Our essential hope rests on the belief that America, as a whole, is not as racist as Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues are betting that America is. Nevertheless, the Republicans hold a majority in both houses of Congress. Republicans also control the White House. Therefore, to make the argument that the Democrats are to blame for the government shutdown is utterly absurd and quite disingenuous. We need not look any further than 2010 and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This law passed with no Republican support. It became obvious to President Obama early on that Republicans were a no vote. With this reality firmly understood, Obama knew that he would have to lobby his own caucus, which was composed of liberals, moderate and conservatives. Republicans currently control Congress and the presidency. However, Republicans are bereft of presidential leadership. The current President’s caucus does not even know what policy he will support. Yes, Congress legislates. But Congress also legislates a Presidential agenda. Trump does not have a particular agenda that can be codified. Yet, he does have a narrow white nationalist view of the world. This is reflected in his Cabinet, his demeanor, his taunts, his tweets, and the occasional racist rant. Moreover, it is also evident that the current President has pure antipathy for former President Barack Obama. In short, the President does not want to give anything of consequence to non-white constituents.
Newt Gingrich is the Father of the Modern government shutdown. Gingrich rode the wave of Republican electoral success in 1994 mid-term election all the way to the Speakership of the House of Representatives. Gingrich came to power with a clear set of legislative proposals and a shady agenda, which included usurping Presidential authority by moving the locus of governing from the executive branch to Congress. Another way of stating this is to say that Gingrich came to the Speakership with the clear intent of challenging Bill Clinton’s authority by moving the locus of governing to himself. Gingrich overreached. Americans blamed Gingrich and Republicans for the shutdown. Many may believe anti-government rhetoric until those services are no longer available. Government is quintessential to being American.
Senator Ted Cruz was the shutdown chief back in 2013 when Republicans were seeking an advantage against Barack Obama. The shutdown was unpopular; however, by the time of the 2014 midterms, Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives and gained control of the Senate. Yet, as is obvious, Republicans were not in control of the entire government. The shutdown of 2018 reflects nothing but the total in ineptitude of the Forty Fifth President. The problem becomes the question as to how does the government recover. It is now clearly apparent that Democrats will have to battle this President every day. As Senator Schumer said, “You can’t negotiate with Jell-O.” Moreover, how do Democrats work with someone who is a clear and present racist? America has a history of racial compromises. Yet, there is something that seems decidedly different about Trump’s racism. Trump is broadcasting to the world his racism. Currently, the American system of checks and balances is not working. Perhaps when it comes time to run for reelection, American will regain its sense of purpose.
Tax legislation, which primarily reduces corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthiest Americans, is the only policy that Republicans could legislate. Trump’s executive orders and other executive directives have been a disaster for the country. It you are one who loves clean water, clean air, and protected wilderness spaces, you have a great deal to worry about. If you are for women’s rights and voting rights, you have a great deal to worry about. This administration is determined to dismantle Obama era policies. The irony is that Obama policies were not put in place to advance the agenda of private industry. Therefore, as the Trump Administration seeks to undo everything Obama, it is also undoing policies that were put into place to protect consumers, clean air, and clean water. Trump loves to boast about a rising stock market. Yet, he does not have an answer the declining life expectancy rate.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he published a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”