02.27.2017 09:13 AM

This week’s column: hateful promise made, hateful promise kept

[This week’s Hill Times column, also open on their web site, and therefore here on HuffPo.]

It feels like a lifetime. But the Trump regime has only been in power for just over a month.

When you look at the wreckage littering the landscape – unconstitutional anti-Muslim bans, scandal and high-level resignations, protests drawing millions, and seemingly-bottomless chaos and confusion – it seems like it has gone on forever.

It also seems like there is only one thing that you can say about Trump: with him, all that is predictable is how unpredictable he is.

Forget about the experts. Forget about precedent and facts. All that anyone can do, now, is get up in the morning and peer at Twitter to see what the madman in the White House has been tweeting in the middle of the night.

That is what we have been reduced to. Tweets, complete with spelling errors and bald-faced lies. It is madness.

In the past few weeks, however, one thing has become apparent. It is something that Trump shares with many of the successful right-wing populists who preceded him.

Knowing that he will never enjoy wide support – indeed, he is at this point, already the most unpopular president in the history of polling – Trump has opted for the cliché always preferred by his ilk.

“You may not ever love me,” Trump will say to his legions of critics. “But I’m doing what I said I would do. Promise made, promise kept.”

And, it is true. If there is one thing that Trump has done in the frenzied first few weeks of his tenure, it is that: he has done what he said he would do.

With the exception of locking up Hillary Clinton – and there is still plenty of time to do that, of course – Trump has been true to his word.

He has sought to stop Muslims from entering the U.S. He has served notice he intends to kill, or rewrite, trade deals. He has signed an executive order to start building a wall on the Mexican border. He has reversed course on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. He has started dismantling Obamacare.

Say what you will about Donald Trump – and, personally, I have said, and say again, that he is a racist, sexist, crypto-fascist creep who brags about sexually assaulting women – but there is one thing that he says that is mostly true: he keeps his promises.

So, up here in the Great White North – which Trump, like most Americans, gives no more than a few minutes’ worth of thought every week – who wins and who loses in Trump’s New World Disorder?

•Winner – Sub-national governments: Business, and money, dislike unpredictability. They dislike uncertainty. Trump, if he is anything, is that. And he will not change. He will never be Obama or Reagan. His key promise was to shake up the established order, and he is doing that.

So, take advantage of it. Already, major high-tech firms like Apple and Microsoft are objecting loudly to Trump’s regime. Canada – and Canadian municipalities – can offer those firms of the future a more hospitable business climate. One where we have competitive corporate tax regimes, and where our workforce is among the best-educated and best-trained on the world.

•Loser – free traders: NAFTA and TPP and other trade agreements weren’t put on life support in November – they were rushed to the ER, months before, in June, when Brexit happened. Trump was merely the North American echo of a massive backlash – or whitelash, as Van Jones memorably put it on CNN – against globalization and economic cooperation. Brexit opened the door through which Trump walked.

The Brexit and Trump demographic favour walls, economic and otherwise. Overwhelmingly – but not exclusively – they are white, older males who are angry at having lost something, usually a job. When, in fact, they’ve lost their job to a microchip, not someone with brown skin.

Shamefully, this xenophobic crew are being aided and abetted by major trade unions, who claim to oppose Trump – but who have hailed Trump’s anti-trade rantings and ravings.

The impact of this anti-trade turmoil will take a while to be felt. But, without a doubt, it will mean things will cost more, there will be more unemployment, and there will be more job refugees–people moving around in search of work. It won’t be pretty.

•Undecided – Trudeau government: Justin Trudeau is walking a Trump tightrope. So far, he hasn’t fallen. But can he stay up there on the tightrope for the next four years? I doubt it.

Sooner or later, he will fall. And will he come out against Trump – as have the millions of progressive voters who put him in office? Or will he continue to take the Neville Chamberlain-like approach, with cleverly-worded tweets, and looking the other way when the Mexicans, Australians, and NATO are thrown under a Trump Hotel shuttle bus?

So far, Trudeau has done well. He handled the Trump handshake dilemma, literally. And he practically jogged out of the Rose Garden, no target visible on his back.

But polling shows that Canadians–and Liberals like me – want a leader who will, in the words of his father, speak for Canada. Condemning the bigotry of Kellie Leitch and Kevin O’Leary is easy – they don’t have power. Donald Trump does.

Eventually, sooner or later, silence in the face of oppression and hate is complicity. Mark my words: if Trudeau – and his Conservative opposition – -continues to opt for appeasement, Canadian voters will go looking for a political option who won’t. And the NDP, who have nothing to lose and everything to gain in denouncing Trump, will be the main beneficiary. They will stand up to the orange bully – and they will win plenty of votes for doing so.

Donald Trump is doing what he said he would do. You may despise him or dismiss him, but give him that much: he is keeping his big promises.

That requires all of us to make choices, big and small. Deciding to do nothing – deciding to keep quiet – helps only one side: his.

If history has shown us anything, it has shown us that.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    (Glad you’re back to watching CNN.) This ship has already reached the floundering stage. It will definintely go under — and a lot quicker than most people think.

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    Tim says:


    First I think if you want to stand up to the orange bully(and personally I do FWIW) you need a plan and allies to do so of which the NDP has neither at this point in time. Second as you yourself pointed out there is quite a lot of sympathy for Trump’s message among many of the NDP’s core constituencies.

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      Tim says:

      I will also point that in some ways much of Canada is more fertile ground for Trumpism than many parts of “Blue America.” Take Ontario vs New York State. The population of NY State is roughly 19 million of while close to 8.5 million live in NY City. Thus close to half of all NY State residents live in NY City and NY mayor De Blasio can claim to represent almost half of NY State’s population. On the otherhand in Ontario there are 13-14 million people of which something around 2.5 million live in the City of Toronto. A far lower percentage in Ontario than in New York State. Yes much of Ontario’s population is in the GTA but the differing ratio means the media has more excuses to play up the importance of rural Ontario than it does in New York State where New York City’s electoral dominance is overwhelming.

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        Kev says:

        Compare apples to apples. NYC and the suburban NY state counties neighbouring it are about 64% of New York State’s population, and much of that other 36% is also tied up in urban areas like Buffalo, Albany, and the college towns upstate.

        In Ontario, 53% of the population is bound up in the three contiguous metropolitan areas of Toronto, Hamilton, and Oshawa. Another 30% is contained in the other 13 metro areas with a population > 100,000, from Ottawa on down.

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          Tim says:

          Agreed, but the media will always try to imply places like Oshawa and Mississauga have more in common with Randy Hillier’s and Jack Maclaren’s rural Ontario than they do with downtown Toronto. With so many people living in New York City it simply makes no sense to give any political credence to the upstate NY Randy Hillier types like Carl Paladino as they will be absolutely swamped electorally in NYC and even the most braindead reporters know it. Also the Toronto press such as the Sun gives far more press to Randy Hillier than say the New York Post gives to Carl Paladino despite the obvious political similarities between the Toronto Sun and NY Post.

          BTW, for all the angst about hydro rates Con Edison electricity is STILL much more expensive than Toronto Hydro for all you Wynne haters.

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            Kev says:

            I don’t see any evidence of “the media” doing this, except when they of short memories insist that areas like the 905 “have always been conservative”, when in fact they have always been swing areas.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    You think Trump is not going to lock up Hillary? Once Trump has all his appointments, she will be up.

    At CPAC: “The president brought up Hillary Clinton and the crowd started chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”


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    MississaugaPeter says:

    You think Trump is not going to lock up Hillary? Once Trump has all his appointments, she and the Clinton Foundation will be up.

    At CPAC: “The president brought up Hillary Clinton and the crowd started chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”


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      MississaugaPeter says:

      2X not 4 affect, CAPTCHA to blame

      U hav 2 go 2 darkside 2 c that its probably gonna happen

      NYT & WP not gonna report the plan

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    pat says:

    Well, if it makes you feel better folks are getting sick of hearing Trump. Watching the news a gentleman pointed out the unpredictability of Trump makes him unusual in an age of message control, but he’s starting to sound the same and predictable. The rank and file are bored with it. So, at a time when entertainment supersedes information. A time when competing for audience leads from one sensational story to another, Trump is becoming predictable. I get this from the base, the folks who voted for, and cheered him on – they’re getting sick of seeing this guy on the news. When it’s no longer entertaining they’ll lose interest and move on.

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    pat says:

    Kinda like meeting a person who is impressive for a day, and annoying everyday thereafter – when the sound of their voice drives you nuts you change the channel –

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    In French we say: “Ne pas y aller par quatre chemins.” That’s what Trudeau is doing and that’s what he should do. I would send the devil himself if he could mitigate the possible damages for Canada.

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    the salamander horde says:

    .. seems to me.. we’re simply seeing a melange of the personal ideologies of Trump & Bannon Inc. Its being executed somewhat in the manner of Trump ‘University’ .. ie its an incompetant, fraudulent, ignorant ponzi scheme.. The GOP have jumped in, as what they see is a 4 year trough to binge on, with some vague potential for another 4 years to follow.

    The back end of this is stunning. Neither Bannon or Trump will ever be able to walk the streets (like Justin Trudeau) Perhaps Stephen Miller will not be recognized, but Kellyanne and Spicer are now the damned.. radioactive as Bannon/Trump. Melania made the only correct move. Periodic Dissasociation.. enough to suggest she knows she’s a prop & has zero interest in the traditional White House role.

    It really is to laugh.. the Trump tweets, ‘rallies’, laughable wandering monologues, hand waving and repetitive phrasing. The ludicrous and labored explains from Spicer, Kellyann, Miller, Priebus et al. The credible mainstream media must sit there with their mouths gaping open in astonishment. Its banana republic behavior of the first order..

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    Robert Frindt says:

    Trump is just the beginning.

    Ipsos did some “right track / wrong track” polling of different countries in Oct-Nov 2016.

    While 65 percent of Americans said that the USA was on the wrong track (and elected Trump), the numbers from some other countries are just stunning:

    “Wrong Track” (%):

    Germany 68 %
    Belgium 71
    Spain 78
    Sweden 78
    Italy 82
    France 88


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Remember when political opponents made the charge that Trump’s companies had used Chapter 11 Bankruptcy five or six times? And now, here comes more Dodo Economics with cutting domestic spending by 54 Billion while increasing defence spending by the same amount. Recession here we come, at the very least.

    They aren’t bright enough to realize that lean government can’t even come close to providing revenues to match that projected increase in defence spending. The town hall meetings are about to ratchet up a notch and explode. People want their services — as Trump will find out as the nightmare begins.

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    Brad says:

    whether you agree with her or not, you have to agree this is one awful video


    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Bill Templeman says:

      Not hard to design a Communications class assignment based on this video. (1) “Watch this clip, then list the talking points this speaker was trying to address.” (2) “In terms of body language and voice control, what was this speaker coached on prior to the shoot?” (3) “Was the speaker successful in using her voice and her body language to convey her message? Why or why not?” Who is coaching her? What is she paying this individual or team? She is very smart; why does this clip look like something out of a high school student council election (by a candidate who lost)? Does she have a War Room? Who is it? Not good advertising….

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