Trump Score March 5 2017 – Slight Uptick

No burying the lede here: Score rises a bit this week to .45

(If you don’t recall – each line item is worth up to 10 points. So I’m adding all of them up, and dividing by line item to get the score).



The good news:

Not much is actually happening. Texans used to say “all hat, no cattle” to imply that just because you had a hat, it didn’t mean you knew how to be a rancher. At the moment – despite the horrible accusations and the sheer incompetence – not much is happening. I’ll take as much of that as I can get.

The bad news:

There are a few things happening that are worrisome, even if they don’t impact my scoring sheet.

  1. The incompetence itself threatens our country. What happens in case of a national emergency? I’m not confident that we have filled needed positions, and even less confident that if we had that those individuals know what they are doing.
  2. The executive order rolling back water rules is super troubling. I’m baffled that ensuring clean water is controversial. Sure – it’s cheaper and faster to pump your chemical stew into a river. Remember the Cuyahoga River? The one that caught fire? Well – 48 years later, it is far more safe.  Closer to home, Lake Washington is also a success story. When I first moved here, anyone in the know would tell me not to swim in it. The cleanup of Lake Washington started 1n 1963, and has been a thumping success.
  3. The use of private prisons, curtailed under the Obama administration, is back. Plenty to get upset about here, too.

Populism, the ends and the means

I’m reading “all the kings men” right now, a novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947. The author says it’s not about Huey Long, a populist governor and senator in the 1930’s.

The word “populism” has been tossed about a lot lately, to describe politicians of all sorts. The irony here is that President Trump is no populist, although he’s certainly using those tactics.

In short, populism is a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.

The thing about populism in the flavor we get from Donald Trump is that it isn’t actually doing anything at all to help people with less privilege.

Back to Huey Long. If Wikipedia is to be believed, here are some of the things he accomplished. In other words, the “ends”:

  1. Free textbooks for school children
  2. Night courses for adult literacy, which taught 100,000 adjults to read
  3. Established LSU Medical School
  4. Elimination of the poll tax (you had to pay to vote)
  5. Paved highways and other transport related infrastructure (9,700 miles worth)
  6. Statewide public health initiatives reduced the death rate, and increased the immunization rate

The list goes on. Rich companies and individuals paid for those things, by the way, until the time that the previously poor also started to contribute to the tax base.

And the means?

Not so great. Documented items that violate norms, if not actual laws, include:

  1. Fired hundreds of opponents upon taking the governorship
  2. State employees had to pay a portion of their salary into his re-election funds
  3. Fired the relatives of opponents
  4. Founded his own newspaper and if you wanted state funding you had to advertise in his paper

That list goes on, too. I’m left feeling I wholly support the ends, but not the means.

The thing is, I want both ends that support every person, and means that increase civic participation, make it more democratic and less prone to the influence of the already rich and moneyed (both individuals and corporations).

How to make that happen? That’s tough to answer. The “what” seems more straightforward:

  1. Get rid of the electoral college
  2. Remove gerrymandering at all levels of government
  3. Changing corporate personhood, especially the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling

Some non political good news

Don’t despair, people! Did you listen to either Barack or Michelle Obama talk about hope?  I think they are right; we won’t make it (no matter who is in the White House) without it. It might be in short supply unless you go look for it. So go look! You really can see the hope and the despair, and you should. But don’t get caught looking only at one or the other.

Here’s a small thing, about men and women experiencing homelesness. A local nonprofit (Low Incone Housing Institute) has had startling success with their Tiny house program. In 2016, LIHI case managers moved 157 people into housing, helped 103 people obtain employment and helped 30 people reunite with relatives or friends.

What is your, tiny good news?


March 5 2017


2 Comments to “Trump Score March 5 2017 – Slight Uptick”

  1. Excellent insights, Pat! I would question the “fair and speedy trial” metric, as the system now is far from achieving either. A former student told me today that one of the people she is assisting in the public defender’s office in Louisiana is looking at a 20 yr sentence for his third marijuana possession conviction. The first two were plea bargains, as are 95+ % of all cases. Re: Trump, the man continues to challenge accepted norms, and thus is difficult to categorize. How to measure false accusations made against the previous chief executive? I think we are too big for one president. Let’s split the country up into sensible regions (5?) and have presidents for each. I doubt the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars would have taken place if three of five presidents would have needed to vote for it. As for the Electoral College, it would take a constitutional convention to end it, but there are other instrumental ways to reform its application (Maine and Nebraska offer examples).

    Thanks for speaking out and sharing Pat!


  2. Miguel – fair enough about the speedy trial. I suppose the idea here is that the new administration doesn’t do anything to make it less speedy!

    I’m ready for Cascadia (California, Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, BC)!

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