I had a discussion with my doctor late spring 2017. I was having gastrointestinal issues, and I said to him that I kept wondering whether the anxiety that I felt about the Trump regime was affecting me physically. My doctor responded very seriously and with a straight face. He replied that many of his patients had been saying exactly the same thing ever since November 8, 2016.
So, the first thing to acknowledge about one year into the Trump regime –and I use the word “regime” to convey that this is not just about Trump the individual – is that most of the population is living with high levels of anxiety. The anxiety may be the result of fearing war with North Korea, Iran, etc.. It might be about the loss of health care or, most recently, the impact of the outrageous tax reform bill, a piece of legislation broadly recognized as highway robbery, in the daylight!
The Trump regime has encouraged the rise of the neo-fascist wing of the right-wing populist movement through both its silence in the face of fascist outrages as well as Trump’s hypocritical even-handedness in the face of protests. This regime has demonstrated contempt for women. It continues to demonize not only immigrants from the global South, but demonizes much of the global South itself!
Policies That Attack the Working-Class
It has also engaged in what can only be described as an objectively genocidal approach towards the poor. The Trump administration has overseen spending cuts that will mean people will die − die in the face of the demonstrated contempt by the rich.
The Trump regime is overseeing further deregulation, as if the population cares little regarding food safety, water cleanliness and environmental protection. The regime has laid the foundation for more systematic attacks on organized labor, such as their support for right-to-work forces that wish to turn all public sector workplaces into “open shop.”
Such attacks, most notably represented by the pending decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus vs. AFSCME, compels unions to use limited resources representing workers who are not paying either dues or a representation fee. Such an approach is clearly aimed at weakening one of the few forces standing in the way of the path of greed and avarice undertaken by the so-called 1%. And this is coming from a president who claimed to stand on the side of working people!
[The Trump Administration] has engaged in what can only be described as an objectively genocidal approach towards the poor.”
Embracing or Accepting Reactionary Practices
Yet, Trump’s approval ratings remain in the 30-40% zone which seems astounding given the irrationality of Trump’s behavior and the draconian steps that he and his regime have taken, along with his propensity to outright lie. This is quite sobering and should remind us that a significant minority of the population is, quite thoroughly, reactionary in its sentiments or, at a minimum, quite open to setting aside their unease with some particularities and go forth to embrace or accept reactionary thinking and practices.
The debate around tax reform should remind us that central to the advance of the Trump regime has been the use of race. While the Trump regime is stamping on workers, it, to paraphrase a famous comment by President Lyndon Johnson, is able to stick its hand into the pockets of white people and usurp their wealth. And this is happening as the administration points at alleged dangerous populations, e.g., Arabs, Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, most of the planet, as being the real threat.
It is the work of a magician, keeping the audience focused on one hand while using the other to carry off the trick. And, of course, the audience is oblivious to it all … unless audience members quite consciously choose not to accept the rules of the game.
The struggle certainly continues!
Check out 10 specific ways the Trump Administration has hurt workers during its first year.