hyping “news” that was barely or not at all newsworthy, and in an environment where the media as a whole had already turned “the Clinton email scandal” [sic] into an absurdly over-covered story.
Indeed, I suspect that many voters weren’t even aware that the Podesta emails had nothing to do with the email server story. And when you add to this that neither the server story nor the Podesta story actually featured ANY serious misconduct by either Clinton herself or anyone close to her, it’s hard to overstate the perversity of the situation. It was incredibly irresponsible “journalism,” and it ended up playing a key role in electing Donald Trump.