Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“Changing Washington” — won’t happen under Trump

It’s almost a truism that Donald Trump, currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, would be a disaster in the White House as things stand now. Some Democrats are actually gleeful at the thought, believing that he would be easier to defeat in the general election.

Whatever the case, Trump’s bombastic rhetoric will cost him down the road. Because of the way things are, his promises to foster change, essentially based on asserting American power, are worthless because they depend on changing the culture of Washington, D.C., which many, many “reformers” claim they want to do.

As Democratic political figure James Carville said in the book “Love & War,” which he wrote with his Republican wife Mary Matalin, “There’s only one way things are done [there], and that’s ‘as usual.’ ”

Why is this the case? Well, look at it this way: If Trump does get his way he alienates not only the political “establishment” but much of the country and world, let alone ignore the Constitution. If he becomes more “moderate” and reasonable he’ll be seen as a sellout to the establishment.

Does he reasonably think he can build a wall along the border with Mexico and have the Mexicans pay for it? Or that he can unilaterally take out the so-called Islamic State? And with the amount of money we're already in the hole because of the war in Iraq, how will we pay for that?

"Well, Trump isn't part of the 'establishment.' " And that's a problem because he not only doesn't know what the problems are but also how to address them. He said he'd hire people who would; trouble is, they'd by definition be part of the "establishment." And that would defeat the purpose.

Besides, at that level you have to cut deals to get anything done. That's required when you have people with differing ideological agendas, and suggesting that people who represent "blue" areas adopt "red-state" thinking simply won't happen. I'm not sure Trump gets that.

Bottom line, if Trump does the bull in a china shop thing he loses the country. If he compromises, he loses his base. When it comes to governing, he's going to have to be realistic. As Carville said, "You will not change it."

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