Robert Reich Blog | The Trust Destroyers | Talkmarkets
Professor, Former US Secretary of Labor
Contributor's Links: RobertReich.org

Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the ... more

The Trust Destroyers

Date: Saturday, October 22, 2016 7:59 PM EDT

Donald Trump’s warning that he might not accept the results of the presidential election exemplifies his approach to everything: Do whatever it takes to win, even if that means undermining the integrity of the system.

Trump isn’t alone. The same approach underlies Senator John McCain’s recent warning that Senate Republicans will unite against any Supreme Court nominee Hillary Clinton might put up, if she becomes president. 

The Republican Party as a whole has embraced this philosophy for more than two decades. After Newt Gingrich took over as Speaker of the House in 1995, compromise was replaced by brinksmanship, and normal legislative maneuvering by threats to close down the government – which occurred at the end of that year.

Like Trump, Gingrich did whatever it took to win, regardless of the consequences. In 1996, during the debates over welfare reform, he racially stereotyped African-Americans. In 2010 he fueled the birther movement by saying President Obama exhibited “Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.” Two years later, in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he called President Obama the “food stamp president.“

As respected political observers Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of Brookings have noted, “the forces Mr. Gingrich unleashed destroyed whatever comity existed across party lines.” Gingrich’s Republican Party became “ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

In truth, it’s not just Republicans and not just relationships between the two major parties that have suffered from the prevailing ethos. During this year’s Democratic primaries, former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her staff expressed utter disdain for the integrity of the political process by discussing ways to derail Bernie Sanders’s campaign, according to hacked emails.

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Monty Pelerin 2 years ago Contributor's comment

Mr. Reich is part of the establishment. My comments on his article/position can be found on my website at www.economicnoise.com