Trump is showing us how he intends to “govern.” He will cyberbully people for defending a free press or for condemning his juvenile and malicious mockery of disabled people to distract us from the actual business of governing. I call it governance by cyber distraction. On occasion, his spin-mistress, Kellyanne Conway will come to his defense, claiming that what we know is good is, in Trump speak, the worst instincts in people.
When Trump indulges in a cyber tantrum, he is always up to no good. Certainly, the inherent repulsiveness of his habitual cyber bullying is bad enough, but as the day Trump invades the White House gets closer, preparations are being made for confirmation hearings.
The cyber bullying is the shiny bauble to divert attention from the fact that Trump’s nominees are ill-suited for their positions and are uncooperative when it comes to disclosing the required materials for confirmation hearings. It’s a repeat of Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.
You can be certain if Trump is cyber lying about Meryl Streep and the media or whining about Celebrity Apprentice ratings, there is something far more sinister going on that he wants the media and the people to ignore.
Dealing with this will be a primary challenge for political reporters in the era of Trump. Certainly, there is a value in calling him out for cyberbullying, for the lies inherent in tweets that match the proportion of lies he tells when he is speaking, specifically 96% of the time.
However inhumane, repulsive and un-American Trump’s cyber lies are, they are a distraction from serious issues that will be a detriment to all of us for years, likely decades. Issues like the nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney-General or Rex Tillerson, as Putin’s, I mean Trump’s, Secretary of State. Issues like his nominee for the Department of Education whose raison d’etre is a return to the days when reading was a privilege.
This time, Trump is hoping to distract from his swamp creatures, and possibly the fact that he made nepotism great again by appointing his son-in-law, Jared Kuschner, to a senior White House position.
Suffice to say, when six confirmation hearings are set to occur within one day, Trump’s lapdogs in Congress make it abundantly clear that the only thing they are interested in doing is rubber stamping Trump’s choices with the hope that the media won’t be able to keep up. Without news coverage or at least a semblance of fact-checking, the American people will be kept in the dark about the depth of corruption in Trump’s swamp er administration.
Republicans insist their intention is not to obscure the confirmation hearings for cabinet nominees amid a flurry of political activity. But the net result will likely be too many events for comprehensive news coverage — and it may tank Senate Democrats’ long-planned strategy to systematically attack Trump’s cabinet and wound the Republican Party.
They will spin this sudden rapid-fire confirmation process as being about efficiency or respecting Trump’s “right” to choose whoever he wants to fill these positions. Couple with Trump’s cyber-tantrums, be it over Meryl Streep or Apprentice ratings it is blatantly obvious that Trump intends to “govern” by cyber distraction.
Of course, we know this is a different tactic than the one Republicans used when Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the late Republican SCOTUS Justice/god, Antonin Scalia. That was about dragging their feet to run out the clock.
Garland’s nomination wasn’t even considered, let alone voted on during the months before the election. Trump’s choice will, no doubt, be confirmed in minutes or hours.
It’s also a different standard than the one they used during Eric Holder’s confirmation process or the months it took Senate Republicans to confirm Eric Holder’s successor, current Attorney-General Loretta Lynch.
Already, we’re seeing the effort to bury Jeff Sessions’ long history of racism; his cringe-worthy record on civil rights and his defense of vote suppression buried deep in the swamp. Fortunately, there is already a Senate transcript of Sessions’ history that made him unconfirmable as a Federal Judge. But that is likely to deter Republicans determined to rubber stamp the worst possible nominee for Attorney-General.
Reporting will have to adapt to this strategy in a manner that exposes the consistency of cowardice and sleaze inherent in ramming nominations and probably major legislation through, without reflection, debate or that thing called transparency. It isn’t difficult to see that Republicans have much to hide about Trump’s nominees and are hoping to bury a lack of qualifications and contempt for America’s political and judicial institutions in a news cycle flooded with revolving door confirmations.
We can expect similar tactics when it comes to legislation: Minimal debate, with votes cast by people who probably don’t know what they are voting for – not that they knew before.
Michael Moore warned about this a while back during an interview with CNN’s Van Jones.
He’s going to be inaugurated on January 20, and January 21, which is a Saturday, don’t be surprised if the Republicans call a Saturday session of congress, and they are going to pass law after law after law and have him sign it the next day, and it’s going to be one piece of suffering against people after another.
Indeed, watching Republicans “confirm” Trump’s nominees and passing one piece of suffering after another will be like watching a silent movie, with Trump’s cyber bullying and lies to divert attention from the main events. Calling Trump and Republicans out on every attempt to ram things through without proper debate and transparency is our challenge. It’s a challenge we must meet.