Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
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04-08-2017, 12:43 AM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2017 12:49 AM by Glossophile.)
Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
I want to be proud of my country. I really do. But even before the election of the Idiot-in-Chief, I was becoming increasingly aware that most of what I had to be proud of as a citizen of the USA lie in the past, largely in the ideology upon which we were founded. What have we really accomplished in the past 25 years or so that really befits the noble superpower many of us seem to think we are?

We legalized gay marriage? Well, whoop-dee-frickin'-doo! Much like the abolition of slavery, we came a bit late to that party, didn't we? Meanwhile, about half the people have serious doubts about evolution and climate change, a smaller but still alarming proportion think Jesus is coming back soon, and lest we think all the travesties are on the political right, many of our institutions of higher learning are beset by a sizable proportion of students who seem to think that at least minorities if not also they themselves somehow have the right to be mollycoddled!

And then we elect Donald Trump, who proceeded to turn the American Presidency into a cavalcade of scandal and the country he supposedly serves into even more of a paradoxical laughing stock among developed nations than it already was!

What scares me most is Trump's authoritarian tendencies. I don't believe that he consciously aspires to dictatorship, but he does seem determined to set some very dangerous precedents that could make it incrementally easier for an actual dictator to eventually rise to power. Is Trump the beginning of the end for democracy in America? It would likely be paranoid to affirm this with certainty, but it seems to me perfectly reasonable to say, at the very least, that the risk is clearly high enough that none of us should be willing to take that gamble.

Having said all that, I also consider it quite possible that the only thing saving us from his corruption is his incompetence. Trump's near-constant scandal is likely distracting him and other Republicans from actually implementing much of their agenda. So I have to ask a rather important question.

Mike Pence, according to everything I've heard, represents many of the worst conservative impulses, but he's also much more conventional than Trump and therefore may actually be able to do get more done, at least as long as the GOP controls Congress.

In the long term, is it possible that the best thing we could do for America is to grit our teeth through at least four years of constant national humiliation just to avoid a potentially more efficient and therefore more damaging Pence Presidency?

This question has been raised before (perhaps most recently by David Pakman), and it's probably come up in at least one of the Trump-centric threads on this site, but I don't think it can hurt to give the question a thread of its own. What do you guys think?

The only sacred truth in science is that there are no sacred truths. – Carl Sagan
Sōla vēritās sancta in philosophiā nātūrālī est absentia vēritātum sanctārum.
Ἡ μόνη ἱερᾱ̀ ἀληθείᾱ ἐν φυσικῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ ἱερῶν ἀληθειῶν σπάνις.
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04-08-2017, 12:48 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
I keep seeing this idea that Pence will be worse than Trump because he's NOT incompetent Huh

It's certainly the strangest political idea I've ever come across.

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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04-08-2017, 01:42 AM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2017 01:54 AM by Gert Heide.)
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
(04-08-2017 12:43 AM)Glossophile Wrote:  What scares me most is Trump's authoritarian tendencies. I don't believe that he consciously aspires to dictatorship, but he does seem determined to set some very dangerous precedents that could make it incrementally easier for an actual dictator to eventually rise to power. Is Trump the beginning of the end for democracy in America? It would likely be paranoid to affirm this with certainty, but it seems to me perfectly reasonable to say, at the very least, that the risk is clearly high enough that none of us should be willing to take that gamble.

Having said all that, I also consider it quite possible that the only thing saving us from his corruption is his incompetence. Trump's near-constant scandal is likely distracting him and other Republicans from actually implementing much of their agenda. So I have to ask a rather important question.

Mike Pence, according to everything I've heard, represents many of the worst conservative impulses, but he's also much more conventional than Trump and therefore may actually be able to do get more done, at least as long as the GOP controls Congress.

In the long term, is it possible that the best thing we could do for America is to grit our teeth through at least four years of constant national humiliation just to avoid a potentially more efficient and therefore more damaging Pence Presidency?

This question has been raised before (perhaps most recently by David Pakman), and it's probably come up in at least one of the Trump-centric threads on this site, but I don't think it can hurt to give the question a thread of its own. What do you guys think?

If he replaces Trump, Pence will have the opportunity to do to the federal government what he's been trying to do at state level, to install elements of a Christian fundamentalist theocracy into the workings of the government and to disenfranchise, as Trump is currently attempting with his voters' commission, citizens he AND Trump and millions of their supporters see as tribal enemies. Such gerrymandering of voter registration procedures is reminiscent of Jim Crow laws and has, terrifyingly, been going on for a long while even before the election.

I just watched a long interview with David Frum, who wrote a long article about Trump and the construction of an autocracy a while back. Very scary stuff. Fortunately, since the article was written, much has gone incredibly badly for the White House. Approval ratings have plummeted. "Trumpcare" is nowhere in sight while the ACA remains the law of the land. The Phantom Phone Calls comedy routine reveals Trump to be a senescent fabulist. A grand jury has been sworn in to consider criminal charges in the Russiagate scandal. McConnell has enacted a procedural measure that means the August recess has, technically, not been declared and that any attempts to replace Sessions will have to take place as though Congress is still sitting and is still required to approve a new AG.

The point of all this is that we need to remind ourselves of how rapidly things change in politics. Also, hundreds of sane and, obviously, self-regarding congressmen and congresswomen have, since February, come to the grim conclusion that Trump is incompetent. Like you say, he probably has no plans to create an autocracy - mostly because he's not clever enough to have any political ideology other than that fed to him by genuine monsters like Bannon. But the push back has been formidable. Intelligence agencies, congressional intelligence committees, the free press and social networking, among other forces at work in the US, have boxed Trump in.

It's all playing out at breakneck speed. The day that we hear that Special Counsel has announced the convening of a grand jury is the same day Trump holds another rally in his bizarre campaign for the 2020 general election and rants that all the allegations against him are malicious lies spread by opponents and 'the system'. Just like some sort of banana republic dictator clinging on to power while, in reality, he's seen as a buffoon and a crook by most of the people. People have to take heart from the massive evidence that most Americans and most of their legislators know that the rule of law and the constitution have to prevail against the onslaught of one wildly dysfunctional and malevolent idiot.

As far as Pence is concerned, voters have to accept that they are responsible for actually VOTING [rather than whining like morons that by not voting, they're sending a 'message'] and that at least one of the houses has to have a Democratic majority by November of 2018. The great unknown in all of this is Trump's health. A stroke or a heart attack and it's a far more restrained and manipulative man in the White House, and new laws that really might see Intelligent Design and Creationism as official dogmas in schools, not to mention the formalised disenfranchisement of millions of voters, put before Congress before the GOP monopoly on power can be halted.
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04-08-2017, 02:21 AM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2017 03:22 AM by WhiskeyDebates.)
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
If it makes you feel any better a lot of metrics are really good and improving every year. Violent crime is down, teen pregnancy is down, teen dlinquency and incarceration is down, literacy is actually up, the 5-year cancer survival rates are the highest in the world, you have some of the most robust protections of Freedom of Speech in the world, you export more food to the rest of the world than any other nation, you produce more food the entire EU combined, dirt cheap soymeal exports from US and Brazil have been used as insanely cost effective feed for pigs in China and is one of the biggest reasons several hundred million people in China are eating significantly better than just a single generation ago, and despite being only 4.4% of the world population you produce more than 10% of the worlds food being beaten only by China and India each with populations more than 4x that of you.

The USA does a LOT of awesome things, and that's just stuff off the top of my head! It would be a lot more if you made me your God-Emperor, but still a LOT of awesome!

When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.
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04-08-2017, 03:19 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
(04-08-2017 12:48 AM)morondog Wrote:  I keep seeing this idea that Pence will be worse than Trump because he's NOT incompetent Huh

It's certainly the strangest political idea I've ever come across.
But strangely it makes sense in the context of USA today.
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04-08-2017, 04:28 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
(04-08-2017 03:19 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(04-08-2017 12:48 AM)morondog Wrote:  I keep seeing this idea that Pence will be worse than Trump because he's NOT incompetent Huh

It's certainly the strangest political idea I've ever come across.
But strangely it makes sense in the context of USA today.

I don't see it that way. Pence will be just as limited by checks and balances as Trump is. He won't be actively trying to dismantle the system though. Even if he does push through some of his anti-progressive agenda, he'll be swimming against the tide. It'll be promptly undone the moment he leaves office. If Trump stays there won't be an office to leave.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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04-08-2017, 05:09 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
(04-08-2017 04:28 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(04-08-2017 03:19 AM)Stevil Wrote:  But strangely it makes sense in the context of USA today.

I don't see it that way. Pence will be just as limited by checks and balances as Trump is. He won't be actively trying to dismantle the system though. Even if he does push through some of his anti-progressive agenda, he'll be swimming against the tide. It'll be promptly undone the moment he leaves office. If Trump stays there won't be an office to leave.

Much of the damage would be short-term assuming his successor doesn't continue the process; I could see moderates/liberals not voting because they lose trust in the system and conservatives voting in larger numbers because their agenda is coming true.

The destruction of the department of education and the EPA and energy, etc will have consequences that will be harder to undo even if sanity gets restored at the top.

The biggest problem is long-term influences through the appointing of judges, particularly on the supreme court.

The best we can hope for at this point is a mid-term win for Democrats that gridlocks congress and forces court nominations to be more moderate followed by a reasonable candidate in 2020.

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04-08-2017, 05:30 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
(04-08-2017 04:28 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(04-08-2017 03:19 AM)Stevil Wrote:  But strangely it makes sense in the context of USA today.

I don't see it that way. Pence will be just as limited by checks and balances as Trump is. He won't be actively trying to dismantle the system though. Even if he does push through some of his anti-progressive agenda, he'll be swimming against the tide. It'll be promptly undone the moment he leaves office. If Trump stays there won't be an office to leave.

I disagree. The GOP/Pence's current idea set is extremely anti education, anti free thought, anti female, anti environment, anti poor people and people of color, anti social let-liveism, and pro business. Once puppet has been removed to the prison cell--he's going to get the bilgiest one ever--Pence, Congress, and the federal court system are not going to check and balance one another. They're going to reinforce one another. They'll cut Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, school funding, and taxes for the rich. They'll privatize and deregulate and let polluters run free.

Then the survivors will Schindlerize themselves, painting their cynical tolerance of puppet as heroic self-sacrifice in the service of conservatism. Media criticism of them will become the "persecution" they had to go through. How dare anyone point out the despicable means they used to get to their glorious end?

Yes, puppet is doing the same things, but more slowly and much more incompetently. Every day he exposes the brutality and barrenness of the GOP platform. The current political climate is such that saner GOPers, who had been quiet about their doubts as to the platform for fear of being primaried, are speaking out. Under a President Pence, they would, IMO, fall back into lockstep with the Koch brothers' agenda.
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04-08-2017, 05:41 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
(04-08-2017 04:28 AM)morondog Wrote:  I don't see it that way. Pence will be just as limited by checks and balances as Trump is. He won't be actively trying to dismantle the system though. Even if he does push through some of his anti-progressive agenda, he'll be swimming against the tide. It'll be promptly undone the moment he leaves office. If Trump stays there won't be an office to leave.

I agree with what you wrote.

Trump is teaching Republicans that they can't let the extremists and idiots run the party into the ground. They will hold the line with Pence too, and Pence is at least sane.
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04-08-2017, 07:01 AM
RE: Damned If We Do, Damned If We Don't: Trump vs. Pence
If the mid terms shift the balance in congress, then Trump living out his 4 years or even Pence coming in won't be so destructive.

And, just the last week, republicans are increasingly blocking Trump too, already we have a law that keeps him from lifting the Russian sanctions. Another law is in the oven that will make him impotent regarding firing Mueller.

The Trump presidency will do the opposite of what he intends - it will limit the powers of the presidency.

The efforts regarding that are bipartisan now. Not entirely a bad thing.

I feel a little better about things now. I feel hope. We'll see.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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