For your post-President’s Day reading, a guest post about Democratic preparedness for a post-Trump government. Enjoy.
Hello LGM commentariat, I’m Kaitlin Byrd, aka @GothamGirlBlue on Twitter. It’s lovely to meet you.
First, I’d like to say that it is entirely crazy that I’m getting to write for a site that was one of the first I ever followed about politics (I’m going to date myself by saying that was my senior year of HS, over a decade ago). Next, I’ll say that it feels particularly crazy because I’ve only been doing this political commentary thing for the past 18 months or so, starting with imploring Democrats to run on impeachment at the Huffington Post, passing through the furor of the Red Hen Inn in VA, and arriving most recently at Dame Magazine with numerous, and increasingly frustrated pleas to understand the effects of white supremacy.
After Trump is something I haven’t dedicated a lot of thought to because, well, there might not really be one, and everything is on fire right now, so triage feels pretty necessary. That said, I should hope that the Democratic nominee is not burrowing into a bed burrito with extra depression rather than contemplating the dark and twisted future. They’re all supposed to be prepared to inherit whatever country their predecessor leaves behind, and in the case of Donald Trump, it’s bound to be a doozy. Every layer of the government has been dismantled, and the ecological and social damage of his presidency will be felt for generations, whether that is the wholesale exploitation of national lands or the millions in reparations we are sure to pay out to the permanently traumatized children trafficked by DHS — if we can ever find them.
Is anyone in the field really contending with what Donald Trump’s exit will mean for the federal government? For the Presidency? For the country? All these grandiose plans rest on assumptions that the system works, and will return to working as soon as the black swan event known as Donald Trump meets its timely demise. And that assumption about trusting our government lays at the foundation of every campaign, from the transformative revolution to restoring America as it was to big structural change. Neither Bernie nor Biden nor even Elizabeth Warren thinks they’re going to go to reach for a lever of government and find that it has been utterly destroyed.
Bernie thinks he can repair the white nationalism by focusing on class; Biden thinks he can solve foreign policy with temporary stability; Warren thinks she can fix the system by using the system — of Constitutional amendments — that explicitly empowers her political opponents. Of the likely candidates for the Democratic nomination, there is a disease of magical thinking contaminating the field.
It’s one thing for voters to be unprepared for the post-Trump paradigm, but it’s downright alarming to see the field of professional politicians following suit.