My rebuttal to Daniel Payne’s article appearing in The Federalist on Feb 21st, 2017.
- Do you really think the whole “not my president” thing is a good idea? Don’t you think it makes you seem irrational, petulant, and immature?
I’m going to ignore your condescension; I understand that you are feeling pretty good about yourself right now. After all, your side “won”. I also understand that even in your happiness, Conservatives have to lash out with anger. So congrats.
When someone says that Trump is “not my president” what they are expressing is their opposition to someone whose legitimacy is in question (to be explored more in question #2). It also suggests that the citizens who say this don’t feel represented by him. Trump ran a “…campaign that revealed deep divisions – by race, gender and education – that were as wide and in some cases wider than in previous elections” (1). Although it is true that Trump won non-college educated whites (2), he lost Blacks, Latinos, Women, College Graduates and Young Adults. He also lost Asians (3), the Northeast (4), the affluent (5), “Big Business” (6), “metropolitan” areas (7), and secular whites (8). He also lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes (9).
Conservatives love to say “but America is not a Democracy and the popular vote doesn’t matter”. Except is does matter. These people who voted against Trump are actually Americans. As an expression of the concern that people have about him, the day after his inauguration the Woman’s March drew an estimated 3,300,000 – 4,600,000 people in the United States and up to 5 million did worldwide (10) making it the largest protest march in US history (11). Not exactly the “little temper tantrum” as described by Rush Limbaugh (12).
Summary – Not thinking of Trump as “my president” doesn’t in fact, make me irrational, petulant or immature. It is an expression of non-violent protest against a controversial political figure, whose election and subsequent actions in office have done nothing to lead Americans to believe he is representing them or their concerns.
However your inability to see Trump as the “least popular president in recent history” (13,14,15) coupled with an inability to connect that with why Americans don’t warm to the idea of him being their president does make you seem “irrational, petulant, and immature”.
- Do you think it’s wise to call Trump an “illegitimate” president? Based on the lack of evidence to back that claim up, does that not make you seem like wild-eyed conspiracy theorists?
In spite of Trump’s claims that hacking is “a very hard thing to prove” and that “he knows things that other people don’t know” (16), the reality is that 17 US Intelligence Agencies reported that Russian agents committed espionage against America to influence the election in Trump’s favor. The US Senate has launched a probe to review links between Russian intelligence and the election (17). The FBI is currently pursuing at least three investigations into Russian hacking of the election (18). British intelligence agencies gave information to the US about Russian hacking of the election (19). Traces of the same Russian software used to hack the DNC has also been found on Apple products – “The use of the same dropper/ downloader and similar command and control center URLs, as well as sine artifacts hardcoded in the binary files” (20). These efforts indicate that there may be legal grounds for rejecting his presidency.
Additionally, voter suppression laws (21), gerrymandering, the violation of political norms by the chief executive, and the Electoral College, although currently legal, helped install a politically illegitimate president. The Republicans “… let the country’s most well-known proponent of birtherism, the ultimate in racist delegitimization of Obama, take over their party and helped his election as president.” (22) As this same article points out, the previous Republican president was also elected to office under “dubious circumstances” (23), indicating a proclivity by the Republicans of choosing party over country.
But don’t take my word for it. Other elected officials as well as media pundits, celebrities, journalists, members of the Judiciary, the US Intelligence community, and politicians all over the world have mirrored this sentiment. Rep. Joe Lewis (D-GA) said “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president” (24). US. District Judge Dan Polster called into question the “legitimacy” of Donald Trump’s presidency (25). Two million people signed a petition in the UK demanding that Trump not visit because it would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen” (26) which also triggered a Parliamentary debate. French President François Hollande talked about the “challenges proposed by the new U.S. administration (27), Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister warned “The American president is dividing the Muslim world into good and evil” (28), and Mexican President Nieto faces strong domestic pressures to stand up to Trump’s plans (29).
My last point – the dictionary defines conspiracy as “a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal” (30).
Summary: Your claims of “lack of evidence” shows myopia and a willful ignorance of actual controversies surrounding Trump’s presidency. The majority of Americans think Trump’s ties to Russia need to be investigated. Even Fox News agrees! (31). Although Trump’s election success is currently thought of as being legally legitimate, it is far from politically legitimate. Given the massive amount of evidence that is piling up about the election, I believe that not only does calling it “illegitimate” seem appropriate, but it is not out of the question for his entire (probably short lived) presidency to be repudiated by future historians. My awareness of the controversies and support of investigations into them does not make me a “wild-eyed conspiracy theorist”. Questioning his legitimacy not only makes me “wise” it makes me a patriot who is alarmed about attacks on the integrity of our Democracy. Your willingness to overlook a clear attack by a foreign government for political gain makes me think you are colluding with the enemy and flirting with treason.
- On that note, do you think it’s smart to truck in wild-eyed conspiracy theories? Doesn’t this make one look foolish?
Yes. “Trucking in wild-eyed conspiracy theories” does make one look foolish.
- Donald Trump – “…this Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.” (32)
- As a candidate vying for the Republican nomination, Trump falsely said Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald before President John F. Kennedy was killed. (33)
- Trump for years was the leading proponent of the racially-tinged “birther” theory, which alleged the nation’s first black president was not born in the United States and thus ineligible for the office. (34)
- President Trump told yet another blatant falsehood, alleging that the media has covered up several terrorist attacks, a bogus claim that became even more laughable when the White House released a list of widely-covered attacks in a humiliating attempt to substantiate Trump’s assertion. (35)
- Donald Trump – “Look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” (36)
- the Trump administration has displayed a commitment to needlessly lying that is confounding to even the most cynical observers of American politics. (37)
- Kellyanne Conway – “You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts” (38)
Summary – Honestly. I could do this all day. Bowling Green massacre, stock market numbers, classified leaks, immigration and crime statistics, inheriting a “mess” from Obama, Clinton selling Russia uranium, violence in Chicago etc. This list does not even include his ridiculous statements during the campaign. This list also doesn’t cover Sean Spicer, Stephen Miller, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and a host of other right-wing conspiracy icons that are currently shaping and influencing our government.
- Should you be having a major freak out every time Trump does anything? Wouldn’t it be wiser to save the freak outs for when Trump does something actually bad?
No. I agree that we should save our “freak outs” for when Trump does something actually bad. Such as the following-
- Unconstitutional immigration policies (39)
- Constant lies (40)
- Act like a fascist (41, 42, 43)
- Destroying the agencies who are supposed to protect the environment (44)
- Putting Bannon on the National Security Council (45)
- Deregulating businesses and banks (46)
- Unconstitutional travel ban on refugees (47)
- Building a wall on the Mexican border (48)
- Supporting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines (49)
- Ordering federal agencies to get rid of ‘Obamacare’ (50)
- Fighting against women’s rights (51)
- Freezing federal government hiring (52)
- Appointing unqualified Cabinet members (53)
I would also add terrorizing large populations of US citizens, immigrants, women, journalists, Muslims, People of Color, and the LGBTQ community. He actively promotes a climate of hate and fear, emboldens white supremacists, and constantly cites fake news.
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM), NCCAOM Dipl. Acupuncture