If Donald Trump was not bound by the limitations of his own ego and by alternative facts, if he was not obsessed with seeing crowds of people that do not exist or insisting that two to three million people voted illegally in a desperate attempt to avoid the reality that he did not win the popular vote, if he was truly the deal maker that he claims he is and not just someone who played one on television, the country could solve some big problems and move forward.
Instead, we are where we are with a president who is not only stuck on stupid, but on crazy and very possibly beholden to a foreign government.
Imagine if Trump had admitted in his inaugural address he did not win the popular vote. Imagine if he said that his mission was to unify a divided country and that he was willing to work with Democrats to solve the nation’s problems. Where would we be now? Remember, coming into office, Trump owed the Republican establishment nothing. They were lukewarm at best with the prospects of him becoming the 45th president of the United States. He could have claimed a mandate from the people to be independent.
Imagine if Trump had said that he recognized that he gave a list of Supreme Court picks generated by right wing groups and many people voted for him because of that list, but because of his status as a minority president, he felt an obligation to bring the country together. He could have nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court seat that the Grand Obstructionist Party and its Senate leader Mitch McConnell stole from President Obama. All the Democrats with enough sensible Republicans could have confirmed Garland easily.
We would not be facing, in my opinion, a justified filibuster in the Senate. The GOP would not be looking at the nuclear option to blow up the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. McConnell and his minions will do it. I say good riddance. The GOP abused it during the Obama administration, and it is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. There is worry that this will make the Senate more like the House of Representatives, that the filibuster is what preserves minority power. However, this is not true.
The length of terms in the Senate is what makes it different from the House. Senators hold terms that are even longer than that of the president. Senators elected in 2016 will be in office two years after Trump has to stand for reelection. Members of the House of Representatives must face the voters every two years which means they are held to accountability more often.
The reason that the partisanship in our politics is so troubling is because our system was not designed with parties in mind. Ours is not a parliamentary system where the executive comes from the same party that controls the legislature. Our founders wanted a system of checks and balances, but they did not foresee the level of dishonorable shameful hackery that is the operating principle of our politics today. The idea was that honorable men would form coalitions and find compromise to perform the tasks of government outlined in the preamble to the Constitution.
Disgusted by the ordinary gridlock in Washington DC, people elected the latest outsider. Barack Obama was the beneficiary of this will for change in 2008 and 2012. Trump won these voters in 2016. Russian interference, FBI interference, disunity on the left, and Clinton fatigue led to Trump’s Electoral College win. However, Trump’s crazy has left him unable to take advantage of this win for the good of the people.
If he were not crazy, he would have worked with the Democrats from the beginning to improve the Affordable Care Act. He could have explained that everything he said during the campaign was he opening negotiating position. Since his primary goal is to provide better healthcare for ALL of America’s people, he could have made a strong case for working toward a modified Medicare for all system where younger people could buy-in if they wish. Trump took so many contradictory positions during the campaign that it would be no stretch for him to move toward the center in the name of negotiation and doing things differently in DC.
There are some things where compromise will not be possible and will have to be litigated again in the next election – Internet privacy, EPA regulations to meet the challenge of climate change, immigration policy, and the border wall with Mexico to name a few.
For now, the only hope is that Trump abandons crazy and far right politics, reclaims the mantel of deal maker, gets with the Democrats, and cuts deals on healthcare, taxes, and infrastructure.
Valerie Elverton Dixon is founder of JustPeaceTheory.com and author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radical Love, and the Public Conversation.”