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.
Forget about the experts. Forget about precedent and facts. All that anyone can do now is get up in the morning and 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, 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.
Trump would tell his legion of critics he is simply keeping his promises. And, it is true. If there is one thing that Trump has done in the frenzied first few weeks of his tenure, 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.
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 he says that is mostly true: He keeps his promises.
So, up here in the Great White North, who wins and who loses in Trump’s New World Disorder?
Winner – Sub-national governments: Business and money dislike unpredictability and uncertainty. 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, TPP and other trade agreements were rushed to the ER 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. 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 his anti-trade rantings and ravings. Without a doubt, this anti-trade turmoil will mean things will cost more, jobs will be lost, and there will be more ‘job refugees’ moving around in search of work. It won’t be pretty.
Undecided – Trudeau government: Justin Trudeau is walking a Trump tightrope. Can he do it for the next four years? I doubt it.
Sooner or later, he will either 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.
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, 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 that won’t. And the NDP will be the main beneficiary. They will stand up to the orange bully and win plenty of votes for doing so.
Since Trump is keeping his big promises. He is doing exactly what he said he would do, that requires all of us to make choices, big and small. Deciding to keep quiet and do nothing only helps him.
If history has shown us anything, it has shown us that.
Warren Kinsella is a Canadian journalist, political adviser and commentator.